Facial Masks and Student Engagement in Early Childhood and Exceptional Student Education Classrooms
The authors of this paper examine whether wearing masking affects student engagement in both early childhood education (ECE) and education of students with exceptionalities (ESE). COVID-19 greatly impacted education as schools moved to a virtual format and instruction was split between in person and virtual modes. The authors discuss the specific impacts on individuals with exceptionalities such as inability see visual language cues and social and emotional components of language. Additionally, the use of masks greatly impacted behavior and social and emotional engagement in the classroom as well as interfering with lipreading and literacy. The use of transparent masks and their reduction of barriers is discussed. Finally, the authors suggest opportunities for future research, such as the impacts of different face masks with or without a remote microphone.
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