In a home learning environment, students thrive if they have a dedicated space to fix their focus on learning.
Without a home environment set up suitably for learning, the dangers of distraction appear out of all sorts of corners. Guiding parents to help their children create a productive, motivated learning space can go a long way in reducing the risk of interruptions in a virtual classroom.
As the fourth challenge of the virtual classroom, teachers can help parents design the best space to cultivate concentration and promote productivity in their child’s at-home learning experience.
Factors to consider when creating a home learning environment
Different elements come into play when considering the best design for a positive learning environment. For example, if a parent tries to convince a teenager to add an “Imagination Station” (like one might find in a toddler’s room), they’d find themselves the target of a fierce death stare.
As a teacher, you will know that giving insight suitable for the age group and specific study material can help parents set up the best home learning strategies suitable for their child.
1. The age of the child
The best home learning environments for younger children include a range of learning opportunities intertwined with fostering a creative space for imaginative fun. Having a dedicated space with educational toys and age-suitable books will go a long way in setting them up to enjoy learning later in life (and also giving their parents the cheeky chance to teach independence by encouraging them to keep their ‘study space’ tidy after a day’s work).
Older students will excel with a neat, quiet space which they have control over. If they are given full authority to design their own space, they might coordinate chaos. But with gentle suggestions and ‘non-negotiables’ in place (for example, banning a boombox to blast music while they study), they’ll be working in a place both well equipped for concentration and a space they can call their own – favourable in harnessing motivation.
2. The learning habits of the child
Everyone has a different method of engaging with learning. Some children are tactile learners while others retain knowledge when hearing information and having it visible to read over later. Helping parents learn and understand their child’s studying habits and catering their home learning space around will help them design the right space (as well as reduce any friction and frustration from a distracted child).
Here is a fun assessment to help determine a student’s learning style. This can be very informative when deciding on how to assist children to excel in their lessons.
3. The independence of the child
Learning at home presents several challenges, but a surprising one might be the lack of agency a child feels they might have over their own space. At school, children have independence from parents, but learning at home doesn’t quite offer the distance, especially if their parents are working remotely too.
Guiding a parent to consider how and why to give their child the space they might need might save some family feuds from happening while maintaining a positive (read: productive) mindset for conducive learning in their home environment.
Three easy ways to create a productive home learning environment
1. Keep it neat
A golden oldie, but it remains true: Concentration flourishes like a garden of productivity when there is tidy structure, but it withers away when there’s chaos. Encouraging students (and parents) to ensure the study space stays uncluttered will help ensure focus remains laser-sharp.
2. Get the tech to keep their focus in check
Setting up a learning device like a Chromebook and an opportunity to zone out any background noise can go a long way in concentration levels, especially when coupled with the right technology and software to ensure focus and reduce online distractions.
Mobile Guardian’s Profiles provides a simple way to ensure that devices are abiding by school policy, regardless of their location.
Teachers and IT Administrators are able to create profiles in-line with the schools ePolicies. Mobile Guardian Profiles can be triggered by the time of day and location of the device. Allowing for adjustable management of devices, whether they are at school or at home.
The Mobile Guardian Linked Parent Dashboard enables parents to control what is accessible online, as well as to ban distracting content.
In addition to any compulsory needs for virtual learning, accessories to help retain focus like noise-cancelling headphones are a worthwhile consideration, particularly for virtual classes.
3. Home support and passive learning
A learning environment at home doesn’t just refer to the physical space. A child will feel supported at home if their parents take interest in what they are learning. Gently nudging parents to take a genuine interest in their children’s studies will encourage strong family relationships as well as motivating passive learning. A couple of easy tricks to suggest to parents include:
- Actively listening when their child talks about school or topics in class,
- Offering help with tasks and projects,
- Collaborating with their child’s teacher (here are a few tips on parent and teacher collaboration in the virtual classroom.) and attending parent meetings,
- Offering patient help with homework or making time to listen to any difficulties they might be having.
There are a number of challenges confronting IT administrators, teachers, learners and parents in the virtual classroom. Discover more resources to combat the 9 Challenges of the Virtual Classroom here!