The COVID 19 situation the world over has taught us more than we can learn. For one, it has taught us that it is possible to attend school without actually physically attending school.
Yes! The introduction of online schools is a novel concept this academic year. While some teachers are now well settled with the idea, we still see many teachers struggling with remote learning.
The concept of online teaching and online learning is new to everyone. The real test is how fast you can adapt to the situation.
While online teaching comes with its own drawbacks and challenges, there are ways to overcome them. Here are some of the struggles of teachers in online teaching and measures to tackle them.
Novice in Technology
Students are better adept than teachers when it comes to handling the computer. This is a known fact.
This may be because of the agility of students when it comes to the latest technology or the exposure to technology from a very young age.
Teachers, on the other hand, being older than students by more or less, a generation, may have had lesser exposure to computers while growing up.
This means that teachers are less adept at handling the computer or device to take up online classes.
This is one of the main struggles of teachers. However, there is always a solution to a problem and we have a solution to this problem too.
Firstly, always remember, you are never too old to be a student yourself. As a teacher, if you have no much knowledge of computers and the latest technology, it is advisable to take up a crash course.
Enrol in an online course on computers and learn from the experts. You can also lookup the internet for step-by-step procedures in operating the live streaming application.
Taking direct advice from the school computer teacher or technician can be very helpful.
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Teachers struggling with online learning face the issue of internet connectivity. During class hours, the connection to the internet may be lost or electricity may be cut.
All these issues add up to the many struggles of online teaching. This is not in your control. However, to overcome this difficulty, it is advisable to invest in power backup for your electricity at home.
Since online teaching is a novel concept and may remain for a while, investing in power back up is a good idea.
Another reason for teachers struggling with online learning is that they are unable to engage students as effectively as in the classroom.
With online teaching, it is impossible for the teacher to keep an eye on each student and ensure that each student is attentive.
In brick-and-mortar classrooms, it is possible for teachers to physically show students working models. Students can feel and touch working models for better understanding.
For example, a teacher explaining to kindergarten students about floating and sinking objects can easily show this concept to students. Students can touch and feel the objects.
However, in online classes, students can only see the demonstrations from a distance.
To remedy this, teachers can engage students by asking them to perform experiments in their respective homes, under adult supervision. Sometimes, students can perform in front of the whole class even through online sessions.
The Problem of Non-Interactive Students
Online classes have given rise to more passive students. While only a handful of students respond to the teacher and ask doubts, other students remain silent throughout the class.
These students who are passive may do well in exams but their interactions in the online class may limit their knowledge of real-world problems. It is very important for students to be interactive during online sessions.
To overcome this problem teachers must reinforce concepts through interactive means and involve all students at all times. Teachers must not only resort to textbook teaching but also other experiential means.
Difficulty in Assessment
In online teaching, teachers find it difficult to assess if a student has understood a concept or not. Teachers struggling with remote learning often have this problem.
They are unable to gauge if the student has comprehended the subject.
To overcome this difficulty, teachers can send feedback forms to the students at the end of every lesson. Each feedback form can contain questions pertaining to how well they have understood the concept.
Please note that feedback forms should not be in the form of a question paper containing lesson related questions. Feedback forms are different.
They contain questions on how well the student has understood or grasped the concept.
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Online Submissions and Evaluation
One of the major struggles of teachers is the task of accepting notes for corrections, evaluating them and sending them back to students.
The process seems long and cumbersome. Clicking pictures of notes, forwarding them through online means and then correcting the same is a big task for teachers as well as students.
It is true that physical correction of books and handing them over to students is far better than online corrections. However, with the recent changes in our lifestyles, online evaluations are inevitable.
As a remedy, teachers can question students through online quizzes and multiple-choice questioning. This saves time and reduces the process of submission.
Teachers struggling with remote learning also have to tackle the difficulty of loneliness. This feeling of loneliness is felt not only by teachers but more by students too.
Students lack interaction with peers and teachers lack interaction with fellow professors and teachers. This is an awful feeling and can prove to be detrimental for both teachers and students.
Teaching in classrooms is a totally different feeling. The sound of students chatting and the visible reactions on students’ faces are all part and parcel of good teaching.
The sudden shift to online teaching has eliminated all these visuals and sounds. This has affected both teachers and students alike.
As a teacher, your first thought should be towards the wellbeing of students. Therefore, elimination of students’ loneliness during online sessions must be the foremost plan.
Teachers can organise virtual chat rooms for students to interact with their friends online during class hours.
Giving group assignments and group discussions and allowing students to interact online to discuss the assignments is a step towards eliminating loneliness.
Though virtual interactions are unlike face-to-face interactions, it is a step towards the goal.
At the same time letting students know that loneliness in times of a busy world can be a blessing in disguise too. Always remember a season of loneliness and isolation is when the caterpillar gets its wings.
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Teach the Future
The best remedy for teachers to overcome online teaching difficulties is to engage students in future learning. By this, we mean that students should be taught to be ready for the future. To face all difficulties that may arise.
The COVID 19 situation caught the world in surprise. The world was not prepared for a pandemic situation. However, it has taught us to be prepared for the future and for mishaps that can be worse.
Ready the students for life ahead. With advancements in technology, every student must be well versed in the use of the latest devices and applications. Students must be ready to take on the world and build a better tomorrow.
At the same, as a teacher, it is your duty to stay positive. Enlighten each student of the possible future but also encourage them to show valour and grit. After all, you can’t change the past, but you can make a great future.