Discipline in distance learning, how teachers keep students on task

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Keeping students engaged isn't easy during distance learning.

Clovis Unified teacher Matt Filippi says keeping his students focused can be challenging.

"Keeping active engagement is very difficult," said Filippi. "There's a lot of distractions at home."

With 16 students connecting from home, keeping them engaged takes commitment.

"I'm not afraid to call home if a student isn't engaged," added Filippi. "I've muted myself and called a parent in the middle of zoom to get students engaged."

Like his fellow teachers, he's finding ways to bridge the gap.

"I ask them to turn on video," said Filippi. "I've pulled kids into a breakout room to talk to them personally, that way they're not embarrassed or called out."

"You do have to try and keep their attention," said Clovis Unified teacher Stephani Tannded-Macias. "Just repeating a lot, making sure you're calling on students to get their attention as well."

Fresno Unified teachers say they face the same struggle.

"Our younger students, it can be hard to hold their attention and hard to engage," Ambra O'Connor with FUSD's Department of Prevention and Intervention. "Students who may not be in a place where they keep their camera on comfortably, many of our students reside in hotels, or have spaces where there's multiple siblings all in class."

If kids don't listen, teachers take action to the next level.

"For students who habitually aren't participating, that's when teachers are reaching out and often admins to let them know," said O'Connor.

They say a call home is often what's needed

"Sometimes parents aren't aware it may look like the students engaging, maybe they're distracted or have another screen on," added O'Connor.

Staff we spoke to say often a check in is all that's needed.

"What's going on today? For some kids, there's stuff in their life and it's just a bad day," said Filippi.
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