Workshop: Strategies for successful distance learning

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Whether it’s having trouble focusing or creating a proper study nook, distance learning in the COVID-19 era can cause some stress for students and parents alike. 

To help answer concerns about the new learning environment, Drug Free Youth in Santa Clarita Valley and the city of Santa Clarita held a virtual workshop Wednesday with Renee Marshall, an education advocate and teaching credential holder, to offer strategies for successful distance learning. 

Personalize their workspace

A good way to keep your child focused and engaged is to create a personalized working environment, said Marshall. For example, she said, parents can make a station using a science experiment trifold poster. 

“(A parent) took those boards and put them together and made a privacy wall for their child,” she said. “On that wall, they included (the student’s) name so it’s personalized. … We want them to personalize their space and make it feel good.” 

Tip: You can include a supply box, calendar, a whiteboard and other items of their liking to keep them organized and free from distractions. Be sure to set up in a quiet space. 

It’s all about the outlook

Children can pick up on a parent’s energy. If you’re positive, they’ll be positive, said Marshall. 

“Distance learning will absolutely impact our kids,” she said. “So, when we’re positive about it, even if we’re unsure or have anxiety or we’re stressed, or however we feel about it, as adults when we can compartmentalize and project positivity, you will see that your child will also have a positive or more likely to have a positive outlook in terms of how they feel about distance learning and their situation.” 

Age matters 

A successful distance learning environment will look different per age of the student, according to Marshall. 

For those up to fifth or sixth grade, children need to be in a shared environment where an adult can monitor them regularly. “If you have a second grader set up in their bedroom with their device and headphones and close the door, please do not get frustrated if they get distracted,” she said. Older students, such as those in 8th grade or higher, will want to work independently. 

Reminder: Do not hover over them, but know your presence is very important and remember to take breaks. 

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