Social and Emotional Support in Online Learning

support---blog

Are there opportunities for socializing in online learning? 

The critics of homeschooling argue that homeschooled students are socially delayed due to an inability to physically meet with other students; however, modern-day online homeschooling allows students to socialize face-to-face via video group sessions1. There are also numerous socializing opportunities available to students through sports, church, and extracurricular peer-to-peer opportunities within their own communities. 

How does online education support social-emotional learning? 

In online learning, students show increased engagement as parents and teachers are more involved in the student’s education. The research of social and emotional learning found that online educators who incorporated character education and social-emotional learning in the curriculum saw a positive effect on students’ achievement in school2

Overall, social and emotional learning occurs when students have an opportunity to develop the emotional intelligence and social skills necessary to succeed in life3. The amount of influence teachers have over their students cannot be overstated as teachers have a shared responsibility with parents to nurture positive change in their students’ academic mindsets by creating a place of psychological safety. 

In order to cultivate learning, students need to feel safe to ask questions, raise concerns or present ideas4. It’s important for all caretakers to give unconditional love to the children, the lack of which being one of the largest problems in society. In parenting research, such unconditional love is necessary for children if they are to look to their parents for influence, as parental influence should outweigh peer influence5

Research also has found that mindsets can be malleable and that the belief that one can or can’t grow in a particular area either allows a student to learn from mistakes or prevents the brain from storing the information to be learned. Having a growth mindset is what’s necessary to inspire a sufficient level of effort and perseverance for a student’s competence and abilities to grow. To develop a growth mindset, it’s important to reinforce effort, not capability6

For example, telling a student that they are smart may be counterproductive when a challenging concept arises and they feel incapable rather than smart. That’s why it’s important to say phrases such as “the level of effort you put into that project is amazing.” This is important not only for teachers, but also parents as they are integral in reinforcing this principle and need to balance negative reinforcement with positive reinforcement in a regular and consistent fashion while remaining adaptable, showing grace, and modeling the appropriate behaviors so children have an appropriate benchmark for success. 

This helps students learn to manage their emotions by example. Emotional intelligence has been shown to be positively correlated with academic achievement7. Having a mastery-based online curriculum is a viable path for students to have a safe space to work at a pace comfortable to them, without the distraction of excessively comparing themselves to peers. In this way, students can have the time needed to build confidence in their skills. 

Research notes that online schools are more responsive to children’s needs compared to traditional schools8 and that homeschool students often engage with a more diverse social sphere than their peers in brick-and-mortar schools, leading to a more well-rounded social development9. By providing a space of belonging, compassion, and meaning, Christian schools play an important role at a time when many are searching for a “space of grace.”10 Without this space of grace, students can find themselves stuck in a fight-or-flight mindset where they are not able to process the world around them rationally. 

What does Enlightium Academy do to support student’s social-emotional support? 

When a student is enrolled at Enlightium, the parents are provided with the power to make decisions about the communities and social spheres in which their child interacts. The dissertation recently completed by Enlightium’s founder discovered that what parents find the most appealing is seeing spiritual growth in their children. It ranked higher than their academic success. Enlightium Academy promotes the development of character and social-emotional learning skills through its curriculum and online activities: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. 

Enlightium Academy also provides a variety of student activities for students’ socialization, such as:

  • Bible Studies
  • Book Clubs
  • Illustration Contests
  • Math Olympics
  • Student Council
  • Pen Pals
  • Spelling Bee

One Enlightium parent shared that their daughter begged them to enroll her at Enlightium Academy. She stated, “Our daughter asked to go to your school. She is a strong introvert who prefers to separate academics and social activities” (Parent of a 10th-grade student, Colorado). Another parent said, “I liked the fact that there are Bible studies, interaction through social media platforms, and great communication with families” (Parent of an 11th-grade student, Maryland). A third parent said, “I appreciated the ability to work ahead for our family to have flexibility when traveling for swim competitions and/or vacations” (Parent of a 6th-grade student, Minnesota).

Are you curious to learn more about how Enlightium partners with parents to promote the student’s academic and emotional development? Visit us at EnlightiumAcademy.com, call (866) 488-4818 option 2, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions your family may have about what homeschooling at Enlightium entails.

 

Resources:

  1. Davis, A. (2011). Evolution of homeschooling. Distance Learning, 8(2), 29-35.
  2. Nolan, A. W. (2016). The social and emotional learning and character education of K-12 online students: Teacher perspective. (Doctoral dissertation). ProQuest 10144133.
  3. Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students' social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405-432. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01564.x
  4. Edmonson, A. (1999). Psychological Safety and Learning Behavior in Work Teams. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2307/2666999
  5. Mate, G. & Neufeld, G. (2006). Hold On to Your Kids. Retrieved from: https://drgabormate.com/book/hold-on-to-your-kids/
  6. Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Random House. 
  7. Chamundeswari, S. (2013). Emotional Intelligence and Academic Achievement among Students at the Higher Secondary Level, Retrieved from https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.686.4558&rep=rep1&type=pdf
  8. Rabovsky, T. (2011). Deconstructing school choice: Problem schools or problem students? Public Administration Review; Public Adm.Rev., 71(1), 87-95. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6210.2010.02309.x
  9. Chamundeswari, S. (2013). Emotional Intelligence and Academic Achievement among Students at the Higher Secondary Level, Retrieved from https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.686.4558&rep=rep1&type=pdf
  10. Casangrande, M. (2020). Cardus Education Survey (CRS) and well-being. ACSI Research in Brief, 1(2), 12-14. Colorado Springs, CO.
Is it really true that you get what you pay for?
Homeschooling and Social Engagement