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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.