Three concerns teachers have when adjusting to online teaching

Considerations to help teachers adjust to remote working. Whilst technology is undoubtedly the enabler, suddenly expecting teachers to be collaborating online with students via video calls and chat is a big ask. We need to remember the human elements at play and that a period of adjustment is required to introduce the right ways to move from the classroom to virtual learning.  Many teachers- and students- are new to this way of working and learning, even though there is a lot of expertise in the sector for teachers and staff to tap into.

Who is helping with the virtual classroom transition?

The transition is being faciltated by experts in the education sector such as JISC and the Higher Education Copyright Negotiating and Advisory Committee and the AoC. These were among the bodies who penned a joint letter to academics requesting the provision of digital access to teaching and learning materials. This is one way the drive for remote working in the education sector has pushed a positive outcome for the academic world; more digital resources and wider collaboration and sharing of content outside of usual boundaries or constraints.

This article will look at three considerations to take into account and some fo the struggles at play, when moving towards the online learning model at scale, for teaching staff.

  1. How can we adjust to online course and content delivery?

To be suddenly remotely meeting, virtually collborating and doing all that with confidence is a big ask. Many teachers will not be comfortable with that new way of teaching and it will take time to adjust. You can not ‘lift and drop’ a face to face lesson to onlne overnight. There are many factors to weave in.

Factors such as familiarity of the technology being used and the changes needed to the structuring of content delivery, and the best way to deliver this – such as recordings, being able to view who has downloaded an dviewed th erecordings- as well as then perhaps small online quizzes and feedback forms will need to be explored.

Also the age of the pupils and tudents being taught will mpact the right delivery method used and the type of technology platforms to provide access too.

  1. I dont feel confident communicating with learners on video calls….

Some staff are anxious about how to model appropriate behaviour online. How do teachers establish boundaries, and which platforms can be accessed? These are all key to creating confidence with the technology but also the new way of communicating. For example, class feedback will be different: using video for virtual classroom delivery will allow teachers to guage engagement, but how will staff factor in questions from the students for example, without derailing the online content delivery?

Providing feedback sessions over video chat is a good way to provide students with feedback o key issues directly – especially those with questins around predicted grades in the absence of exams this summer, for example.  

  1. How will we know we are meeting the needs of our learners?

Staff need reinforcement now more than ever – that they are meeting their classes needs. Suddenly this new situation of schools being closed, means we are unlikely to get it right all of the time. Having open dialogue with peers is curcual as wel las tapping into local resurces and how other schools, colleages and universities in your area are coping. They may already have created a mass of cotent you can all share.

Accepting that trial and error are at play is key, and trying new ways to make things work during peridods of crisis such as Covid-19, should be accepted by all (parents, teachers, peers and students) whilst we all adjust.

Collaborating with colleagues and working alongside someone who has experience in delivering online content will help you feel more confident as well as give you tips and ques for what makes a positive online class eperience different from a negative.

In short – this is not the time to try and get everythign perfect, nor to make assumptions. It will take time as no communication strategy was built around the technology and platforms available. Keeping an open dialogue with all is key.