Words by Keanu Plantilla
Art by Ysa Da Silva
“The learning experience may be different, but virtual classrooms are just the same as any traditional classroom, a place where you can cultivate minds and engage holistic learning.”
Online learning is flourishing. The pandemic has forced a number of schools and universities to close down for the remainder of the academic year. But learning never stops. Thanks to the power of technology, we are able to use e-learning tools and resources to provide students the education they need. Online classrooms are becoming a normal part in the country’s education system, yet some of our teachers are still adapting to the new norm which begs the question: how can traditional classroom teachers make distance learning a rich and engaging experience?
Most of us are used to the conventional face-to-face classroom set-up, but online learning is a different kind of experience. The hours you spend at a regular day in school is not the same as the hours you spend teaching on Zoom. Zoom fatigue is real and it may be difficult for students to focus on the lesson if they’re just sitting in front of their laptops and listening to long lectures most of the time.
What you can do is try to mix up your approach. Here are some techniques you can use to create a more interactive and flexible learning environment:
1. Put in some research
Why not take advantage of the internet? Since a lot of information is accessible through the web, you can create mini-lessons and let your students do some research about it during class. This helps them learn more about the subject and at the same time encourages them to be more resourceful. It is an excellent way for them to develop trust in their abilities towards problem solving.
2. Try off-screen activities
Even though classes are held online, it doesn’t mean activities should be limited on screen. You can ask your students to do some writing, drawing, or storytelling exercises during discussions. Maybe let them write a poem related to a science topic or let them share observations on how they came to solve a math problem.
Going back to the basics of learning adds an element of fun and creativity to your lessons which students would definitely appreciate.
3. Feed-forward rather than feedback
Some students are afraid of hearing corrective feedback because it feels like they did something wrong or that their performance isn’t good enough. This might lead to lower levels of interest and motivation.
Instead of focusing on the past, give your attention to the future. Feed-forward helps students improve and make adjustments on their current process by focusing on what can they do differently for the future. It suggests a supportive tone and raises better awareness on personal effectiveness and productivity.
Education has a vital role in forming morals and values that inevitably shape society, not just through curricula but through showing examples of resilience and innovativeness of educators to their students.
As role models, educators can also lead the students to improve their attitude and approach in learning. Even if the learning environment has changed, the goal of teaching hasn’t: create an effective learning environment where students can explore on their own. The learning experience may be different, but virtual classrooms are just the same as any traditional classroom, a place where you can cultivate minds and engage holistic learning.
Learning isn’t a one-way but a two-way experience: educators learn as they facilitate learning effectively and efficiently. Make every way count.
Keanu is from Metro Manila, Philippines and is a Sensereporter for Makesense Asia. He creates content to promote positive mental health. Keanu supports building mental health awareness. He believes that the more we share, the more we care.
Ysa is an illustrator and graphic designer from Metro Manila who aims to design for social impact. As the Communications Manager of makesense Philippines, she believes that visual storytelling is what allows us to bridge gaps across communities and build a more connected & collaborative world