How to Teach in an Isolated Environment at home

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The schools around the world have been closed in the wake of the corona virus pandemic. As a result, the teachers are suddenly faced with the challenge of how to continue their students’ education. While this might seem a daunting task, there are many ways for the teachers to teach their students using technologies. And the resources are available to support online learning. Since this is a modern age with many modern technologies, those online learning can support a quality education.

But it is very important to notice that all the apples are not the same size. People have different abilities and some have some disabilities. So, it is very important for the tutors to teach their pupils according to their absorbability. Some ever can have disabilities. If their pupils are of those types, it is very important for tutors to prepare effectively to teach their disable students.

According to the Washing Post, the past five years have seen a significant growth in the shift to online education for reasons such as easier access and general flexibility. This growth opens up new avenues of income and career advancement for teachers like yourself. Shifting from classroom teaching to online teaching is an adjustment, no doubt, but with a little research and practice, you too can gain the flexibility and easy access that the students themselves are searching for.

 

Having a Plan

Your students are not in front of you as they were in your traditional classes. They are in front of your screen, but not physically. Some students may live in different countries. So, they may be in a different time zone. Gone are the days where “just winging it” will cut it. So, having a plan would definitely help you to teach an online classroom environment. Students learning online are different. Their requirements are different from their physical counterparts. So, you need to have your teaching syllabus and materials laid out clearly before class starts. This will give the students an opportunity to see if your classroom (the deadlines, materials, and other requirements) can fit into their lives.

Laying out new syllabus before your class would definitely help you in your online class. Since teaching online is different from teaching physically, you and also your students may not go well immediately. So, to reduce your inconvenience in your teaching, not only you but also your students need to prepare. So, this will definitely help you in your teaching.

Clarity

When you teach online, you should draw on your full array of communication skills to ensure your students get the message: Explaining, guiding, illustrating, demonstrating, asking and answering questions. When you do the transition to online teaching, you need to find a way to support the learning progress of your students even though you are not there in person. In doing so, whenever you give assignments, be sure to provide clearly worded instructions.

Channeling a more conversational style even in written assignment descriptions or uploading a brief explainer – video will increase clarity. Rather than overwhelm students with overly detailed instructions, you should attempt to strike the balance between thorough and digestible information. Be transparent and explicit. Providing any relevant links with unambiguous designations is helpful. You should also use examples to avoid misunderstandings and make sure you give your students the opportunity to ask questions.

Addressing course topics from various perspectives is the other way to improve clarity. Students may also be able to solidify their understanding by explaining course concepts to one another. In the absence of in-person classes, consider adding this element to your next homework assignment.

Prepare Well

To teach online, you need to collect email and contact numbers of your students. If you do not have contact of your students, you would not be able to teach them online. If you have enough contacts of your students, create a group of students in the LMS through which you want to conduct online classes. You also need to prepare well before the actual class. You may also ask one or two students to be volunteers and help you pass important information about the online session to other students in the group if required. It would surely reduce your workload because you do not need to inform each and every student. This may be very beneficial in conveying last-minute changes if any.

The best way to prepare is to rehearse offline before your class. You also need to check all the necessary equipment and services, like your internet, laptop, camera, etc. before your session. If you do not have enough equipment to teach online, you are much like a soldier going to war without gun. You should give your students all the instructions required so that your online class runs smoothly and it will be very profitable.

During Your Class

While you are teaching your students online, you should give proper breaks so that the students will take a rest and refresh themselves. It would make you much easier to teach. They would also get the time to think about the topic and frame their questions as doubts. It is better to keep your class short or as a series of short sessions. You can decide about this according to the topic, the participation of the students, and the teaching plan.

You may ask a few open-ended questions related to the topic during the online session to make students more responsive. You should also encourage your students not only to ask their queries or doubts about your topic, but also make them to answer the questions asked by their peers. You may set up an online discussion forum for this fact. You should post assignments just after your session and announce the details in your session. You should take feedback from the students. It will help you learn their point of view about the session.

 

Don’t do this

You should not be too much formal if you are familiar with your students. It would be bad or funny for your students. You should make your virtual class as your real class. You should make your students to think themselves that the virtual class is very much the same as the real class. Being formal may be OK when you are in your real class. But, in virtual class, you should not stay too much formal. Instead of it, you and your students are very far away physically. So, you should make close to your students when you are not physically close to your students.

You should not postpone or cancel a class without any strong reason. To attend a class, not only you but also your student have to prepare a lot. He may have to study for the class. He may have to prepare an internet connection and the other instruments for the class. So, if you do not have any strong reason to postpone the class, please don’t. Because it is very important for yourself to value your class. You are the master of the class. If you even do not value your class, how would your student value your class?

