Engage Your Students During a Pandemic
Five Tools to Create Connection in a Disconnected Classroom
The most significant challenge of being a teacher in this time of COVID-19 is distance. (Distance means separation and the loss of both physical and emotional connection that educators and learners seek and need.
As you embark on a new school year with a hybrid or all-virtual model, you may find yourself asking, "How can I form a true learning community that functions both in-class and at a distance?" The answer lies in understanding the most valuable and basic information about your students, "How does each learn?" That is the key to your first step in building a bridge across the in-person and online formats and unlocking how to reach your students whether they are with you in school or at home.
Let Me Learn, Inc. has a track record of helping teachers do just that. Using an instrument that captures how your students learn and providing a vocabulary by which teachers and students can talk about their learning experiences in non-judgmental ways, the Let Me Learn Process® has awakened a sense of value and purpose in students and teachers, giving joy to those who strive and stirring hope in those who struggle. After all, when you know exactly how your students learn, you have a toolbox to build connections that will help everyone thrive.
- Establish a bond between your learners and you that can bear the strain of physical separation. The LML Process® uses a common set of terms that both teachers and students use to communicate in a non-judgmental manner creating a connection and deeper understanding of each other.
- EXAMPLE: "The first time I explained myself as a learner to my students using LML language, I watched their eyes spark, not only with interest, but also with a real sense of connection. They couldn't wait to learn how their Learning Processes worked in them. I could see at that moment that we were on a different and more positive learning journey that year." (Middle School Long Island, NY)
- Develop each student's sense of belonging to the learning community. When you and your students know how their learning minds work, you will trigger a connection by communicating the message, "I see you and welcome you" and the students are able to respond, "I am here and I trust you to help me learn!"
- EXAMPLE: "I have students who come from non-English speaking families. They want so much to feel a part of their new learning community. Understanding their Learning Processes helps me cut through cultural and language barriers." (Lower Elementary, NY)
- Mindfully plan and teach knowing how to coach and cue your students to use their Learning Patterns effectively as you connect with them and they connect with each other.
- EXAMPLE: "Virtual learning wasn’t perfect by any means, but understanding my students’ Learning Patterns really helped me to help them, and to differentiate lessons and solutions based on those Patterns." (Upper Elementary, NJ)
Tool # 4
- Customize feedback and acknowledge your learners as individuals, thereby helping them connect to their own Learning Patterns and become autonomous, self-regulated learners who are committed to contributing to their learning community.
- EXAMPLE: "Students don't always ask for help because they rely on their Technical Reasoning (the Learning Pattern of the fewest words), and in doing so they find it hard to come up with the words to explain where they are stuck. That's when my understanding of them as a learner is particularly important. I can provide just-in-time cues to get them moving forward while leaving their need for independence intact. Win-win!" (Middle School, NJ)
- Build a social-emotional bridge, deepening the connection between your learners in the classroom and learners in their virtual setting across which they can communicate, support, and encourage each other's learning.
- EXAMPLE: "It is my goal this Fall (2020) to have a strong self-awareness of our Learning Patterns so that the students and I can work together using a common language that helps students identify what they are thinking, doing and feeling about the learning. It is my hope that learners will feel “awakened” to their ability to learn and excitement for learning is felt." (Middle School, WI)