Methods that Support K-12 Student Wellbeing
The realities of remote and hybrid learning programs constantly create new challenges for educators. Online K-12 websites make it clear that student mental and physical wellbeing is on the minds of educators everywhere. Concerns center on virtual classroom environments, which raise the risk that students will:
- Miss the familiar sense of community that in-person classes offer. This means experiencing feelings of social isolation and losing the familiar connections with their teachers and peers.
- Lose their motivation for academic success.
- Receive less individualized attention than they might need.
This post complements material presented at a LACUECares educator development event held on November 3, 2020. You can find recordings of all event sessions here.
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Educators wanting to minimize these risks are using familiar software and tools to create teacher presence and monitor student moods and behavior. For example, when students’ routines are disrupted, it’s important to fight a sense of isolation and maintain a feeling of comfort and safety. Veteran teachers report using:
Content that reinforces their presence
They use Google Classroom tools to bring a bit of familiarity to learning. Adding a teacher’s face as a background image or recording his or her voice to audio narratives are easy ways to fight student isolation.
How can teachers identify and respond to distracted students when they don’t see students in person for weeks at a time? They use Google Classroom to create forms, which students fill out daily and weekly to measure their emotional well-being. Emoticons, scalable polls, and lots of fun and easy-to-use features help educators monitor the moods and emotional changes that can affect student motivation and well-being.
You can also create video discussion sections for students to engage with one another on Hangouts Meet. This approach also helps students support peers, who might be struggling at school.