As families across the globe open books and laptops for a new journey in remote learning, virtual education expert Roberta Lenger Kang, Director of TC's Center for the Professional Education of Teachers (CPET), joined television station NY1 to answer questions from parents to make the transition easier.

CPET is a teacher support organization that aims to bridge gaps between education theory, research, policy and practice. Established in 2002, CPET holds an extensive track record of helping educators in particularly demanding circumstances, including on Riker’s Island and in other special needs situations.

Advice from Lenger Kang’s discussion includes:

Offering kids rewards will be more effective than punishment 

Worried about your students or children playing video games during lessons? Lenger Kang says that while students becoming distracted is always an obstacle, parents and teachers can encourage focus by offering small rewards for completed work, as well as enforcing the “one tab on the computer” rule.

Leveraging creative solutions can help when teaching multiple kids.

For parents with more than one child at different levels, keeping learning on track can present additional challenges. Lenger Kang suggests that older children may be able to help their younger peers with their schoolwork. “Teaching is one of the best ways to learn something.” Additionally, location changes based on subject can also help keep students focused amid other distractions.

Feel free to ask for special education support.

As New York City works out the details of remote learning, parents should feel welcome to reach out to their child’s special education teachers to discuss at-home strategies for learning. Video chat meetings, phone conversations and more could be possibilities. “These are opportunities for our children to stay in touch with the caregivers they have, their teachers and their therapists.”

Age-appropriate honesty can help this transition.

“We want to make sure we’re giving them enough information, but not so much as to create a lot of anxiety and/or fear,” says Lenger Kang, who described the different conversations Lenger Kang has facilitated with her 7-year-old versus her 13-year-old.

Interested in hearing more community questions and answers from Lenger Kang? NY1’s full segment is available to watch here:

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker to whom they are attributed. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the faculty, administration, staff or Trustees either of Teachers College or of Columbia University.