Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most Miami-Dade students will be engaged in online schooling for at least part of the 2020-2021 school year. For public school students, many families have elected all-online schooling, and even those who have elected to return to the classroom will not be able to do so until Miami-Dade County reaches Phase 2 (and then possibly only half time). Similarly, many private schools are opting for a hybrid model that includes online learning.
Strong home learning skills will be critical for students’ success in the coming year. Students must make active choices to help them develop a study routine and make the most of their learning opportunities. Here are some tips to foster productive and meaningful learning online:
- Work in a quiet, clean area.
Whereas the home learning process began suddenly last school year, leaving everyone scrambling to get set up quickly, families now have the time to give some thought to the best way to set up work areas for students. Studies show that students perform best when working in an area that is quiet and neat. Avoid areas of the house where distractions lie, such as busy rooms and places with a lot of clutter. If space allows, designate a “classroom” for each student in your house and equip it with supplies needed throughout the class day.
- Avoid using the same area for personal time and for work.
Those who try to learn in the same place where they spend their personal time will end up distracted. Additionally, free time will not be as relaxing, because students will have a hard time separating from their work obligations. Try to designate a location for school time that is used specifically, and only, for that purpose. Avoid sitting on couches and beds while engaging in schoolwork.
- Keep a routine.
Students should maintain a regular daily routine, just as they would if they were headed to the schoolhouse each day. Even though online learning does not always require the same daily structure as in-person schooling does, keeping a routine helps students stay focused and procrastinate less.
- Form a study group.
Though students who are schooling from home will not see each other as much as they are used to, forming a study group that meets through an online platform can help them stay engaged with their peers. A study group also helps everyone stay on track with assignments and fill in any gaps one may have missed during class.
- Stay in communication with teachers.
Some important steps a student can take are to keep in regular contact with their teachers, make use of “office hours,” and reach out to their teachers if they have questions or are struggling with the material. It is easy to fall behind in online schooling, and so it is important to follow up immediately if particular content is not sinking in.
Nicole Markus is a rising high school senior at Miami Palmetto Senior High. She is the Editor-in-Chief of her school’s newspaper, the Palmetto Paper.