In 2020 the world suddenly had to move to online teaching and many educators find it difficult to switch from the classroom to the computer. In the past teachers were comfortable with teaching in class and having a personal bond with their students. But now it has to move online. Ten tips to help teachers who feel uncomfortable with the technical side of online teaching; how to structure their lessons, and how to present themselves on camera.
When you first got into the classroom you were nervous and made many mistakes. But you learned how to become a better teacher by practice. The same works for online teaching, it might be scary at first but if you practice how to do it and believe that you can improve, you will. Whether you use Zoom, Skype, Google hangout or any other platform, practice it first with a friend. Set up your video and check the sound. Invite them and get comfortable using the platform.
Being online will be difficult for you and your students at first. So keep things simple. Make sure to focus on one basic idea for the lesson and explain things slowly. Don’t over-complicate it.
The most important part of the teaching process is getting your students engaged in the lesson. The problem is that many teachers are nervous on camera. Instead of letting the students talk, they fall into lecture mode – you know, where the teacher does all the talking like in the old, boring days.
You are a great teacher – Constantly ask your students questions – Ask them to read phrases and words on the screen. Get them to share their thoughts. By doing this students will pay more attention in class and get used to answering questions. Try to get your students to do most of the talking.
All teachers, all good teachers have a similar structure to every lesson. Students get used to it and they enjoy the routine. Do the same for your online lessons. I suggest a simple 3 act structure. Warm-up activity where students can share something, Lecture – That’s where you explain the lesson and Practice – Where students can practice what they’ve learned
Make it personal. In the warm-up activity ask students to share something about their lives. It can be them talking about their hobbies, their favorites, daily schedule. Anything that makes online learning real for them. During the lecture part, ask them questions about their lives in and in the practice part let them use base it on their own experiences. Do this and they will love your class.
A good idea is to prepare your students for their next class. Send them a list of vocabulary, the grammar, or work you will cover before class starts. That way they will know exactly know what will happen in the lesson and it will save you time from explaining everything.
At the end of class get into the habit of reviewing the work you’ve done before saying goodbye. Ask your learners questions about what they’ve learned during the lesson. This will help them remember it and also feel good that they have learned something new. After class, if their parents asked them what they’ve learned, they should be able to easily explain the lesson’s takeaway idea.
Make it real to students. Have props or a board with you to explain. If possible have toys, puppets, or flashcards to teach with. Another activity they can do is scavenger hunts. Ask them to bring you objects from home. Food, a toy, something red, something starting with the letter A. They can also do show-and-tell, where they show you objects or photos and tell the class about it.
You already have audio and video. Any teacher can teach something with it. Now (with Zoom for example), you can share your screen to show them PPTs to play games. You can share the whiteboard to draw. Let them write, send them activities that they can print or feel. Don’t only rely on one tool when we have so many at our disposal. Teach by writing, practice, speaking, reading and listening.
Being on camera drains your excitement. When you see people on camera, it looks like they are grumpy and tired. Video makes you look 20% less energetic so you have to raise your excitement by 20% when you are teaching. Students need to see that you are happy to see them, so express your emotions. Smile and make them feel good, and they will love meeting you for class.
Teaching online is the evolution of education, if you don’t want to be left behind, you need to adapt and become better at teaching remotely.