Is it possible that working online with students on Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) would be preferable to working in person with them? I’ve discovered that, in many cases, it is. Working remotely with students has some very special advantages.
Working at home, students are in a non-threatening, safe environment. They are able to process new ideas and emotions more privately. This reduced interpersonal pressure may find them more receptive to new ideas and behaviors. Seeing new ideas and behaviors modeled in videos and discussed neutrally allows them the freedom to make new choices. For students who have challenges with expressive language, working remotely can give them more time to put together their thoughts by reducing the interpersonal pressure for immediate feedback.
Students working remotely can be pulled out of their ‘bubble’ when they see mind-expanding TED talks and have a chance to discuss them with their teachers. Students are accustomed to getting new information from videos. This feels natural for them and of course, videos also provide excellent discussion launching points. Their safe home environments can make them feel braver, more open to asking questions and considering new behaviors– particularly good for students with anxiety or those who have been subjected to bullying.
I’ve discovered a long list of online SEL resources and here are just a few of my favorites:
- Students love information about how their brain develops: click here
- The video “The Teenage Brain” is especially good.
- TED talks (search specific needs for extensive lists of good TED talks)
- TED-ED short videos with discussion questions: click here
- PBS/Discovery Education
- Crash Course Videos – do a search on “Social-Emotional”: click here
- Social Thinking Site
- Brain Pop
- The Learning Ally site is excellent.
For busy teachers, there is simply not enough time to do extensive research to learn all the pedagogy that goes along with working with our SEL-challenged students. However, one site that is particularly good for teachers and parents is on understood.org. Support for dyslexic students can be found here. Also, for additional dyslexia support, something that is easy to set up is the Chrome browser extension Open Dyslexic. This can be set to show everything on your screen in a special font that is easier for dyslexic students to read.
There is an abundance of social/emotional resource material online and this body of resources is growing every day. We are already opening up the world to our students online. With the ever-growing wealth of SEL resources available, information for students for how to recognize and process emotions and make better choices about behaviors is available more than ever before. After seeing first-hand the benefits of working online with these students, I believe that online education for our students is not a ‘second choice.’ It’s equal to, or in some cases, preferable to in-person learning.