Barriers to learning come in all shapes and sizes. However, the challenge of helping students with social anxiety remains one of the most common for both teachers and parents. Anxiety of any kind is real, and it is genuinely oppressing for the sufferer. Anything we can do as educators to ease that burden on our learners goes a long way towards helping them learn and interact better than ever before.
Many proponents of the continuing innovations happening in education believe that online or remote learning is the answer. But why? What is it about this type of teaching and learning that stands above the rest for helping students with social anxiety?
All we can tell you for sure is that Wabisabi Academy, our online learning platform, has done precisely that. We have worked hard to provide students and teachers with a safe, compassionate, and highly personalised online environment for all their educational needs. As such, there are many reasons why it's perfect for kids suffering from social anxiety in regular school environments.
We'll discuss those advantages below. First, however, let's learn a little more about social anxiety and why it's so common among our students.
What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety ranges from discomfort or apprehension with interactive situations, to full-blown social paralysis, fear, and ultimately avoidance. According to experts, its underlying causes could include issues such as low self-esteem, subconscious shame or guilt, and even genetics and one's environment or upbringing. Whatever the reasons, it can be crippling to a students' capacity for experiencing enjoyable, meaningful learning.
When they join an online learning hub like the Wabisabi Academy, things change dramatically for such children. The worries of needing to "keep pace" or "fit in" that comes with traditionally structured classrooms disappear. Gone is the necessity to adapt oneself to the learning preferences and paces of others for fear of being left behind. Instead, what transpires is a completely customised learning experience for the individual.
Learning is, after all, a highly personal thing. Kids who suffer from social anxiety, regardless of the pain and fear they live with every day, still show up. They choose to brave the often harsh mental and emotional elements of school, hoping for a glimpse of light within that daily darkness. More and more, switching to online learning is becoming the perfect way to make it happen.
How Learning Happens
The fact is, learning doesn't happen in schools. It isn't the result of the presence of a physical brick-and-mortar building or institution. Ultimately, learning occurs in both the mind and the heart of the learner, which means it can happen anywhere. And it should; for the modern learner, the entire world is now their classroom.
Genuinely authentic learning—the learning that sticks—can not be forced.
Online learning brings the world to your students in a way that traditional classrooms can't. It's a safe and enjoyable way to ease into social connections that help eliminate the effects of anxiety. Students can learn in the ways that best suit them, and at a speed that is both manageable and beneficial. Best of all, students connect to a multitude of educational journeys through the Internet. Such learning routes can include conducting research projects, taking virtual group field trips, or simply chatting with students across the globe.
The Benefits of Online Learning for Social Anxiety
How online learning works for helping students with social anxiety is hard to sum up. However, these are some of the most significant advantages it presents.
Students can progress at their own pace. An individualised online learning experience means a student has more say in where, when, and how they learn. This also includes the speed at which learning happens for them, which varies significantly from learner to learner. With the Wabisabi Academy, students set their own pace and learn on their own time. The absence of potentially unrealistic expectations for when learning should happen plays a big part in lifting social anxiety for students.
Teachers can be available for private one-on-one sessions. With online learning comes the freedom to sidestep another big social anxiety trigger for students, which is having to speak or ask questions in front of classmates. An online tutor, like the master teacher advisors at the Wabisabi Academy, can schedule private sessions with learners anytime. Students can always get academic advisors for individual support. They can also answer questions by email—another convenient way for social anxiety sufferers to receive instruction.
Interactions can be less stressful with virtual platforms. Part of social anxiety has to do with physical proximity. As a result, face-to-face interactions can seem dangerous and unpredictable to sufferers of social anxiety. In a virtual classroom, a facilitator can have much more beneficial control over how students interact. Practising these kinds of healthy connections can be vital in easing the burden of social anxiety.
Learning occurs in both the mind and the heart of the learner, which means it can happen anywhere.
Personalised learning experiences can ease anxiety. Another cause of social anxiety for students is having to deal with the fact that they learn differently than others. In a traditional classroom where the mould is set for learning, it's often a case of either do or die. With remote or virtual learning, especially with Wabisabi Academy, a learner doesn't face that same pressure. Through portfolio-based education and compassionate guidance from a master advisor, they're free to learn in their own way and excel at a comfortable pace.
Online learning is flexible. This is one of the most appealing things about it. After all, genuinely authentic learning—the learning that sticks—can not be forced. It has to happen naturally, at a time when the student is ready. The flexibility online learning domains like Wabisabi Academy provides is invaluable to the occurrence of truly meaningful learning. When a student who suffers from social anxiety has the pressures of conformity removed and replaced with freedom to let learning happen as it was meant to, barriers to both learning and interacting with others dissolve over time.
Experience the Magic
Social anxiety is a reality for many students, but they need not continue to let it obstruct their path to genuine learning. We can give them back the classroom using spaces like the ones you'll find in Wabisabi Academy. It's a global network of micro-schools built on the world's first flexible education platform and aligned to national curriculum standards.
The innovative framework delivers a higher quality learning experience at a lower cost and is available anywhere. For families, this is a solution to meaningful learning for today and the future. We leverage the promise of technology to build a community, and to create, enhance and deepen meaningful connections between people.
If you know or have a child who suffers from social anxiety that hampers their learning, then we invite you to explore the Wabisabi Academy. It may just be the answer you need.