Distance Learning: 10 Best Practices for Teachers

child, student, video conference

Online learning and teaching are gaining more popularity. By choosing this format of work, online teachers greatly facilitate the process both for themselves and their students. For instance, the participants may be located in different parts of the world. Nobody needs to waste time on the road. All you need is to have a computer or smartphone on hand with a high-speed Internet connection.

In this article, we don’t talk about the benefits of online learning but describe the best practices for online teachers and share the best tools for remote learning. Let’s go!

Best Practices For Teachers

It’s not so easy to keep students’ attention even in the same room with them — let alone conferences and online learning, where there are numerous kids and only one teacher!

And so, let’s take a look at the best practices for teachers that will help make distance learning not effective but interesting for all participants.

  1. Set the rules

It’s necessary to implement this one to make remote learning as effective as possible.

Establish rules for communication during the process (or send them to students in advance). For instance, all participants must have web cameras enabled and microphones turned off by default during a video lesson so you can see each of them.

If students have questions, they write in chat or use a special app feature to attract your attention. It will allow you to control everything that is happening, not be distracted, and make the online learning process most effective.

  1. Make contact with everyone

If time permits, it’s essential to establish contact with everyone who joins your online lesson. Ask students how they are doing or any off-topic questions before class begins. To do this, you can get in 10-15 minutes before the start or arrange a simple vote, where everyone writes something to the chat.

It’s a very efficient way to connect with students and, for a good reason, is one of the best  tips for online learning.

  1. Engage your audience

Distance learning is a challenge for teachers and learners, and it requires some effort. You need to get your students interested in the subject using interactive technologies. Try to do your best and not to mumble in a monotonous voice. Speak loudly, energetically, at a moderate pace — this is the golden formula for your speech and success as a teacher.

Add some facial expressions. Experiment with intonation and speech rate. Speak loud or, conversely, speak more quietly. The non-standard presentation of the material involves the audience in the online learning process. You can try taking long pauses when it makes sense. Such techniques will lighten up your speech, awaken the attention of bored listeners and make the lesson much more interesting.

  1. Organize a dialogue

Try to switch from speaker mode to interlocutor mode every 6-10 minutes. Involve several participants into dialogue. Actively use chat, polls, work with a whiteboard or your presentation. Let the audience speak, write, and take notes.

Spend some time discussing ideas or answering important questions. It’s great if the remote learning process looks more like a discussion than a boring monologue.

  1. Workplace

This tip applies not only to teachers but to students as well, namely, the entire online learning process.

A well-prepared workplace for distance learning leads to positive results and has the same effect. Your desk shouldn’t be littered with extraneous things. And its background should be neutral so as not to distract students’ attention; make sure the lighting is good, the clothes are comfortable but formal, and the chair is easy. Don’t forget about a bottle of water.

  1. Have a break

It’s crucial to change activities and take breaks as often as possible during online classes: warm-up, make a cup of tea, close your eyes for some seconds, and so on. Such breaks can be taken right during the lesson, without stopping it.

You can give the children a task to draw something or to warm up. By the way, if you work with kids, such a warm-up will be most effective, especially if you do the exercises altogether and the parents join kids as well.

  1. Practice

No best practices for teachers will help if there are no examples and practical exercises in online learning. You must tell and show how the knowledge gained can be applied in practice. It’s very cool if you manage to recall some funny or unusual cases from your experience and tell about them.

  1. Use memes

Use entertaining slides with memes, colorful presentations where the information is well structured with little text, and numerous examples and illustrations. Your students will love this.

Many online teachers have begun to actively use this method in online learning. And it’s not in vain! By adding humor to slides, it’s easier for teachers to convey the information and for the audience to comprehend the material.

  1. Simple and clear

Your goal as a teacher is to explain materials and convey knowledge. If you see that your students don’t understand you, try to use this point from our list of best practices for teachers.

Divide information into logical blocks and conclude after each of them. Try to speak as simply as possible and use simpler words if the children don’t get the material. Use this practice in your online learning process to explain complex concepts and terms.

  1. Prepare in advance

It’s the last but not least tip for online teachers. It’s crucial not to plan the entire lesson and course only but to determine the right tools and streaming software for distance learning as well.

It’s necessary to contact students or their parents in advance and find out what technical capabilities they have. Ask students to pre-set the programs they will need for the class and explain how to record a webinar to watch the lecture one more time later. In any case, you can do it yourself and send the recording to your students. The inly thing is to find out how to add a timer to a video to make the navigation through it easier.

Best Tools For Remote Learning

Here we briefly tell you about the best tools and streaming software that is useful for online learning:

  • Zoom — a video conferencing platform. It helps online teachers to turn off the students’ microphones and turn them on only when the learner needs to answer a question.
  • Discord — a popular streaming software and group chat app. It was created for gamers but recently has become the application actively used in distance learning.
  • Google Classroom — one of the best tools for keeping a list of classes, courses, and activities.
  • Microsoft Teams — a powerful tool to fully bridge the distance gap between teachers and their audience.
  • WhatsApp, Telegram — messengers for communication and chatting with your students and their parents (if needed).

Various streaming software and lists of the best tools for online learning and collaboration with other teachers exist. However, everyone chooses based on their needs.

Remote learning so far can’t come close in efficiency to offline education. Nevertheless, it’s vital to try to make the online learning process as interesting as possible and convey an important message to every child.

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