In the past month, millions of students and teachers all over the world have, without warning, made a swift transition to virtual teaching and learning. As schools and communities work together to provide learning opportunities to students amid the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers are adapting their tried-and-true instructional strategies to the new learning environment.
Instructors should communicate frequently with each student in an online environment, so that students feel like they’re part of a learning community. This communication should start at the very beginning of the course, with teachers setting clear expectations and getting to know their students. Getting to know individual students in order to build relationships with them can be challenging when a course doesn’t meet face to face.
Choose Words Carefully
The ability for teachers to nurture relationships in an online classroom can be difficult, because teachers and students don’t have the immediate feedback through visual cues they would have in a face-to-face classroom. And because most of the communication in an online course happens in writing, it’s especially important for educators to make sure their written words aren’t misconstrued. Teachers must be aware that the words they use can have a huge impact on students, especially in an online environment where tone is hard to read.
Give Students Structure
Online learning offers more flexibility than a traditional classroom setting, but students still need structure to ensure that they’re successful. Because students don’t have daily homework assignments and don’t see their teacher every day in an online course, it can be easy for them to mismanage their time and fall behind. Online teachers who are involved in class discussions throughout the week and who encourage students to keep up with their assignments provide just enough structure to keep students on a successful path.
Be Quick to Offer Support
When you don’t see students in person every day, it’s important to pick up on signs they might be struggling—and act immediately to help them succeed. This is why an online teacher’s partnership with an adult invested in the student’s success is critical. This could be a school-based counselor or a parent who is able to help monitor student progress. If students are struggling, teachers should reach out to the student directly within private student-teacher communications, but teachers should also engage their trusted adult.
Extenuating circumstances that prevent students from completing their work frequently arise in any course environment, and teachers must be flexible whether they’re teaching online or in a traditional classroom. However, an online course brings additional challenges that require teachers to be flexible. For instance, when a course includes students from different geographic areas, students in one location might be affected by an event (like a hurricane, tornado, or other disaster) that doesn’t affect others in the class. While many students globally are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the experience will vary from student-to-student based on their parent involvement and support, social-emotional wellness, internet and computer access, and learning preferences.
The information for this post was taken from an article by Stacy Young in Smart Brief, follow this link for the complete article and more details.