Monthly Mentor

Natalie C. Jones (February)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Natalie C. Jones is an artist, small business owner, and the director of education at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. She has 10 years of experience working as an art teacher and teaching artist throughout the east coast and the Midwest. 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


Greta Kelley

Very true and accurate observations about the way that virtual learning has affected students and their learning. I appreciate the discussion of the problem and also the solutions offered.

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