May 22, 2020 1 Comment
10 TIPS ON MAKING LIVE ONLINE CLASSES A SUCCESS
Year 2020, turned out to be a completely unprecedented year with things that no one could have imagined, yet alone faced.
It is definitely not a great time to feel confident, or comfortable, and yet we are all cluttered at homes, scared and yet surviving, working, trying to do justice to whichever profession we are in.
While some professions are being celebrated in these times, there are some unsung professions like teachers who are forced to completely move out of their comfort zones and LEARN TO TEACH ONLINE.
Lockdown, online teaching, unsupportive parents are just a few reasons why teachers of India are suddenly taken aback and in extremely difficult situations.
One such major challenge is Taking Live Classes Online. While there are many platforms available and some more popular than other, please see your own comfort while planning to use these. Some good options available are – Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, Google Hangouts, Zoom, WebX, elects etc. And almost every week one new player is coming in this market. Evaluate the features and finalise one basis the features you need. Also, for most of the schools, management is fixing which platform is to be used by all the teachers. This article aims to provide the solution to this trouble in a very simplified manner and help take you live online classes more effectively and confidently.
PREPARATION BEFORE CLASS
1) Acceptance – First step to any new learning is to accept it and try to enjoy it.
2) Get comfortable with one platform, and then stick to it. This is good for you as well as students. It brings an order to the planning and you or the students will not have to fidget with new features everytime.
3) Time Table – Has your time table for online classes ready and shared with students at least 2 days in advance, so there is no confusion. Internally also double check that your classes are not clashing with anybody else.
4) Planning – while planning, do not plan for one period, or one class, plan for one entire lesson. And then divide that planning into days.
5) Plan how to involve students in your online classes.
6) Extra support – students are going to need extra support, extra attention, so please be ready for that. But to make it easier for you, fix the medium and the timing at which they can reach out to you for help and guidance. With everybody working from home, this marking of timing has sublimated a lot. Put it back so you are not occupied full day with this.
7) It is extremely important to keep yourself and the students motivated at all times. Smile more often. Keep your energy high. Celebrate every small success, be it yours or your students along the way.
8) Communication – It is the key. Connect with students on a regular basis. It does not only mean audio connection. It could be a WhatsApp message or an email at a regular time. It would also be a good idea to connect with specific students individually.
9) Remediation – plan remediation in advance. You can chose to create and share small powerpoints, or find appropriate YouTube links, or get them read an article on the topic, or do a worksheet. Upto you. But plan and keep it ready.
10) Connect and communicate with the parents also at a regular interval. You can chose it to be biweekly, or weekly, or fortnightly, but communication is important. You can share feedback on how their child participates, if he is struggling somewhere, how is he managing everything etc.
DURING THE CLASS
1) Either be very comfortable with the app features, or have a co-host to manage those technical features during your class (even admitting students, putting them on mute etc).
2) Have a welcome activity planned – a small chit chat, some animation, anything connected to your topic, but as an activity. This shouldn’t take more than 2-3 minutes.
3) Set the ground rules in advance and share them with the students very clearly. This would include how to share questions? When to use chat box? Should they have their mic and video on or off? Should they ask questions as and when they like or wait till the end? And much more…
4) Introduction – A welcome and relevant introduction takes learning to the next level. If you are able to get students enjoy the introduction, half of your battle is already won. Make it well connected to their lives. Give relevant examples.
5) Check for pre task completion – this should be what you already shared with students 2 days back. It could be reading a poem, listening to news, watching a you tube link that you shared, finding about something, or even doing a worksheet. Every class you plan should have a pre task and a post task planned to make it more effective.
6) Divide your time with students online into parts. The entire time you should not be delivering content. Remember, we want students to enjoy this and feel successful. So start with a nice activity. Then teach main topic for ten minutes, then again get into a discussion for 5-7 minutes. Keep repeating like this.
7) Establish ways to monitor progress. Encourage students for each step on the way. It is very important at this time to reward and celebrate success for students. Let them feel that they can be successful. While giving them this feeling, trust me, you will feel successful as well.
8) Try and create opportunity for students to show what have they learnt. Every activity that you conduct online should help students develop their knowledge and learn something new.
9) Recap or summarise should be an essential component of each class. You can ask students to repeat, write key points that they have learnt (in chat/whatsapp groups), or summarise in their own words.
10) Feedback is the final and a very important step. While you keep doing assessment of how students are performing in written assignments, or verbally telling you their responses, it is very important that you give them immediate feedback on their work.
Remember, the mantra for a successful online class is just the same as an offline class, and that is to make children like coming to your class. Do not try to do everything that’s given in the book, just identify the key ideas and focus on them. Put behind the rest for now. We do not know when the exams would be? Or even if there would be any this year? But what we know, is that learning continues. For students, as well as for us. So don’t stress out. Go easy on yourself, because you are new to this, but still giving your best.