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Getting Ready to Teach Next Year

Covid-19 has made the 2019–20 school year one we will never forget. With no notice or preparation, teachers were forced to pivot to online teaching.

As school districts begin to plan the 2020–21 academic year, online learning will most likely play a prominent role in recovery efforts as many districts will shift to a system that combines online and in-person instruction.

As we move beyond crisis management to purposefully planning these systems, we can look to the successes and problems of emergency online teaching.  Mary Burns, Senior Learning Technologist and Edutopia contributor talked with teachers and students and offers the following strategies.

Design for the Online Medium

For many of the students, their first foray into online learning raised issues about pacing, structure, and the lack of interactivity and rigor, and the sometimes confusing plethora of communication and instructional channels (Google Classroom, Zoom, YouTube, email, and various apps).

For the students Burns interviewed about their experience learning online, well-designed online classes would include several design elements:

  • “High touch” learning
  • Greater interactivity
  • Personalized learning
  • More challenging activities

Prepare Teachers for Online Instruction

To teach well online, teachers will need to develop a repertoire of online pedagogies that involve a mix of:

  • Direct instruction
  • Cognitive models of learning
  • Social models of learning

Above all, teachers will need guidance and strategies for establishing a sense of emotional, cognitive, and instructional presence so students feel connected and part of an online community of learners.

Prepare Students for Online Learning

Thus, in the move to a digital instruction system, one of the most important things we can do is prepare our students to be successful online learners. This will involve helping students with:

  • Technology training
  • Personal characteristics related to successful online learning
  • Productivity skills related to online learning

Ensure Structure and Support for All Students and Families

As schools transition to using online instruction as part of a Covid-19 response, districts will need to ensure that requirements and guidelines are put in place to ensure an equitable education for all students—both in school and at home.

Schools will need clear supports and structures for families. Parents and guardians who don’t speak English and those who lack digital skills, who cannot assist teachers with home instruction, or whose homes may not be conducive to learning online will need additional assistance. Schools might offer workshops for parents and caregivers and their children to model desired home digital learning practices, teach basic digital literacy skills, establish communication channels, share techniques for evaluating their child’s progress, and offer more ongoing social, academic, and technical support to families.

Excerpted from “Getting Ready to Teach Next Year” in Edutopia. Read the full article for more details on each of the four strategies.

Source: Edutopia | Getting Ready to Teach Next Year, https://www.edutopia.org/article/getting-ready-teach-next-year | © 2020 George Lucas Educational Foundation
Edutopia, a program of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, is a trusted source shining a spotlight on what works in education.

CHC offers free community education sessions for educators. Join us to learn practical teaching strategies you can use in your classroom to help more kids reach their promise and potential. Educator sessions are led by experienced educator/clinician teams from Sand Hill School and CHC.

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