How can we maintain predictability, consistency and sense of belonging?
Given the stress and the potentially traumatic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, predictable and consistent routines are critically important in helping students feel calm and comfort in the face of stress. Providing a structure that enables students to know when their teacher will be available to them can be a lifesaver for many children. Knowing that there will continue to be an opportunity to interact with peers online can be exciting and energizing for students, solidifying their sense of belonging and their enthusiasm about returning to the school community when the crisis is over.
Trauma-sensitive educators told us that no matter how the remote learning is taking place across the district, (from direct instruction online as a class group, to remote learning with no face-to-face contact with a teacher or peers, etc.), having a regular time several times a week set aside for students to talk with their teachers—whether it be face to face, on a device or voice only on a phone— is critically important to buffer the traumatic impact of the current situation. Being able to access the constancy and stability that this important relationship provides to students, reinforcing their sense of connection with their teacher and their role as a member of the classroom community, is so critically important. At the same time, trauma-sensitive educators emphasized the importance of developing their plans for virtual learning with both predictability and flexibility in mind. School staff recognized from the beginning that not every family is available to supervise learning at home during school day. Some students may have to wait for help from parents until they get home from work in the evening or are watching their younger siblings during the day. Other families are wary of the internet and prefer to use written materials. Trauma-sensitive educators seek to understand and find solutions for the many reasons that may underlie a student’s ability to engage with remote learning.
Please share in the comments below what your school has done to maintain a sense of predictability, consistency and belonging for students.
To read more about how trauma-sensitive school leaders are addressing are addressing their urgencies related to remote learning, please click here.