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Tackling the ongoing uncertainty of remote and blended learning has taken a toll on everyone who has suddenly had to adjust and navigate this new landscape. 

Thankfully, the IB community offers a rich and supportive network of dedicated people working to find creative solutions to overcome the current educational challenges. Here are some helpful tips for entering the New Year with a positive and confident attitude towards learning. 

Take it one day at a time

Flexibility and adaptability are cornerstones of what the IBDP Core seeks to instill in students, and they are proving to be essential skills now more than ever. As an ambitious young person or dedicated educator, it can be tough to accept that certain opportunities or experiences simply cannot take place at the moment. 

Nevertheless, it is critical to stay grounded in the present and make the most of each day. Focus on the positive and congratulate yourself for having done so well thus far adapting to remote learning’s psychological and practical challenges. Stay attuned to your wellbeing, and remember that this is a chance to grow in experience, determination, and character. 

Also, take advantage of resources like the Coronavirus anxiety support, built by Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry, to remind yourself that your feelings are normal and you are not alone. 

Communicate personal challenges with the school 

Despite the unprecedented collectiveness of what the world is currently experiencing, each individual will have their own obstacles and challenges related to the pandemic. If there are circumstances beyond your control that are impacting your ability to participate fully in online or in-person learning, do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help. 

Staying safe, healthy, and connected are the top priorities. Your teachers, support staff, and colleagues are there to help you find solutions and adjust to the social and educational obstacles we are all facing. 

Provide and ask for clear instructions and expectations 

Particularly at this moment, it is necessary to keep learning plans straightforward and easy to follow. As a teacher or student, you have the right to receive clear learning expectations that directly address the requirements regardless of whether classes are happening remotely, in person, or in a blended capacity. 

Do your part by familiarizing yourself with any strategies, communication techniques, devices, solutions, and policies put forth by your school but do not hesitate to ask questions if you are unclear regarding any learning plans or objectives. 

Set yourself up for success

Cautious optimism is a phrase many experts are using to characterize their feelings about the state of the pandemic. As the sentiment implies, there is plenty to feel hopeful about, but it is essential not to get ahead of ourselves. 

As we venture into 2021, it is wise to set goals and objectives that are achievable regardless of how quickly education can go back to “normal.” Focus on things like online initiatives, virtual conferences, and digital meetups so that you will have upcoming events to look forward to, irrespective of in-person engagements. 

Non-profit groups, like Aperture Education, have also provided free access to social and emotional learning resources and training that can help you continue growing while keeping an eye on goals and aspirations you have for the future. 

Explore the world virtually 

Remember that an education rooted in global mindedness and authentic learning experiences can still exist in the context of social distancing and travel restrictions. Even when it is not possible to physically discover new places and cultures, there are many avenues for virtual exploration that can support the language development, Service Learning opportunities, and personal and professional skills integral to the IBDP experience. 

Take advantage of the many museums providing free virtual tours, or use a language exchange site to expand your knowledge and make connections in another part of the world. 

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