There is no greater nightmare for a teacher than to see their student bored, unmotivated, looking at their watch constantly and nodding without understanding what they are saying…We know that this is not the case for you, but as everything can be improved upon, we are going to help you to give your online classes that special edge that will make them unique and unforgettable. Keep reading, because if you like to teach, this is going to be of interest to you.
The camera and you
In face-to-face teaching non-verbal communication is important and you always have to take care of certain aspects in order to optimise how the message is delivered in a clear and concise way, but if we talk about virtual education this becomes an essential component: what happens when you have to talk to them via a camera? This new companion, which intimidates you with its icy presence, will elevate or belittle your work according to how you treat it, so pay great attention to the useful advice the University of Jaen gives to its teachers:
- Be mindful of the place you record in: it is preferrable that the the background is white, without distractions and that there is some space between the wall and the teacher.
- With regards to lighting, you must try to avoid shadows on your face (better if there is a window).
- Your clothing should avoid geometric patterns and striking accessories: you want them to remember your lessons not your jersey with fluorescent triangles!
- Treat the camera as if it were your friend, look at it confidently in the eye, have an open posture with all of your body like you would do in a face-to-face class and use simple and friendly conversation.
- Drink water: it will help you to relax, and take some pauses, sometimes necessary so as not to overwhelm those listening to you.
Also, it is recommended to be mindful of your emotional management: smiles not only are agreeable, they also generate confidence in the receiver and encourage the desire to learn. As we have seen in the conclusions from the report of Re. school Forum 2020.
The class navigator
It’s clear that you are not going to shoot a Hollywood blockbuster, but it never hurts to have a guide to help you structure the lesson. If in face-to-face classes rhythm is a fundamental tool to not lose your listeners, in the virtual realm you have to emphasise it even more: you don’t want to see yawns on the screen!
Therefore, like in face-to-face lessons, you will have to be very clear what you want to deliver and you will have to clearly define the objectives you will cover in this session, but you will also need to take into account the peculiarities of virtual learning and control your timing very well to avoid any hint of boredom. One example of a lesson plan could be such as outlined by the National University of Lanus (Argentina):
- Presentation and recap of previous content in the last lesson: don’t forget the first thing is to greet your student, who has to feel accompanied at every moment and from there you can refresh the concepts that have been covered and prepare the following.
- Explanation of what they are going to work on: keep your student informed about what you are going to do, it is important that they feel part of the process.
- Objectives: they must be clear, concise and obviously, realistic.
- Explanations and development of themes: you can help yourself to complementary materials such as videos and games. Online learning is full of the most entertaining possibilities!
- Reading material: remember that a good bibliography is always appreciated by a dedicated student.
- Other activities: be inventive! You are limited only by your imagination.
- Ending the lesson: it has to be simple yet effective, take into account that it is the last feeling that the student will take away with them.
Something which mustn’t fall down in any good virtual teaching session is the use of materials other than the text which involve and motivate the student. Therefore, video format and games are very powerful tools that can transform learning into pure diversion. They will be counting down the hours until the next lesson with you.
In its Study about the gamification of the virtual classroom, the International University of la Rioja highlights that motivation is mirrored if the person remains a participant. Therefore, take note of the concept of the flow theory of Csikszentmihalyi and Nakamura (2009) as a basis for implementation: it consists of presenting activities that suppose an achievable goal. If the subject matter is too difficult they will despair and get frustrated. However, on the contrary, if it is excessively easy they will get bored. Your job, in other words, will be to find this balance that enthuses your student and motivates them to continue.
I have some games here you can incorporate:
- “Zoom”: consists of enlargening an image to the point that it is difficult to know what the object is. The student will have to guess what it is. Perfect for stimulating the imagination.
- Educational cards: a classic, pairing up words from one list to another that have something in common. Especially suitable for learning languages.
- Riddles: create your own challenges and guessing games. As well as being entertaining, they are very effective at consolidating knowledge.
- Words inside words: starting off with the teacher proposing a word, students (ideal for group work), have to create different vocabulary. Whoever makes up more words, wins.
- Roleplay: also perfect for group work, each student assumes a different role and must debate about a theme from the point of view of their character.
Furthermore, don’t forget the star format of online learning: video. It helps to make information easier to absorb and enables you to condense many stimuli in little time.
Involve the student
All these practise exercises encourage that which is key to e-learning: participation. The student must feel part of the process, so their motivation increases and the learning curve steepens.Therefore it is fundamental that communication flows :chat, for example, is a great ally in the hands of the teacher. The teacher’s job, in this way, is to be a guide through which the student transitions, discovering and learning their rhythm.
The University of Valencia highlights the importance of students feeling free to be able to ask and have opinions without any fear or inhibitions. This feedback would result in a more more amenable and profitable session.
As you can see, making your lesson a comfortable place in which learning and enjoying oneself go hand in hand. We are confident that these tools will be useful for you and you will enjoy developing your passion for education in our platform. Remember we are here to help you and you have us at your disposal for whichever inquiry may arise.