There is no doubt that online teaching is taking off and it’s very likely that it will continue evolve in this direction. Teachers who aren’t fans of modern technology may find it a challenge and will have to up their game. Remote teaching isn’t easy as it takes creativity to keep students stimulated and a whole different mindset to that of a classroom setting.
Have you found asking yourself how is it that I can make my lessons engaging and interesting for students online? If so, then this is the right post for you. Carry on reading for 6 ways to make your online lessons amazing!
1. Break down the lesson into manageable and easy to understand chunks.
When teaching online, timing is key and lessons will need to be broken up differently that they would if you were teaching the same thing in a classroom setting.
As a general rule, it’s a good idea to keep a fast pace and break down information into small, easily digestible chunks. In practical terms, this means to steer clear of lengthy explanations and slides with too much text, keep it short, simple and to the point. Include additional explanations where you can so that the pupils can navigate their way through the lesson as independently as possible.
Mix up the tempo of your lessons by adding relative videos, songs, a pairing up activity or a game to make it more engaging.
2. Adapt the planned activities to online learning.
In class, it’s typical to give pupils some quiet reflection time to work alone or read a text as well as to work in groups and discuss. These kinds of activities, however, don’t manifest well in online situations.
Long texts are challenging to read on a screen and long silences provide the perfect excuse for a student’s attention to drift elsewhere. In an online setting this will be difficult for you to notice and bring the pupil back on track so it’s best it’s avoided altogether. Remember that as an online teacher, you make sure you or your pupils say something every three minutes or so.
Planning activities that keep your pupils actively clicking, typing or talking throughout the lesson is the way to go. You can do this by asking lots of questions, including games and making sure learners have to physically do things like typing in dialogue boxes.
3. Make your pupils feel valued and loved.
For pupils learning remotely, isolation can be a huge factor in making them feel demotivated. They might think that no one will notice or care if they miss a class, or find it all too tempting to not log in to the classroom if they’re feeling tired.
Of course this is very hard to control and there is only so much a teacher can do when they pupil is attending from home. The best way online teachers can help remedy this is by making their pupils feel valued and missed, if they don’t attend. Below are some suggestions.
- Address each child individually and acknowledge their online presence, just as you would at school.
- Follow up on what you did in previous lessons so your students know that you’re on top of what they’re learning and let them know about what is coming next so that they can look forward to it.
- Find out about your pupils’ interests and incorporate them into the lesson where possible.
- Give regular feedback on their work.
- Inform the parents if they are concerned about the pupil, but also let them know how well they are doing.
- Always aim to be a positive, encouraging presence.
4. Have a clear lesson objective.
Another way to help online pupils stay focused on their learning is to set goals and remind them of their progress.
One simple way to introduce short-term goals into your online lesson is to make sure each lesson has a clear outline, a lesson objective.
Then think about how you might reward students for finishing tasks or for doing their best during a lesson. You could try positive feedback, badges, points, certificates, online celebrations, playing games.
5. Invest in the technology you will be using.
Now this one may not be in your hands to fix but having a decent internet connection is really important. Make sure you have good internet access and have a back up plan if things go wrong. For example you may need to reach out to a colleague to help you out with the lesson if things don’t quite play out smoothly with the internet. Make sure you contact your internet provider for the best possible connection for your area.
You should invest in a good pc or laptop as this will be your tool to approach your pupils and cater for them in the best possible way. It will also make your life a lot easier if you don’t have to sit through your pc getting stuck or taking ages to respond to your commands. You need a good camera and a microphone also if those are not already part of your hardware. It’s worth the investment.
6. Be your best online self.
Just as you would think about how you present yourself in the classroom by being organised and confident, doing the same when online will inspire the same amount of respect from your pupils when you are remote teaching.
If your students can see you via a webcam, make sure that not only do you look presentable, but the location you’re in does too. Many online platforms allow for virtual backgrounds now, which is really great! If you don’t have access to such a feature that’s ok, you can still make sure your location is presentable and tidy. Your lesson will be more motivating for them if you look engaged and interested in what they are saying and is you look interested and excited about your lesson.
Also, your visual materials must be up to scratch, so make sure your slides look clean and clear and any videos you use are good quality.
To avoid a well-planned lesson becoming boring, something that can easily happen when speaking in monotone voice, try changing your tone throughout the lesson. Change it when introducing new activities or mix up the tempo of your pupils. Practice different skills like telling stories, giving instructions, and giving praise out loud to see how animating your voice can make a difference.
Leave a comment below with your best tips for fun, engaging online lessons!
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Till next time…