TECHNOLOGY

Back to School From Remote Learning?

Reading Time: 15 minutes

In our GoStudent expert talks we speak to experts in the field of education! Find out more on real-life insights from leaders in the ed-industry. 🚀

There is no denying that since the pandemic, schooling students has been one uncertain and even uneasy rollercoaster ride for parents. From understanding what is remote learning to pushing one’s limits to do it well, it has been no ordinary school year. 

Schools re-opening again in the United Kingdom, has meant good news for homeschooling burnt out parents and students. However, it also means standing up for the challenge of yet another change. 

students-back-at-school

 

What are some of these changes students and parents are likely to experience? 

🔥 Expert Tip : It [remote learning] has actually been a good thing in a way because it has made many children more resilient and flexible,” says Marlow-based Lucy Russell, a child clinical director of  Everlief Child Psychology and founder of parenting platform They Are The Future. “Yet a large group of children haven’t come out well from it, where they’ve had to struggle with anxiety and feel both overwhelmed and insecure.” 

Russell says that the pandemic has brought out in children more separation anxiety from their parents. So it’s only natural if students are not being able to go to school with this high anxiety or showing challenging behaviour to avoid school. 😫


🔥 Expert Tip : “Lots of children are afraid that [going to school] they'll transmit the virus to their family,” says Rusell, a mother herself. “The fear is even greater if a family member is vulnerable or has an underlying health condition.”


Russell says that after a year of being at home, learning in a quiet room with limited interaction with peers and teachers, many students are also most likely to experience “social anxiety” when detached from their comfort zone. Even more so, if students are starting a new grade or having to make new friends. 


While many parents are relieved that homeschooling might finally come to an end, they not only have to comfort the anxieties of their kids as they begin school, but also manage their own concerns regarding parenting in a pandemic. 


So as we go back to the classroom, we’re here to show you how you can support students and yourself through this time. 💪


👉 Lower Academic Expectation 

🔥 Expert Tip : “Lower your academic expectations just temporarily because if a child is stressed then their learning is not going to be optimal,” says Russell. “ The priority for them [students] is to ideally be attending school and their emotional well-being to be okay.”


Considering the circumstances of the pandemic students' mental health will be affected in school. 


So for parents right now is not the time to be worried about undone homework or learning gaps. Thoughts on how to improve classroom learning or whether teachers know how to create an effective learning environment in a classroom for students, who have been at home for a year, can also be put to rest. As when students and teachers get comfortable again with being back at school, the learning will happen.   


Russell suggests that parents can help improve focus for students through this transition by paying attention to their diet. Remote learning allowed students to have snacks throughout the day, which isn’t possible at school. So parents need to ensure that kids have a wholesome breakfast and nice hot packed lunch, so they don’t remain hungry in the classroom! 🍲


Despite the schedule changes, students must also get a good night’s rest and thirty minutes of exercise to keep them sharp and focused in their new learning environment. 


🔥 Expert Tip: “Time is almost what everyone needs right now,” says Edinburgh-based Parven Kaur who is the founder of digital parenting platform Kids n Clicks. “If you find that your child  is not coping well going back to school, give him or her the time to adjust back into this routine, don't force it on them.” ⏰

👉 Facilitate Movement  

🔥 Expert Tip: “After remote learning, kids are not used to just having to sit down all day and concentrate, which they will have to in school,” says Russell. “Parents might need to explore how they can get them to get used to sitting again in one place.” 


Russell suggests supportive equipment like fidget toys or a wobble cushion that can help students “expand their energy” and “still sit still.” 


If your child is particularly struggling with sitting in one place, it’s best to let the teacher know this. The teacher can give him or her frequent movement breaks, like an errand to run or a message to take to another teacher.  🏃‍♂️ 


Russell also suggests that for the time being, it would help give students a treat when they are back from school.  


“This way they can look forward to something at the end of the day if the school has been tough for them at the moment,” she says. 🎁

 

👉 Increase Communication With The School 

Kaur feels that as students go back to classrooms parents must be even more in touch with their peers, teachers and other parents regarding their child’s wellbeing. This way they are more “in loop” with any discomfort their child must be experiencing.  

While Russell suggests that if parents know that students are experiencing anxiety and stress in the classroom, it’s best for the school to know it too.

 

🔥 Expert Tip: “If it's written down [the concerns your child is going through] and it's really clear to all subject teachers, it’s going to make children feel safer which will help them get through the school day,” says Russell. 

 

If teachers know that students are struggling with focus or anxiety, they will be able to take the necessary steps to help them like : 

✳️ Talking to an adult about their stress. 

✳️ Meditation

✳️ Movements like playing with their friends or just putting on the music and dancing by themselves. 

✳️ Many parents have embraced journaling with their kids that helps give them an insight into how the kids are feeling, especially if they are not able to communicate it verbally.  

 

👉 Empathise With Emotions 

🔥 Expert Tip: “Normalise the anxiety, the fear or the low and explain that it is completely okay for children to feel this way at the moment,” says Russell. “Because such big things have happened in the world and that other child will be feeling that way too.” 

Russell also suggests giving students that extra reassurance right now. To let them know that as adults you will control the controllable for them -  that is if anything is causing them distress at school they can let you know and you will speak to the concerned authority and make it better for them. These are all ways of helping students feel “safe and contained” as much as possible in the circumstances. 


🔥 Expert Tip: “Give them [students] a few coping strategies or mechanisms,” says Kaur. “Though most importantly just make yourself, as a parent, as available as possible to your child, so they know that they can always come and talk to you at this point.” 


A few coping activities that Kaur suggests are :  

✳️ Talking to an adult about their stress. 

✳️ Meditation

✳️ Movements like playing with their friends or just putting on the music and dancing by themselves. 

✳️ Many parents have embraced journaling with their kids which helps give them an insight into how the kids are feeling, especially if they are not able to communicate it verbally.  


👉 Be Kind To Yourself 

🔥 Expert Tip: “As parents being kind to yourself is very important and acknowledging that despite it [the pandemic and homeschooling] being a difficult time for your family, you managed to pull through it,” says Kaur. “Parents often forget to give themselves this pat on the back before moving on to the next worrying thing in life.”


Stress-free parenting doesn’t have to be a myth. Kaur feels that parents can have the consistent energy to be there for students during this time. If parents carve out time for themselves – just thirty minutes or an hour of doing something that makes them feel alive again- it helps the well-being of the student as well. 


Recommendations are going for walks, doing yoga or just binge-watching their favourite TV show. As if parents are just constantly worrying during this time without a break, they are bound to feel overwhelmed by the end of the week! 🤯


👉 Keep The Lessons Of Remote Learning 

As students return to the real classroom, there are many benefits of the virtual classroom over the past year that can support students through this transition.  


🔥 Expert Tip: “The pandemic has accelerated the use of the positives in technology, shifting the focus from the quantity of screentime to the quality of it,” says Kaur. “So if parents find online content that is good and useful, they should continue to let it support children’s learning at home.”

From Zoom birthday parties to learn how to code to unwinding through a movie, Kaur suggests continuing to let students engage with technology that helps their overall learning and adds value and happiness to their lives. It is exactly what they need as they transition into a new learning environment.


Our Advice : 

Let the student's mental health and well-being be a priority over academics for the time being. 


✅ Communicate with schools and teachers if students are feeling any distress, so they can make their full efforts to support students. 


✅ Be more involved with students’ lives as they go through this big transition in learning, so you can talk them through any anxiety or stress they might be feeling. 


✅ Remember to make time for yourself in the week, so you can feel alive and be present for mindful parenting through this time


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