The following article originally appeared in SmartBrief Education:

Photo credit: Chattahoochee Elementary

By Kate Farrell  |  January 30, 2018

Online schools offer an ideal platform for fostering meaningful one-on-one relationships. This is especially true for students who struggle with anxiety or other social disorders. These virtual environments are safe places for students to express themselves, find acceptance and develop friendships.

I teach twelfth-grade language arts classes online in live, recorded sessions. After walking through the day’s lesson, I organize small groups based on students’ needs, abilities and performance during the lesson. Here are the outcomes I’ve observed:

  1. Students like meeting with me on an individual basis. I’ve had many students tell me they appreciate the chance to ask me specific questions without fear of judgement from peers. The time we spend together without distraction is incredibly valuable. I get to know my students in a setting where they have no one to impress. As a result, the conversations we have are deeper and more personal.
  2. Students avoid judgement based on superficial factors. Many learners build relationships and friendships without having ever seen each other. One student called to tell me that a homeroom classmate reached out to her after she shared a tough story during our social-emotional learning lesson. She said this made all the difference for her and really helped to turn around her year. The two of them started a study group together, and I saw academic growth from both of them.
  3. Students…

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