How To Maslow Before Bloom, All Day Long

Morning meetings are a good place to start, but what you really need is a toolkit of strategies to meet your students’ social and emotional needs all day long.

“Maslow before Bloom”—we hear it all the time. The idea that educators should meet students’ basic needs for safety and belonging before turning to challenging academic tasks is one that guides the work of many schools.

In this era of high-stakes testing and inflexible curricula, that’s not as easy to do as it sounds. The need to do 45 minutes of preplanned reading instruction, followed in lockstep by 45 minutes of math, leads many teachers, especially newer ones, to conclude that they simply don’t have the time to plan for brain breaks, or to check in with students regularly to make sure they’re feeling OK.

Research indicates that’s a mistake, though. Child psychiatrist Pamela Cantor told Edutopia in 2019 that “when we’re able to combine social, emotional, affective, and cognitive development together, we are creating many, many more interconnections in the developing brain that enable children to accelerate learning and development.” Making time to integrate social and emotional learning into academics, in other words, is a better way for schools to achieve their goals than a focus on academics alone.

This year, that will take some extra preparation and thinking. Prioritizing personal connections and students’ ability to manage their emotions was hard enough in physical classrooms, but it will be harder during distance and hybrid learning. Most of the strategies here—a toolkit drawn from high-quality research and from the experience of successful teachers—can be integrated into both physical and virtual classrooms throughout the day.

Welcoming Students

It starts before students enter the room: Taking a few minutes to personally greet every student at the beginning of the day, or the beginning of each class in middle and high school, can bolster students’ feeling that they belong to a community of learners. A 2018 study showed that positive greetings at the door increased academic engagement by 20 percentage points, and decreased disruptive behavior by 9 percentage points—adding as much as “an additional hour of engagement over the course of a five-hour instructional day,” the researchers said.

When students are working at home, there’s no door to stand in, of course, but you can create a short daily video to say hello, or use a tool like Zoom—which has a virtual waiting room feature—to queue kids up and then welcome them to class one by one. Alternately, you can adapt the 5×5 strategy—in which a teacher spends 25 minutes talking to five students for five minutes each—using the phone or video meetings via Zoom or Google Meet.

Once students are in your classroom, taking a few more minutes for non-academic chat involving all students can build a vibrant community, while giving you a window into whether each student is emotionally prepared for academic work. Students might discuss things like a question of the day—What’s your favorite pizza? or If you could have a superpower, what would you pick?—before describing how they feel by naming their personal roses and thorns, or by dropping a simple thumbs up, sideways thumb, or thumbs down into your chat feature.

Your Social and Emotional Toolkit—Use It All Day

Getting off to a good start primes students for learning, but the need to regulate emotions, find inner calm, and be socially connected will crop up throughout the day—just as it does for adults. Your toolkit of social and emotional strategies enables you to check in with students and help them self-regulate, recharge, and reconnect throughout the day.

If anyone tries to tell you that giving students a short break is wasting time, you can share the research supporting breaks: Students lose focus over periods of direct instruction—for elementary students this starts after about 10 minutes—so shorter lessons with brain breaks in between boost a student’s ability to stay on task and allow for better consolidation of recently learned material.

To shake students out of a rut, longtime Edutopia contributor Lori Desautels uses brain breaks that get them out of their seats, like giving them each two small Dixie cups and some water, and having them pour it back and forth from cup to cup a few times—then having them close their eyes and keep going for 30 seconds to see who has the most water left at the end. There’s, um, some cleanup required.

If kids have been focused for a long time, try a more involved, more intensely kinetic break that works at home or in the classroom: A H.Y.P.E the Breaks video from Hip-Hop Public Health can help students learn a little dance choreography and get in lots of movement. You can take advantage of the power of dual encoding by sneaking some content into your dance routine—Code.org has a dance party coding tutorial that links dance steps to coding algorithms, for example. Alternately, you can just give kids time to sit, relax, and chat happily with their friends.

