How middle and high school students can hold themselves accountable during distance learning

Many schools are transitioning to online or distance learning techniques to prevent the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. This change in learning can be daunting to students and teachers alike, as this is new territory for many who are used to a traditional classroom learning environment.

Online tools such as Zoom and Google Classroom are being implemented for older students to allow the teacher and students to have a “classroom” environment through video conferencing technology. For middle school and high school students, this is an opportunity to learn self-discipline and prepare for higher education, where your education is in your own hands.

Keep your routine

In an effort to maintain normalcy, it is important to wake up and get ready for the day before starting your schoolwork. By waking up and sticking to the same morning routine that you would do before heading to school, you can mentally prepare for “school” time and be more awake, alert and ready to learn. Creating a schedule for yourself can be helpful and will help plan your day out.

Eliminate distractions

The nature of doing schoolwork from home comes with many distractions, but the student has the ability to control some of those. Put your cell phone in a different room and mute notifications to create an environment conducive to learning.

Many students find that listening to classical music helps eliminate outside distractions. (You might want to use earbuds to avoid disturbing others in your household.) Be clear with your family members when you are working on assignments that you need to be focused and can socialize after you’ve completed your schoolwork for the day.

Build in active breaks

While using a computer for an extended period of time is the easiest solution for distance learning, it is necessary to take breaks and look away from the screen throughout the day. This will look different for everyone, but you could go outside on your lunch break, take a walk or bike ride around your neighborhood, work on a brain teaser game such as Sudoku or a crossword puzzle, etc.

Use these breaks away from the computer to keep your brain in the learning mode, but eliminate blue light from the computer screen when it’s not necessary. Blue light filtering glasses are a great and inexpensive tool to reduce the intake of blue light to your eyes when you are working on the computer for an extended period of time.

Take advantage of the teacher’s availability

With online courses, many teachers will have the ability to answer questions and help with coursework through video calls or instant messaging applications. Use this opportunity to schedule a one-on-one call with your teacher to ask further questions about lessons or topics that you are struggling with.

Set up a personal plan with teachers about your specific learning style, and consider supplemental materials and activities that can help you set yourself up for success throughout the rest of the school year.

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