Teaching Persona Life Skills remotely
Secondary students benefit from a fun, safe online space to practise and develop much-needed social and emotional life skills.
By Dr Leila Khouja Walker, Chief Product Officer
Blended learning will become more normal
A roadmap out of lockdown in the UK is not expected until towards the end of February, and it seems likely most secondary students will learn remotely online for weeks or months after that. Even when schools do re-open, the sea change in teaching and learning caused by Covid-19 means a blended learning approach is now much more likely to be a normal part of being ‘at school’ for many.
Persona Life Skills – the personality insights e-learning platform from Persona Education – can be taught as effectively in remote learning as in the classroom, synchronously, semi-synchronously or asynchronously.
E-learning digital scenarios
The digitally played scenarios built into Persona Life Skills are one way of compensating for the lack of ‘real life’ most students are currently enduring. And setting these in a specific context – social, learning or even workplace – means life skills start to become more relevant and meaningful.
Social context example
In this scenario, what you would say to your friend who has got into an argument, in order to reduce any conflict, while managing your own feelings?
Learning context example
Which scenario do you find most challenging when preparing for exams?
A typical Persona Life Skills remote learning lesson
Ready to learn
The teacher shows the ‘Map’ learning objectives screen and poses a question. They might simply ask a question that helps to introduce the concept of personality insights:
- If someone described you as an animal, which animal would they choose and why?
- If your best friend described you in three words, what words would they choose?
Whole class engagement – Wait game
The teacher asks students to write their answer in chat but not press send until asked. This helps to ensure all students respond, and not wait for others to answer first so their answers can be copied.
Whole class engagement – Pre-call
Students are prepared for what the teacher is going to ask, once they have been started on a task. For example, two or three students are informed that they will be asked to share their answers, or even screens – which works well with drag and drop exercises like the one below – at the end of the allotted time.
Whole class engagement – Bunched
Students are given a chance to prepare answers by being told the order in which the teacher will be asking them to share their thoughts. Most video-conference software now has the capability of break-out rooms. These are a perfect way to get students working in smaller groups on a section of a learning module, before bringing them all back together to share their progress.
Using a semi-synchronous approach works well where independent learning is expected to be beneficial, as well as reducing whole class screen time. Synchronous teaching should be used more for raising student confidence, sustaining relationships and securing commitment to learn. Where possible, all other activities should be asynchronous.
For example, any of the Island modules in Persona Life Skills can be set up by the teacher as a whole group...
...then allow students to work independently to complete an agreed set of activities…
...before returning as a whole group on a video call, to reflect and discuss learning outcomes.
Setting time limits for the independent work is a powerful learning management tool.
The 'Manage Islands' capability within Persona Life Skills allows teachers to unlock specific learning modules – known as Islands in Persona parlance – so students who are making faster progress can move on to a new topic without having to wait for others in the group to catch up.
In remote asynchronous learning, the teacher can unlock Islands for individual students who are ready to move on. In synchronous or semi-synchronous learning, the teacher can unlock Islands for an entire group such as a PSHE class or form group, with a single click of the mouse.
Individual student progress is recorded by the platform, so the teacher can always see how far any student or group has progressed, and even take a look at the answers they have entered and their interactive activities.
Persona Education offers free access to its Persona Life Skills e-learning platform for secondary schools and colleges interested in developing their pupils’ social & emotional life skills, to boost wellbeing and employability.