Perse Singapore

Perse
Principal's Blog

The Driver For Learning is Social Connection

By Claire Bell

08 May 2020

“I see you, I know you, I’m connecting with you, and you’re important to me.”

Such an important statement!

It reminds us of the importance of ensuring our learners feel valued each day. Simply greeting children at the door in a way that is meaningful to them can make a positive impact on each day. Many, though, might see this idea as “fluffy,” but feeling valued will have a direct connection to improvement in learning.  

So, in an emergency remote teaching situation, how do you “greet a pupil in the hallway?”  An idea I have been using is saying hi to everyone as they enter a “virtual” room, but also have this “Meme Check-In” to lighten the mood immediately:

Another strategy I find useful was by continuously asking pupils questions and embedding their thoughts and ideas into the learning.  It is not only necessary that children feel welcome to the class, but that their contributions are needed for the class to be successful.

I make sure to notice every pupil who shows up to my lesson.

As they enter our “digital room,” I say hello to every child individually. I joke with them about their profile pics. I complement their rooms, ask about their siblings, even ask them to bring a pet to class and show it to us.

There’s nothing remarkable here, right? All children want to be noticed.

But that’s even MORE important in a time when pupils’ lives have been turned upside down. Many of our children are struggling with the isolation and lack of their usual routine. Children aren’t interacting socially as much as usual — sporting practices have been cancelled, school isn’t happening, cousins and grandparents aren’t visiting.

So, in The Perse School Singapore our pupils know that we SEE them, even if they don’t feel like monopolising the microphone in our learning sessions. Doing so, we make them feel like they BELONG in our online classes — and give them the security that once they are back in our physical school, they WILL continue to be seen and valued.

Connection comes first, everything else second. And a very DISTANT second. The ‘virtual greeting’ to start a day is about creating an environment where it is about more than ‘teaching and learning’ but, also makes teaching and learning more effective in an online or face-to-face setting.  Feeling valued is necessary for all environments.

Claire Bell

Claire has over 25 years of teaching and educational management experience in schools throughout the UK and internationally.

A qualified SENCo, Claire has previously held the posts of Executive Principal at BISK (Iraq) and as Head of Schools at Tenby Schools (Malaysia).