- Activities typically used in the fall can be tapped throughout the year by middle and high school teachers to strengthen connections with students, writes Edutopia. These projects can also help students focus better on their work and strengthen their execution.
- Teachers can ask students to create personal blogs, podcasts, photo albums, movies or essays that show something about their personal interests. Students could also discuss people or events that have influenced their lives or their dreams for their future, or complete a project allowing them to explore their identities.
- Finally, educators can develop activities that help students feel more of a connection to their classmates. For example, teachers can incorporate personal things about students into the class by asking them to name their favorite songs and playing one a day. Plus, they can mention three things from the school week that caught their eye and, by naming the students involved, help each one feel seen.
Remote learning can hamper how children forge connections between each other and their teachers. Students tend to perform better when they feel their teacher is invested in them personally and sees them as individuals. That connection between a student and teacher can also help build a “welcoming, inclusive school climate” while also contributing to boosts in student outcomes, according to Education Northwest.
Even if schools are still on a remote or hybrid learning schedule, there are strategies educators can employ to help get to know their learners better, and conversely help them feel seem. Some options are virtual takes on steps teachers likely use to connect with their students during in-person learning.
For example, teachers can encourage students to share more about themselves. In classrooms, this may be done by allowing students to decorate a cubby or a locker. In remote learning, they can create a personal avatar that looks like them, or add a customized background for video calls, as suggested by ed tech provider Turnitin.
Something as simple as thanking students for coming to class, even if it is a virtual session, can be fruitful, too, because it shows them you acknowledge and see them, according to the Alliance For a Healthier Generation.
Finally, teachers can set aside some one-on-one time with students every week, and ensure students feel able to bring up whatever they need to discuss — even if this leads to difficult conversations.