Spotlight on Research-Informed Areas of Focus for Distance Learning from the PCC: April 2020

Sarah Flotten

As we cannonball into the deep end of this distance learning adventure, we are bombarded with tips, tricks, and tools. It is important to resist the impulse to do it all so we created a quick list of five areas of focus to help both students and parents support the learning process. While our context has changed and we’re not physically together, we know that the learning process remains the same and we are together in the journey. #MustangsUnite #PCCisWithYou  

Promote Emotional Well-Being:  Emotion and cognition are closely linked so it is important to check in, create routines, foster connections even if they are virtual, name emotions, and model talking about strategies to relieve stress and anxiety. Families at home need to continue to foster and build relationships with one another.

Support Physical Well-Being:  Creating a predictable routine in a time of uncertainty that includes time for study, socializing from a distance, sleep, balanced meals, physical activity, getting outside, and turning off screens, will help create a new “normal’ for all. The neurological and physiological benefits of play and laughter are well documented. Be intentional in taking time to play and laugh together. 

Encourage Monotasking:  As much as we hate to admit it, multitasking is a myth, and students need help setting up a study space and routines that foster focus. Use headphones to block out household noise, close other browser tabs, use music sparingly (instrumental music is best), and put the phone in a different room. Foster

Metacognition & Memory:  Ask students to think about their thinking by soliciting strategies they are using, encourage them to link what they are learning to what they already know, teach others, create quizzes, mind maps and braindumps to help connect ideas, elaborate on details, and process what their learning.  Nurture Self-

Advocacy: Encourage students to identify ways to help themselves when they are stuck and encourage them to reach out to classmates and teachers when they have questions. This is new for all of us and a great opportunity to practice self-advocacy and communication skills.

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