Many best practices for remote teaching often are sound instructional approaches in any modern learning environment
For her new book, Like No Other School Year: 2020, COVID-19 and the Growth of Online Learning, Pamela Livingston Gaudet spoke with dozens of educators across America to find out what works when it comes to remote learning. It turns out what she learned is not only best practice for remote learning, it is also sound instructional practice in general, for any modern learning environment.
Five Essentials for Remote Teaching and Learning
1. Incorporate social emotional health needs
School staff should have social-emotional health training. In Chapter 3 of the book, you learn about the different research-based social-emotional health and learning programs that exist. School staff will want to determine which program best fits their culture, demographics, and educational philosophy
2. Relationships are key
School districts should ensure that the professional development for teachers goes beyond learning tools and techniques for teaching online. Teachers need to be supported in learning how to engage with, establish, and nurture relationships with students. Chapter 5 features techniques and strategies that can be employed by teachers.
3. Communicate early and often
In a crisis, sometimes there is a tendency to hold back communication, waiting until everything solidifies. However, district leaders who communicated early, frequently, and thoughtfully helped their districts weather the initial storm of COVID-19. In Chapter 6, author Mike Daugherty provides examples of how and when to communicate.
4. Professional development for teachers is essential
Professional development is not a one and done, especially when the entire mode of instruction has shifted. Continuing PD, support networks for teachers, outside and inside presenters, and a way to help teachers track their progress is all recommended. In Chapter 7, Lindy Hockenbary, creator of the Essential Components of an Online & Blended/Hybrid Course, steps readers through the best way to effectively support teachers as they do synchronous and asynchronous learning as well as hybrid and/or blended learning.
5. Change the schedule
In Chapter 2 of the book, we learn that replicating a seven-hour daily school schedule when learning becomes remote doesn’t work. Students can’t be in front of screens that long. Instruction instead works best if varied between synchronous and asynchronous, between whole class, small group, and 1-on-1 instruction. Flexibility is important. Assessing what concepts require teaching and having classes just for those students who need to reinforce that concept worked well.
As you consider these five essentials, think about which of these you and your colleagues are incorporating into your practice.
For more insights, interviews, and ideas for implementation, check out Pamela Livingston Gaudet’s book Like No Other School Year: 2020, COVID-19 and the Growth of Online Learning. This book is aimed at school leaders looking to make sense out of the end of the last school year and the year ahead.
Lisa Nielsen (@InnovativeEdu) has worked as a public-school educator and administrator since 1997. She is a prolific writer best known for her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator. Nielsen is the author of several books and her writing has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Tech & Learning and T.H.E. Journal.
Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.