Children during Online Classes

Mental Health Struggle of Children during Online Classes: How Teachers Can Plan Ahead

The recent coronavirus epidemic has led to major changes in the education sector. Online classes have become popular where students learn remotely as opposed to usual face-to-face learning. Teachers and parents have not adapted to the changes to assist the children. In online learning, some students feel a lack of emotional connection to their teachers. Some parents tried to get their kids away from the constant screening time and bought educational games such as STEM toys. However, the changes in education affected the way of life of many children. Kids could no longer play with friends while others were experiencing the trauma associated with the negative effects of coronavirus, including deaths. There are several approaches teachers can use to make children feel more connected during online classes.

Emphasize the Importance of Emotional Health

Teachers have been emphasizing too much academic learning and ignoring emotional and social learning. Research has shown that these aspects are equally important. Students with skills in emotional control and attributes such as empathy have better academic performance. These skills are even more important in online learning to prepare the student for the changes.

Teachers should mix academic learning with emotional learning in the same lesson. Alternatively, they can start each session by imparting emotional skills to prepare the student for academic learning. Online learning can also start with social and emotional learning every morning to prepare the students for the day’s activities. One effective approach could be to ask the students to pick colours that represent their feelings. In such cases, the teacher will be able to read the students’ moods and assess their readiness to learn.

New Classes

A major challenge in online classes is that students could be new to each other. The teacher may also be new to the students. In such cases, the teacher can organize a virtual meeting where the students meet and know each other. All students should be allowed to introduce themselves. This approach will create a sense of belonging where students feel that they are not alone, but they have classmates.

The time allocated during this session should allow the students to talk more than the teacher. There should be time for the students to ask questions and add something they feel is important. The teacher can keep quiet and allow the students to interact and chat with each other. The discussion should not be related to academic learning, but instead, let the children discuss other aspects of life such as favourite ice cream and hobbies.

Home Visits

Although it is not possible for the teachers to have all the students under one roof, the teacher can make individual visits to their homes. In this case, they will interact and know each other, and thus they will not be strangers on the online platform.

Role of Parents as Co-teachers

Parents should teach and impart healthy mental skills and practices to their children. They should ensure regular sleep patterns, a proper diet, and enough exercise. Although they are at home, children should understand that it is not a school holiday, and learning can continue through online platforms.

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