Mistakes teachers make in online classes
(Read till the end to learn about the solution to all your problems!)
The pandemic has transformed the centuries-old, chalk–talk teaching model to one driven by technology. This disruption in the delivery of education is pushing all stakeholders – school managements, teachers, students, and parents – to figure out how to drive engagement at scale while ensuring inclusive e-learning solutions and tackling the digital divide.
Online teaching poses a different set of challenges for teachers and students, but collaboration and communication make it easier to stay connected and engaged. Here we discuss the common blunders made by teachers in online classes and how to tackle them best.
Assumptions, in general, are dangerous, they become even more so when teaching online. Teachers need to understand that not every student will have a fantastic internet connection, to add on, although called the “digital natives”, students are not all proficient when it comes to tackling unfamiliar software or even navigating through multiple tabs while heeding to the teacher. Furthermore, students may have personal issues that affect their learning.
Solution: Don’t make assumptions, avoid it like COVID-19. Instead, start asking questions and come up with viable answers. Here are a few questions to ask:
- What resources and platforms can my district provide to support synchronous and/or asynchronous learning?
- What can my students access?
- What new technological tools ought I (learn to use) and incorporate?
- How can I modify my current curriculum and lessons for remote learning?
- What ready-to-use online units and lessons out there are remote and learning-friendly?
- How should I assess my students?
Disregard for Engagements
Teachers rush to complete the syllabus and disregard engagement with students by having interactive sessions. Online learning has all the materials but no heart; “a body without a soul”. Students sit idly in front of a bright screen and stare at the presentation or daydream while apparently listening to a lecture. The cliche statement “physically present but mentally absent” appertains to digital learning too. This is an utterly futile practice that bears little to no fruit.
Solution: Interact with your students, make sure they take notes and are present. Conduct weekly modules, discussions, activities which will motivate them. Also, conduct feedback quizzes to know how you are doing and how to alter your teaching style for better results.
Lack of doubt clearing and feedback sessions
If the teacher is the only one speaking, there’s no way to determine if the student understands the concepts until assignment or test time rolls around. Ignoring clarification of doubts on the basis of the assumption that students have access to learning materials and are equipped with the skills and behavior for a virtual environment is an inefficacious strategy. This will further confuse the student and make him apathetic.
Solution: Don’t monopolize the conversation. Break up classes into discussion groups, Q&As, and note-trading sessions, or something similarly interactive. This would help different learners absorb lessons in a more comfortable way, but would also allow them to inquire about anything particularly confusing as well. Too many students asking too many questions might indicate that some things might need tweaking and clarification in future classes.
Preference for audio and avoiding video (facetime)
Students realize that they miss school when the alternative is to be desk-bound at home. Some students can begin to feel a strong sense of isolation that slowly erodes their desire to learn. Muting a student’s audio and video during the session might give a sense of detachment resulting in an indifferent learner. Isolation can also undermine many of the instructional strategies that you take for granted in your classrooms. Group work, class discussion and collaborative activity can disappear from the program entirely and if we aren’t careful, with them go the associated levels of student engagement and rich learning that those experiences provide.
Solution: Do not become a mere robot. Turn on your camera and ask them to do the same. Converse with them and make sure they actively participate. Schedule regular check-ins with your students via email or chats.
Conducting classes only via zoom or google meet and having no other approach will demotivate the students. If a student fails to show up to your live lessons, how will he access learning? Are you recording your sessions to post later? Say, they have network issues, what will you do? Do you have notes for your lectures? How will you share them with the students?
Teachers neglect different approaches that they can implement in the classroom. This is a cardinal error that demands attention.
Solution: Have different approaches and assessment techniques. Use out of the box assignment methods, such as portfolios, video, and other non-traditional ideas.
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What a time to be alive indeed!