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How can schools and colleges support teachers with their online teaching?

How can schools and colleges support teachers with their online teaching?

 

Or more specifically, how can schools help the teacher with their aim of successfully facilitating learning in a way that the student can digest and remember whilst keeping them stimulated, remotely?

 

During these times, teachers may be struggling with juggling! An extra ball to add to the equation - virtual teaching. This blog contains a few ideas that may aid schools in helping the teacher fulfil the aforementioned aim, and generally make things simpler all round.

 

One of the easiest wins is providing the teacher with the most efficient equipment. A good example of this is more screen space. As long as the teacher is using a computer that is fairly decent (laptop or desktop) it should be easy to add an additional monitor to the setup. Much more affordable larger screens, up to 27”, have come on to the market in the last couple of years and we are surprised to see people endeavor to use 14” laptop screens with multiple tabs and programs. There is an obvious advantage to having 2,3 or 4 windows in view opposed to just one. If the teacher is using a laptop then a separate keyboard and mouse would allow the laptop to be closed and pushed out of the way. Suddenly it’s a better experience all round, not to mention the opportunity to improve posture.

 

Since virtual teaching is a fairly new phenomenon, especially in schools, a lot of what teachers are doing involves trial and error. A school could greatly benefit by allowing, encouraging and providing the tools and time for teachers to discuss learning techniques with one another. We know of at least a few schools that have simply created multiple online chat groups for teachers to swaps tips and help each other solve the problems they are encountering. It sounds obvious but if schools are not doing this then teachers may be suffering in silence. As they may also be using new-to-them software it is often the case that teachers do not use all the features available within this software. Some may find novel ways to use it and wrongly presume others are using it the same way. Considering conventional staffroom meetings are currently ‘not a thing’, allowing teachers to, at least virtually, meet could pay dividends for efficiency and the mental well-being of staff, and have knock on benefits for students.

 

As well as providing vehicles for teachers to collaborate or just chat, opportunities for teachers to get together should be increased during lockdown periods. The sad thing is that teachers will often have brilliant ideas to make things better, solve a problem, support their students and fellow teachers. But after jumping from one lesson to another and as the end of the lesson rolls into another task, these ideas are forgotten. Schools should be using online software to at least allow teaching staff more chances to connect.

 

A few examples of ways teachers may connect, virtually.

1)      1 - Weekly or more frequent virtual meetings.

2)      2 - Chat groups for tips, technical support, emotional support, social support and advice.

3)      3 - Lunchtime hangouts.

4)      4 - Chat groups for student alerts, e.g., students that need extra support.

5)      5 - Fun and games type groups.