How to Keep Students Motivated and Learning During the Pandemic

COVID-19 and its associated lockdowns may be the most significant event in education in our lifetimes. In many cases, schools were the first institutions to shut down and attempt to move to a remote learning model as students remained at home. This has been met with a variety of successes; some schools have been able to maintain the rigor and support of in-person learning, while others seem to have given up any pretense of conforming to ‘normal’ educational standards. Whatever the case, parents have now been forced to play a larger role than most ever dreamed in their children’s education, and it is imperative for their future that we not allow them to fall behind. So what are some ways we can ensure that doesn’t happen?

Organization is Key – No matter how much students wish it so, online learning is NOT a break come early. This is not the time to stay up until 3 am, sleep until noon, and have ice cream for breakfast. Students should be keeping a somewhat normal schedule that mirrors a normal school day. Work with students to keep a planner or calendar, block regular times to work on homework as well as take breaks, and institute a routine. Without structure and organization, students’ chances of keeping up with even their new, minimal workloads plummet.

Minimize Screen Time, Maximize Productivity – As students sit for hours in front of screens as part of online learning, it is more important than ever to minimize screen time outside of what is required for school. Strictly regulate how much time students spend playing video games or watching TV, and encourage them to take up other, more productive, pastimes and hobbies. Carefully monitor students while engaged in online learning to ensure they are staying focused on their work, and set aside a devoted space for them to pursue their schoolwork outside of their room or normal recreational spaces to minimize the potential for distraction.

Substitute Your Own Rigor – While some schools have admirably attempted to remain as close as possible to a full school day’s worth of work for their students, no school has been able to perfectly replicate a full day of learning. Students now have more time than they ever have during the school year; take the opportunity to enhance their schooling! Do advanced problems to get ahead in math, or practice a bit of next year’s science topic. Reading is an obstacle for 99% of students regardless of age; students should take this time to read for at least an hour every day, and two hours would be ideal. Make sure their reading material is challenging as well; no comic books or pulp novels!

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Tags: Higher Education, College, College Counseling, College Admissions, College Applications, Academics, High School, Summer Planning, COVID-19, Coronavirus, Online School, Online Learning, Remote School, Remote Learning