Creating a Positive Virtual Experience
By: Gabrielle Ponaman, M.A.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made all our lives more challenging. It has caused our behavior to change- some ways for the better and some ways that could use improvement. The S.O.A.R. Virtual Learning Matrix can be used to help you have a positive virtual learning experience while also increasing positive behavior in your virtual classrooms. The “S” stands for Self-Control. Self-Control can be defined as the ability to control oneself, in particular our emotions and desires or the expression of them in our behavior, especially in difficult situations. Here are key strategies that can be utilized: follow directions, wait for your turn to speak or contribute, use the raise your hand feature, minimize distractions, and utilize chat features appropriately. The “O” stands for On-Task. Being on-task is essential for a positive learning experience. Here it is important for you to log into your google classroom and zoom class every period on time. In addition, be actively engaged in the classroom, set daily goals, make yourself visible, and have a backup plan if you get disconnected.
The “A” stands for Achievement. Here it is important to remember to complete tasks on time and to stay on top of them. Also, be prepared before you come to class by completing all of your preparation work. This means having your PAAL available, your digital notebook open, having paper near by if needed, having a pencil and/or pen, etc. Reach out to your teacher for help. If you don’t ask for help, then we don’t know that you need it! Share and collaborate with your classmates and teachers to gain understanding of the information being taught. Peer to Peer instruction has been shown to be highly effective in learning. Also, it provides emotional support to one another. Create a schedule/space to complete assignments. Make a checklist of the assignments that you must complete each day. Checking each assignment off as you go also gives you the satisfaction that you are done with that assignment and ready to move on to the next task. Lastly, write in complete sentences. Writing in complete sentences assists readers in understanding what the writer (student) wants to get across. It also can show the emotion that you are trying to portray to the reader. For example, if the question was “how did you feel when reading that passage and why” and you just wrote “sad”. That does not give us a full picture of why you felt sad or what made you sad in the passage.
The “R” stands for Respect. Ways to communicate respect virtually in the classroom are to mute your microphone when others are speaking, respect others perspectives, use kind words, and use proper text etiquette (i.e. ALL CAPS, italics, bold, sarcasm/jokes, etc.). Texting can be misunderstood in a digital space. Be cautious what you are texting in the chat box to your peers and your teachers. Words can be taken out of context and misunderstood which can lead to negative behaviors in the classroom environment. In addition, help each other during group assignments and in designated meeting rooms. Stay in you zoom class throughout the entire period. Do not leave the class at any time to engage in other conversations with students in a google chat room. Lastly, resolve conflict peacefully. Reach out to your company counselors, LTC Solache, or Mrs. Wilson if you need assistance with this.