The video training above features a recorded live session on ways to support and guide student behavior and motivation.

Just like adults, our young students can have good days and bad days. There are a variety of factors that impact a student’s engagement. The best thing you can do is be a consistent presence for your student and follow a clear, consistent approach to behavior management. Many of these strategies are strategies that we also use in a regular, in-person setting with a student. They still apply in the virtual space!

  • Focus on the positive: Offer specific, positive praise on everything from correctly sounding out a new word to reading with expression to explaining how a book’s characters are feeling. Letting your student know what they are doing well will motivate them to replicate those behaviors.
  • Use statements, not questions: When redirecting student behavior, phrase it as a respectful statement not a question. If your student is distracted, you can say, “Please sound out the word you see on your screen,” rather than saying, “Can you sound out that word for me?” The answer to the question might be, “No.”
  • Keep your tone firm, but positive.
  • Set clear, consistent expectations for students: Consistency is key for behavior management. Build routines that you follow each time you meet with your student, be consistent in your praise, and always follow through. If you promise your student a 2 minute movement break in between two steps of the lesson, when that time comes, deliver on the promise.
  • Be animated: Being animated is always important. You may need to be more animated than usual in an online setting.
  • 7 second wait time: Giving students ample time to answer a question gives them the space to process.
  • Build in breaks: Pay close attention to how the student is feeling and build in movement breaks, as needed. If your student is fidgeting, stand up and do a quick exercise (jumping jacks or stretches). If your student appears distracted by something, ask them what it is, do not ignore it and do not say to leave it without discussing. Acknowledge what is making learning difficult. Follow-up with “how might we finish without it distracting you?” and solicit buy-in.

You can always ask your program coordinator for help identifying specific strategies for your student.