The ubiquitous field of online teaching and learning has been taken by force. It has been introduced from private institutions, businesses, and many more. Now that hybrid teaching or even 100% virtual learning is in place it is most important to keep youth motivated and connected with learning. With the experiences of virtual teaching we have discovered more challenges of screen fatigue, lack of peer interaction, limited face-to-face interaction, and so many social-emotional opportunities.

We are sharing information from our experiences as well as educators on Twitter who have shared successes with online teaching.

Trust

Building trust takes months to build with learners in person. So building trust online with new people that you do not know has even more bigger paradigms. I recommend use the same tools on building trust that you did with your learners pre-COVID: learn about their interests, speak regularly with their family, and share your own personal experiences.

Being vulnerable enough allows learners to see your humanity and expands their own understanding of each person In the virtual environment. The more that you all learn about each other; trust can be given. Another way to increase the power of trust is being willing to be vulnerable and facilitate conversations. Facilitating is where you as the educator “guide” instead of being the convener of the information.

Accountability

Being unable to see your learner’s work or having a lack of high speed internet is a challenge. However, remaining consistent and intentional about what your learners are responsible for and what you are responsible for is huge. I remember when I told my adult learners to turn in their fieldwork in one week, only 2 submitted their work. However, when I said that if you submit your work and we will schedule 1-on-1 each week with submissions, then 80% of the learners submitted their work.  I discovered that providing this measure of accountability motivated each learner than just asking for a submission. Yes, one-on-ones took time, but I had a team who helped facilitate those 15-30 minute sessions.

Attitude

Having a positive or encouraging attitude goes a long way than others. Learners still pick up on this and sometimes can feed into it or remain into it. It is most important to remember that your learner has many more things occurring in their lives which they cannot share. However, having a good attitude shift makes a huge difference for your participants.

Be Prepared

Virtual learning takes a new approach to preparedness. Questions, presentations, management, and many other areas. However, it is utmost to be prepared with any lesson opportunity. Learners are now used to this cadence and preparedness making them realize their time.

Build Connections

Just like any classroom, you have to build connections and common ground with your participants. The use of visuals shows the diversity in our world and builds conversations. Another example, ask a participant to be the “DJ.” Where they play a short playlist during your break or thinking times. When we discover someone’s personal interest, connections can be built. 

 

Facilitate

Facilitation puts learners at the forefront of learning. Instead of delivering the sole instruction, facilitation guides learners to discover learning. In this article, “Mirroring, paraphrasing, and tracking are three tools you can leverage to help you with active listening. Mirroring is when you repeat back the speaker’s words verbatim. It helps the speaker hear what they just said, shows neutrality, and can help establish trust. Remember, with mirroring you’re keeping your tone warm and accepting and you’re using the speaker’s words, not yours.”

Value Pauses

To encourage more discussions, I pose a question and inform them that anyone can speak up. If it becomes uncomfortable, I will say the question in another way and then turn my camera off. Being not visibly there informs the learners their speaking time is encouraged and was effective to push learners to talk without assuming they would receive my opinion.

Discussion

It will be important to think of creative ways to encourage dialogue. Digitizing learning is still human-centered. Think about all of the ways that you engaged your learners before virtual learning. Thumbs-up, music, clapping, movement, and many more. You can still do these methods it will just be individualized. You can read more in this article from Edutopia.

 

When it comes to teaching and learning, nothing more is valued than face-to-face and in-person learning. However, we know that there are magnificent human beings who can still propel their children online.

When it comes to teaching and learning, nothing more is valued than the face-to-face and in person learning. However, we know that there are magnificent human beings who can still propel their children online.

If you would like to discuss more, please contact us on the About page.

 

These teachers summarize what it means to teach. All in all, we thank you educators for amplifying the knowledge and experiences of our youth.