Establishing a routine and maintaining clear communication are crucial

Apr. 2, 2020

Contributed by Andrea Oka

Maintaining and communicating predictable routines is very important. Doing so helps students to maintain a sense of psychological safety—a sense that they can manage stress or connect with someone who can help them manage stress. 

It is important not to assume that students understand your routine is changing due to current events. Even if routines shift as you determine the best ways of connecting, taking the time to explain the changes and provide a predictable agenda is helpful. It will reduce student stress and increase their confidence in knowing that important adults in their lives are capable of taking care of them. 

It’s also important that educators ensure that the information they provide to students is digestible. Moving to remote learning and having fewer direct interactions can make assignments feel more overwhelming and daunting—particularly when several directions are given at once. Break directions down into smaller bites when necessary and encourage students to ask clarifying questions even if it appears as though they understand.

Finally, we can’t assume students’ experiences with remote learning, or their understanding of a global pandemic are universal. Encourage students to lead the way in sharing what they understand and do not understand about their current situation. You can do this by asking open-ended questions, such as, “How are you feeling about not being in school?” which can provide insight without letting assumptions guide the conversation. Approach students’ experiences with curiosity. Aim to clarify misinformation and connect students with other important adults (such as family members) who help them feel safe.