The Importance of being clear and well prepared
When teaching in a physical environment, we can see when the room or a particular student is not getting it. A student’s frown is sometimes all the evidence you need. However, few videoconferencing tools will let you see all of your students at once. If they are learning or doing something on their own, students may not be able to reach you right away for clarification, which is why putting a lot of effort into organizing your class clearly can prevent frustration.
Ways to ensure clarity for online teaching
- Use a planner that is simple enough for your students to understand.
- Make your plan available to students, parents and colleagues.
- Always deliver plans and content at the same place and time.
- Provide links to resources (videos, texts, etc.).
- Make sure your goals are clearly communicated to your students: What are the expected outcomes of your lesson?
- Use numbers to show the progression: step 1, step 2…
- Make sure lessons are scaffolded and in context, not random activities.
You can find this planner on the Service national du RÉCIT domaine des langues Open in a new window website.
Getting your students organized: classroom routines
Just as in a physical classroom, online classroom routines can lower student (and teacher) anxiety. Students come to know how classes unfold and what is expected of them.
A routine should include:
- Welcoming students to class
- Asking participants to keep their cameras on (bandwidth allowing)
- Hooking students to the topic (engaging them, stimulating curiosity)
- Presenting clear intentions - clear lesson goals: make it relevant
- Listing everything that students need to do/have to succeed
- Preparing students to carry out the task(s)
- Carrying out the task(s)
- Reflecting on learning
The “Service national du RECIT” has created a template of a routine document that you can modify to create your own class routine. Find it on the Distance Teaching page of the Service national du RÉCIT domaine des langues website Open in a new window.
“When I taught in class I would always start with the same two songs… Moving online, I kept doing it, and the students really appreciated it. They need the online class to feel somewhat familiar. I made sure to have many small activities (a story, a game or two, a few songs and some time to question the students). They were patient and attentive…“Isabelle Tremblay, ESL teacher, CS de Montréal