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How to keep students motivated while online-learning

Covid-19 has meant a lot of schools have adopted a blended-learning approach, with students learning both in the classroom and virtually at home. Whilst this is unavoidable in many cases with students and staff having to isolate, this does not mean that learning should suffer. Although it is challenging to replicate the classroom setting online, we have six tips to help your students stay motivated while learning from home.

1. Encourage parents to coach their children

To help students transition from the classroom to a virtual setting at home, encourage parents to take on the role of a coach. Parents can do this by listening, guiding, encouraging and most importantly allowing their child to take ownership of their development. Instead of telling them what to do, take a step back and create an environment that will allow them to share their goals and challenges and empower them to make their own decisions.

Share this coaching guide for parents with your community to help!

2. Introduce students to goal setting

Goal setting is a great way to keep students motivated. A goal can encourage students to focus and monitor their own progression, giving them something to work towards for their benefit.

With the students on our school programmes, we like to use the SMART method of goal setting:

Specific – your goal should be clear and specific.

Measurable – make sure you have a measurable goal, this allows you to track your progress, stay organised and motivated.

Achievable – is this goal realistic? How can you accomplish this goal?

Relevant – does your goal matter to you? Is it something you want to achieve?

Time – your goal needs a target date and a deadline, so you have something to work towards.

For more tips on goal setting with students, read our blog post and think about how you can add that extra motivation to students’ learning.

3. Adopt a strengths-based approach to learning

Right now, all over the news, we are hearing about a ‘deficit’ to students’ learning; the learning they are missing out on, and the opportunities passing them by. Students will also recognise this and some will be feeling anxious about their futures. But it is not all doom and gloom, and it should not be!

By adopting a strengths-based approach to learning you can still find positives during these challenging times. A strengths-based approach looks at what you have got, and how this can be used in different situations to succeed. Keep reminding students of how well they are doing and the progress they are making. The resilience and flexibility that students have shown will help them in many future situations.

4. Keep them motivated through open questions and check in regularly

A simple quick check-in at the start of a virtual lesson can go a long way. This can be a five- or ten-minute activity where you ask a couple of members of the class to share how they are getting on. Making this space for sharing is important. We understand that time is limited in classes, so you could encourage students to use the chatbox to share their thoughts and then and pick out a couple of students to share with the class.

Some example questions:

- What would make today a good day?

- How can I support you?

- What are your goals for tomorrow / next week?

- How are you going to achieve your goal?

A coaching approach really helps to create an open atmosphere where students feel able to share their thoughts. To help you adopt this approach, we have created a teacher guide to coaching which you can download for free.

5. Create a daily task list

Invite students to create a daily task list. This will help them to stay organised and motivated! Encourage them to write down their daily tasks every morning, and cross off each task they complete. This not only allows them to feel productive and motivated to finish the rest of the tasks but enables them to celebrate each task they complete.

6. Take frequent breaks!

Staring at a screen all day can reduce your energy and motivation. To ensure we avoid this, take frequent breaks and take part in a relaxing activity. A quick five minute ‘Mindful Moment’ could go a long way for both the wellbeing of you and your students. Try and incorporate this into the start of your lesson and see if you notice the difference.

Teaching during this time is presenting new and difficult challenges for teachers and students. We hope this article has helped! If you know someone who could benefit from the advice in this article, please share it with your network! --

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