Prioritize relationships, well-being before checking on compliance

Apr. 9, 2020

Contributed by Andrea Oka

In shifts to distance learning, educators will need to actively focus on maintaining attitudes of inclusivity. Now more than ever, students should feel valued and welcome regardless of their background or identity. 

Remember that students may be dealing with many different home-life situations while trying to maintain their academics, and there are myriad reasons they may be embarrassed to share about why they can’t complete assignments. Educators should communicate that, regardless of challenges, students’ efforts are appreciated.

In work with students right now, educators should let relationships be the focus. It is important to ensure students have structure and to hold high expectations. But students will fare best if they know their teachers care about their well-being just as much as their behavior and assignment compliance. 

Educators can display their investment by creating relational rituals before checking on distance learning assignments with students. For example, students and educators can share one tough moment and one hopeful moment of the day, or educators and students can share one new lesson they learned about themselves during the day. Participating in these shares can help educators build and maintain connection despite the distance.