Different schools have deployed various learning strategies to keep their wards engaged. However, while some parents and students have warmed up to the idea of taking online classes, others have been left frustrated by it.
In a webinar it organised recently, Tranter IT, an IT infrastructure service provider, highlighted some of the steps that could help teachers, parents and students get the best out of online classes.
According to Lare Ayoola, CEO of Tranter, one of the mistakes of most online classes for children is the emphasis on teacher training without a requisite parent and student training of the technology being used. The assumption is often that the parents would figure it out. Sometimes they do. On many occasions, they waste valuable learning time trying to figure out the technology when the child is supposed to be learning.
“We must thank God for COVID-19. Had we not been at home, it would have been impossible to embark on online education because the process was not properly followed, neither was there a check to see if the parents and the children were familiar and comfortable with the internet, computer or the smartphone and with the online learning platform which in many cases was like a puzzle to try to figure out as a parent and the children couldn’t figure it out. So they spend fifteen minutes and they are done and want to watch television,” Ayoola said.
A second mistake is the assumption that because there is little time to learn online hence the usual relationship that takes place while in traditional classes should be abandoned. In traditional classes when teachers come into class, they would first greet the class who would, in turn, greet the teacher. This establishes a rapport between the children and the teacher. Ayoola calls it a “handshake" which also means the teacher respects the students who would eagerly reciprocate.
This is often absent in online learning. To get the best out of the class, a teacher should ensure each student is recognised and welcomed prior to commencing teaching.
“You have to be friendly to each student. You have to listen to their questions. even if you can’t answer all the questions in that particular session, you have to send them a WhatsApp message later on their parents’ phone. It shows respect,” he said.
He also added that children do well in socially driven online classes. Rather than treat the classroom as a lecture hall where students are only meant to listen and take notes, an online teacher employs humour to liven up the class for the children. Gestures like remembering birthdays, complementing a nice dress or shirt, applauding good behaviour could warm up the entire class. Humour always makes a great deal of difference in public speaking so why not apply it in online learning.
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