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How to build social skills in an online environment

How to build social skills in an online environment
Gillian Hughes

Distanced learning needn’t mean disconnection. In fact, Online Harrovians report that they experience quite the opposite: all are part of the Harrow community, and connect socially to share ideas, conversations and culture across the globe.

We recommend that students open themselves to the possibilities of remote learning at the outset:

·       Signing up to any educational opportunity from our programme that appeals to them

·       Making time to participate in school social experiences

·       Testing their capabilities with the support of our highly-trained staff

·       Building lasting friendships with like-minded students all over the world

·       Honing their confidence for a highly-connected future beyond school

While self-led organisation is a vital skill for each Online Harrovian, learning how to form close connections is also crucial. They may be geographically divided, but students in our person-centric curriculum come together every time they join a group class with their teacher. Supported by cutting-edge systems that facilitate interactivity, lifelong bonds of friendship can be quickly forged – and enabled to thrive. 

Our teachers lead personal interactions through learning portals, creating space for lively group participation, establishing virtual breakout rooms, and fostering close teamwork and collaboration. Within the virtual classroom, participation is open to every student. And, unlike many traditional non-remote formats, in the online school everyone’s progress receives equal attention. No student goes unnoticed, or unseen.

Outside of lessons, secure messaging boards offer space for students to express their thoughts, problem-solve, and seek peer or teacher support. Elsewhere, dedicated staff – such as the student Success Coach – commit to forming dependable bonds with students and their families.

The set-up is brilliant training for what’s to come at university and beyond: a carefully tailored mix of one-to-one interactions, collective debates and autonomous expression, with quiet time for them to progress through coursework at a pace appropriate to them.

Our offering also boasts a wide range of extra-curricular activities. Whether students are curious about coding, eager to write for the school newspaper, or gearing up to conquer the world through chess, there will be the right club for them. And, for anyone who feels the itch to establish a new online social club, there is full support from staff to take the initiative.

At this watershed moment in time, online schools have an unprecedented power to match our fast-paced world of international living, showing students how to expand their networks across the globe while also making exceptional educational progress in their studies. Modelling flexibility, cross-cultural links, dynamism and social skills, the programme provides the step-up they need to start building the brightest of futures.

Boy playing chess