About Me


10 Ways to Guarantee Meaningful Distance Learning Lessons

Amidst the crisis the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic, teachers and students are among those facing the brunt of the consequences of quarantine. Graduations have been canceled, classes are being taught online, and overwhelmed parents are desperately trying to help their children continue their education away from school.

As teachers continue to instruct their students through online platforms, it can be difficult to arrange and carry out meaningful lessons. Many students are procrastinating with assignment completion, failing to turn in assignments, or are completely giving up on finishing their education this school year. This can be frustrating for parents, students, and teachers who want the best for their classes.

To combat the social-distancing blues and to help increase student growth for the continuation of the school year, here are 10 helpful ways teachers can create meaningful lessons from a distance.

#1: Keep it simple.
Teachers are likely accustomed to giving deep lectures, presentations, and complex assignments in their classrooms. However, with the abrupt transition to online learning, it is difficult for students to understand new or complex material while learning how to navigate a new online learning system. When teachers give students new or complicated material, it creates added stress for students and can be frustrating to parents as they attempt to help their children learn unfamiliar material.

To combat this, teachers should strive to keep their lessons simple. Do not give complicated or extensive assignments when teaching new material. Keep lessons short, to the point, and informational. As Flower Darby states in her article for The Chronicle of Higher Education, teachers should “strive for a course organization that is clear, methodical, and intuitive”. Do not use complicated modules, lesson formats, or online programs when teaching students; use easy-to-navigate, simple programs that do not require excessive effort or cause confusion.

#2: Set goals with students.

People tend to learn best when they have a specific goal or purpose in mind. When students do not have a specific goal they are working towards, they become disinterested and distracted and will not complete or turn in their assignments. Teachers should “establish a clear set of learning goals” to motivate their students (TFA).

To help students focus and have meaningful lessons, teachers can converse with students and set class or individual goals. These goals should be helpful and focus on academic growth, class connectivity during separation, and positivity. Examples of easy goals can include encouraging each student to:

  • Turn in all assignments on time.
  • Learn something new each day.
  • Practice or employ a certain skill they learned in class.
#3: Use a variety of sources.

Now that students are using the internet to learn and continue their education, there are a multitude of practical resources available to teachers to make learning fun, exciting, and engaging. However, excessive use of technology and exposure to screens can cause “screen fatigue,” which may lead to exhaustion, disengagement, and headaches. Teachers should include a variety of activities, on and off-line, that will help students grow and appeal to all learning types.

Such examples include:
  • Assign educational or instructional videos or movies for students to watch.
  • Assign students to create a presentation using online programs.
  • Assign students to create a drawing, painting, or piece of artwork that they can photograph and submit.
  • Assign students to spend time observing plant or animal life, stars, or other aspects of nature as part of a science class (Allain).
  • Provide instructions for students to complete simple science experiments or explorative tasks at home (Allain).
  • Demonstrate a simple science experiment. Challenge students to record themselves replicating and explaining the science experiment.
  • Assign students to read.
#4: Communicate with students and parents.

Communication with students during this time is paramount. Communicating with students will help increase class unity, encourage classroom participation, and will remind students about upcoming assignments, deadlines, or tests. Communication with parents will keep them updated and informed about their children’s education and will increase the likelihood of parental involvement and encouragement at home.

Teachers can easily create class group chats through Remind or other school-appropriate apps, send emails, hold online conferences, or send out newsletters to keep parents and students informed.

#5: Do not expect perfection.

At this time, teachers should not expect perfection. Students who previously did well in school may flounder under the added pressure of learning without a teacher present; many teachers will notice that student results and productivity is substandard and not up to par. “Remember, this is a challenge for everyone: teachers, families, and students,” and it is not practical to require perfection from educators, students, or families while they are under stress (TFA). Teachers should not be overly demanding of themselves or their students; rather, work with what students and teachers themselves are accomplishing to make small amounts of progress daily.

#6: Understand why students are struggling.

It is relatively easy for teachers to quickly notice when their students are bored, struggling, or disinterested in a lesson at school. With an increase in online learning, however, it has proven to be more difficult for teachers to identify where their lessons are flawed because they do not have immediate student feedback.

By “anticipating their isolation and planning for it,” teachers will be able to create lessons that are actually engaging (Darby). As teachers take an outside perspective and consider class material from a student’s point of view, they will be able to strip away the unnecessary and create a lesson that is meaningful, helpful, and concise.

#7: Provide students with examples.

Because students cannot be with their teachers during online learning, they will likely have questions. Teachers can address these questions as they provide students with examples, included in lesson modules, in emails, or through conference calls. Providing students with organized examples will create a scenario for application in pupils’ minds and will help them grasp what is being taught. 

Consider doing the following to show classes examples of new material:
  • Link existing videos that elaborate on the instructional topic (Darby).
  • Record short guest lectures or presentations (Darby).
  • Encourage students to leave comments on how they accomplished a task. This will help their peers who are struggling (Darby).
#8: Be kind.

Showing compassion for students and exhibiting kindness will promote a healthy, engaging learning environment. Teachers should compliment students on the work they accomplish, phrase critiques or advice kindly, and refrain from scolding or using condescending language toward their students. Students, teachers, and families are all affected by the consequences and anxiety surrounding coronavirus; make school a safe learning environment that promotes growth and positivity (Darby). Kindness is a quick, easy, and proven way to have rewarding results in classrooms and through online learning.

#9: Plan lessons with a purpose.

Online lessons should not be given to fill time or as “busywork.” Teachers should only assign content that is essential for understanding or that will help students develop critical skills. When assigning tasks, teachers should introduce schoolwork by explaining its purpose to the students. Students should not wonder why they are completing an assignment or be assigned material that has no educational value.

#10: Hold regular online meetings with students.

Organizing regular online meetings with students will maintain friendly relationships between students and teachers. Because students have been isolated from one another, seeing their peers and trusted teachers through FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, or other video conferencing platforms will promote positivity, encourage class discussion, and make participation exciting. Additionally, teachers will be able to directly communicate with students about their concerns and questions and get feedback from students about assignments and lessons (Allain).

As teachers implement these techniques, they will see greater participation, improvement, and satisfaction from an online schooling experience. For more information about teaching tips or educational advice, visit the EdGuru Edge blog at https://blog.edguru.co/.

Post a Comment