Part of building your social-emotional and well-being toolkit is having a tool for all occasions. When kids are feeling antsy, Desautels recommends using focused attention practices to help them regain their calm. Try different ways of focusing on breathing, such as inhaling for four beats, holding for four, and then exhaling for four, or visualizing colors as students inhale and exhale—if a student is upset, for example, they might exhale red.

There is some lingering controversy around mindfulness, but the research is increasingly clear: According to Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, California’s surgeon general, mindfulness helps to regulate the parts of the brain associated with the stress response, and is “associated with reduced levels of cortisol and other stress hormones” while positively influencing “the physiological indicators of an active stress response, like blood pressure and heart rate.” Burke Harris uses mindfulness with kids as young as 3 years old.

At Codman Academy in Boston, second grade teacher Lindsey Minder leads her students in a guided mindfulness activity after lunch: “The impact of the mindfulness practice is really this general sense of them being more comfortable and confident with themselves and their varying needs,” Minder says, “and decreases in anxiety around academic work.”

In high school, teacher Aukeem Ballard incorporates a mindfulness activity in his classes once a week for four to seven minutes—a guided focus on breathing followed by a brief reflection with a partner. You can instead opt for a shorter activity used more frequently: Middle school administrator Michael Ray recommends that students regularly relax by kneading play dough or oobleck, both of which can be made cheaply at home.

Periodically, your toolkit will get a real test when a student becomes frustrated and lashes out. Resist the temptation to jump to a punishment, if possible. Instead, try to seek out the underlying causes and teach the child how to return to calmness. Sometimes, just asking a student if they want to step out and get some water may be enough to de-escalate. A more proactive strategy is to set up a peace corner in the classroom—a non-judgmental, dedicated spot in the room where students can go to spend a few minutes either calming themselves down or naming and describing their feelings on a prepared form.

Never Give Up on Recess

It feels like recess is constantly under siege from the pressures of overscheduling, but play is a powerful, natural opportunity to de-stress, connect socially, and give the brain vital time to process and consolidate learned information.

The pediatric occupational therapist Angela Hanscom says that recess should be scheduled for 45 minutes to an hour every day, rather than the more common 20 minutes. That’s not always possible, of course, but it does reinforce the importance of giving kids free rein to play. And the American Academy of Pediatrics reminds us that unstructured play is essential to kids’ well-being.

School systems tend to give up on recess by high school, but the way our brains process information—and the need for deep social connections—doesn’t change. While brain breaks and movement breaks may look different at different age levels, they’re still needed. That’s why Montpelier High School in Vermont initiated MHS Unplugged—as in, unplugging from the curriculum, and from screens. In this 15-minute break, kids can practice an instrument, play outside, do a little art, play cards. It’s a brief chance for them to have some say about what they do.

You may face pressure to focus on academics, but putting Maslow before Bloom isn’t antithetical to learning—research demonstrates that it’s a way to support better learning. Build a toolkit and use it judiciously throughout the day, in accordance with your read of your students. Using Maslow regularly will help them to Bloom.

Source: How to Maslow Before Bloom, All Day Long | Edutopia

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Monkeypox: Here’s How Colleges Are Preparing For Possible Outbreaks As Students Return

Universities and colleges across the U.S. are preparing for potential outbreaks of monkeypox this fall as students begin returning to campus amid an upswing in cases nationally, marking another public health challenge for schools to manage after years of grappling with Covid-19.

Dr. Ina Park, a professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, told Forbes that while monkeypox “does pose a risk to students,” the risk is different from that posed by Covid-19 and there is not a concern about catching the virus through everyday activity or passing someone in a corridor.

The main issue is that students live together in close quarters and gather to socialize, including hookups where close contact like kissing, skin-to-skin contact and sex might happen, Park explained, adding that the virus could also potentially be transmitted through sharing clothing or sleeping in someone else’s bed.

Numerous universities told Forbes they are in contact with local and federal health authorities to plan their responses and some schools, such as Texas A&M University, said clinicians at student health services have taken part in CDC training related to the disease.

