One of the greatest strengths of our Toorak community over the past 18 months has been our ability to work together and to support one another. We have been able to look inward and find strength and connection whilst apart. We continue to find motivation in our people as we focus on meaningful engagement and the overall wellbeing of our students, staff and families.
We can’t wait to welcome our students back, however, we acknowledge that these periods of remote learning may be a part of our new way of life moving forward. Our goal is to provide our students with the tools and resources they need when facing challenging times, knowing that a familiar environment filled with familiar faces will always be there for them.
This time has provided us with the opportunity to reflect on what is important to us, what works for us and where we can give something back to our community. In support of our families we would like to share 8 tips to help our students stay motivated and energised during extended periods of remote learning.
Create a routine
One of the most important factors in motivation is the power of routine. We want to provide our children with consistency ensuring they have a daily routine that mimics that of a school day or is a well known routine for a ‘remote school day’. Get creative and have some fun! Before classes you might introduce a "fake commute" to school such as a walk to the shops. Sit as a family at lunch together, make a habit of ‘meeting’ with your friends at recess or simply tie that school ribbon in your hair each day. Your brain loves routines and habits and the best thing about routine is that when something spontaneous occurs we get to marvel at that which surprises us.
Success looks different to everyone. Now more than ever, make sure your children are realistic with their definition of success and understand that every day will look different. Take a step back and help them break down their daily goals into achievable bite size chunks, for example, “try and focus on completing one 20 minute task and then have a break”. Have your child communicate their goals with you and remember success is not in end results but in the building blocks that contribute to growth.
It is essential to acknowledge your child's achievements and celebrate when they hit those goals. They might finish their artwork, complete their maths questions or finally go on that walk they’ve been putting off. Remember all accomplishments, no matter how small, need to be acknowledged. It doesn’t need to be a party but a simple acknowledgement that shows "I see what you do and I am proud that you did it" will provide them with the validation they need. That validation creates the drive to get the recognition again. It’s a fabulous cycle of motivation.
We may not be able to travel, go to the movies or eat at a restaurant, however, we want to ensure our children still have things to look forward to. Try to include some spontaneity in their week to surprise and delight them. These can be small things such as a creative activity, getting special takeaway food or a family games night. You might introduce theme nights where you explore different foods and cultures from the comfort of your own home, or start a movie club where everyone picks a movie to watch each week! Remember children enjoy experiences not because of where they are but because they are doing it with you.
It’s funny when we think of socialisation that we immediately think of peer-to-peer interactions. We can sometimes forget that family is our most powerful source of socialisation. Students may not be able to physically see their friends, however, don't forget that brothers, sisters, mum and dad provide opportunities for collaboration and are also wonderful sources of connection. They can get all they need in terms of interaction, energy and companionship from their closest contacts.
Only focus on what you can control
We can spend a lot of energy worrying about those things that are out of our control. This leaves us with a sense of hopelessness and frustration. Direct your energy to that which is in your control. Can you reach out to someone? Can you get something done you have been putting off? Can you organise an online birthday party? We get a new dose of energy each day, choose to spend it on things that have an impact not on things that don’t.
Not all worries need solutions
Many of us are inherent fixers; we hear a problem and we go in to solve. We hear a complaint and we want to make it right. Our child is hurt and we want to fix it. Not all problems need solutions. Sometimes our children simply need to verbalise their worries and concerns to test things out. They don't necessarily need you to fix them, they might just need a sounding board for you to acknowledge their feelings and put control back into their hands. Maybe they are looking to see if their fears or worries are validated. Think before you act and always give the power back to your child. Ask them, ‘what do you want to do next?’ This not only improves their toolkit but their confidence and self belief as well. Remember we all need bad experiences to learn and grow from. Let them experience the colour of emotion and navigate through it for themselves.
The 5:1 rule
At times like this we can become very centred on our own world and our own experience. Encourage your children to reach out to their peers and ask five questions about the other person before they expect a question in return. This helps shift their focus onto thinking about what they can do for someone else instead of thinking first of themself. Outside of this time, this is a good technique for making new friendships, strengthening emerging friendships or rebuilding trust in broken ones. A solid friendship is 1:1. You check in on me and I check in on you. But when forming a friendship it is not going to be 1:1 so reach out five times and wait for that glimmer of friendship to come on back to you.
Join us on Saturday 4 September for our live and interactive Open Day. Hear from Principal, Mrs Kristy Kendall, about Toorak College today - our approach to teaching and learning, our academic and co-curricular programs and key initiatives for 2021 and beyond.