Keep calm and carry on learning – Part 2

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How do we maintain home learners’ focus?

In this second in a series of blog posts, Dr Verity Jones, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Education and Childhood at UWE, and Online Project Lead shares some top tips on how to motivate and inject some fun into the learning.

One week in …

The novelty, if there ever was one, may well have worn off for remote school learning as we move into week two of lockdown in the UK. With millions of young people away from the structure of a school learning environment, motivation may well be waning. So, what can we do to help?

It’s long been known that a bit of exercise can really make a difference to concentration levels. So, starting the day with a burst of energy might be just the ticket to get our young people in the right mood for learning.

YouTube is littered with fantastic videos to get everyone moving. Taking the nation by storm is Joe Wicks, with his 9am Kids Home Work Out.

If that’s a bit too energetic, then take a look at Storyhive’s Yoga for Kids and spend thirty minutes focussing on breathing and controlled movement.

While the exercise may get young people concentrating and ready for learning, motivation may well still falter. Sometimes a little friendly competition can really help re-engage…

With the excitement of the BBC Radio 2s 500 word short story competition over for another year, your budding writer may need a new focus – so, what about some poetry competitions? For a really comprehensive list of all the poetry competitions around for young people check out the Young Poets Network.  Of particular interest might be The Foyle Young Poet of the Year Award – now open for entries (age 11-17years).

How about getting creative with Environment 2020’s children’s art competition (age 0-16 years) and create either hand crafted art or a photograph to reflect the theme, ‘The Environment and the Home’. No need to go outside for this one, so perfect in our current restricted movement conditions.

Oxford’s Colleges run a number of academic writing competitions and deadlines are coming up for those interested in science.

Sometimes the thought of ‘doing’ a subject can put off some young people, so why not enhance  thinking, problem solving and skills needed to work together and check out  Channel 4’s Task Master’s daily #HomeTasking on Twitter. This invites families to a new challenge every day. All you need to do is upload short clips of the challenge set and the cast choose the best ones. Engaging and hilarious by equal measure!

Next week I will be sharing more great learning opportunities to do from the comfort of the home. Watch this space …

Dr Verity Jones is Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of the West of England, Bristol. Online Learning Project Lead and Acting Associate Head of Department for Learning, Teaching and Student Experience.

Dr Verity Jones twitter

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