Other universities, including Georgetown University and NYU, said student health services are able to carry out the specific testing needed to diagnose monkeypox.

Disinfecting desks or public toilets—surfaces the monkeypox virus can live on—could be one way of minimizing the risk to students, Park said, as would vaccinating students who are men or transgender people who have sex with men and expanding access to all college students when supplies permit.

Evidence-based education—especially alerting people to “the fact that monkeypox is transmitted through intimate contact”—will be crucial, Dr. Marina Klein, a professor of medicine at McGill University, told Forbes, as well as training campus health services to be on the lookout for potential monkeypox cases.

Monkeypox primarily spreads through close physical contact, as well as contact with contaminated objects and surfaces like bedding or clothing. While infections are clustered among men who have sex with men—data suggests the outbreak is largely driven by sexual activity—there have also been cases in women and children and experts told Forbes there is a risk the disease could spill over into other groups and obviously these communities are not self contained and members also attend university.

Experts stress the importance of balancing the provision of accurate information about the risks of monkeypox and how it is spreading and avoiding stigmatizing the groups most affected. Campuses also face a number of unique challenges when managing disease outbreaks, the American College Health Association (ACHA), told Forbes, such as how to isolate people with limited housing available and managing the disruption a two-to-four week isolation period can cause to students. The organization said it is working to develop tailored guidance for campus settings.

What To Watch For

How universities communicate about monkeypox. Several universities told Forbes they are following guidance from local health departments and the CDC, though this advice does not specifically address university settings. Many universities have set up informational websites providing resources and guidance on the virus, while some like NYU, the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University and the University of Michigan told Forbes they have also emailed staff and students about the outbreak and will provide updates as the situation evolves.

Other universities have gone, or plan to go, further in communication efforts: the University of Florida told Forbes it is increasingly promoting safe sex messaging and Texas A&M University said the school is pushing out information on the disease via social media and flyers in residence halls and high-traffic areas. Guidance and protocols are sure to evolve as the outbreak does; NYU spokesperson John Beckman told Forbes the university is “closely following developments” and staff at the student health center are on “heightened alert” to respond.

There are also broader impacts of monkeypox to be considered, Cornell’s director of media relations Rebecca Valli told Forbes, adding that the school is considering “the potential academic impacts and accommodations which may arise” should a student come down with monkeypox.

There have been 10,768 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the U.S., according to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The overwhelming majority of cases have been among men who identify as gay, bisexual or who have sex with men and transmission is suspected to have occurred through sexual activity in most of those infected.

The World Health Organization , the White House and a number of local jurisdictions have declared the outbreak a public health emergency and a vaccination campaign is underway to target groups most at risk of the virus. Supplies of Jynneos, the only vaccine licensed against monkeypox in the U.S., do not come close to meeting demand for the shot and U.S. officials have greenlit a dose-saving strategy to stretch the stockpile.

Though the outbreak is largely, though not exclusively, limited to men who have sex with men and spread through sexual activity, concern has grown among officials that the disease could spread more widely. The close-contact campus environment, notably dorms, contact sports and sex, have flagged colleges as more likely to experience outbreaks. At least five schools—Georgetown University, George Washington University, the University of Texas at Austin, Bucknell University and West Chester University—have already reported monkeypox cases, according to STAT News.

McGill’s Klein said it is “inevitable” that monkeypox will spillover into populations other than men who have sex with men, which could happen more easily in situations where people are living in close quarters. “There is no need for panic,” Klein stressed, urging strong and sensible messaging on how monkeypox is transmitted and reinforcing “messages about how to be safe when having sex,” especially with casual contacts. “Making vaccines easily available in safe spaces for those at risk would also go a long way to helping stem any potential outbreaks on campus,” Klein added.

