Many parents are currently working from home and looking for ways to support their children’s learning. In this podcast, you can explore strategies to support learner independence and confidence as well ways to create your own personal time as a parent.
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Parent Well-Being and Student Learning During School Closures
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on education, I’ve started a new podcast grouping called Parent Well-Being and Student Learning During School Closures. The hope is that these podcasts can be forwarded on to parents by teachers, schools, and districts to help support them and in their new role with their children during this time. Feel free to send me your questions or suggestions that I can share with others. You can contact me at sbarkley@PLS3rdLearning.com. Thank you for listening.
Announcer: 00:01 We’re all facing the unique challenges of working and learning from home. The Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools or NESA is holding it’s next networked learning series featuring Steve Barkley. Personalized coaching with Steve Barkley will address the unique challenges and opportunities instructional coaches, administrators, teacher leaders and mentors are presented with during this time. Take your skills to the next level with this online, facilitated, personally coached, six week program with Steve Barkley. Learn more at barkleypd.com.
Steve [Intro]: 00:42 Hello and welcome to the Parent Wellbeing and Student Learning During School Closures Edition of the Steve Barkley Ponders Out Loud podcast. With the extended closing of schools, we as parents have entered into a new territory regarding what we have known as “school learning.” With this and future podcasts, I’ll look to share my experiences as a teacher, educator, parent, grandparent, and continuous learner.
Steve: 01:15 Increasing learner independence and creating parent personal time. Many parents find themselves now working at home on top of all the usual family work requirements and added into that, now looking to support their children studying and learning. Please know that claiming some time for yourself is not only fair and appropriate, but it’s important for your learner to build independence and confidence as a learner. Why is independent learning important? It not only helps us as a student, but it has skills that are transferrable to most jobs and life. motivation, independence, initiative, organization, perseverance and time management. If you miss the earlier podcast on helping build time management, you might want to reference back to that. It is natural, especially in this quick changing environment for children at any age to be seeking extra adult time for reassurance. You want to provide that reassurance. You also want learners to increase in developing independence and to recognize your need for some time.
Steve: 03:00 Realize that all teachers at every grade level experience this challenge of building students as independent workers. In a classroom, sudents frequently need to work independently, even in kindergarten when the teacher works with a small group of other students. Middle school and high school teachers need students to continue engagement independently when the teacher is providing support to another individual student or small collaborative group. Here are some strategies that might assist you in stretching your learners independence and in creating some critical time for yourself. After a discussion about the importance of mom, dad, and learner spending time working independently, look to set a goal for the length of time that your student tackles working independently. For your youngest children, that might mean a 15 to 20 minute time slot and then looking to stretch that and build that as students’ skills develop. Establish a plan for what we want to accomplish during that chunk of independent time.
Steve: 04:35 You might share with your student after they’ve outlined what they are looking to accomplish, what you want to accomplish. It might be answering 10 emails or reading a report. For younger learners, look to build a sense of game into this. Perhaps setting a timer and your learner working to beat the clock. At the end of the time, do a short debrief. How successful were we? Did we learn anything about how to organize or prepare ourselves for independent time? Can we repeat another similar time or do we need to take a short break? Increase the chances for success by having your learner explain what they need to do in the task before they begin. Be sure that questions about the task are asked before jumping in. Don’t just ask your child if they know what they need to do. Instead, have him or her explain to you the directions for the task they’re taking on.
Steve: 06:00 Establish that failing to complete a learning task or getting stuck isn’t fatal. In fact, struggling is part of learning. The struggle can establish the need for gaining more information in order to increase one’s understanding. You might ask your child that if they get stuck and they’re waiting for the time that you’ve been allotted, that they actually prepare the questions that they want to ask you when you are available. Coming up with those questions, some students will actually solve their own problem by having a breakthrough in thought. You might create a reference list of what to do if you get stuck and I’m not available. Here’s some possibilities. Stop and think about a different strategy and try again. Remember, struggling is part of learning. If you’re reading in your mind begins to wonder, stand up, stretch and start over again. I worked with a high school teacher who posted a list on his wall of what students could do if they’re stuck and waiting for the instructor.
Steve: 07:29 His list included, try and Google help. Is it possible that you can phone a friend or work on a different task until I’m available? And if all else fails, pull out a book and read. Adding to that list of alternatives is a way of empowering the learner. More immature independent learners may need some assistance in practicing staying independent and not interrupting the parent. Some teachers use the strategy of giving a teacher like that three slips of paper and each time that they interrupt it costs them one of the slips. That provides a concrete way for a student to catch him or herself and think about if there’s another alternative to interrupting the adult. Such a strategy sets a stage for that learner to celebrate when the independent time has been completed and they’re still holding some of their passes. It will likely require some upfront time to prepare and focus and support your learners in developing the skills and confidence of working independently. The benefits now and in the future can be well worth the conscious investment, not just for your child but also for you. Good luck and be encouraged.
Steve [Outro]: 09:27 Thanks again for listening. You can subscribe to Steve Barkley Ponders Out Loud on iTunes and Podbean and please remember to rate and review us on iTunes. I also want to hear what you’re pondering. You can find me on Twitter @stevebarkley or send me your questions and find my videos and blogs at barkleypd.com.