The COVID-19 global pandemic has compelled schools to go online. While it is challenging to replicate the physical classroom environment, there are a few best practices for online teachers to ensure active student participation and success management.
The COVID-19 crisis has massively impacted education with schools shut across the globe for many months. As per data from UNESCO, over a billion students in 132 countries are affected by the closure of schools.
We have seen how digital technologies disrupted shopping and personal communication. Amidst this global crisis, we’re witnessing a positive disruption in the education segment with the widespread experimentation of virtual education or e-learning. And this trend is expected to continue even after the pandemic is over. Various studies have shown that remote learning or e-learning is very effective with a high student retention rate. It also helps governments and schools to provide access to quality education to students in remote areas and address the shortage of teaching professionals.
While there are many benefits of online teaching and it is the best approach in the current crisis, there are several challenges. One of the major challenges is in ensuring student engagement. The challenge to get students to participate in classes have intensified during remote learning. With many schools not able to build adequate capabilities for virtual education, there are also challenges in class schedule, learning content and assignments. These can have an impact on the students’ success. But with the right digital tools, many of these challenges can be addressed and a physical class environment can be created in virtual classrooms.
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Technology has been a great enabler for society and businesses in these troubled times and it can also help schools. Here are some best practices for schools to improve the effectiveness of their education and student success management.
- Rethink Your Classroom Management Strategies: Teachers have been accustomed to certain classroom management strategies in regular schools. Suddenly, they find no scope or effectiveness of those techniques. Online teaching is a different ball game. They need to revisit their classroom management strategies, understand the online medium and come up with new strategies.
- Talk to Parents and Students: As you come up with new classroom management strategies, you need to create a list of dos and don’ts for your class. Document these dos and don’ts and discuss it with students and parents on the norms of conducting classes, their role and invite inputs from them.
- Make Your Content Interesting: A couple of slides or illustrations drawn on whiteboards were enough for you to discuss a topic in a traditional classroom environment. In online classes, they may not be adequate. Online teaching allows you to leverage audio and visual forms to create interesting and helpful content for your students. Additionally, you can also use videos from YouTube and other online resources while discussing some topics.
- Encourage Engagement: Engagement is key in online classrooms. You need to continuously engage with your students during the class. If you don’t engage, students may feel bored and stop paying attention in the class. Keep your lessons short and use the spare time to talk to students. It is tough for students who are new to virtual education to concentrate for an hour. Understand their challenges and devise ways to make your sessions interesting and fun.
- Get a Good Grip on Technology: Whatever digital tools and apps your school may be using, it is important for you to learn the new teaching tools very well. Schools must ensure quality training for teachers on e-learning tools. Teachers should resist the temptation to use every new app that comes in the market. Use select tools but use them very well.
It is natural for teachers and schools to look for quick solutions during these times. Many schools have started online classes using free tools. But that’s good for the short term and are not very effective in student engagement. Education will never be the same again. Online education is here to stay. And therefore, schools need to start building robust digital capabilities thinking long term. Your investments in digital technology will not only help you tide over the current crisis but can also help you expand your reach globally, offer more courses and enroll more students.