Amid a third national lockdown, online lessons and home learning have once again become the norm for the time being. Teachers are under more pressure to provide the same level of learning to their students as they would in usual times, as well as continue to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those in their care and themselves. In challenging times such as these, inspiration for fun and fizzy lessons can all but fall flat. So, what makes an effective online lesson? Here’s a few helpful tips from the inside:
Meet and greet time
Give a few minutes over to greet students and let them say hello to each other at the beginning of the lesson. This is prime interaction time that they’ll be missing so it’s worth incorporating for wellbeing purposes and to create a sense of socialising, even if it is through a screen.
Online lessons should be recorded from a safeguarding point of view. Ask the students to include their full names and have their cameras on from the very beginning.
Add an interactive element
To engage students, include an interactive element using platforms such as Quizizz or Kahoot to add variety to the lesson.
Remember the reward system
If they’re working hard, they still deserve to be praised for it. Easily forgotten in an environment such as this, use your school’s recommended reward system to increase motivation. They’ll associate this with being in the classroom and it may encourage positive behaviour and engagement.
Keep instructions basic
Instructions on your slides need to be easy to read and clear to understand. Keep it as simple as possible whilst they navigate their way through this new method of learning.
In all classes, online or not, there will always be students who work quickly, and they may work even faster without the physical distractions of the classroom. Always have a backup and include some independent challenges too.
Maintain those high standards
Although tougher to monitor, make sure your students are fully aware that high standards are still expected. For example, they shouldn’t be on their phones during the lesson. Provide clear expectations from the beginning. Even though they’re in their own space, it is still your classroom.
Cut yourself some slack
Online lessons won’t always go perfectly. There is no better substitute to the real thing, but you’re doing the best you can and that’s all you can do until we can all get back to being safe in school.
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About the author
After completing a BA in Creative Writing and a Masters in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Winchester, Tammy worked as a Learning Support Assistant, with a focus on helping students develop their literacy skills. She then taught as an English teacher at an all-boys comprehensive school in Berkshire. Now she has turned her sights to a career in marketing, with writing at the heart of it.