Teaching from home has become a new normal, and more so after the outbreak of COVID-19, which has forced schools and universities to shut down to contain the spread of the virus.
While some teachers may find no problem shifting to new normal, there could be many who find hard to adapt the new change and struggle to support their students in their learning process. We bring you here a compiled list of tips to help you teach your students from home amid this pandemic.
Set up a learning management system
To carry out teaching from home, the first and most important thing to do is set up a learning management system for the students and parents. This can be a district-provided LMS like Canvas, Google Classrooms, Blackboard, Moodle, or it can be a self-created class website.
You need to maintain a single digital platform where you can update all the information for your students and parents. The updates may include such as week’s schedule of assignments, instructions for completing and submitting work, reminders, teacher contact information and availability etc. In addition, one can also use Classpager, Remind101, ClassParrot, or WhatsApp group to update information or send quick reminders to the students in the form of text messages.
Establish daily schedules
Remote learning system is different from real-life schooling system. Teachers should set up a proper daily schedule/routine and keep students updated about it in order to avoid any confusion between them and the students. Whether the schedule is all academics or barely an interaction, it should be clear when both teachers and students need to be logged on. Having a proper daily schedule is necessary especially for families who have more than one child and share only one device. Most schools choose two check-in times – a morning meeting and an afternoon check-in – allowing families flexibility about how they organize the at-home school schedule.
Plan your classes
Since students are at home, somehow free, maintaining discipline is a big challenge for them. Many will find hard to cope with the routine; some will be late, others will miss the class, etc. Therefore, it is essential to have a proper lesson plan prepared well in advance. Teachers need to make sure to have the syllabus or study materials updated clearly before the commencement of the class. This will help students understand what they will learn, keep them informed all the necessary materials, and help them take it more seriously to their learning.
Record lesson plans
Recording the lessons and sharing them with students is one of the simplest ways for any teacher to teach students from home. Teachers can record a video of themselves delivering a lesson and then share it with the students via URL or an email attachment. A recorded lesson creates the opportunity to maintain the “presence” and engage the students as in the classroom. Also, students can play the video repeatedly to understand the concept or review the lessons taught.
Some options and tools to record lesson plans include voiceover and recording functions in multimedia presentation software, screen and video recording tools like Loom, Screencast-o-Matic, record functions in web-conferencing applications like Adobe Connect or Zoom, smartphone video or computer webcam recording, etc.
Innovate and stimulate discussions
As stated above, online classroom is different from a traditional classroom. Unlike in real-life classroom, online classroom lacks physical interaction and communications between teachers and students. So teachers need to open up space and initiate discussions for students to participate in the learning process. This can help go a long way in terms of how students feel in the class. Teachers should encourage participation, much like they would in real-life classroom. This will lead to student involvement and make the learning more interesting.
Provide individualized support and feedback
There are many students who need additional support or help from teacher, either because they are slow learner or have certain learning issues. In traditional classroom, such students can directly ask questions on teachers to clear their doubts or understand the concept. However, such students may find it impossible or difficult to in the remote learning system. In such cases, teachers can call students who need additional support and provide them personalized, targeted instruction over the phone or through web conferencing. They can ask students the method that they find it easy to learn, the activities that help them understand better, their interests and learning preferences, the subject they find most challenging, etc.
Teachers can also ask students content-based questions to assess their understanding of the lessons, work through problems or reason together with the student to learn their issues to come up with better planning in next class.
Provide enriching opportunities
Intense learning for long hours makes students lose interest or excitement to learn. To keep them engaged, teachers can provide certain virtual enriching opportunities or activities like puzzles, games, science experiments, etc. They can also consider encouraging students to move around and be active. To provide such opportunities, teachers can refer platforms like Enchanted Learning, World Book for Kids, Brainpop, Everyday Mysteries, GoNoodle, and Science Bob, etc.
Assess and provide self-assessment opportunities
Teachers can send assessments to students via email attachment to be completed and emailed back. They can make use of online assessment tools such as Google Forms, Kahoot, and Quizlet. Teachers also can provide self-assessment opportunities to students themselves by asking them to reflect on their learning and performance, set goals, and create action plans.
The sudden transition from traditional teaching to online teaching is a tough thing to do, especially for traditional teachers. Hope the above tips will help many such teachers out there.