Understanding the “why” behind teaching practices can help parents create meaningful and effective at-home learning opportunities during the pandemic. As millions of students across the K-12 spectrum shift to at-home learning because of the coronavirus threat in the United States, parents are scrambling to understand their new role as surrogate teachers. It will require equal parts patience and tenacity.
Establish a ‘Flexible Learning’ Space
The fluid, open spaces that allow today’s office workers to be more productive can also be useful for students, says teacher Kayla Dornfeld. “Flexible classrooms”—learning environments that provide a variety of choices for how and where a student might elect to learn—have become increasingly common in schools throughout the country. When students can tailor their space to their work, the research suggests that they feel more engaged and are more productive, so encourage students to move the furniture and props to fit their learning needs.
Check In Every Morning—And Throughout the Day
Starting school each morning is about more than laying out the academic benchmarks for the day. Decades of research reveals that a sense of belonging, well-being, and connection is a crucial precursor to learning: If your child is upset or lonely, for example, the research suggests that they simply won’t be as productive as learners. You might consider implementing an at-home version of a “greeting at the door,” a fun ritual teachers often use at the start of the day, to check in with your child and ask how they’re feeling.
Allow Frequent ‘Brain Breaks’
For parents and students, a back-to-back schedule of activities is overwhelming. The good news? Neuroscience supports frequent “brain breaks,” and teachers pepper them throughout the day so students can process the information they’ve learned more effectively.
Find a Rhythm That Works
When schools announced closings, a plethora of suggested schedules popped up across the internet, but a rigid, static schedule won’t serve a student’s needs. Best-selling author and researcher Daniel Pink says 15 percent of people are “larks,” or morning people, and another 15 percent are “owls,” who perform best later in the day. The rest fall somewhere along the continuum between those poles, so think about customizing schedules to the child—a practice called “differentiation” that teachers use to meet the diverse needs of the learners in their classrooms.
One misconception about teaching is that its primary function is to help students retain information, but retention is just the first step. Effective learning requires that students retrieve information frequently and then make new meaning of it. This process, called consolidation, is often reinforced in traditional classrooms through reviews and quizzes, or through multi-sensory practices like drawing, composing a song, or building a model about what has recently been learned.
Encourage Productive Struggle
Encourage kids to engage in productive struggle by giving them difficult assignments and praising them for their persistence. Research shows that when students solve problems that are challenging, but still within their abilities, they deepen their learning. Allow students to wrestle with problems before intervening.
Consider Passions and Play
In many parts of the world, schooling at home will continue for at least several months. Help students move beyond a compliance mindset—”I’ve completed my work, can I go now?”— by building in time for passion projects and fun. You want kids to have intrinsic motivation to keep working hard, so use school at home as an opportunity for deeper learning where kids use their environment to explore different subjects.
The information for this post was taken from an article by Laura Lee in edutopia, follow this link for more details and the complete article.