No matter if you’re new to online teaching or a veteran it's always important to reflect on your teaching pedagogies and continue to engage your students online. Take 5 minutes out to read these 7 tips and become the best online teacher!
A warm-up exercise is a great way to get your students to focus and mentally arrive in the online classroom. Students may be tired or have other things on their minds so jumping straight into the lesson can be quite jarring. Especially in an online environment, it takes more time to fully immerse in the lesson. A short, 2 to 5 minutes exercise such as a quick jigsaw or word game can easily establish a mood for learning.
A ticking clock can easily engage students to work faster and harder, allowing them to make the most of their time. Especially in small groups, setting a timer and having the students compete can boost their confidence and efficiency. Nevertheless, setting a timer for an exercise can help teachers keep the online lesson schedule and make sure they don’t run out of time.
Students - young learners especially - enjoy working for rewards. Even if it is only a sticker or a 🎉 emoji, students will feel encouraged to say the right answer and receive or collect rewards. To have students ask more questions, prize them with bonus points or games for every good question! In this way, students will be motivated to speak more, focusing entirely on the lesson material.
Targeted questioning is a series of carefully chosen, open-ended questions directed at a specific student in the group. Targeted questions raise the attention levels of the students, particularly in an online environment. An added bonus to target questioning is that students arrive at the lesson alert and better prepared.
Similarly to a warm-up exercise, taking a break can also increase performance and engagement - especially when having a longer session with the student(s). Insert short breaks in the middle of the lesson, but don’t let the students lose focus - play something relevant to the topic you are covering. During the break, students can relax and collect energy for the rest of the lesson.
Learning by teaching is extremely effective, so why not allow your student(s) to take the lead? Giving learners a sense of control can increase focus and understanding of the topic. Allow students to prepare a presentation or to hold the entire lesson themselves. Have students explain a piece of topic or rule while encouraging them to use online tools - this way you can help them get more comfortable with online learning.
In an online environment, it is easy to slip into a lecturing style. Flip the online classroom dynamic and get the student(s) to actively show evidence of their understanding by adopting the various online teaching tools. Examples include: using the highlighter or pen tool to underline, text typing to label images, inserting graphs or screenshotting questions they struggle with.
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