I am a senior reporter for the Forbes breaking news team, covering health and science from the London office. Previously I worked as a reporter for a trade publication

Source: Monkeypox: Here’s How Colleges Are Preparing For Possible Outbreaks As Students Return

Critics by: Nicole Karlis

One of the first public health measures triggered by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was mass closure of daycares and schools. Indeed, the proximity with which students and teachers congregate in close quarters means that viruses are more apt to spread in such conditions, which made school closures a sensible means of slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Then, last week, news broke that an Illinois daycare worker tested positive for monkeypox. While the worker is isolating, it remains unclear how many children — if any — were exposed to the virus while the infected person was at work. The news raises questions over whether schools, daycares, and the like are safe — from monkeypox — for both workers and their charges.

“An adult at a day-care center in the Rantoul area has tested positive for a case of monkeypox,” Dr. Sameer Vohra, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said at a news briefing. “Screening of children and other staff is taking place now.” As parents gear up to send their children back to school, should they expect monkeypox outbreaks to occur in school and daycare settings?

The answer to that requires understanding the way that monkeypox spreads, and how it differs from COVID-19.  Monkeypox symptoms start within two to three weeks after exposure to the virus. The primary mode of transmission for monkeypox is skin-on-skin contact or contact with contaminated items.

Currently, there are more than 7,500 confirmed cases in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is nearly double the number of cases since late July. Last week, the Biden administration declared the monkeypox a public health emergency. While transmission is mostly occurring in adult men, in the United States there have been at least five reported pediatric cases.


Yet experts are optimistic about the safety of schools. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases and associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California–Davis, told Salon he doesn’t anticipate K-12 schools to be particularly rife with outbreaks this school year.“Since transmission is primarily via prolonged skin to skin contact,” Blumberg said. “So of course children horse around and they might have skin to skin contact, but usually it’s not prolonged during most activities.”

Blumberg added that another way monkeypox could be transmitted in a school setting is via contaminated linens or bedding. Unlike COVID-19, which is more transmissible but usually less severe for children, monkeypox is less transmissible but can pose a higher risk of severe disease for children under the age of 8.

“I suppose during nap time if kids are sharing bedding or linens, it’s possible that there might be transmission,” Blumberg said. “But most schools and daycares, for now, have their own dedicated area, their own dedicated space, for nap time.”

Dr. Katrine Wallace, an epidemiologist University of Illinois–Chicago, told Salon via email that monkeypox could potentially spread at school “by touching someone’s rash/lesions, exchanging body fluids via kissing or prolonged face to face contact, hugging, etc.”

“So, it’s best (for [monkeypox virus] and for COVID-19 reasons) to emphasize giving each other space in the classroom and not touching one another,” Wallace said. According to the CDC, monkeypox spreads through direct contact with body fluids or sores on the body of someone who has monkeypox. It can also spread through sores that have been in contact with someone who is infected, or materials that have touched body fluids — for example, clothing or bedsheets.

Monkeypox may also spread through respiratory droplets when people have close face-to-face contact. However, experts say this is not the main mode of transmission. According to data from the World Health Organization, 91.4 percent of cases have been linked to sexual contact.

Wallace agreed it is possible for a monkeypox outbreak to occur in communities like college campuses. Understandably, this raises questions about college students in a university setting. “If students are having prolonged skin to skin contact with many others, such as having sex with multiple partners, that will be a risk factor for transmission,” Blumberg said. “And in that case, it’s easy to prevent transmission — if somebody has a rash, then they shouldn’t have prolonged skin to skin contact with others until they get that rash diagnosed and make sure it’s non-infectious.”

Wallace agreed it is possible for a monkeypox outbreak to occur in communities like college campuses.”It is important that colleges and universities are prepared to provide public health education/information about monkeypox to students, have testing/medical resources available to if students develop symptoms, and have an isolation protocol ready,” Wallace said.

Still, there are reasons to protect younger children from any exposure to monkeypox. Unlike COVID-19, which is more transmissible but usually less severe for children, monkeypox is less transmissible but can pose a higher risk of severe disease for children under the age of 8, as noted by the CDC based on limited pediatric data on infection.

