8 strategies for teaching effectively during Covid-19

With schools and colleges closed indefinitely, the importance of online teaching has never been more evident.

While students grapple with their own set of challenges in adapting to the new way of learning, it may be equally, if not more, challenging for teachers who may or may not have delivered online classes in the past.

While it inspires us to hear stories of teachers who are going the extra mile in these unprecedented times to deliver an excellent education, we should also acknowledge that a lot of teachers are struggling to navigate through these difficult times.

Lack of suitable infrastructure at home, limited experience of using technology for delivering education, and maintaining a balance between official and personal responsibilities are just a few challenges that teachers are facing these days.

It is, therefore, extremely important that we learn about the strategies that are helping teachers across the world adjust to delivering online education amidst these difficult times.

8 Strategies For Effective Online Teaching

  1. Establish classroom rules: Just like a real classroom has certain rules that all students are expected to follow, your virtual classroom should also have some clearly-defined rules. Set expectations on class timings, attendance policy, do’s and don’ts, office hours when students can contact you for one-to-one discussions and modes of communication.
  2. Set up a virtual connect platform: If your school or university doesn’t have an LMS, you will need to set up a virtual system through which you can be connected with you students at any given point of time. Besides sending emails for sharing content like teaching videos, reading material, assignments, URL’s to websites, etc., consider creating a WhatsApp or a Facebook group for quick follow-ups and discussions.
  3. Learn how to use a Video Conferencing software: As an online educator, you will need to be able to set up a VC call to deliver online classes and respond to student’s questions. Check out this article (insert link to article) on 5 free VC platforms other than Zoom that you can use for your virtual classes.
  4. Prepare Lesson Plans: A lesson plan is a necessary tool for teachers when delivering an online class since you want to be as effective as possible in the limited time that you have with your students.
  5. Use open and free online resources: There are tonnes of impactful and ready-made resources for teachers available online that you can simply pick and use for delivering your online classes. Go over this article (Insert link to article) on 10 Free and Impactful online resources for teachers.
  6. Make your lessons engaging: Online teaching doesn’t have to be boring and monotonous. Make it engaging by including activities like quizzes, polls, games, group projects, and more. You also don’t have to do all the hard work by yourself; ask your students to share their ideas and rotate responsibility among them for leading and delivering such activities for the whole class.
  7. Practice Empathy: Despite the popularity of smartphones and gadgets amongst the younger generations, alarge chunk of the student population in India still does not have access to a personal device which they can use for attending classes. They rely on an elder family member's smartphone or laptop. Some families may not have a broadband connection at home so internet speed and data limit could be a challenge. In such times, it is imperative that you remain empathetic and understanding of the student’s conditions and plan your lessons with the objective of including even those who may get left out.
  8. Be Patient: Don’t get flustered up when things go wrong. It could be the VC app not working or students complaining that they cannot hear you over a call. You will have days when the phone won’t stop ringing and also those when they will not be able to access a pre-read material you shared. In all these situations and more, learn to be patient and handle things calmly.
Above all, it is important for you as a teacher to keep trying different things that work for you and your students. Think of it as an opportunity to rediscover your motivation to join this profession and add a layer of fresh, new skills that you will now be able to offer as a teacher.
Chandan Kumar
New Delhi