How to Revive Remote Learning: for just a little while longer.

Starting to ‘flat line’ in remote learning?

Out of ideas?

You recently feel as though you have turned into Bill Murray filming Groundhog Day? 

This 2020 really is tough on some of us; parents especially are being forced to wear many more ‘hats’ than they’re already trying to juggle. Their new ‘teaching hat’ is just one of many. When Positive Teaching spoke with some parents and teachers, they found that the children are becoming flat and one mother told them; “…the house just feels a little, down.” 

Firstly, if you or your child are really struggling please reach out to services that can help: like your school counselor, your family GP, or beyondblue.org.au 

Getting motivated again can be hard, but can be done!

It’s time to set small and positive expectations. We’ve gone out on a limb here and assumed when Remote Learning all started you put together a plan for a structure that encouraged an orderly, organised and focused environment to support the kids. Whether you were a career or a teacher.

However, as the weeks have moved on and the repetitiveness (not to mention hiccups of the process) got to each of us, things have just become a matter of survival. If this is the case, that’s ok, however it’s time to revive. How? Through positive and realistic expectations. 

Expectations are important for children and assist in the development of a motivated and happy individual. When kids have clear expectations, that are also achievable, they are likely to feel successful and willing to ‘have a go’. Make sure though, that expectations set within this challenging time are not based on specific goals, as this will most likely create pressure.  

The Psychologists from Melbourne Child Psychology Blog discuss the importance of expectations on children and how they help a child to reach their natural potential; in their article 5 Ways to set High Expectations without High Pressure

When professional teachers manage a classroom, it tends to run more smoothly when the expectations (note not pressures) are clear and friendly. Such as; the expectation in Maths class is to have-a-go. Children also like boundaries, it allows them to predict the environment therefore decreases anxiety.

During this time, parents and remote teachers need to be continuing to set expectations and boundaries, that are consistent and supportive. As this will hopefully revive the life of learning and interests within the home. With that said, don’t stress too much about specific academics. However, emphasise the potential growth for everyday success through positive expectations.

Mrs. LDs Tips for doing so:

  1. Social Expectations

Set up some social expectations; encourage social interaction and social engagement from your child(ren). 

Start your day with the expectation of saying “Good Morning” to each other. This encourages a child to converse with those around them. It builds confidence and increases the social behaviours and expectations for living in a society. Understood.org outline these as: 

  1. Meet and greet politely. 
  2. Take turns talking.
  3. Pay attention to others. 
  4. Think about others before acting.
  5. Cooperate with others. 

They are missing the social learning, so get social with them! It’s important that we continue to develop these social skills whilst the children are at home, so that they will have the skills in the future to make friends and build respectful relationships with others. 

2. Grateful Expectations

Take the time to reset your frame of mind and set grateful expectations within the house. Start talking about what went well, rather than what went wrong. 

With students between the ages of 9-12 years old, I have frequently used a 21 day Gratitude Challenge. At a time when they are becoming socially concerned and more socially aware, it always helps to slow them down and reflect on the things within their world that are positive.

Australian educator Dannielle Miller, B.Ed breaks it down for us in her piece A positive new approach to raising happy kids that research shows us;

“If you can encourage your children to feel and show gratitude, their world will become a kinder, more supportive place in which to live.”

Danielle Miller B.Ed

3. Learning Expectations  

This is about modelling and creating an environment that sets the positive habitual behaviours of a learner. 

Teachers do this by modelling the expectations of a learner in their classrooms. 

  • They use the language of learning (I can… I will… We showed… I was able too…). 
  • They set out what learning looks like and model using tools to develop ideas. Such as diagrams, programs, skills, setting out work. 
  • They take the time to reflect upon what was learnt, using the child’s voice to re-model the outcome. Teaching them to appreciate their own work and identify with their ability to learn.

Exposure to expectations for learning may be inaccessible in the platforms for remote learning. To develop them, model them! For example; when you sit down to sign in to your emails, have your child(ren) sign in to their learning nearby. Treat it like an open office and accept and encourage discussion of what is taking place. 

Engage in conversations about what they’re doing and what you’re doing. Let them see that you too need to highlight useful bits of information, note take or draft writing; for example.  

Dr. Chelsea Hyde summarised for us in her article  5 Tips for Keeping Kids Learning From Home in University of Melbourne Pursuit; that we need to remember:

“Irrespective of age, keeping your child to a routine schedule will create predictability and reduce anxiety.”

Dr. Chelsea Hyde, University of Melbourne.

We at Positive Teaching would like to add food for thought. We would like to see habitual expectations taking place in the daily routines; Social Expectations, Grateful Expectations and Learning Expectations may be a way to lift their mood and boost their self motivated approach to learning.

Reference and Resources: 

Bastow.vic.edu.au

Edutopia: 5 Principals of Remote Learning

Melbourne Child Psychology: 5 Ways to Set High Expectations without High Pressure

Passion Planner: 21 Day Gratitude Challenge

Pursuit: Uni of Melbourne: Remote Learning

Understood.org: 5 Unwritten Social Rules

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