“Children who have monkeypox are at higher risk for severe disease and higher fatality rates have been reported in children less than eight years of age,” Blumberg said. “There’s a variety of complications that may occur, including inflammation of different organs, myocarditis, meningitis” — hence the concern about young children being infected.

Notably,  there are vaccines for monkeypox, although supply is limited. As Salon previously reported, the U.S. has released the Jynneos vaccine against monkeypox from the Strategic National Stockpile. Meanwhile, those who received the smallpox vaccine before it stopped being regularly given in the 1970s will likely have protection against monkeypox. While the Jynneos vaccine isn’t being publicly offered to kids nor is it licensed for children, those who have been exposed to it can be vaccinated if it is recommended by the local health departments.

As noted by CDC, Jynneos has been used in studies as part of vaccines against other diseases including tuberculosis, measles, and Ebola. These studies included children as young as five months old, and were found to have no adverse health effects or safety concerns. For worried parents, Blumberg said it is a good idea to make sure that daycares and schools and policies are in place to prohibit potentially infectious staff and students.

“Most schools and daycares do have policies in place so that if somebody is suspected to be infectious to others, they are excluded — and for monkeypox, the key would be an undiagnosed rash,” Blumberg said. “There are many different infections that may cause rashes that may be transmitted to others — so schools and daycares should be pretty experienced with screening for rashes.”

Wallace emphasized how different monkeypox is from SARS-CoV-2, stating bluntly: “this is not COVID-19.””It spreads very differently and is nowhere near as contagious,” Wallace said. “If your child develops symptoms, definitely see a health care provider before sending the child back to school.”

Related contents:

California monkeypox response is bumpy, but builds on some lessons from COVID Jefferson Public Radio

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Increasing Empathy: Focus On Restorative Practices As Students Return To The Classroom

Our return to brick and mortar schooling is upon us and like any back-to-school season, we are filled with anticipation, hope, and curiosity. To finally have our classrooms filled with children is a gift that we have longed for over this past challenging year. With all this excitement, we need to ensure we are planning with our students in mind.

Specifically, prioritizing their social and emotional health. It’s no secret that our world faced incredible trauma during the pandemic. As educators, it’s important that we increase our empathy and focus on the tools and practices that will support awareness and expression of emotions and dialogue, rather than focus on punishment-oriented outcomes. I’m not suggesting that we should conduct therapy sessions, as that is not in our training and we have school psychologists to collaborate with in  those situations.

One of the main things we can commit to doing is increasing empathy in our classrooms. We can employ restorative practices, a social science that studies how to build classroom community and strengthen relationships. The idea is that when we feel part of a supportive community where we belong, we respect those around us and become accountable for our actions.

It’s about building community and using authentic dialog when responding to challenging behavior in an effort to “make things right.” When these practices are put in place, teachers and students can work together to foster safe learning environments through community building and constructive conflict resolution.

Have you considered bringing restorative practices into your classroom?  It is crucial for educators to plan for opportunities to create and sustain a culture where all learners are accepted, embraced, and heard. When developing restorative practices in your classroom, you should first establish a culture of trust and respect.

A good starting point is to identify the current issue/s in your class, identify the root causes, and then create an activity where you can facilitate restorative practices. There are many ways to begin implementation. For those of you who think restorative practice may add value to your classroom, here are two activities that can help get you started:

Restorative Circles provide an opportunity to have all students share, and listen truthfully in a way that allows the members in the circle to be seen, heard, and respected. Use this opportunity for students to collaboratively approach conflict within the classroom community and find a resolution.genesis3-2-1-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1

Check out this Edutopia video to see how one school implemented a restorative circle as a means to create a safe environment for students to reflect.

Affective Language gives us the ability to identify our emotions and express them to others verbally. By using Affective Language, you can model ways of expressing our feelings and needs. There are four parts to an affective statement.

Observation: Free of labels and opinions. Makes the student feel seen and recognized by using statements such as, “I notice…” and “I hear…”.

Feelings: Express your feelings, honestly by using phrases such as, “I feel frustrated…” or “I am worried…”.

