School leaders are being urged to help teachers achieve the correct “pitch” in emails to pupils during home learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Association of School and College Leaders says that, in emails, teachers lack the “non-verbal cues” that pupils are accustomed to, and, therefore, staff should be careful about the "volume and tone".
The union's guidance to headteachers on leading learning during school closures states: “What a teacher intends to be a well-meant motivational email expressing their concern about a pupils’ missing work submission might be viewed by the receiver as unsympathetic.
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“Leaders can help to ensure communication from staff is pitched right in terms of volume and tone."
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The guidance also states that pupils and teachers will not be as productive in the current environment and urges headteachers to have expectations that are “realistic and sensitive to the situation".
It states: “What can be achieved may vary over time, depending how the impact of the virus unfolds, but it is important to recognise that the normal curriculum cannot be followed in the usual way.
"We can’t expect parents to ‘home-school’ children but we can try to give activities, guidance and support that will help everyone to do the best they can within the situation as it unfolds.
"It may be that, particularly in the early stages, ‘less is more’ and that we need to be mindful not to overload pupils, parents and teachers. Leaders will need to communicate this message effectively to teachers and middle leaders too so that all staff are aware of the need to be sensitive to the context pupils are working in.”