As parents, it can be hard to support students in this unusual situation of remote learning. However, there are a few things that students can do to try to ensure a more successful experience.
Creating an environment that is conducive to learning: This could be a corner of a room or space that is dedicated to learning and reading. This is not always easy at present when many households are having remote working and schooling taking place. It is easy in the world of portable devices to fall into the habit of sitting on a bed or sofa but in terms of psychologically getting ready to learn, a designated working area helps. It aids concentration and focus and also means that when not working, the space can be left symbolises a step away from learning for a break etc.
Establishing a routine: Routines are personal things and unique to each individual. A visual planner, calendar or digital organiser is essential to keep track of everything that takes place online, with lots of apps available to support this.
Following a normal routine can help to ensure that the student it ready for remote learning, so rather than rolling out of bed and switching on a device, try to encourage a normality. For example, getting dressed, brushing teeth, having breakfast etc before switching on to engage in tutor time.
Review expectations: Establishing expectations can be beneficial. How does the family communicate when individuals are in live lessons, meetings etc? What are the expectations surrounding breaks and leaving screens? When and where will exercise and fresh air take place, can this happen as a family?
Encourage self-regulation: It is impossible when remote learning to avoid devices and screens. It is possible to reduce distractions however by turning off notifications from apps like Instagram and Messenger or setting limits on the amount of time permitted on social media each day. If you struggle with this, there are even apps that will help you to restrict various aspects of your device to help focus and concentration and apps that are designed to help with remaining focused.
Its also important that students recognise when they start to feel lethargic, distracted etc and to use breaks effectively between lessons to help alleviate these feelings.
Encourage time away from screens: Exercise is vital, particularly our students who are used to a lot of physical activity in a week. It is key to their physical and emotional wellbeing and also helps with focus and the ability to feel positive. There are lots of suggestions at school for activities and challenges to engage and motivation students in different types of activities.
It is also very easy at the end of a remote learning day to switch off the laptop and switch on the television. Encouraging students to pick up a book, magazine or newspaper and read something not a screen has been shown to be hugely beneficial.
Emma Pike, Head of Teaching and Learning & Head of PECategories: Blog Preparatory Senior Sixth Form