Needs: Express your needs and values by stating, “I need a safe classroom…” or “I need your help in…”.

Plans/Requests: Frame what it is that you want. For example, “Would you be ok with…” and “Next time…”.

When implementing restorative practices, it is important to take the time to conduct thoughtful preparation, and a shift in the adult mindset which requires the allocation of sufficient resources and dedication to implement new practices with consistency and sustainability.

As you begin planning for this work in your classroom, remember to take on each situation with a calm mind, questions to seek student perspective, and time to allow for students to drive the discussion.

Take these opportunities as learning moments for all community members and to open space for student voice. Below I’ve included a planning template that can support you in transforming your classroom as you lead with empathy.

Restorative Practices and PAACC

Here at LINC, we begin all of our planning with the PAACC. The image you see above is our PAACC, aligned to restorative practices. This resource will support you in keeping the “why” in mind as you plan and identify student outcomes based on the restorative practices activity you choose. Click here for our free tinker template to put your planning into action.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections on how we can continue to increase empathy in our classrooms as we focus on creating restorative practice activities as students return to the classroom. If you’re looking for a thought partner, connect with me via Twitter: @CarolynHanser or email: carolynhanser@linclearning.com.

By Carolyn Hanser

Source: Increasing Empathy: Focus On Restorative Practices As Students Return To The Classroom LINC: The Learning Innovation Catalyst

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Future of College Will Involve Fewer Professors

At a large private university in Northern California, a business professor uses an avatar to lecture on a virtual stage. Meanwhile, at a Southern university, graduate students in an artificial intelligence course discover that one of their nine teaching assistants is a virtual avatar, Jill Watson, also known as Watson, IBM’s question-answering computer system. Of the 10,000 messages posted to an online message board in one semester, Jill participated in student conversations and responded to all inquiries with 97% accuracy.

At a private college on the East Coast, students interact with an AI chat agent in a virtual restaurant set in China to learn the Mandarin language. These examples provide a glimpse into the future of teaching and learning in college. It is a future that will involve a drastically reduced role for full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty who teach face to face.

Fight back against disinformation. Get your news here, direct from experts

I forecast this future scenario and other trends in my 2021 book “Human Specialization in Design and Technology: The Current Wave for Learning, Culture, Industry and Beyond.” As a researcher who specializes in educational technology, I see three trends that will further shrink the role of traditional college professors.

1. The rise of artificial intelligence

According to a 2021 Educause Quick Poll report on AI, many institutions of higher education find themselves more focused on the present limited use of AI – for tasks such as detecting plagiarism or proctoring – and not so much the future of AI.

AI’s use in higher education has largely been concerned with digital assistants and chat agents. These technologies focus on the teaching and learning of students.

In my view, universities should broaden their use of AI and conduct experiments to improve upon its usefulness to individual learners. For example, how can colleges use AI to improve student learning of calculus or help students become stronger writers?

However, most universities are slow to innovate. According to a 2021 poll, some of the challenges to acquiring AI included lack of technical expertise, financial concerns, insufficient leadership and biased algorithms.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Technology are leading the way with new uses of AI. In an immersion lab staged as a food market in China, Rensselaer virtually transports students learning Mandarin Chinese into this market to interact with AI avatars. MIT has devoted millions of dollars to faculty research in AI. One of MIT’s projects – called RAISE, for Responsible AI for Social Empowerment and Education – will support how people from diverse backgrounds learn AI, and human learning in general.

Professors from the baby-boom generation are retiring, and I expect some of their jobs will not be filled. In many cases, these coveted positions will be replaced by part-time and temporary faculty. I believe the rising use of AI will contribute to this trend, with universities relying more on technology than in-person teaching.

2. Erosion of academic tenure

Tenure is a status that grants professors protections against being outright fired without due cause or extraordinary circumstances. However, the pandemic became a means to dismiss, suspend or terminate tenured faculty. For example, the Kansas Board of Regents in January 2021 voted to allow emergency terminations and suspensions – including for tenured faculty – to alleviate financial pressures placed on universities by the pandemic.

