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Shifting into remote instruction isn’t always easy for teachers used to traditional classrooms. The learning curve challenges both students and instructors, but a few new strategies can make things easier for everyone.
Check out the top eight tips for remote instruction in grade schools and universities. See if they’ll help your students adjust to the new learning style while you polish your teaching skills behind the scenes.
1. Foster Community Connections
Students attending virtual classes often feel isolated. Their parents can feel the same way. It’s up to the teacher to foster community connections by regularly reaching out to everyone.
Send weekly emails to catch up with students or their parents if you teach in a grade school. Schedule monthly conferences to discuss how things are going. Isolation grows slowly but increases the risk of depression in students of all ages. They’ll enjoy school more if they get mental health support from their instructors.
2. Find New Communication Tools
Depending on your students’ ages, they may not understand certain programs teachers use for class. If they begin to struggle with live lessons or submitting work, find new communication tools to see which work better. Collaboration is possible only when everyone understands how to participate.
3. Stick With a Schedule
Schedules are always a critical part of helping students learn. Predictability encourages confidence and engagement, especially when remote instruction is so new to your class.
Stick with a schedule as much as possible to make online lessons the new norm.
After establishing a routine, don’t lock yourself into it. Figure out a backup plan for circumstances like if the internet goes out or a collaborative website goes offline.
4. Establish Clear Goals
Remote instruction feels difficult for some teachers because their goals change. Instead of starting the year with classroom-based objectives with in-person strategies, set online teaching goals that take advantage of your virtual space. They give purpose to your new online routine.
Ask students to participate in discussion boards or keep their cameras on, depending on what everyone can do together. Think about other objectives like:
- Commenting at least once on every class forum
- Turning on their mic to ask one question each day
- Using the correct email format outlined in your syllabus
Come up with other goals as the semester or year continues. You’ll notice ways everyone can improve and set new expectations to help them grow.
5. Celebrate Student Accomplishments
Goals result in accomplishments, so celebrate those successes. Present students with virtual certificates they can print out at home. Create a private Instagram account for your students and their parents where you post about each success. These celebrations reinforce positive behavior and participation so virtual classes are more fun for everyone.
6. Check in With Students
When students walk into a classroom, their instructors can judge their mood. It’s an essential indicator of how well they are doing at home, which gets lost in translation over chat boxes and forum posts.
Remote instruction should always include frequent check-ins with students. Ask about their well-being, if they’re getting enough to eat, and how their home life is. These personal questions build a foundation of kindness that establishes better lines of communication, even if you correspond through emails instead of video calls.
7. Send Regular Reminders
Students will always forget to check their course calendars. It’s more challenging to create this routine because they don’t see them posted on a physical classroom wall. Sending regular reminders encourages students to check their calendars frequently and prepares them for future independent learning. They’ll achieve more success in life when they get into the habit of monitoring deadlines, even from home.
8. Find an Organization Method
If you can’t teach from your classroom, you likely miss your filing cabinets and desk drawers. Remote instruction is much more difficult when you’re unsure how to keep track of your digital and physical supplies.
As you get used to your new routine, find an organizational method that works for you. Try keeping track of student questions in a shared spreadsheet or writing all your ideas in one notes app. Even a few binders or sticky notes can help you find a balance so virtual teaching becomes more comfortable.
Ask for Feedback
Students and parents might not feel comfortable stepping forward with feedback, so remember to ask for it. Remote instruction works when everyone’s on the same page. Ask what they like and which parts of their routine are a struggle. Use these tips to refine your teaching methods and establish a virtual classroom setting that helps everyone succeed.