Monthly Mentor

Janice Bettiga (October)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Janice is the CAEA Northern Area Past President, NAEA Supervision and Administration Pacific Regional Director, and a 2017 graduate of NAEA’s School for Art Leaders. She has more than 25 years of experience in arts education and is an advocate for the arts and arts education. Click "GO" to read her full bio.



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October 07, 2020

Consider the Social-Emotional Needs of Students During DIstance Learning

By Janice Bettiga

After a summer break of being mindful of restoring my energy and learning new ideas, techniques, and tools from both NAEA and CAEA, California Art Education Association, I was excited to start the school year and see my students.  I knew that I would be returning to either a hybrid model of learning or distance learning.  When school began in August, I started to make lesson plans that included what I learned over the summer and followed the national core art standards. During the first two weeks of the school year, I started to observe that students wanted to talk and have others listen.  I realized from the students’ comments and questions that I had to slow down to address the social-emotional learning of the students.

I started to hear from the students that learning on Zoom was exhausting, and in the afternoon, they spoke more adamantly about their exhaustion.  The students would bring up other topics during the class discussion or want to share their artwork, not only class assignments but artwork made during the summer.  They seemed to be seeking social interaction. The middle school students were expressing how Zoom and schoolwork were too much to handle.  It was apparent distance learning in the pandemic was creating new social-emotional challenges for students.  These types of comments and questions showed me that the students needed me to give them more  time to hear their concerns and an outlet to bring their voice to the surface as much as the standards of my lesson. I started to design art lessons that would give students time to share and create artwork to share their voice. I continue to look for ways to adjust my art lessons and to find new ways to meet their needs.

Here is an article on how art and music can help students with social-emotional challenges of long-distance learning and lesson examples.

    Elias, M. (August 14, 2020). Help Students Process COVID-19 Emotions With This Lesson Plan   /item/help_students_process_covid19_emotions_with_this_lesson_plan.

I read the following book in a  CAEA Book Club this summer. It is a resource on how to talk to students about social-emotional issues. 

    Hunter, A. D., Heise, D., & Johns, B. H. (2018). Art for children experiencing psychological trauma: A guide for art educators and school-based professionals. New York, NY, NY: Routledge.

- JB


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