News reports continue to show a steady decline in the number of tenured faculty positions. According to an American Association of University Professors report, the proportion of part-time and full-time nontenure-track faculty grew from 55% in 1975 to 70% in 2015. Conversely, the proportion of full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty fell from 45% to 30% in that period.

Universities used the pandemic as a reason to override and diminish the power of shared leadership with faculty. That included voiding faculty handbooks, regulations and employment contracts.

Ultimately, the pandemic was an opportunity for universities to downsize unproductive faculty and keep “active practitioners.”

3. The flipped classroom

The flipped classroom provides students with opportunities to view, listen and learn at their own pace through video instruction outside the classroom. It has been around since at least 2007.

This teaching approach is similar to the way people learn from one another by watching videos on YouTube or TikTok. However, in college the flipped classroom involves prerecorded faculty lectures of course content, whether that be on the causes and effects of the Civil War or the origins of white rice. In class, students build on the professor’s prerecorded lecture and work on activities to assist discussions and expand knowledge.

The classroom becomes a place for social interaction and understanding course content. The flipped classroom maximizes instructional time for the professor and students because the lecture comes before the course’s in-class session.

As an example of the operation of a flipped classroom, a professor records a video on a subject area. This allows the same video to be viewed by one student or thousands of students. A human teaching assistant, avatar or chat agent conducts all in-class activities, tests and group work. No additional professors are needed to teach multiple sections of the same course. Professors, in this example, serve a limited role and ultimately will be needed less.

These trends illustrate a profession that I see as being on the cusp of radical transformation.

By:

Source: Future of college will involve fewer professors

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How To Support Kids Who Are Anxious About Returning School

Back-to-school jitters are normal every fall. But as families prepare for the beginning of the 2021–22 school year, these run-of-the-mill worries are colliding with fresh uncertainties about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, leaving kids and parents more anxious than usual.

Parents can use many strategies to help their children handle this challenging situation, according to Elizabeth Reichert, clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

“I often talk to parents about being the lighthouse in their child’s storm, the light that shines steadily in a predictable rhythm and doesn’t waver no matter how big the storm is,” Reichert said. “Their job is to be that lighthouse.”

Reichert spoke with science writer Erin Digitale about how parents can help ensure that budding students of any age—from preschool to high school—are ready to handle anxieties as the school year begins.

Erin Digitale: What are some concerns kids may have?

Elizabeth Reichert: Lots of things come to mind. Many kids are going to a new school for the first time: Maybe they’re starting middle school, preschool, or kindergarten. Those are big transitions in nonpandemic times. With the pandemic, we might see more stress in kids of all ages.

Children may have concerns specific to the pandemic, such as the mandate that California students must wear masks while indoors at school. Kids who are more anxious may ask a lot of questions: “How am I going to keep my mask on all day? What if I want to take it off? What are the rules around it?” They may have increased fear of getting sick, too.

For some children and teens, it will be the first time they’ve been in close proximity to groups of people in a very long time, which brings up concerns about social interactions. For kids in middle and high school, social dynamics are especially important. They’ve just had a year and a half of navigating their social lives in the virtual world, and now they’re re-navigating how to manage social dynamics in person. Social interactions may feel more emotionally draining.

Also, not all kids are the same. With virtual learning, some children really struggled to stay engaged and motivated, grasp the material, and remain connected with friends and teachers. But there were other children, often those who were shyer or had difficulties in large-group settings, who thrived. For those more introverted kiddos, if they’ve been in a comfort zone at home, going back to large groups may be a more difficult transition.

ED: What signs might parents see that children are feeling anxious or otherwise struggling emotionally?

ER: This depends on the age of the child. Among little ones, parents may see increased tearfulness about going to preschool or day care, clingy behavior, or regression in milestones such as potty training. With school-aged children, parents may see resistance to going to school, oppositional behavior, and somatic complaints such as stomachaches or headaches.

