There is much talk of online learning these days. Much of society was thrust into virtual learning and work during the recent quarantine without notice or preparation. Even so, many students have come to enjoy and even thrive in a virtual learning environment. What is it that sets these students apart and makes them excel? Online learning programs vary greatly in their methods, platforms, cultures, and levels of student engagement and support. Following are some game-changing mindsets and key environmental elements that make for an enjoyable and successful online learning experience.
Students Who Thrive in a Remote Learning Setting Have:
- The support of parents/guardians who value education, are encouraging, and strive to provide a home environment that is conducive to their student’s success in online learning. This includes good high-speed internet, a Mac or PC laptop, and a sufficiently organized and quiet room or space. The tech and study location are important to ensure the student can focus and participate actively in their live online classes and excel in their homework and other assignments. Providing the student with consistent encouragement and keeping open lines of communication with the school administrators and teachers is also key. As the parent/guardian of an online student, you can do much to improve your child’s engagement and success in the online learning environment.
- A positive attitude and an intrinsic motivation to learn and grow. The parents/guardians of these students proactively teach them to not let obstacles stop them from gaining knowledge and achieving their maximum academic and personal potential. Thriving online students approach their studies with the goal of being focused, organized, and loving the learning process even when it gets challenging. And their parents/guardians are there to cheer them on when the going gets tough. Such students have the support to persevere, expand their minds, and grow in character!
- The willingness to ask for help when they need it! This is a skill that is developed through practice, and you can encourage your student to ask for help at the first sign they are having difficulty in a particular area. Everyone needs help at one point or another. Students who thrive in online learning are self-aware and quick to notice when they are struggling with an aspect of the curriculum or environment. And, they don’t stop there… they reach out to their teacher or administrators to ask for support in overcoming the obstacle.
- A desire to participate fully and take initiative in all aspects of their online education. Perhaps due to the asynchronous, rote teaching style of many online programs, some people have come to view student participation in online school as challenging or unnecessary. However, there are programs that offer live instruction by expert teachers and view each student and what they contribute as uniquely valuable. Students who thrive in such programs keep their cameras on during the well-timed, balanced live instructional day and are proactive about reaching out to their teachers, college counselor, and peers. Being an active participant in the virtual classroom and school environment will benefit your student by ensuring they don’t miss out on important learning. It will also help them to build community with their peers, grow in their critical thinking and leadership skills, and allow their teachers and counselor to get to know them well, so they can write authentic and supportive college recommendation letters on their behalf.
- An interest in making new friends and learning about different cultures. Without the geographic limitations of physical schools, online schools have the opportunity to build and welcome communities of students that reflect a diversity of racial, ethnic, national, socio-economic and other backgrounds. Thriving online students are enthusiastic about meeting, working alongside, and befriending equally bright peers from different places, cultures, and walks of life. Parents and guardians of online learners can help their students by encouraging them to: get as involved as possible in their online school community; share about their background and be inquisitive about others’ backgrounds; and take the initiative to meet, study, do team projects, and develop friendships with their classmates from around the world.
Thriving Online Schools Offer:
- An extraordinary program backed by a legacy of success, and, if they’re fortunate, a phenomenal brick-and-mortar school! Excellent online educational programs are not developed out of thin air. They are grounded in a tried-and-true mission, pedagogy, and more.
- A balanced rhythm and pace! Recent events have shown us all what does not work when it comes to doing school online. A major takeaway is that students cannot and should not stare at a computer screen for 6 hours straight. Another lesson learned is that trying to mimic the in-person daily schedule of six or more classes in an online setting can be extremely stressful for students. Online schools that want their students to thrive plan their day-to-day schedule and overarching curriculum with a bent toward giving students adequate time to take breaks, reflect on their learning, ask questions, and be creative with new knowledge and skills!
- Live instruction that is challenging and dynamic. Many online programs provide only asynchronous (recorded) instruction, which is not only boring at times, but also makes students miss out on amazing opportunities to interact real-time with their teachers and peers. Thriving online schools are intentional about ensuring that their students have plentiful opportunities for live learning and community engagement.
- Treat each student as an individual. Most traditional schools and online schools are designed to serve the masses. The downside with this is that individual students can often struggle to receive the learning support and other guidance they need to achieve their full potential in and outside of the classroom. Intentional, thriving online schools see each of their students as uniquely gifted and having a wealth of potential. And, they afford each individual student with the personal attention and tailored support he or she needs.
- Offer five-star student services! Extraordinary online schools hire the most qualified and mission-aligned teachers and administrators who will best serve their students. From advising to college counseling to student life, these leaders not only execute and/or teach their specialization at a high level, but they are also well-versed in youth development and care deeply about helping their students thrive.
Gravitas is the global extension of The Stony Brook School (SBS), a renowned 100-year-old day and boarding school on Long Island, New York. In addition to extending SBS’s extraordinary college preparatory academics and counseling resources to students worldwide, Gravitas also teaches its students about character formation and human flourishing to ensure they thrive in school and life beyond! To learn more and enroll your child, inquire here today.