Students and school staff are facing unprecedented challenges at this time. With school closures, educators and students are likely transitioning to remote learning.
Remote learning in our current situation requires us to learn and communicate at a distance. But that doesn’t mean that our interactions have to become impersonal.
Conversations That Change Lives
At Kognito, we believe in conversations that change lives. Checking in on each other – letting our networks and our neighbors know that we are here for support, making sure our students have proper resources at home, nurturing our own families – these conversations are more important than ever.
Even if those conversations can’t happen face-to-face right now, they are happening in other ways as communities check in on each other’s well-being. We are working together to be creative.
We want to remind our Kognito family – hundreds of K-12 districts and institutions of higher education – that you hold the power of conversation to make a difference.
The Importance of Addressing Mental Health
As administrators, teachers, and parents, we are feeling increased levels of stress in our personal and professional lives. Just as we emphasize in our remote learning simulations on mental health, trauma-informed practices, and other topics, we remind folks:
- Be there to listen to each other and be vigilant for signs of distress, written or spoken.
- Set a tone of compassion in syllabi and assignments. Be ready to be flexible to make accommodations for mental health needs.
- Reacquaint yourself with local mental health resources, both at the community level and virtually, since in-person resources may be temporarily unavailable.
- If you determine that someone you know needs to be connected to more support, employ motivational interviewing skills and other effective communication techniques to motivate them to take next steps to seek that support.
- Don’t forget about yourself. Practicing self-care is equally important as providing support for others.
Kognito has been in the business of remote learning for over 15 years. We are currently working with our clients in education, both at the PK-12 district level and institutions of higher education, to make sure that they have the resources they need to give students extra support during this time.
Please let us know how we can help your school district or institution support student and staff wellbeing during this time of transition.
Never Too Late to Refresh Your Skills
We commend our clients who are working diligently to improve student wellbeing and climate through prioritizing mental health and related issues. Whether it’s investing the resources in hiring more counselors or rolling out At-Risk to all school staff in a district, our clients are leaders in providing comprehensive mental health services that support their students and allow them to better succeed academically.
If you have an institutional license with us, please remember that your users have unlimited access to our simulations. For those who have not completed a simulation, now may be a good time for them to access one online. For those who would like a refresher on how to support students and colleagues, we encourage them to revisit the simulation at any time.
Inspiration From Our Clients
We also wanted to share some examples of the great solutions our clients are sharing in such a timely manner.
- In order to continue to pay part-time staff with schools closed, one district communicated to their staff by email to complete Kognito’s At-Risk simulation from home in order to pay them for professional development hours. This is just one example of how districts are being resourceful and taking care of their staff during a difficult time.
- Tufts University has created a webpage to share these resources with their faculty.
- To fill online curriculum needs, districts are having students complete Friend2Friend and institutions are referring students to At-Risk for University Students, both of which are available online to students.
Remote Learning To Foster Relationships
Now that in-person trainings are on hold, it’s still possible to learn important conversation skills via remote learning.
It can seem counterintuitive to practice a real-life conversation in a virtual setting. But imagine that all your educators and staff are able to log in to training from the comfort of their homes, meet a virtual coach, and practice role-playing conversations in a safe environment. They can learn at their own pace, undo what they’ve said and try a new approach, and see an assessment of their performance. This online learning gives every school employee the confidence and skills to initiate critical conversations across topics like:
- Crisis response
- LGBTQ cultural competency
- Mental health
- Social-emotional learning
- Suicide prevention
When it comes to difficult topics like mental health and suicide prevention, having the opportunity to practice talking in a safe space with no real-life consequences is just the foundation of the learning experience. Being able to see reactions from a virtual human and learn from a dynamic conversation adds an element that is meant to translate into the unpredictabilities of real life.
Conversations with virtual humans are the flagship of Kognito’s remote learning simulations. When practice instills confidence, attitudes change. School staff are more likely to initiate conversations with students after completing a Kognito simulation.
Collectively, this builds stronger relationships with students that translate to improvement in school climate, safety, and student wellbeing.
Again, we are here to assist K-12 districts and institutions of higher education with your remote learning needs for training staff and students. Please let us know how we can help you.
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