The year 2021 was a historical one. We learned a lot about the education system as well as people’s attitudes toward it, both of which could be improved.
It is just too easy to point to evident issues and make aggressive, far-reaching (and frequently expensive) recommendations that are unlikely to be implemented. Instead, however, we’d rather concentrate on the most persistent issues that we can influence in minor ways to improve the learning environment for students.
Prioritizing Emotional and Social Learning:
Due to students sitting away from one another or having remote studies, the majority of the work offered last year was solo work. With the increased stress of living during a global pandemic, children have not been in social engagement for over a year.
In 2022, students returning to in-person study may be dealing with the status in the world or the loss of loved ones. This means that emotional and social learning strategies will be more important in assisting students in establishing a sense of stability in their lives.
Ways to Prioritize Emotional and Social Learning
Different communities can be formed in the classroom. Even though online learning has helped children be in contact with each other to some extent, there is no substitute for the advantages of in-person community development (with proper safety precautions in place).
With correct safety precautions, kids can get back to a sense of normality and connection with in-person gatherings.
With mindfulness and emotional regulation, anyone can achieve emotional stability. It will be crucial for students returning to class to dedicate additional time to practice such abilities.
Numerous children will have spent the previous year separated from their families. They’ll bring all of the habits they picked up in that atmosphere, both good and bad, into the classroom. This is an excellent place to begin by encouraging positive techniques and replacing negative ones so that we can all learn to perform better in the future.
Due to the epidemic, today’s youth are more reliant on technology as compared to earlier generations, especially after a year of remote learning by parents and teachers. Even elementary school students frequently have their smartphones and computers, and they rely on technology to accomplish their coursework and stay socially connected.
While technology makes it simpler for children to detach in some ways (consider how easy it is to talk and share ideas with friends on a Google Document rather than physically meeting together and integrating various papers to complete a project), it also makes it possible tougher for them to disconnect.
When your school, entertainment, job, and play are all in the same location, it’s difficult to focus solely on one or the other. As a result, we have a good chance to help children develop skills for managing the “always-on” mindset demanded by today’s technologies in a way that will benefit them for the rest of their life.
What Can We Do To Prevent Technology Addiction In Students?
With emotional and social learning methods, students can practice mindfulness and prevent indulging in various online events, texting, or scrolling social media.
Younger students can be helped efficiently to disconnect from technology often. This is true because young children don’t have deeply ingrained habits as compared to teenagers.
For Grade schoolers, activities including ‘analog weekend’ can be introduced where they disconnect from technology and do homework from physical books, go outside, and hang out with their friends.
Teach kids how to regulate online experiences, and make sure they understand that it’s perfectly acceptable to monitor their mental health while being online. For example, they should alert an adult if they are getting bullied online. If they see a video that upsets them, they should close it and even block the user that posted it to avoid seeing similar films in the future.
Make it clear to students early and often that they may always talk to an adult if they are upset by things they see online. They can always terminate online interactions that they don’t enjoy by alerting an adult and blocking the individual or account they don’t wish to communicate further. Even if it’s “only online,” they are never forced to be in a setting that makes them sad or uncomfortable.
Supporting Mental Health and Wellness:
Students have gone through various turmoils in the last couple of years, and when they return to school, they will bring those memories with them. In 2022, we’ll be attempting to address the wellness and mental health issues that are surfacing among young students, particularly deep emotions such as sadness. Rather than being experienced individually, the emotions are experienced collectively by entire groups.
How To Get Fully Prepared For Wellness and Mental Health Support
Teachers do not need to be professional mental health and wellness experts to meet their students’ mental health and well-being requirements. When teachers engage their students in simple wellbeing practices, everyone benefits:
- Remind students to have three deep breaths and think about what they want to mean before saying something when feeling overwhelmed.
- Have students practice the “color breathing” exercise for more intense emotions. First, ask them to select a color that depicts the negative feeling they are experiencing (red for anger or frustration or gray for sadness) and then a color that calms them (like a color they love). Then, ask them to imagine inhaling their “calm color” and exhaling the negative color until they feel focused.
- Show a nature movie in class to help the students relax or take a mindfulness hour at the end of the day.
Expect the unexpected if there’s one thing we all have learned between ‘20 and ‘21. But, of course, anything could take place in 2022, so we must be mentally and emotionally prepared to shift our emphasis, handle future difficulties, and emphasize young learners’ health, wellness, and success.
In the current calendar year, teachers will have a lot of difficult topics to deal with. This will not surprise seasoned instructors, as dealing with difficult situations has been a part of the profession, but it may be overwhelming for teachers who are new to the field. However, we will overcome any obstacles the world will face if we all work together and support one another!