 

Structure

This may be the hours when the learning management program of your institution comes to fore. Whether it may be Moodle, TutorRoom, Blackboard or otherwise, these tools provide the ideal platform for you to compile your course materials and add structure to your offering. The learning management system should be the one-stop-shop of your students for everything related to your classes. You should upload readings and video material along with links to relevant references and sources, and create a discussion forum and activate the assignment submission functionality.

As a chronological course structure, you may like to include a more general section featuring overarching course information, such as your course outline, a student contact information matrix, a grading rubric or timeline of learning milestones, deadlines and exams.

 

For Covid-19

Being a teacher does not mean you are only responsible for your lessons. Indeed, a good teacher instructs his or her students how to do their lessons well, as well as teaches other moral lessons or advantageous lessons about the life of their students. As for a good teacher, during your online class, you may request your students to wash their hands properly at regular intervals. You may teach your students how to stay away from this deadly disaster. You may share a template or poster regarding precautionary steps for Covid-19 published by WHO or the government in your tutorial. Sharing some positive quotes about this disaster would reduce the stress of your students caused by this disease or staying at home.

 

Recording VS Streaming

There are two ways to teach when you teach your students online. They are streaming and recording yourself and then sending it to your students. Which way is better? This depends on your students. Streaming is the best way to create the conditions of traditional classrooms. Your student may ask you what he does not understand well in real time. You may examine the understanding of your students upon your lessons at once. Streaming may improve the attendance of your students as you can check who attends the class or not.

But streaming is not the perfect solutions for teaching online. As mentioned above, it totally depends upon your students. If your students are those who does not have a good internet network, they may struggle to learn online streaming. If you are not worried about your students’ attendance and clarity upon your lessons, you should try recording yourself and then sending your video files to your students. While sending your teaching video to your students, take care on your videos. As videos longer than 15 minutes can cause issues of slow downloading and learner distraction. So, record two or three short videos according to your topic. It is sure that two or three short videos might improve clarity rather than one long video according to research and statistics.

 

Be Sure

You should surely make testing slides on a smartphone. Every student does not own a notebook or a pc. Some may have to use their smart phones and those of some would be small. Thus, checking your slides would reduce the inappropriate learning experience of your students. You should double check font sizes, colors, template designs and screen ratios of your slides.

It is unrealistic for you to produce high quality videos worth of a semester. If you are capable for this, you should not do these all. Because it would make you to get tired. Instead of it, you may use pre-developed resources available online and provide students with clickable links. Why would you plant your food when you can buy it? Isn’t it surer to use existing resources rather than making yourself tired in producing quality learning materials yourself.

Using open resources helps you prevent access problems for students. If any of your suggested resources are not accessible, you will receive an inbox full of student emails and eventually waste all your time in troubleshooting. Spending a few extra minutes in searching carefully for fully open access materials will save you a headache later.

Give Specific Instructions

When you suggest online media which runs for longer than 15 minutes, students will be put off watching. Thus, instead of it, you should suggest the exact parts they need ( eg 10:00 to 15:00 ) as this can even make students more curious. When you provide more than two resources, label them in the order you want students to approach them. Simple numbering, based on the level of difficulty or importance of each resource item, can be of great help for your students.

 

Provide interactive activities

Many of the learning management systems, such as TutorRoom, TutorMandarin, Moodle, include a range of functions to create interactive learning activities such as quizzes. You can create quizzes through step-by-step guides while they are widely available online. You should use them.

When you create quizzes, you should make sure all questions can be answered by referring to the given learning resources. When you ask students to write a summary of lecture videos, you should make it clear that this is not a serious report. Making this as a mandatory assignment but a low-stakes task will produce the best outcomes and responses from students. A set of 15 quiz questions or a 300 word limit will be sufficient to engage students for 30 minutes.

And if you tell your students that their attendance will get measured by their participation in a quiz, it would increase their compliance. However, you do not have time to check them all. Therefore, you should use the automatic checking and grading features on the learning management systems.

 

Taking Control by Your Students

You may set up online group spaces for small groups of students and ask them to support and consult with one another before sending emails to you directly. You can post a couple of questions to help students break ice and start conversation. Encouraging your students to use the communication tools they prefer is appropriate. Some groups will click well and some will not. But this little tip would make your students fell socially supported and reduce your inbox traffic.

Repeat

There is a famous Arabic saying that “People regard those as enemies who are new to them.” It is natural that you would not believe a man who you know recently. You would not familiar to a language that you have not learnt. Thus, you should not make frequent changes in the learning styles of your students. Students learning from a virtual classroom would not like those changes. Once you find a teaching style working for you, feel free to repeat it each week until you are back in your classroom. The same learning style would help your students in learning different topics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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