While the return of lockdown was met with a collective groan, the nation’s teachers probably groaned loudest. Just after they’ve moved everything back into the classroom (and made that feel normal), there’s more disruption, and everything must be recreated online. Again.
At times like these, teachers have become the de facto adults. They’re expected to know everything, have the answer for every question (this goes for students and parents), and have everything organised in a simple, easy-to-comprehend manner.
But let’s be real. As remote learning is still in its infancy, teachers aren’t supposed to know everything.
So, just in case you need it, Erini Christopoulos, Head of English - Australia at Education Perfect has put together her tips on what works and what doesn’t for students during remote learning. In dot points, of course. Because who has the time?
- A clear channel of communication: This is important both between colleagues, in a classroom setting, and with parents. Using an application or software will allow your virtual staffroom chatter to continue, will prevent misunderstandings and keep that school feeling alive. With students, make sure so they know what the expectations are and how to get in touch with you if they need help. If possible, a daily face-to-face class check in helps reduce the impact of not being in an actual classroom.
- Goals and progress tracking: Set clear and achievable goals for students each day. Make sure your communication is consistent. Check in daily, this will foster a sense of achievement and progress.
- Leverage technology as a tool: Educational apps have become hugely relevant in the last twelve months. For instance, teachers can use the Education Perfect app on-the-go to browse and preview curriculum-aligned content which can easily be set as homework tasks. It also allows teachers to manage their students' login credentials. Students can also complete a range of fun and engaging activities with instant feedback, and step-by-step explanations along the way.
What doesn’t work?
- Lengthy and self-checked tasks: Long workbook tasks are out. They lack choice and accountability. This can be especially demotivating for students, especially when they’re stuck in the same setting each day and have to complete the same tasks.
- Too much work...to keep them busy: As all students all have markedly different home contexts which impacts their ability to keep up. Set them rich learning tasks that involve research and expression, rather than monotonous questions to fill in the day.
- Limiting tasks to just a screen: Encourage students to use a workbook and stationery. Set tasks that break them away from the screen and keep them active. This is particularly helpful in the afternoon when the restlessness creeps in.
Ian Pedler, Education Perfect’s head of ANZ, said that online learning continues to play an increasingly important part of education not only for remote learning but for blended and in-person educational settings like schools, tutoring centers, colleges and universities.
"Technology continues to support educators to maximise their ability to built rapport and maximise face-to-face time with students by streamlining administrative tasks like planning, marking and diagnostics," Pedler told The Educator.
"Online learning platforms are dynamic resources, agile to the changes that inevitably take place [like curriculum changes] and they can also offer opportunities for institutions to consolidate and unify their approaches to teaching and learning, giving educators the power to monitor cross-curricular student progress and development."