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How do I make remote learning equitable for all students (including those who need extra help like ESL & IEP’s)?

“There’s a level of independence, a level of reflection, and a level of intrinsic motivation that kids need to have before they can be good online learners,” says Dr. Jennifer Economos, Ed.D. If students find learning challenging in general, switching to a virtual-only environment can make them even more frustrated. Special education and ELL students often need additional accommodations and resources to make remote learning effective. Here are 4 strategies for making remote learning equitable for all learners.

Recommend accommodations for the home 

If the IEP or 504 suggested accommodations, those should apply at home as well. “Parents can help minimize focus issues by creating a cardboard cubicle, or supplying a visor for the student,” says Jennifer Palladino, MS, Special Education. “A noise-cancelling headset can help them tune out siblings and background noise so they can hear the class and educator better. Parents should also create a space where there is likely to be less distractions like moving a desk against a wall instead of in front of a window.” 

Also consider what students will need if parents are not available to help.  Do parents have access to tools to “read” assignments out loud to students or translate them into their native language? Help parents adapt their student’s accommodations to a home learning environment tailored to their child. 

Take advantage of ed-tech and additional resources

Adaptive learning technology such as AI and adaptive assessments can help students identify their weak spots and review them until they are mastered. Schools can also help partner students into small learning groups where they help each other study for exams or provide additional review. Need help setting up small group pods for your students? Ask us about our 

Adapt lessons to different learning styles

Some students, such as kinesthetic or auditory learners may find remote learning more challenging. Encourage your teachers to supplement lessons with videos, online field trips, educational video games, songs, experiments and other alternative learning methods. Trying to support students with ADHD? Watch our free webinar with Dr. Ned Hallowell.

Break up learning

“Give students mental breaks,” says Palladino. “Exercise works well for this, such as 20 jumping jacks between lessons.” Breathing exercises can help reduce anxiety and frustration as well. 

Get help with online classroom instruction. Ask us how.


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