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How to Encourage Communication in Remote Learning Environments

In 2020, remote learning became a way for students to learn in the comfort of their homes and stay safe during a global pandemic. Many teachers and students struggled to make this new model of education possible.

Ringing in the new year didn’t take away those challenges. Educators, counselors, directors, and psychologists must learn new ways to encourage and promote safe spaces for communication to emerge.

If you’re wondering how to promote communication in your remote learning environment, we have some tips for you.

Be sure to keep reading for our guide on building relationships for communication in remote learning environments.

Talk With Students

One way to encourage remote communications is to not forget about the small talk. Sometimes the personal side of communication can feel like it’s lacking. Especially when everything is done online through virtual learning.

Many times you show up to a meeting, whether it is with a student or parent, and get right to business. Especially since everything is virtual and from your home, you might want to get it over with right away. Yet, this is the worst way to build a relationship that helps foster open communication.

Virtual communication might make it more difficult to get to know the students that you deal with regularly. Building a relationship with students starts with communication. It is important for you because, without it, they aren’t going to feel comfortable coming to you about other vital issues.

Be sure to spend a few minutes before talking with students, parents, or faculty. Spend the time to get to know them and ask about their days or home life. With our current economic situation, chances are they have a lot to say.

Talking with students can help to encourage remote relationships and even support classroom management. When you have students on your side, they will pay attention and enjoy attending online learning sessions more.

If they feel like they can talk to you about their weekend, they also will come to you when they need help with other areas in their life. Whether their problems are big or small, you want to make sure that they feel they can trust you.

Consider Your Written Tone

Sometimes virtual communication might not be done face to face, meaning your tone could be misread. For example, parents aren’t always going to respond to formal emails and could need you to send them a text message.

When communicating with students, parents, or other faculty, you should consider rereading what you’ve written out loud. That way, you can hear what your tone sounds like to someone else.

You might think that you’re writing it one way, yet someone else could take it another. That is one of the enormous issues with communication in the written form that many people experience daily.

Depending on who you’re communicating with, you might want to add emojis, images, or anything else, to make sure your message is coming across in the right way. Doing this will make sure that your message is accurate, and the person will communicate with you positively.

If you can communicate with someone positively, you will have a better chance of getting through to them. Doing this will help keep your communication open, and they won’t close themselves off from you.

Encourage Students

In a virtual setting, it is vital to encourage students when they’re doing well, whether it is with learning or even opening up to you.

For some students, it can be difficult to stand out, especially when they’re in a sea of faces. Try to take the time to praise or recognize each student for something that they do well.

It can be easier to encourage students when you’re in a one on one session. Many counselors and psychologists will be able to talk with students in this setting. It will be easier to recognize the students that they deal with.

You’ll notice that when students feel good about themselves, they will have an easier time communicating with you.

If they can see that you are noticing them, it will be more comfortable for them to communicate. On the other hand, a student who doesn’t get acknowledgment might not have the courage to open up.

Praise and reinforcement can help in many different ways for students. Be sure to find ways that the students you interact with can get recognized for doing things well. This is especially important during a challenging time like remote learning.

Be Yourself

You’ll find that remote learning is quite different from being in a school setting, especially when it comes to a position like a school counselor, special education director, school psychologist, or behavior interventionist.

Yet, that doesn’t mean you need to change who you are. Being yourself is the most crucial part of communication with students, parents, and other faculty.

Make sure that you keep up the same values, guidelines, and norms that you hold in a traditional school setting. Doing this will help students feel a sense of normalcy, especially during a session with you. They will be more adept to talk with you because that is what they’re used to doing during their typical school hours.

As someone who is in the field, you know that communication is essential. It is built by being true to yourself and gaining trust through the relationship that you create. Make sure to be authentic in everything you do, whether it is in the virtual setting, meetings, emails, or any other way you communicate.

Building Communication During Remote Learning

It is possible that remote learning isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. With the advances in technology, there will always be a chance that you will meet with students in an online environment.

With these tips, you build an open communication relationship with them no matter which type of education method you are using to teach. Communication can help students grow and thrive, especially in learning environments.

Are you a school counselor, special education director, school psychologist, or behavior interventionist? You can sign up for our free monthly management student behavior series.

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