Learn The Top 4 Online Teaching Strategies
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Top Strategies For Teaching Online

In early March, the educators in Pakistan faced the global challenge of online teaching. There were many educators among them who had never experienced an online session before. Therefore, they had to be acquainted not only with the online context but also with the digital tools needed to facilitate remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. After thorough research, I have devised "4 tips" as a part of contributing my share during this pandemic in order to empower all the worthy educators across the globe.

What Are The "4 Tips" For Online Teaching?

The "4 tips" identify the solutions: autonomy, deep meaning, and self-awareness wherein the questions like what, why, and how an online teacher can improve "oneself" are answered. The "what" highlights the solutions to all the anticipated problems that may hinder an online session; the "why" explains the autonomy an online teacher may practice while finding solutions to the anticipated problems; the "how" takes an online teacher from the surface level to the deep meaning of this new online teaching process; and, last is an interaction with the "self" that confirms how much an individual has understood themselves as an online teacher.

1. Focus On Solutions, Not The Problems

The first tip is to be well-aware of the possible solutions to all the potential pitfalls of an online session. An article written by Jared Cooney Horvath on why pupils struggle to learn on tech at home gives the reason for dissatisfaction shown by the students toward online learning during the quarantine. Moreover, if you know the problems of online teaching beforehand, you can save your time, energy and can tackle them with a better solution in hand. Some of the pitfalls are:

Online Platforms May Hinder An Online Session

Teachers use Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, or Adobe Connect for online teaching. The age of learners will set your lesson as well as the learning objectives.

If the learners are too young, they may not be tech-savvy. They may be less able to use digital tools. It is possible that they may attend your class with an adult. Therefore, you must spare a few minutes from your lesson to tell them how to navigate the available online platform. If the parents have to manage each and everything on their own, your class will not be a success. Your main objective during online teaching is to engage the learners. You must provide them with the possible ease of attending an online session with you. If young learners get distracted due to the voices of their family members around them, you must suggest to them to move to a quieter place and use headphones to stay focused.

Anticipated problems of online teaching may vary depending on the age of your learners. Teenagers are usually at the advanced stage of using the tech. While going online, they have plenty of ways to show their expertise, which sometimes has a negative impact on an online session. Therefore, teachers must keep them busy by engaging them through an interactive lesson plan which does not have gaps that could be filled by the teenagers’ annoying attempts every time. In some countries, teachers teach online classes using mics and a shared screen but they do not turn their web cameras on due to some religious or socio-cultural factors. In that case, teachers’ voices and the slides they prepare for their computer screens must keep the learners engaged and get them hooked while taking an online session.

The Impact Of Number Of Attendees On Online Teaching

The quality of an online session depends on the number of attendees. Taking a big class of 20 in a formal setting of a traditional classroom can never be a success in a virtual class because you can neither give them individual attention nor solve their individual classroom problems. Therefore, it is suggested to divide them into groups and add them to breakout rooms during an online session, which again will be an extra effort on the part of an online teacher, but it will make a definite space for you in the world of teaching online.

The Challenge Of Using Coursebooks While Teaching Online

Sometimes you may not get the digital version of your coursebook on the internet. In that case, you can scan the pages which you have to teach during an online session with the help of your Apple mobile because taking the picture from your coursebook may not give you a satisfactory result. Furthermore, you can use those scanned documents to prepare some interactive videos for your students using the H5P.org tool.

How To Assess Students In Online Teaching

One of the problems of online teaching is how to assess the students’ ongoing learning progress. Since online teaching is different from teaching in the traditional classroom setting, so is the online assessment. If the students are assessed on subjective-type, lengthy questions, it will not work out because students can cheat behind the computer screens. But if they are assessed through formative assessment, there are many tips and tools available that can facilitate an online teacher. British Council has published many such helpful resources for teachers’ guidance during this COVID-19 pandemic such as remote teaching tips.

2. Autonomy Of The Host And Attendees

The second tip is giving/taking an online session with a sense of autonomy. Since your class is your customized online domain, which breaks the norms of a fixed classroom setting, you must practice autonomy by tailoring an online lesson depending on the needs and wants of your online learners. Your students do not have the opportunity to approach you as they often do in a traditional classroom setting for their petty issues. Therefore, they need you the most on an online platform where they might feel alone taking a class from home.

Attendees are often shy while asking anything online in front of their peers as well as their family members during the quarantine. Since the traditional classroom environment is a bit different, they must be allowed to communicate with the host using discussion groups, text messages, or you may start your online class a few minutes early and end your session a few minutes late. There are also some digital collaborative tools that can bridge the gap between the host and the attendees such as Google Jamboard, Padlet, Voicethread.com, ExplainEvrything.com, and Flipgrid.

3. Getting The Deep Meaning Of Online Teaching

The third tip is to have first-hand knowledge of online teaching. Sometimes, there are many self-created online teaching hurdles that need to be fixed at once. For instance, teachers teaching online do not set clear learning objectives, which leads to weak lesson-planning during an online session. Sometimes, they are unaware of the suitable digital tools to meet their lesson objectives. In short, online teachers do not have adequate knowledge of how to make their online sessions engaging for the attendees. Therefore, to foster interactive learning as well as to manage learners’ online performance use online interactive apps as well as online assessment tools like Edmodo, Nearpod.com, AnswerGarden, Kahoot, Quizlet.com, and whiteboard.fi.

4. Self-Awareness

The final tip is to reflect on your teaching practices either online or offline for improvement. When you have plunged into the online teaching/learning pool, you must come out of it with a new version of yourself—a refined version of the previous one. When you have so much in your customized online app store, you can pick up something that conforms to your teaching objectives and in turn, makes you feel empowered.

If online teachers routinely reflect on their online teaching practices to learn their strengths and weaknesses, their online classes will keep on improving.

Conclusion

When the educators start an online session with all possible solutions and have access to such digital resources that not only ensure autonomy but also facilitate the online teaching/learning process, their task will turn out to be a complete success.

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