Fostering a Supportive Learning Environment

Successful Home Learning: Foster Positive Discipline - 1

During this unexpected time, learning from home creates more conflicts and misunderstandings than most families are accustomed to. Some families may experience students that are reluctant and somewhat defiant when participating in online school activities. If a family is experiencing difficulties in creating online school routines, they are not alone. Creating a safe and functional online school environment takes time. Here are some examples and suggestions to help students be more productive in this new experience.

Understanding Student Motivation

If a student seems unmotivated or unwilling to participate, find a time when everyone has a positive mood and discuss in a nonjudgmental way and/or without expectations about why the student feels unmotivated. By having a safe and positive discussion with the student, the student has the opportunity to share their concerns and their struggles with online learning. For example, the student may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of multiple activities without being face to face with a teacher. Perhaps, the student feels if they start online activities, they will have less time to do what they want to do. When the student is in a secure environment to share their concerns, the parents can talk with the teachers about these concerns so new strategies can be incorporated.

See also: Navigating Attention and Working Memory Challenges in Learning Support

Dealing with Missing Assignments

Successful Home Learning: Foster Positive Discipline - 2

Another example of positive discipline would be if a student is saying they are doing the online activities but the parents are receiving emails from the teachers about missing assignments. The first suggestion is to recognize what classes the student is participating in and acknowledge their accomplishments in that class. The second suggestion is for the parent to ask about the class or classes that have missing work. The parent can offer support or respond to the teacher with the student’s needs for those activities.  

Seeking Additional Support

For additional information on how to motivate or support your student’s classwork and online activities, please contact Ms. Jodi, Learning Support Teacher, or get ideas at Wide Open Schools at When incorporating online strategies and creating online routines, start in increments because building new habits takes time.

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