This last year, many families faced new challenges with their children’s academic instruction and motivation. And for many, this was done while simultaneously trying to navigate their new work-from-home schedules — juggling work, family obligations, and their children’s education in ways they’d never had to before.
Throughout the year, thousands of families were looking to answer the questions:
- How do I ensure my child is learning, while I also work from home?
- How do I keep my children engaged and motivated with their academics?
- How do I handle my job while managing these new parent-teacher duties?
- And how do teachers do this every day?
Today, many families are back in the same position, asking the same questions. As schools choose whether to return to the classroom full-time or navigate remote learning schedules — and as parents decide whether to send their children back to school or remain fully remote, we’ve got tips to help you keep your children engaged and learning.
To keep classrooms full of students engaged at once, teachers turn to Student Voice. Here’s how you can use it at home.
What is Student Voice?
Student Voice is the expression and input of the learner in their education. It gives the student a chance to express their expertise, opinions, and ideas while feeling their ideas are valued.
Research has demonstrated that Student Voice is a defining factor in the learning process. Students who believe they have a say in school are 7x more likely to be motivated than students who believe their opinions are not valued. Getting students involved will increase motivation and learning engagement.
Educators make sure students:
- Have a say in how they learn
- Discover untapped expertise and knowledge that can bring relevance and authenticity to their learning
Implementing student voice allows the student to practice the problem-solving, leadership, and creative thinking involved with decision-making.
Implementing Student Voice During Remote Learning
Student voice and motivation shouldn’t live solely in the classroom. According to The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar, people are more motivated, satisfied, and perform better when they have more choices, which describes the same philosophy.
Allowing your children to be part of the decision-making involved in their day to day can increase their motivation and long-term learning engagement.
Implementing student voice through remote learning doesn’t mean that you can’t establish rules for your kid(s) to follow. However, the student must have a say in the rules set. Consider the following example:
The adult tells the student they expect the student to be more responsible for their school work and time. The adult suggests using a calendar and shows the student the calendar.
Consider asking the student for input on:
- The type of calendar that works best for their needs
- Whether they want a virtual calendar or a physical calendar
- If physical, whether the calendar should be purchased or handmade by the student
- How the calendar should be organized – by colors, classes, or work type
Implementing Student Voice at Home
Emphasizing student voice for school work is not the only use case. For example, many parents and guardians expect their children to complete home duties or chores. It is important to set such expectations while keeping the student in mind. It will only lead to greater motivation to complete the task.
Asking your children’s input on the types of chores they would like to complete, the time at which the said chore is complete, how to keep track of the chore schedule, and so forth can help increase engagement.
Student Voice is a powerful tool, yet it is not foolproof. We must recognize that children are still developing their cognitive abilities. There are going to be situations where students do not feel motivated to fulfill their school or home duties. Many adults still have trouble fulfilling their own daily responsibilities.
And it’s OK to have setbacks. Children generally need gentle reminders and reinforcement to remember what you expect out of them. Every day, teachers reinforce their rules and expectations in the classroom. And when it comes to student engagement during remote learning, your task is to reinforce this, too. Here are a few tips:
- Create a to-do list and let the student show they have completed their duties at a set time.
- Ask the student for input on consequences for unfinished tasks and rewards for finished assignments (more opportunities for student voice!)
- Use direct but gentle reminders
And because this is easier said than done, if you feel like you need additional help coming up with strategies on managing remote learning, we can help! Our Holistic Wellness and Remote Learning Specialists can help you think through a game plan tailored to your family's needs.
If finding a private teacher or tutor to help guide your child(ren)’s educational needs is what you need, you can also find qualified and ready teachers to guide your learning pod.