Remote Instruction Refusal
Long before everyone was receiving instruction remotely and we all had to maintain social distance, there was school refusal. Students of all ages refused to go to school at times. Parents reported that it was one of the most difficult things to handle. Do you have a child that would cling to your leg when she was five years old, crying "Mommy, don't leave me!!". Did you walk away while the teacher held her back, and cry to yourself? What about a middle or high school student that refused to get out of bed in the morning? He would tell you that he hated school or that he was stupid or too embarrassed to go to school or maybe he just wouldn't talk to you in the morning? Approximately 2 to 5% of students
refuse to go to school, because of anxiety.
But what about now? Those students that didn't like school should be thriving, right? As a matter of fact, I have heard that some of those students are doing great online, but others aren't. As time goes on, I hear more and more teachers say that students are just not showing up for class online or they are not submitting any of their work. Students that were on top of all of their responsibilities prior to the pandemic. Teachers have approached me saying that they just don't know what happened. "They just disappeared" and when they are in class, they don't pay attention. So, what do we do in this new world of "remote instruction refusal"?
No one really knows, as this is the first time that we have done this! We can only make recommendations based on our knowledge of similar situations. From that perspective, I have a few suggestions for teachers. First, give your students a chance to be social. A few minutes to just talk to their friends before starting the lesson. You can also set up an opportunity for them to "hang out" online outside of class. Second, make it fun. Think of the things you did before to motivate students and modify those strategies for remote instruction. Use Nearpod to teach a lesson. Ask students to make a video and share it with the class or watch a movie and answer questions. Use Flipgrid. Third, give assignments that don't involve the computer! Ask them to do an experiment, take a picture and share it with the class. Ask them to do worksheets, take a picture, and send it go you. Fourth, communicate with students who are struggling independently...send them a text, use Remind App to let them know class is beginning or they need to submit an assignment. Finally, communicate with parents and understand that they are probably very stressed out!
I also have a few suggestions for parents. First, make sure that you have established expectations and routines for your child. Use your visual schedule that includes equal parts school work and fun! Use any of the behavior strategies on this website. Write a contract with your child to complete all school work tasks. Establish a token economy where your child can earn tokens and rewards for completing his/her school work. Communicate frequently with the teacher to see if there is something that you can do to help. Include time
to help your child with his/her school work on the visual schedule. Make a game out of studying and play the game with your child. Maintain a routine as much as possible. Be patient with yourself and your child! Times are trying.