As summer hits its midway point, most signs are pointing to, at least, another semester or two of remote education in most parts of the country. The list of difficulties that have arisen due to computer-based education is not a short one, but being able to deal with behavioral issues is near the top of that list, as students can simply walk away from a monitor if they’re being punished for acting up.
Kids do deserve a bit of a break, as the stress and anxiety from COVID is something very unfamiliar to them (just as it is to adults), so behavioral issues should be taken with an accentuated level of understanding if, indeed, they exist when school kicks back off in the fall. Here are a few ways for teachers to help resolve those issues in the digital education setting.
It’s a sad truth that building personal relationships with students (or anyone, for that matter), is more difficult through the lens of a camera than it is with the heightened emotional reactions that naturally occur when dealing with someone face-to-face on a regular basis. With that in mind, teachers need to take up their kindness and understanding levels even more in order to gain students’ trust in the digital classroom environment. Over-engagement and extra-positive environments are essential to relationship growth that will ultimately allow a student to respect words that are not particularly encouraging (like punishments for disruption).
On a more positive note, private conversations are easier to come by in remote settings, as a simple click of a button can ensure no one else “is around,” avoiding the humiliation factor that comes from a classroom scolding and allowing for classroom behavior management without the humiliation factors that cause so many kids to feel negatively towards teachers.
Dig a Little Deeper
COVID-19 has flipped children’s lives upside down, and the stress and anxiety are natural and nearly unavoidable. In addition, there is a very real chance a student may have lost a loved one due to the virus, or at least fears that scenario due to a steady influx of negativity in the news. If a student is acting out and not responding to requests to stop, send an email to mom and dad to see if there is anything more adding to the student’s stress. If so, addressing this in private can help the student gain trust and hopefully start to listen better!
Up the Fun Factor
Never before have students been sitting in class with their Xbox, TV, and phone on the other side of the room. This means there are a lot of entertaining things beyond the digital classroom that are at an arm’s reach. Stepping up your performance psychology and evolving your lessons to maximize engagement will make the computer screen seem a bit more appealing next to the Xbox screen. Kids need to have fun, and with the time saved on your daily commute, there’s time to make sure you can add to the daily fun!
Finally, ensuring all students are being equally included in the online classroom is very important to avoid feelings of mistreatment or someone being left out. Simple-but-effective means of adding a personal touch would be things like sending an end-of-day email and taking the few extra minutes to address each student individually. It’s also easier to share alternative learning materials with students in an online setting, thus it is easier to cater to each student’s needs. Conducting a thorough search into each student’s ideal ways of learning can allow you to send relative online materials to help accent each lesson (YouTube how-to’s, deeper reading, tutor contacts, etc.).