Virtual Learning: Ways to Slow Your Woes!

By Wendi Iacobello

Many public school systems are electing to remain online for the first six to eight weeks of school this upcoming year thanks to the Coronavirus. Virtual this and virtual that is the new normal for our country in 2020. What does that mean for education? Are you a teacher frantically wondering how you will keep students engaged in an online environment? Maybe you are a parent and wondering how you can supervise your children’s attendance and learning online, while also meeting the demands of your job?


Mindset is everything and this goes for students, parents, teachers, and all who will have a hand in educating children virtually this fall. Carol Dwecks’s research into developing a growth mindset proves that how students view learning, how teachers encourage learning through challenges, and how parents encourage children to take on challenges can aid in transforming a fixed mindset into a growth mindset. This concept has never been more important than now as we all face the challenges of teaching and learning in an online environment.


The 2020-2021 school year will no doubt be different than anything we have ever experienced in the United States Public Education System, but there is a way to find that silver lining during all of this uncertainty. It’s all in the mindset and how we combat negative thoughts with positive ones to encourage a growth mentality.


For Parents:

Instead of . . . Use . . .
School is going to be hard this year. School will be different this year, but we are up for the challenge.
It’s going to be difficult managing you (my child) at home and my career this year. We will both be working extra hard this year to succeed-your job is to learn and mommy’s and daddy’s job is to work.
It will be challenging to be home with my children so much. This school year is providing an opportunity to be more present with my children.


For Teachers:


Instead of . . . Use . . .
It’s going to be hard to keep my students engaged online. I have been given an opportunity to try new strategies with my students to help them learn virtually.
I’m worried about my students making gainful progress. My students will learn at their own pace.
I feel overwhelmed with teaching online. I am capable of meeting the challenge of teaching online.


For Students:


Instead of . . . Use . . .
I miss learning with my friends. I will be able to learn with my friends online.
I don’t like to learn on a computer. I am capable of learning on a computer.
It’s hard for me to sit still and focus on a computer. I have not mastered sitting still and focusing on a computer yet.


For more ways to encourage this positive approach, see 25 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset. How we view the challenges of learning this year speaks volumes to children. Encouraging them through these unique times can take major effort, but it will have a positive effect on them. The technology skills students are learning through these uncertain times will set them up for future success and prepare them for online education in other educational environments. Forced change is hard, but there are benefits if we can keep promoting a can-do attitude and focus on our successes.


Wendi Iacobello Head ShotWendi Iacobello is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a Master of Arts in Educational Media. She also has a BS degree in Early Childhood Education. Her professional career in education spans across nine years in the public education sector to include; middle and high school special education, adult education for incarcerated men, women, & youth, compensatory education, High School Equivalency instruction formerly known as GED, and community college instruction in Early Childhood Education curriculum courses. Wendi is an Army Spouse and first time mom to an adorable infant boy. Her hobbies include; volunteering in the local community, gardening, teaching aqua cycling and stroller fit classes on the military installation, and encouraging the military community through her blog Strength 4 Spouses.