Thoughtful Education During The Time Of COVID-19
Being at home is often a place of relief for exhausted teachers. We OTs sometimes worry that your stress levels make it hard to let go of at-work pressures. As school OTs, we see how hard teachers work to make a difference in the lives of their students.
Now with what’s going on globally, there is a huge rift in our classic education model. Everyone is undergoing a huge learning curve.
Spoiler alert: the students and unique learners we work with in school OT, will need time. We anticipate it will take at least 4 weeks of daily practice for them to handle the computer at home. Keep in mind, they have no previous experience with utilizing a computer while remaining seated in a safe and organized area, while filtering out family background noise. (Ding-dong. “I’ll get it!” Bark, bark.)
As OTs, our game plan is to stimulate an interest in learning. Learning at a fundamental level is “acquiring knowledge”. We call that behavior “brain working here” and find it to be quite exciting to watch. Sometimes you have to look really hard, like a tiny bird in a bush, but it’s always rewarding. When a young person appears to be building their knowledge base, showing an interest, and leaning in, that’s super fun.
Our next step is to help the student realize what’s going on. We try to give the whole experience language somehow. Perhaps you see your student repeatedly interrupted by her younger sibling, but showed a remarkable memory in her explaining to baby brother, then coming back to the task at hand. Coming back to the task at hand and successfully focusing, is the “brain working here” behavior you should bookmark.
One of my students began to really work hard at creating a tune on the piano in the background of the room we were video conferencing in. She was doing so with profound attention and deliberate pattern of chords. Yuck initially, then smoother with gradual return to the school-related work that was facing us both.
We refer to the outbreak behavior as her symphony production moment. It helps her dial her brain into how focused she was then, when I remind her of it several days later, and it gives her clues on how to create that same mental experience again now. It works best for me to be playful, but my colleague is successful with a more subdued tone. Maybe it’s a, “you be you” thing.
Try it yourself, we probably learned it from you…
So, in case you’ve forgotten, YOU’VE GOT THIS!
My book, Unique Learner Solutions, is available to purchase right here on my website! (CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE)