Intervention Strategies for Students Who Are Falling Behind During Distance Learning

Intervention Strategies for Students Who Are Falling Behind During Distance Learning

COVID-19 didn’t give the world time to prepare for a pandemic, and distance learning was thrust upon us quickly. Due to this rapid change and lack of physical, mental, and emotional preparation, students may fall behind in their academics during distance learning.

Although distance learning in some fashion has been universal, we are still struggling to reap the same benefits from distance learning as from in-person learning. Change can be challenging to navigate in the best of times, and COVID-19 was not the best change agent.

We can all benefit from distance learning, but intervention strategies are often necessary to keep students from falling behind. Let’s take a look.

The Initial Challenges of Distance Learning

When COVID-19 prompted schools to transition rapidly to distance learning, many districts did not have the means to implement this learning style properly. 

Struggles included:

  • Not enough laptops or Chromebooks for all students. 
  • Families did not have consistent internet access. 
  • With parents working, there were many struggles to make sure children are cared for safely. 

It is now more than a year later, and it seems as though we can say we have survived this change, but distance learning is still here. Students are still in distance learning in many places — hybrid education, a combination of distance learning and in-class learning in others, or entirely in class in some regions. Another barrier to the educational process is that teachers are often required to teach in-class while also instructing distance learners simultaneously, putting added burden on them to perform in a complex and unprecedented setting. 

Strategies for Distance Learning Success

The good news is that we can implement strategies to achieve success while participating in distance learning. Although a year ago distance learning seemed like a futuristic concept, now that we have lived through it for some time, it is hard to envision this learning style ever going away permanently. 

Distance learning has been challenging, but it can be highly successful as a learning style with the proper strategies and preparation. 

1. Resources That Every Child Needs

The only way students can be successful is if their resources are the same for everyone. When panicked with distance learning due to COVID-19, students may have been sent home with one laptop (if they were lucky) while five students may have been in the family. 

It took a while for school districts to catch up with the technology needs. With the entire world transitioning from school and work to remote, technology needs slammed the tech industry, and it took months for supply to catch up.

Ideally, every student would be receiving their education on a level playing field with a one-to-one device, a place to work without distraction, reliable internet access, and whatever else they need. The end of the school year for 19/20 was quite tumultuous, but many of these resources were in place to start the 20/21 school year. 

2. Communication With Students, Families, and the Community

School districts and teachers need to communicate often and clearly with students and families. A simple message from the superintendent a couple of times a week reminds families and students that they are not alone and isolated. Distance learning can be lonely for students and families, so it is crucial to keep them involved as much as possible. 

3. Expectations Should Be Concise and Clear

Setting expectations is critical. Expectations should address:

  • Does the student need to be online with the teacher all day long? 
  • Is there a daily plan to follow, and the student only checks in with the teacher at certain times during the day? 
  • Does the student have any individual access to instruction, or does all teaching occur as part of the entire class? 

Students and families need to know expectations to achieve success. 

4. Assignments Should Be As Centralized As Possible

Assignments should be clear and preferably centrally located. Not all students will have the capability of transitioning from one platform to another without in-person oversight. Keep the transitions to a minimum. Ideally, there should still be a teachers’ aide to help students who need additional attention and support to make the necessary assignment transitions.

5. Social-Emotional Needs Must Be Met

The social-emotional well-being of a child has always been important. COVID-19, however, thrust students into an unknown world of learning. Students that already had emotional health issues struggled more profoundly, and some students who never experienced concerns all of a sudden did. 

Challenges in meeting the non-academic needs of these students were a priority, but it was also uncharted territory. Districts need to increase communication and touch base with these students and families more often while providing mental health support during these challenging times. 

6. Messages Must Be Consistent

Be consistent in the messages sent to students and families. If there are three elementary schools in the district, all three must be on the same page, sending the same messages to students, families, and community members. 

7. Assignments Need Flexibility

We know education is crucial and milestones met. Distance learning changes the way students need to learn, and for some students, this is less than ideal. Be flexible in the process. Set expectations and goals but still allow flexibility. For example, provide feedback for assignments and allow students the opportunity to redo the work. 

Ultimately, we want students to learn the material and if it takes a second attempt to understand it, consider the goal achieved. 

8. Provide Students With Options

Whenever possible, provide options. If you can offer the opportunity to complete an assignment on paper rather than in a Google Doc, do it. Allow students to feel they have some control over their education in a world where they may feel a complete lack of control. 

9. Access to Community Resources

Many communities have resources for students and families. Even if there are not educational community resources, there will be help that will positively impact education. We know that a hungry child doesn’t learn as well as one who has access to food. Sadly, some families are food poor, but communities have stepped up to help. 

There may be community resources for children to access their distance learning in a group environment, such as human services or recreation—small groups with in-person resources to assist with childcare and guided instruction.

Check with your town hall, recreation department, and local school districts to see what community services are available.

10. The Requirement To Meet Special Needs

Students with special needs require special consideration. Legally, districts are still required to meet students’ needs based on the Individual Education Plan (IEP). However, in a distance learning environment, modifications need to be made to meet the best possible goals. 

Perhaps the child needs an individual aide or tutor. A classroom aide can assist in a distance learning environment with pull-outs. Creative resolution and ideas are necessary for every student with an IEP.

Mighty B Learning – Striving For Academic Success

Ultimately the goal is to keep each child engaged and enjoying learning. If a child is struggling, they easily can fall into the “why should I bother” frame of mind. 

De Alba Math Center can help with electronic MATH STAAR (State of Texas Assessment for Academic Readiness) aligned resources with platforms such as Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, Schoology, Summit Learning, etc. We also offer online resources for staff development as well as consumables. 

De Alba Math can help you meet your math needs through this distance learning environment. Contact us today so we can help your students from falling behind during distance learning.


Recent Posts

What is Math Anxiety?

Do you have students who seem to freeze every time they are asked to solve a math problem? Or do they avoid math class any

Read More »

Why Choose DeAlba Math Center’s Resources?

DeAlba Math Center

Our resources are developed by Master Mathematics Teachers with many years in the classroom and are continually updated.

DeAlba Math Center

Material is updated for the current school year according to new guidelines and procedures.

DeAlba Math Center

Easy online access to all material makes it simple to use our resources from wherever you are.

DeAlba Math Center

Our resources have dramatically improved STAAR results from previous years.