Throughout the past year, teaching a class without actually being in a physical classroom has been one of the most difficult adjustments for teachers and students alike. Through hard work and perseverance, teachers have learned to adapt their teaching methods and find new ways to help their remote students in their online environment, but unfortunately, some students are still falling behind.
If you have virtual learners that are struggling, here are a few ways you can give your students a helping hand.
Promote Community in the Virtual Classroom
Our brains are wired to be social, so the sudden lack of communal interaction can be extremely difficult – especially considering the minds of developing children. It’s vital to do everything you can to make your virtual classroom a safe space where they feel a sense of togetherness. This in turn will help them stay engaged.
Adding more group-oriented work to your lesson plans will also encourage students to communicate more actively with each other as they work to achieve a common goal as a team. Likewise, discussion-based activities can motivate students to voice their opinions and hear others, like they would if they were together in the classroom.
Give Students a Choice
No two students will react the same to a given project. Rather than demanding they stick to a strict rubric, allow them the freedom to pursue a presentation of their choice around a lesson or topic. While an essay may work for Bobby, his classmate Suzy would much rather design a PowerPoint to show off her technical skills. Finding a balance between ensuring the curriculum is taught and letting students demonstrate their own understanding of their knowledge is an easy way you can help your students succeed.
Encourage Their Individuality
Unlike a physical classroom, there’s no opportunity in virtual learning for students to have a space that feels like their own. While they’re away from their desks, encourage your students (or their parents) to create a dedicated space at home that they can make their own.
It could include anything from decorating their own backdrop with relevant posters or scenery, to filling the space with personalized items, or even using the customizable background feature on programs like Zoom (responsibly and appropriately). All of these will help promote a sense of self and bring them into “learning mode”, rather than just feeling like another day spent indoors.
Communicate With Parents
While you may already keep in touch with your student’s parents often, during virtual learning it’s as important as ever to keep mom and dad in the loop- especially if their child is struggling. With more parents helping with homework and projects these days, it’s important to always keep an open line of communication (during a set number of hours) for parents to contact you with questions and concerns. If you see a child that is starting to fall behind, reach out to their parents to see how they are doing with their work at home. For students that continue to struggle, set up a virtual meeting where you can all get together and go over solutions.
Most importantly, reassure your students that even though they may feel alone, we are all on this virtual journey together.
For more virtual learning tips click here. Have your own ideas on how to help students struggling with virtual learning? Comment below!
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