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How to help students deal with virtual learning (Zoom) anxiety

Students are returning to school to kick off the new learning year and many of them are doing so virtually or in some hybrid of in-person and virtual learning. For many students, virtual learning, and the thought of being on Zoom or video calls most of the day is causing them a lot of anxiety and stress. 

Here are a few tips from Lisa Mitchell, communications expert & founder of Power Body Language to help students manage their virtual learning and Zoom anxiety so they can keep their focus on learning. 

1. Talk to your student about how they are feeling

Going back to school virtually can feel isolating to students. Without the benefit of back to school nights, in-person orientations, and opportunities to connect face-to-face with teachers and classmates, it is easy for them to feel like they are on their own in this back-to-school experience and that can increase their stress and uncertainty. 

It’s important that parents and caregivers stand in as a their student’s trusted resource in this time and as such, asking them questions not just about what they have to do to get ready but how they’re feeling about the experience can be a great way to open up the lines of communication, really show them that you are listening to them, and offer reassurance and guidance that they may need to feel less alone in the process. 

2. Help Them Prepare Their Learning Space and Remove Distractions

Keeping track of Zoom links, managing class schedules and homework, and controlling what’s happening in the background during their actual virtual classes can all help your student feel better prepared and supported in the virtual learning process. 

If they are nervous or anxious about what their background or home environment might look like on video calls or worry that they might be judged by other students, help them set up an organized, clean, and well-lit workspace that may help them feel more confident and able to focus on paying attention to what’s happening in their class and less about what’s going on in their learning space at home. If a neutral background isn’t possible, maybe consider helping them set up a digital green screen background for video calls, may apps have that feature available.    

3. Offer Them Reassurance

For many students, virtual learning is a new experience for them and they may feel like people will be “watching” them while in video or Zoom classes. All of these worries can be distracting and can even make some students not want to participate or continue learning. Let your student know that they’re not alone in feeling that way but reassure them that everyone is likely paying less attention to them or judging them less than they feel like or think. Everyone else is busy managing the same feelings and how they themselves are showing up in class to be focused on them!

Remind your student that the primary goal of the teachers, whether in person or in the virtual classroom, is to make sure that their students are learning and that they are all on his/her side, cheering them on to be successful! 

For more from Mitchell, visit her website or Instagram.

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