capital | New Teams features help improve wellbeing in the classroom

Reflection can help students expand their emotional vocabulary, better identify and deal with their feelings, and deepen empathy with their peers.

2022-09-03

agencies

Listening and empathizing with students through ongoing dialogue is vital to their current and future success. With the right tools, teachers can foster an environment in which students feel heard and help them manage their emotional well-being.

That’s why we’re excited to tell you about new features in Microsoft Teams that help teachers understand student needs and encourage greater communication in the classroom.

Thinking helps students develop their emotional skills

Reflect, a Microsoft Teams feature, can help students expand their emotional vocabulary, better recognize and deal with their emotions, and deepen empathy with their peers. It does this in part by providing regular opportunities for students to participate and express their opinions.

Reflection also benefits teachers by providing valuable feedback and helping to build a healthy classroom community that makes social and emotional learning routine. Research has shown that explicit teaching of social and emotional skills improves students’ academic and behavioral performance and has positive lifelong effects.

At Microsoft, we know that self-awareness and self-management are critical skills for lifelong learning, so Reflect provides opportunities for students to reflect on their learning. This helps teachers better understand how students receive their curriculum and work with them to increase agency in their learning. The benefit is to help students develop a growth mindset by honestly evaluating their efforts, motivation, and progress.

Reflect also provides a safe space for students to practice asking for help in areas where they feel challenged. Students can sign in with emojis and characters, allowing them to express themselves and develop emotional awareness. Only teachers can see their students’ reflections, so you never have to worry about privacy. Shared vision, another part of Reflection, allows students to build empathy for others by watching the feelings of monsters that their classmates share (monsters are personal representations of a person’s feelings).

Reflect also allows teachers to create custom questions for records and see improved data visualizations from past records in Teams and Class Notebook. And with the OneNote Class Notebook toolbar, teachers can easily insert a learning reflection survey placed in the context of a Class Notebook page. They can be used as quick and easy before and after assessments, or as ‘exit notes’ to help enrich the next lesson.

Use inversion to improve your SEL routine

Here are some quick ideas on how to use Reflect to improve your existing SEL routine or start a new SEL routine:

Communicate individually with students who are experiencing a pattern of difficult emotions.

Lead conversations about the new emotional vocabulary Reflect introduces to students. For example: Why is the word “excited” different from “motivated”? Or why is it important to be able to express yourself?

Discuss empathy with students through questions such as: Have you noticed that there are others in the class who are also in the same range of feelings today? Have you noticed people with a different experience than you? Why might they feel different?

Do some self-reflection on your own. What responses, feelings, and challenges do you have the ability to influence through your teaching methods?

Expand your social-emotional learning or introduce Feeling Monster with the ready-to-play games and activities at Kahoot! and face.

Print the PowerPoint Feeling Monster poster.

Learn how to create your own SEL routine with Reflect today.

The new home page provides a place to connect

We’ve heard feedback from teachers and students who use Microsoft Teams, and one thing is clear: Teachers are looking for one place to keep track of everything. So we’re excited to introduce the new home feature that’s rolling out this week to all teams in the class in time to go back to school!

The home page provides a central location for the latest announcements, pinned class resources, upcoming assignments, recently edited class files, and much more. It will be included automatically for all groups that use Teams.

To get started, teachers simply select the home page to start them off. Teams will pull out any tasks, virtual class meetings, or files you’ve already started adding. The rest can be customized using Edit Before Publishing. Add fun pictures, extra sections, or background information about you and your class.

Only teachers can make changes to the class home page, so you can control what is shared. And since everything is customizable, they can configure it to their liking before accepting students into Teams at the beginning of the school year.

We’re excited to introduce this new feature to you and your students, and we look forward to seeing how you can use the home pages for each of your classes.

Create and review assignments on iPad and Android tablets

In the past, teachers could create and review reading progress assignments in Teams using a desktop computer, Mac, and web browser, but not an iPad or Android tablet. We fixed this to make sure everyone has access no matter what type of device they have. Teams now supports task creation and review on these two mobile platforms.

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