Are you an educator? Are you struggling with teaching online?
Yes, I was too when our classes went digital almost overnight.I didn’t know anything about teaching online.
Will I be able to teach online?
What if I make a mistake?
Is this kind of teaching platform safe?
Which new challenges will I have to face?
Many such questions hovered my mind. I had spent few sleepless nights thinking about it, unless one day my school came up with various tools I needed to propel my online teaching career.
Using those tools was not very easy for me, as I was not very techno-savvy. Here my colleagues, H.O.D, Coordinator, Principal and Trustee as a team worked out ways to make these tools user friendly for me and others who faced such problems.
Those initial days of lockdown were also flooded with different webinars. When in one of my English WhatsApp group I received a link to register for one such webinar. The love of learning new things that’s what bring joy to my life. I immediately grabbed the opportunity and registered myself. I was feeling jittery at the same time as it was my first webinar. Believe me; it was all about learning.
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What does the word learning mean to you?
Learning for me is an active process which has endless opportunities.
It is well said by Rosalyn S Yalow “The excitement of learning separates youth from old age. As long as you’re learning you’re not old.”
Tell me and I forget
Teach me and I may remember
Involve me and I learn
This was written on one of the slides of that webinar. It completely changed my mind-set. The fear which was running through my mind was gone. I gained confidence which was desperately needed to start a journey of online teaching. I made up my mind, that I will not stop learning thinking about the risk of failure. I attended many such webinars after that, these webinars not only helped me make my mind-set positive but also taught me how to handle queries in online sessions, how to use chat box and many such things one must know while conducting online classes.
What are the future challenges for the educators?
A generation ago, teachers could expect that what they taught would last in their students' mind a lifetime. But today because of rapid economic and social change, we as educators have to prepare students for…
Jobs that have not yet been created.
Technologies that have not yet been invented.
Problems that we don’t yet know will arise.
How are we going to do that?
Yes, we will always have to use innovative ways of teaching, upgrade ourselves with time and technology, be swift to adapt, slow to resist and open to changes. Also, always strive to empower various 21st century skills (communication, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking etc.) in our learners so that they are ready to face future challenges.
Teaching in virtual classrooms requires a different approach. So here are some successful online teaching strategies that we as educators can apply in our own practice.
Plan interactive lesson plans. It is going to take more time and require a high level of attention to detail as you will not be able to correct mistakes.
Create a clear framework.
Try to provide resources like PDFs, PPTs, Video links to different online resources and Apps that students can always access.
You can also link students to online journals, YouTube tutorials, TED Talks, blogs, whatever you find interesting and helpful.
You can tackle the challenges step by step, keep your students updated on their progress.
Engaging and encouraging students to develop different learning strategies.
Start the session with passion, knowledge and a positive mindset.
Make sure learners talk most, especially to each other about their understanding of concepts.
Build relationship with learners through active listening.
Appreciate uniqueness of each learner.
Be a little concise with the delivery of the lesson.
When responding to classroom questions, use very simple language.
Help learners to express themselves in virtual classroom.
Constantly monitor, what learners are doing and are they producing appropriate responses.
Assessment (reflection of their understanding) is must, it could be formative or summative.
Prepare homework and reading materials accordingly to their learning styles.
If you want to know more about how students learning styles, you can always read my previous blog ‘How do children learn.’
Try to find ways to catch up with students who have missed classes.
Your students will miss the most is the human connection that is cultivated in your classroom. The little interactions you have with them in the virtual class, before and after lecture or during breaks in lessons, are irreplaceable.
See what works for your students, and enjoy the journey!
The satisfaction that you have made a difference in the life of a child and real world value is something every teacher carves for.
No one knows your own content and teaching strengths better than you so use your teaching strengths and find the approach that is right for you, your students and your educational context.
At last, I would conclude by saying that Virtual classes have given me opportunity to develop my understanding of effective online teaching practices and their relationship to the use of different technologies, so that it is beneficial for both students and educators like us!
Cherish the journey…!
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