That’s going to be really tricky to navigate because schools now have strict guidelines about not coming to school sick. For teens, there may also be school refusal and withdrawn behavior, such as staying isolated in their rooms, or more irritability and moodiness. Risky behavior such as substance abuse may also increase.

Parents can expect some distress and worry during the first few weeks after any transition—especially now, when children are being asked to do many new things all at once. That can affect energy levels and emotional reserves. But if there is a major change from a child’s or teen’s baseline behavior that doesn’t dissipate after a couple of weeks—such as a teenager who is withdrawing more and more and refusing to engage in typical activities, or a child who is progressively more distressed—that is a red flag. Parents may want to consider seeking help at that point.

ED: What proactive steps can parents take before school begins?

ER: Parents can start talking about going back, listening to what’s on their child’s mind, and engaging kids in the fun components of returning to school, such as picking out school supplies or a new T-shirt—something they can get excited about. They can also walk or drive by the school or visit its playground to build excitement. It may also be helpful to start practicing saying goodbye and leaving the house, encouraging independent play, and helping children adjust to being away from their parents.

If bedtimes have drifted later during summer vacation, parents can shift the family schedule during the week or two before school starts to get back in the habit of going to bed and waking up earlier. They can also reestablish other pre-pandemic routines that worked well for the family.

ED: If a child still feels distressed, what should parents do to help?

ER: If a child remains anxious, there are key steps parents can take. When our children are upset, our natural is instinct to remove the distress they’re experiencing. But the first step is not jumping straight to problem solving.

The first step is to listen, to create space to hear the kid’s concerns. Acknowledge what they’re feeling even if you don’t agree with it. The child should feel that they’re being heard, that it is OK to feel what they are feeling, and that they have space to talk to Mom or Dad.

Once parents have a better sense of what’s going on, they should try to work collaboratively with the child to figure out a plan. They can ask: What does the child feel like they’re capable of doing? What can Mom or Dad do to help? Who else could help—a friend, sibling, another family member? If, for example, a child refuses to go to school, parents can say, “How can we make it feel easier?” while also communicating to the child that, ultimately, it’s their job to go to school.

By creating small opportunities for getting through difficult situations and coping with their worries, children will build the confidence and the independence they need to feel more in control and less afraid. It’s important to remember that children are resilient and adaptable, and, for many, after a period of transition, they will find their groove.

Parents can also elicit the help of the school and teacher. Teachers know this is a big transition for kids, and they are gearing up to help.

ED: Parents feel anxiety about this transition, too. What healthy coping strategies can they use to make sure they manage their own stress instead of expressing it in ways that may increase their child’s distress?

ER: Parents are the biggest models for our kids. If our kids see us really anxious about something, they’re going to feed off that. Parents need to be mindful of their own emotions so they can self-regulate and become present for their child.

We want to be steady sources of support for our children. It’s also fine to say we feel worried or we don’t know the answer, because that shows it’s OK to feel those things. The problem is when our worries get too big, when we’re no longer calm, or we are saying and doing things we don’t want to model for our children.

It’s essential to find moments for self-care. Taking even just a couple of deep breaths in the moment, taking a bathroom break, getting a drink of water, or doing other things that create a brief transition for yourself, a moment to regulate your feelings, is helpful. Think back to what worked for you before the pandemic, and try getting even a small inkling of that back, such as five minutes a day of moving your body if exercise helps you. This is not only important for you as a parent, but it also shows your child that you have strategies to take care of yourself.

We can also invite our children into healthy coping activities with us: A parent can say to a school-aged or older child, “I’m feeling pretty stressed about this, and for me, going for a walk helps me clear my head. Do you want to go for a walk with me?” Parents and young kids can blow bubbles together—small kids enjoy it, and you can talk about how big breaths for bubbles help everyone feel better.

If they need more help, parents can seek resources from the teachers and support staff at their child’s school, from their pediatrician, and from online resources at the Stanford Parenting Center at Stanford Children’s Health.

Source: How to Support Kids Who Are Anxious About Returning…

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