Life is tricky at the moment, as you struggle to get your pupils to engage online. Here are the top 5 things teachers need to do online right now to bring life to your online teaching:
1. Communicate Kindness
You’ve been through tough times, as have our young people. More than ever, our learners need your reassurance, empathy and your kindness. In life, you are chatty, friendly, approachable, so make sure this translates online.
Keep checking in, engaging, be warm, relational and kind. Lean in, support and connect with your pupils. Acknowledge the struggles they are facing.
2. Decide your Expectations
Next, in our top 5 things teachers need to do is be clear! You hate it when you’re not clear about what people need from you, right? Your pupils need that, right now! Take a step back, look at it from their point of view. What have they been asked to do across the week from everyone? Ask yourself, have we got the balance, right?
Work together with your colleagues. Break it down daily and weekly then send out a streamlined, friendly written communication as a school ideally. Remember we are not trying to just translate everything from our old way of teaching into this ‘new normal’.
Think across channels – google classroom, teams, social media, newsletters, written stuff going home. Ask yourself, would I understand this? Would it make me panic as a pupil or a parent?
3. What does excellence look like?
No top 5 things teachers need-to-do list would be complete without a Blue Peter reference! Just as in class, you need to show your learners what excellent looks like. What pictures or illustrations can you use? What video clip of yourself would work? Could learners be videoing their own work and creative efforts?
Remember, when we model excellence; we are showing the standard we want them to reach.
4. Keep it positive and specific
You are an amazingly positive person. Let’s take that positivity and transfer it to the online classroom. What does the tone of your writing, your videos and your interactions tell them just now? Are you being you or a stilted robot? Aim for positive, affirming and happy. Remember top tip 1 and see if you can be more specific about what you want your learners to focus on. Clarity is our friend.
We all love a bit of variety, think how easily you get bored in front of a screen, huh? So try aim for a variety of tasks (e.g. a quiz; some reading; watching a video task); and use positive reinforcement at every opportunity.
5. Amplify The Possibilities
I know you love a project to get your teeth into. There’s no better place than online to create a showcase for your work. Number 5 in our top 5 things list is all about building deeper knowledge.
Why not get your pupils to do an enquiry project? For example, using Microsoft Sway to make a portfolio? Work in groups to do some research? Build and evidence their knowledge and then create the depth based on your feedback.
What are your top 5 things teachers need to do?
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