The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted education across the United States. With distant learning measures in place for well over a year, student learning and engagement are at an all-time low. With the return of in-person learning on the horizon, many students and educators feel anxious about navigating the upcoming academic school year. As students enter the classroom for the first time in what seems like forever, the need for student support is critical. Educators will need to be prepared to help students as they adjust to a new normal.
To assist in the preparation, we’ve compiled three tips on how to support students during their transition back into the classroom.
1. Prioritize Social-Emotional Learning
When students return to the classroom they will likely have mixed emotions, uncertainties, and fears. Prioritizing social-emotional learning (SEL) within your school community can help students identify and manage their feelings in a healthy way. According to The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), “SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.”
By focusing on the SEL needs of students, educators can create an environment where students begin to build trust in themselves and others and, create a space where students feel safe and comfortable achieving academically again. Here are a few ways you can implement social-emotional learning strategies in your school community:
- Use role-playing activities
- Nurture and encourage kindness
- Open communication between peers
- Focus on social-emotional vocabulary
- Encourage reflective writing
2. Check-in Often
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected students in different ways. Some students may be returning to school for the first time after losing a loved one, while others may be returning with anxieties or a lack of confidence from the abrupt change of their “normal”. According to EdWeek Research Center, “29% fully in-person students reported their state of mind during class is more negative than it was before the pandemic.”
Checking in with students individually and often can help build trust as well as open pathways to communication and prevent disengagement. Remind your students they are supported and assure them they don’t have to navigate this new pathway alone. Encourage communication with morning group check-ins, individual check-ins, and activities that create social connectedness.
3. Leverage Technology to Support Engagement Efforts
As educators embark on the upcoming academic school year and navigate how to support students in this new era of post-pandemic education, utilizing technology that encourages, celebrates, and supports engagement is critical for student success.
Passport For Good provides educators with meaningful and quantifiable data on how students are engaging both inside and outside the classroom. This data equips educators with greater visibility into student engagement, allowing intervention with disengaged students to happen more quickly. It also allows educators to make significant pivots in where their most valuable resources are being spent. As a result, students feel more heard and seen as activities they enjoy are being celebrated and encouraged. Having an engaged student body is critical to fuel student success in the upcoming school year and beyond.
Find out how you can leverage the power of meaningful and quantifiable data to support student engagement and fuel student success with Passport For Good.
We hope you found these tips useful. To all educators and students on behalf of Passport For Good, we hope you have a safe and successful school year!