5 Lessons Learned From Online Teaching

12/01/2020 | By More

I’m a San Marino High School social studies teacher with more than 30 years of face-to-face, in the classroom, teaching experience. I’m also someone who has acquired a great deal of online teaching experience.

As you begin to venture into the world of online teaching this fall, here are some important lessons I’ve learned.

  1. You are not alone!
    In the world of online teaching, there is just too much to learn to go at it alone. So be sure to reach out to and learn from the other teachers at your school. Also be sure to look to Edutopia and right here at PBS TeachersLounge for free and high-quality guidance, as well as to the Resource Sharing for Distance Learning Facebook group, and other similar Facebook groups.

    • Educational Technology and Mobile Learning Group
    • Teachers Sharing Resources and Ideas for The Classroom Group
    • Facebook in Education Group
  2. When venturing out, do so with the mindset of an explorer.
    The world that you are about to explore, at least in this teachers opinion, should prove vastly different from the world that any of us has ever explored in the past. We head to relatively uncharted terrain, but for the brief explorations that some of us experienced March to June, 2020.

    No matter the online teaching knowledge and experience you may have, if/when you head into this world, you are bound to learn something new and jaw-dropping — both in terms of discoveries and challenges — every single day.

    The 2020 academic school year should prove for most teachers one of the greatest learning adventures ever!

  3. Share what you have learned.
    In the fall, we won’t have all the answers. As you learn something of value as a result of your own exploration, please share. And when you share, consider reflecting on how you teach. Self-reflection is an important first step in professional growth and development.

    • Eight Ways You Can share Lessons or Other Great Ideas with Fellow Teachers Everywhere
    • Teachers Learning From Each Other
  4. Start every class period with a detailed and well written description of what you are going to do and why.
    This is so important when teaching online. As one parent said to me recently, “A structured, detailed agenda is absolutely critical to maintaining engagement with my daughter, and I would suspect the same is true with all other students…And that’s because the responsibility for learning, in an online setting, appears to shift more to the student, thus, a structured, detailed agenda helps provide clear expectations.”

    The parent makes a good point, one that all teachers should follow. Since hearing from this parent, I surely have come around. I’ve even gone so far as to include in my agenda “notes to self.” Examples include: get a glass of water, log in, turn on camera, conduct audio check, give class a break, provide rationale for today’s group work and take roll.

    As Bloomberg University professor Karl Kapp points out, “When you teach online, you are managing the content, the environment and the experience, and that’s a lot to manage…(so) creat(ing) a (detailed) checklist or agenda (will) help you and (your students) immensely.”

  5. Work to build rapport.
    Most dictionaries define the word rapport as “the ability to maintain harmonious relationships based on affinity.” In education, it’s what happens when a teacher and class click, connect, interact well, and respond to each other favorably. I believe that rapport is needed for both students and teachers to give it their best AND for teachers and students to work together to avoid burnout.

    Many teachers say it’s much harder to build rapport online than it is to build it face to face. Building rapport online will require more conscientious, disciplined and strategic work on the teacher’s part. This area of connection is particularly important to me, as you’ll see in this post I’ve recently written: Building Rapport in the Era of Online Teaching.

    Other worthwhile reads:

    • 10 Fun Back-to-School Activities and Icebreakers
    • 10 Powerful Community-Building Ideas
    • 6 Ways to Build a Rapport With Students
    • 5 Tips for Creating Real Rapport With Your Students
    • Fostering a Strong Community in a Virtual Classroom
  6. An on camera presence is not the only way to check attendance.
    The fact is, there are far less intrusive ways to check for attendance and engagement than to require an on camera presence. When teachers use Zoom, for example, they can print out an attendance report, even with the free version, with this report also showing how many minutes a student was in the room. But there are many other good reasons why you should think twice about requiring an on camera presence:

      • Not all cameras work and not all students have the ability to troubleshoot camera issues.
      • Not all students want their homes viewed by their classmates and/or teacher.
      • Some students may be doing double duty — learning and babysitting — and they should be afforded this opportunity without either the teacher/students making a judgement.
      • Not all students want to blast their image all over the internet.
      • Zoom fatigue is real. As pointed out in a a May 2020 TED-Ed blog post, “(With online teaching, both teacher and students) feel like they have to make more emotional effort to appear interested, and in the absence of many non-verbal cues, the intense focus on words and sustained eye contact is exhausting,”
      • According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “the fear of public speaking is the most common phobia ahead of death, spiders, or heights,” and it “affects about 73% of the population.”
      • Many policy makers nationwide have already signed onto this issue, stating publicly that teachers should allow their students some degree of privacy.

Continue reading article here: https://www.pbs.org/education/blog/15-lessons-learned-from-online-teaching


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Category: Dyslexia

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