Ten Ways I’ll Be Teaching Differently Next Year

Students have not been to their classrooms for more than a year now. Many have spent their year studying online and it was a completely different experience. There is no denying that this transition was not easy for students, teachers and parents. We all should pat ourselves for trying to cope up with the pandemic and continuing the learning process of the students.

Online learning was already gaining momentum before the pandemic. Concepts of blended learning and flipped classrooms were already being adopted by many schools. But the students were definitely not ready for a complete transition from offline to online learning, especially the students of primary and secondary levels.

Differently Next Year

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Now that the pandemic situation is getting better in many countries, schools are looking forward to starting offline classroom learning again. Does it mean that online learning would stay at the back, as a second option? Is there anything that our teachers must continue doing even when schools reopen after the pandemic? In my opinion, certain teaching mythologies should not change for the next academic year and I am sharing them in this article. Given below are ten ways teaching should be done differently next year once the pandemic is over.

#1 Embracing the differences

Traditionally teachers used to create lesson plans for students that were to be followed by the whole class. No one had the time or bandwidth to check whether every student in the class understood the lesson and whether the students would be able to apply the concept. However, distance learning and online learning has made us realise that we cannot continue with this “One-Size-Fits-All” approach. Teachers must understand that every student is different. They need their own time to understand a concept thoroughly.

This teaching mythology should be applicable in schools even after the pandemic. Teachers should allow students to incorporate their interests into the lesson. Let us take a small example of an essay writing assignment in the class. A student will take much interest in writing an essay if they are given the freedom to choose the topic and type of the essay. But, if the whole class is told to write an essay on the same topic, the students would consider it just another assignment that needs to be done.

#2 Shorter and more accessible content

Learning online introduced students to various learning techniques other than textbooks. Teachers had to create bite-sized content for the students so that they can explain a concept effectively in the online classroom. This approach did miracles for many students. They no longer had to depend on reading textbooks for learning a concept. They could watch video-based lectures or learn through presentations. These new learning methods proved to be very engaging for the students.

This trend of micro-learning should not be abolished once offline classrooms commence. It has proved to be a better learning strategy. Studies show that micro-learning improves focus and supports long-term retention by up to 80%, it creates more engagement and it is much easier to create short courses or lesson plans than traditional ones.

#3 Creating leadership teams in classrooms

Teaching online was no walk in the park for teachers. They had to face their own challenges like getting acquainted with technology, creating new lesson plans, changing assessment patterns and more. Many teachers followed an approach in such scenarios where they divided the class into small teams and assigned a leader for each team. Then, every week, teachers conducted a meeting with the team leaders and discussed the issues of the class.

The leaders were given different opportunities like helping the members of the team in learning, ensuring a clear communication channel between the teachers and the students, answering common questions about assignment submission, assessments et cetera. Firstly, it ensured that every student’s voice was heard in the class. Secondly, it became much easier for the teachers to bridge the learning gaps of the students. This trend should continue even after the pandemic as it can help bring a positive impact on the students.

#4 Experiment and implement

Teachers should never stop finding better teaching mythologies no matter whether learning continues online or offline. If teachers had not experimented with their teaching methodologies during the pandemic, learning online could be a much bigger challenge for the students. So why not continue this approach for the next year as well? Teachers should continuously assess which teaching method is working for the students and which isn’t and then ask the administrators of the school to allow changing the strategies.

In a way, online teaching gave teachers much freedom. They could experiment with different methods, take students’ feedback and track their learning progress. However, when it comes to offline learning, we suddenly become all stereotypical. It is time to change that notion!

Experiment and implement

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#5 Checking-in with students

We had already discussed that every student learns differently and how we should embrace this fact. But, one of the things that proved to be quite effective during the online teaching scenarios is “student feedback”.  Teachers are concerned about how students are coping up with the virtual learning environment. Are they actually understanding what is being taught in the class? What problems are they facing while studying at home? Do they have the right resources to commence their learning?

All such things held importance even in the physical classroom scenarios, but we never considered them. But now that we know how important it is to check with the students and understand their learning needs, we should continue this trend. Teachers should be there for the students, helping them in overcoming every single challenge they face in learning.

#6 Connecting students with the internet

The internet and us should be best friends, even after offline schooling commences! We should not allow our students to forget this useful and innovative learning process just because it is not the need of the hour now. Schools and teachers must take the initiative and ensure that every student has internet access at their homes.

