10 Tips and Tricks of Virtual Instruction
At the World of Learning, we have been teaching online since before the pandemic. Our 20 language teachers have developed these “tricks of the trade” that we believe help ensure that all of our students are able to learn. Feel free to “steal” them from us!
- Send a “Monday Morning Message” (MMM!) – This weekly message to your entire class outlines upcoming assignments, reminds them of class times or schedule changes, gets them excited about new content with an engaging video or article, and shares announcements or well wishes. Here’s a sample using Microsoft Sway, but just a simple email works too!
- Host live sessions – If your school and schedule allow it, host live sessions in a video conferencing platform so that your students can see and hear you and their classmates in real-time. This is incredibly important for engagement, motivation, and the social process of learning! Watch this video for some short clips of what live sessions can look like.
- Host those live sessions in the same place every time – This may seem a bit specific, but hosting your live sessions in the same Zoom room or at the same link every time ensures no one “gets lost on the way to class”. Ideally, these classes would be on the same days of the week at the same time too.
- Plan for engagement – Plan your live sessions with new activities every 5-10 minutes that actively engage your students. You don’t need fancy tools to do this. In fact, you can do many of the same things you did in the brick-and-mortar: Ask students to free write, open up class for discussion, put students in breakout rooms to do pair work, demonstrate a skill and then have students practice it, etc… But keep them involved, not just listening. Here are some sample slides.
- Record classes for absent students – If your district permits it, record live class sessions for students who are not able to attend. They can watch the recording and complete some kind of participation assignment or just send you a message with any questions!
- Create asynchronous assignments with all the key content – Since not all students will be able to join you live, be sure to create asynchronous assignments that students can access to learn and practice the key content.
- Set a weekly deadline on the same day – If things are always due on the same day of the week (say, Fridays), students don’t have to ask “When is it due?”
- Grade weekly – Just as you ask students to submit things once a week, complete your grading on a weekly basis so that students have feedback before they start the next week’s work. This is good practice in general, but especially important in a virtual environment where students are more responsible for their own learning.
- Give feedback on any assignment that gets less than 100% – This way students know exactly what they need to do to get a full grade in your class. Remember, they can’t just ask you in the hallway between classes, so make sure they always know what they did well and what more they can do.
- Be flexible – While brick-and-mortar schools can provide some regularity for us, we all have our own distinct realities at home. Don’t assume you know what that looks like for your students. Be flexible. If they need extra time, give it to them.
Need help with these tips and tricks? Contact us firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org