As the COVID-19 pandemic moves into its second year, experts are expressing concerns about the long-term effects that remote learning are having on the ability of young students to achieve optimal academic results. There is an emotional and social toll as well. Students who learn exclusively at home without a classroom component are missing out on the in-person connections with teachers and other students that make traditional schooling so worthwhile. Parents, too, are suffering from stress and anxiety as they strive to help students maximize their learning experiences via computer screen.
Teachers can play an important role in relieving the stress, anxiety, and social isolation of remote learning by helping students and their parents strive for a more optimistic outlook of the online learning experience. There is scientific evidence to suggest that such an outlook can have a positive impact on learning. Neuroscientists recently discovered that optimism is associated with brain pathways connecting the left prefrontal region to the amygdala. Further research has demonstrated that optimism, traditionally considered to be an unchangeable trait, is a way of thinking that can be learned and enhanced.