“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery”
- Mark van Doren
With the changing times, technology is also changing expeditiously in each aspect of our daily living: business, entertainment, finance, communication, and education. ‘Smart Classes’ isn’t a short-term aberration given by COVID-19.
Till now, maybe you have delivered a few online classes and now you want to make it more effective and productive. So this article is helpful for teachers with little experience in the online teaching environment.
It may be clear to you what you are going to deliver but not to the students. Especially in the large lessons, it’s hard for the students to recall where you left the lesson in last class or they might get distracted because their family members are talking in the next room. It becomes more difficult to focus on the topic by just being in a different location than the speaker. So, orient the class by starting with the outline and bullet points of the lecture you are going to teach. You can deliver this all at the moment or you can also send it before the class by email.
Remember to take the pauses while teaching. It allows students to process things, think about them, and compare them with the other topics. During the class conduct polls or pose questions. To make everyone actively participate, ask students to pose questions in chat or ask them to explain the topic to others.
A must-do thing in online classes is repeating each main concept at least 2 or 3 times. Repeating your concepts a few times in a slightly different way makes it much more effective and understandable. It restrains not only the low focus and concentration issues but also issues of unstable networks.
Students often miss some words or phrases because of bad networks so by repeating yourself you can maintain the thread of concepts of the entire class.
A major challenge in online classes is the lack of ability to focus during the whole period of class, after all, attention spans are limited. Help your students with it. For each week, provide the assignments that students must complete. Make sure everyone understands your directions. Remind them of due dates for activities and assignments. Make sure each class session is purposeful and also, organize each class session around shorter sequences.
Tell students about yourself what you think and how you teach. Ask students to share their expectations, their areas of interest, and their stories.
You can also take an anonymous survey which can provide many insights into your student’s current circumstances.
Not all students have equal access to technology, high-speed Internet connections, or distraction-free study space. Be mindful of the challenges students face, recognizing those students. Some need academic support, others technology assistance. You can encourage them. You can always reach out to a student whenever you think a student is falling behind.
Try to find a plane wall for your background or a background with a simple desk or books. A quiet private place where you do not get any distraction is always best.
Dress like you are going to work. Represent yourself professionally even though you are in your bedroom. This may seem obvious but often it’s not done.
We are undergoing a digital pivot that is changing the approach of educators. Teachers are now challenged to show their vibrancy like the physical classes. But with a little practice, I believe we can bring the quality of online classes close to the physical classes.
To teach is to learn twice over.
– Joseph Joubert