The education system has undergone drastic changes over the past couple of years due to the global pandemic. With the learning environment constantly changing from traditional classrooms to hybrid and fully remote learning, teachers and students have been greatly impacted by challenges that continue to arise.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) “In a traditional, in-person school year, some estimates say that 60% of students do not receive the support that they need – so in remote learning environments, it’s not difficult to see how even more students aren’t receiving the support they need as staff members who would usually be interacting with children are no longer able to do so.”
Students need support now more than ever to cope with the lack of interactions and the constant changes in their learning and social life. School teachers and personnel play a huge role in supporting students’ well-being and mental health.
In our free e-book Supporting Student Mental Health in Remote Learning, we spoke with experts about how to identify troubling behavior in online environments — including signs of mental health issues, child abuse/neglect and cyberbullying.
Here are some takeaways from the e-book you can implement to best support students’ mental health and safety in a remote learning environment:
Recognizing signs of child abuse or neglect in remote learning environments
As mandated reporters, it’s an educator’s responsibility to be proactive when looking for signs of abuse or neglect. This includes needing to know the behavior to look out for, like if a student has more absences than usual or if their behavior drastically changes.
“In a high-stress situation, such as domestic violence or abuse, a child may be limiting their reaction, or showing no emotion,” said Joe Laramie, a retired police Lieutenant and former Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Commander.
Laramie recommends that a teacher support students by providing them with their contact information and having individual check-ins is also important to see how students are doing and monitor the words they use to describe their feelings. If a student is constantly using words in the answers such as “scared,” “frustrated,” or “angry,” these words may be an indication to dig deeper.
Limiting cyberbullying in online environments
Schools can create an environment where cyberbullying is not tolerated by creating a student support system. Teach students that it is not ok to share bullying material which causes a bullying chain that continues to pass around hurtful information. Students should also be taught to not respond to bullying, while this can be a hard task, they should be taught that responding often escalates the situation.
Teachers can monitor online student behavior with classroom management technology like Impero Wellbeing. Wellbeing allows teachers to receive alerts whenever a student types or searches for certain keywords or phrases online connected to bullying, violence, or suicide, among other topics. When using any software, make sure to explain to children why having an extra line of communication with a trusted adult is critical for their safety.
Supporting student mental health in schools
Recently there has been a lot of emphasis on one-on-one time between professors and students in remote learning environments, but it’s equally important to emphasize peer-to-peer relationships to foster a sense of belonging and good mental health.
“Now that students are learning in remote or hybrid environments, they’re possibly only getting four and a half hours a day with their teachers,” Holly Kelly from the Learning Technology Center (LTC) of Illinois says. “Many students can easily hide what’s really going on [with their mental health]. We know that if this happens in the classroom, it happens remotely.”
Here are a few other ways to support student mental health in schools:
– Create “accountabili-buddies” by pairing students with adults with whom they can form bonds and who may be able to detect behavioral changes. Encourage the adults in this relationship to communicate with each other using various forms of technology (chat, email, video) to see which method is best for the student.
– Teachers can collaborate with school counselors on social-emotional learning (SEL) assignments. School counselors or social workers can be added as collaborators to a Google Classroom, Hangout, or Microsoft Teams call. These individuals can also provide teachers with a professional perspective on how students respond to assignments.
Choose the right technology
Impero Software provides classroom management software that is meant to give teachers the tools they need to efficiently manage students, regardless of the structure of their classroom. Our classroom management software takes an integrated approach to technology management by merging all the other software’s capabilities into a single, simple interface. More than just a warning should be issued when it comes to student mental health. As a result, Impero’s classroom management software allows schools to:
– View the screens of students to see who is on track and who needs help.
– Lock students’ screens – Regain students’ attention when they stray.
– View the history of the student’s browser.
Schools can use Impero’s classroom management software to recognize undesirable conduct and symptoms of crisis so that their students can get the help they need. Are you interested in learning more about Impero? Contact us or book a demo now and we will provide you with more information to help you decide which solution best suits your needs.
Download our free e-book Supporting Student Mental Health in Remote Learning, which provides additional information and resources to support students no matter the classroom environment.