Teen Challenge – Back to School and Virtual Learning

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog, the Tuesday Morning edition!

How was your last week? Did you get a chance to touch base with that teen in your life yet?

This week may be the last week of summer for teens who are heading back school after Labor Day. For some teens, schools are already back in session. How are things going?

There are so many different looks to going back to school this year. Are we all virtual? Are we doing a hi-bred model where it is virtual and in person part of the time? With those teens who are physically going back into the school building for classes, are masks going to be the new fashion statement? Or, the new thing kids can be teased about?

Masks from Shop Disney

Some virtual learning has already been happening with online testing and classes. It has its advantages. Just like working from home, there’s no commute, except from your bed to your desk or table, hopefully with a shower and getting dressed on your way there. A little extra time in bed and maybe more casual dress code. For now, it’s a step we are taking to help keep us safe from spread of COVID-19. However, is it the best learning environment for our teens?

For teens who have grown up with a phone in their hand and technology at their fingertips, they will have no problem with the hard skills (technology) involved in virtual learning. They are probably more savvy than some adults with setting up the computer and logging on. Keeping them engaged in the learning process and creating good interpersonal interactions, or soft skills, while sitting at a desk or table at home may be a challenge. It can even be a challenge when they are sitting in classrooms at school. But, a lot of the school experience is found in the comradery with your classmates day to day. Eating lunch and attending sporting events with them. Sure, you can do kind of the same thing online, but it’s just not the same.

Virtual learning is also affecting teachers. Sure, they can log onto a computer and teach from their home office, but physically being in the classroom with their students helps them to pick up on nuances in their students’ behavior. Are they are understanding the lesson? Or are they bored? Students are also able to pick up on things in the white noise of their classroom and through having more interaction with teachers and other students. We know, virtual learning is being done for safety reasons to curb the spread COVID-19, but it may have consequences that are yet to be seen.

I think the biggest thing that will be affected by virtual learning is the slower development of teen soft skills. We talk a lot about these in business circles, but they are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. Remember all of the concerns we had with teens being so attached to their smart phones and possibly missing out on personal interactions to communicate with others? And how afraid we were of them not being able to communicate with others interpersonally? Now with virtual learning and teens not being in the class room, are we perpetuating their continual learning to interact better with a computer or a phone and not so well with other people? Let me know your thoughts.

One of the challenges of virtual learning is how do we engage teens to read things that are good for them to read? I have a good coming of age novel which talks about the teen challenges of peer pressure and the importance of choosing the right friends. How about picking up an ebook copy of my first book, The Hard Way. Follow this link to get a copy for you or your teen. The Hard Way It is free if you subscrible to Kindle Unlimited on Amazon. My second book, Shawn’s Way, is due to come out just before the holidays. Be sure to keep an eye out for it!

What challenges do you see and face with virtual learning and back to school tasks this year? Please let me know in the comments below.

Have a great week!

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