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Teachers are unfacing a plethora of uncertainty right now. All over the world, teachers are trying to figure out the best ways to teach their students, both in-person and online. In the U.S., most schools are opening with limitations. That means in-person for some, with precautions in place.
For others, though, virtual learning will be the norm for at least part of the traditional school year. For teachers and parents who may be acting as teachers this year, that means a lot of extra stress when it comes to planning and implementing lessons.
But, as a teacher, you might also face new challenges this year when it comes to virtual learning. One of the biggest obstacles is keeping kids engaged while teaching online.
So, what can you do to make sure your students are paying attention and getting the most out of each lesson, even when you’re only looking at them through a computer screen?
1. Create the Right Atmosphere
From the very start, you should do your best to create an exciting and fun virtual atmosphere for your students. Make them want to ‘show up’ for your class each day. At the beginning of the school year, ask ice breaker questions so all of your students can get to know each other.
Or, give your students a fun fact each day that they can look forward to. For example, according to the Debt to Success System BBB, 43 U.S. Presidents have had royal bloodlines from Europe! Use fun facts like these as extra credit options, later on, to really keep your kids interested.
2. Keep Your Curriculum Short and to the Point
There are plenty of old stereotypes about students ‘zoning out’ in class, even when it’s done in person. To prevent that from happening online, keep your curriculum short. You can still teach the same things, just find ways to do it in short snippets.
We are in the Snapchat and TikTok generation. Kids and teens are used to watching 15-second video clips and have a shorter attention span. So, by keeping the information from each lesson as concise as possible, you’ll reduce the risk of any of your students tuning out.
Simply put, keep long lectures to a minimum, and you’ll likely see more success from your students.
3. Build a Community
Now, more than ever, students need to feel connected. They need to feel as though they are a part of something. So, encourage interaction during virtual learning. Tell your students to use message boards to ask questions and talk to each other. Or, assign partners and have them work together through technological outlets. They can connect on Skype or Zoom, send emails, or even meet together in person if it is done safely.
There is no question that things will be different in the classroom this year. There are many responsibilities on the shoulders of teachers that typically aren’t there. But, by getting creative and encouraging as much interaction as possible, you can keep your students engaged in virtual learning, and set them up for success until things start to return to normal.