Online learning can still be a part of the process where students are given the opportunity to watch a missed lecture, access notes, assignments and other study resources online and track their learning progress. Technology is a part of our lives now and we should embrace it if we want our students to stay up-to-date with the world.

#7 Involving families in learning

During the traditional online teaching scenarios, schools often conducted parent-teacher meetings where parents could interact with the teachers, share their concerns and know more about their child’s performance. But, that involvement remained restricted to those parent-teacher meetings only.

But, the online learning scenario changed this. It has been observed that parents take a lot more interest in their child’s learning during online classes. One of the reasons could be because they can interact with the teacher online without any trouble. Also, teachers can easily send a text or email to the parents and share their child’s progress report, test scores, send compliments for their child’s performance or check about their child’s well-being.

#8 Removing unintentional barriers

We all have tackled barriers to online teaching and learning in the past year. But there can still be gaps that are not allowing students to learn and showcase their full potential. Teachers must look into this issue and ensure that there are no barriers to learning online for students now. Here are a few ways how teachers can achieve this goal:

  • Make sure that every student can access the online courses and there is no barrier to online learning
  • Communicate clearly to the students how they need to navigate and access the online resources
  • Find the learning gaps that have been caused due to the pandemic
  • Provide any extra instructions that would help students understand the online learning process
  • Create assignments diligently so that students can understand their purpose
  • Monitor the pattern of assignment submission, attendance or behavioural changes in the students

Many students still depend on schools for their learning. We cannot expect everyone to become an independent learner in the pandemic. Therefore, teachers should focus on building cordial relationships with the students. Encourage students for every small win and motivate them to become self-learners.

#9 Bridging the academic gaps

Students had a rough time being stuck at home during the pandemic. It affected their learning. Many students were not able to cope up with the online learning environment at once. They missed concepts, skipped classes and secured lower grades because it was difficult for them to study at home.

Whether the schools reopen or not, it should be the responsibility of the teachers to bridge these learning gaps. One of the best ways to ensure this is by allowing students to learn. Give them time to do assignments at their own pace. Even if they are a bit late, they have given all of their efforts and appreciate them.

In other words, there is no need to push them and place deadlines or limitations. Allow them to take their own time and get acquainted with the after-pandemic situation. Allow them to share the challenges that they are facing in their learning with you. After all, that is what teachers are here for! This teaching methodology is a must after the pandemic. We must not forget how the pandemic has affected the whole world and we must not expect students to grasp their old rhythm in a wink.

#10 Blended learning should be promoted

Online learning has its own benefits, one should not forget that. Even if schools reopen and students start attending classes offline, it would be a great practice to keep up with the online learning aspect. Here is how we can implement the concept of blended learning in our classrooms:

  • You can still use online tools to communicate with the students. Updates for assignments, changes in deadlines, upcoming tests, meetings, everything can be shared through an online medium.
  • You can still continue taking student feedback online. Conduct surveys, ask them to rate their experience in the class or seek feedback on your teaching.
  • You can create video-based lectures for important topics and share them with the class so that the students can watch the videos and revise the concept whenever they want.
  • You can track the learning progress of your students and share your feedback via online medium. You can stay connected with their parents through emails and text-message updates.
  • You can provide students with a variety of learning materials like PowerPoint presentations, images, short notes, videos, mindmaps, flashcards and more!

Jason who provides dissertation help online to college students says “including online learning with offline classroom teaching will provide flexibility and freedom to the students. Even if they miss a few classes, they can still manage their learning process. There will be no more achievement gaps with blended learning.”

Wrapping up

Teaching at the time of the pandemic was surely tough. But it also gave us a chance to experiment with new methods and finally leave the outdated ones. However, we might again land in the same old cycle if we do not keep in mind that certain teaching methodologies must continue even after the pandemic.

Learning online paved many benefits for the students. It introduced them to new learning methodologies. It gave them a chance to learn at their own pace. It gave them a choice to pick a learning method that suits them. It gave them a totally new learning environment. So why restrain our students from all these benefits?

Let us keep using better and newer teaching techniques that we discovered during this pandemic. Let us banish that one-size-fits-all approach and allow them the flexibility to learn at their own pace. We should take their feedback, understand their learning needs, and remove any intentional or unintentional barriers in blended learning. Last but not the least, we should not expect them to be all normal and get adjusted to their old learning environment. We must give them time and support to transit into a better, new, blended learning environment.

What do you think? Will you implement any of these ten ways in your teaching methodology next year? According to you, how should teaching be commenced after the pandemic?

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