Focus On Teaching: Teachers Teaching From Home, Facilitating Virtual Learning

Focus on Teaching Edthena tips for teachers and coaches about professional development and professional learning

  • Educators who were expecting to teach in classrooms in Beijing, China, are now teaching virtual classes remotely from their homes.

  • To prepare to facilitate virtual learning, educators had about half a week to set up for online learning.

  • During the first few weeks, patience and flexibility was a necessity. Currently, these educators are engaging with students and providing a high quality online educational experience.

 

According to Edutopia – What Teachers in China Have Learned in the Past Month, Laurel Schwartz describes how teachers in classrooms in Beijing made the transition to educating students via an online digital platform.

Laurel shares the online education start-up phase and best practices that were implemented to support students, families, and teachers transitions effectively to virtual classrooms.

Asynchronous Teaching

Most of the classes for students are asynchronous. Teachers are spread out across eight time zones, so they post assignments and recorded lessons allowing the students to complete these assignments at different times.

Teachers provide feedback by using a rubric and share comments and recorded video/audio feedback via their online learning platform. Most teachers have at least three live classes each week to connect with their students.

The international team teaches using the learning management system Moodle. Some educators also use Zoom for live classes, which is currently free for schools.

It’s Not All About Screens

Teachers are assigning students tasks that include activities that are not only screen-based. A first-grade class had a homework assignment where students were asked to describe a pet using descriptive language. Other examples include students creating and cooking recipes.

These types of assignments are submitted via video. Teachers are also asking students to take pictures of their work and submit the pictures via the online platform.

Teacher Office Hours

In addition to asynchronous and live classes, teachers also offer daily three-hour office shifts. This resource is helpful to students and parents. Office hours provide a way that teachers can supply direct support to students while maintaining real-time communication.

Tech Support

In this case, video and written instructions to students, families, and teachers on how to access the digital platform has been provided. There is also the importance of identifying who at your organization will be responsible for what types of IT support.

Teacher Support

Teachers are continuing to participate in professional development sessions focused on creating unit plans, modeling how to use the online platforms, and answering staff questions. To maintain a sense of community, teachers are also celebrating birthdays and sharing photos.

The best practices listed above have helped educators, students and families transition to virtual learning environments. Early on in the transition, everything took much longer to implement virtually than in a traditional classroom setting. Teachers, students, and families are now engaged in effective virtual classrooms.

Like what you’re reading? Check out a recent article in this series about The Benefits of Implementing Inquiry-Based PD.

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