Why don't I teach online?

What do teachers say when they don't want to move to a virtual environment, and what do we respond to them?

Once in the world of coronavirus, teachers who did not have experience working online were forced to immediately gain it. At Polygled, we have worked with many teachers and experts to help them adapt their programs for online. Often, our communication began with a discussion of fears and objections. We have collected the main blocks that prevent teachers from working online and commented on them.

1. I work in programs that require full-time practice in the presence of a teacher, without this training will be incomplete. 

In online learning, there are many different formats for both theory and practice. The choice is made based on the educational goals. Therefore, you should start by defining them for the course as a whole, for each block/module and class. After the training goals are defined, the appropriate formats are selected for each of them (separately for theory and practice).

How to work with it
If you have already used some methodological system for designing offline programs, it may be quite applicable for creating an online course. The main thing is to understand that the training goals may differ, and the formats will definitely be different. If you have worked on ready-made programs or acted as an expert, structuring the content at your own discretion, we recommend that you start by studying the Bloom's taxonomy and try to design a program based on it. If you feel that this doesn't work in your case, please contact us. We will discuss your case and recommend other options.

For example
The educational goal of the lesson is to be able to correctly create and update your CV in English. Then in the theoretical section, you can tell about the structure of the CV, how recruiters view the CV and what its style should be. The format can be either a webinar with a presentation, or a multimedia longrid — it is important to convey the necessary information. In the practical section, you can ask students to create a CV of an imaginary hero (giving his biography), and then, after checking, edit their own CV, for example, as a homework assignment. At the same time, to further consolidate the theory and establish group interaction, the CV check of an imaginary hero can be organized within the group by a checklist. It is only important to give students instructions in advance on how to give and receive feedback correctly, discuss the mechanics of verification, and send a checklist for review.

If it is a drawing course, we can track practice by breaking it down into stages and organizing a review after the student completes each of them. For example, by pointing the camera at the sheet if the webinar format is selected, or by checking the samples you created if the course is asynchronous. You can also create visual checklists — moodboards — with examples of works or an image row, if the educational goal is not to make an academic drawing of a horse, but to learn how to make sketches.

2. Education is not only an explanation of the subject, it is also the communication of the teacher with students and students among themselves, the environment.

Of course, experts in the field of online education are well aware of this, so they have been productively engaged in designing an online educational environment for a long time. 

How to work with it
We formulate educational goals that the student should achieve at the end of the course and each lesson. Based on them, we select not only optimal formats for theory and practice, but also design an educational environment that will help students achieve these goals.

For example
We organize a group chat in a convenient messenger, add micro-training elements to the chat content, encourage the group to give feedback on published content and share their own. Creating a space for group work and discussion. In Google Docs, if working with text is suitable for educational purposes, in Miro, if structuring ideas and processes is a priority, or in Pinterest, if the course is about visual images. We think about how to get feedback from students: through personal or group online sessions, questionnaires or tests, essays, video or audio messages.

! Important
No matter what exact service you prefer, it is important to choose the optimal solution for communication, group work (if the training goals suggest it) and getting feedback for your tasks and content. There should not be too many programs, and students should be given instructions on how to use them at the start of the course. At the same time, it is important to collect links to the services used, as well as all the content of your course, in one place and conveniently structure it for both the teacher and the student. We know for sure that this can be done on Polygled, we even have the ability to combine in 1 course synchronous lessons in a virtual classroom with multi sided audio and video communication and asynchronous — with videos, texts, pictures and tests — and add exercises made on external resources.

3. I work with children, it is difficult for them to perceive information from the screen, and for me to see them all. They start to get distracted and go about their business.

Rules of behavior in the offline educational environment are instilled in us from an early age. A chair that makes you sit straight, a table from which a textbook looks at us, a teacher walking along the rows, grades, parents, etc. You must agree that students do not always focus on learning offline because they are interested in it. He is simply familiar with the rules and knows that they must be followed. However, there are still failures that the teacher can quickly fix on the spot. Online, we can't control the physical environment that the student is in, and we can't create it. Offline manuals also lose their effectiveness (it is not possible to see the progress of classes and it is inconvenient to check them). Yes, and students, if they do not have the practice of learning online, perceive the monitor as a source of entertainment, inviting social networks and games.

By the way, adults do not lag behind here =) . Moreover, adults can be much more difficult. They no longer want to learn because they were told it was important. They only get involved in the process if they are really interested and feel the importance of learning for their lives. Yes, and the distracting effect of social networks and "How to be truly productive" articles for adults is also significant.

How to work with it
First of all, learn to learn online. Provide where and how the student (and their parents in the case of preschool and primary school children) gets acquainted with how the course will be held, what they need to prepare, what programs will be used and how to work in them. If possible, check all the introductory information for students on their educational goals, available equipment, and skills in programs and adjust the curriculum to reflect this data. We recommend adding to the program a lesson dedicated to immersion in the educational environment of the course, where you can explain in detail and show how to make your training as effective as possible.

It is also necessary to design the program in such a way that the student is engaged in the maximum amount of time in action, and not in passive listening. The ratio of practice to theory should be higher than in an offline course. And the conclusions that you could easily decipher offline in your own monologue, here you need to help students make themselves through discussions, exercises, experiments. Engagement and assimilation of the material with this approach are often higher than offline. And, of course, you need to replace offline manuals with online ones as much as possible, not send pdf with exercises, but collect them in the exercise constructors, accompanying the interactive with the necessary theory and explanations.

For example
Before you, many teachers around the world wanted to design online exercises, so there are paid and free services for creating crosswords, quizzes, group online quizzes and much more. For those who are suitable for English-language options, the choice begins to tend to infinity. Therefore, there is only one advice — google it, read reviews and test options.

If the variety of services makes you dizzy, start with free Google Form tests with one or more options, long and short answers in free form, with pictures and videos — this is a great step forward. In addition, they are convenient to check.

4. It turns out that for online it is necessary to redo and rethink everything. I don't have time for this.

Don't try to do everything at once. Any large program can be divided into semantic blocks. Try to design at least 1 module out of 5 to 10 classes online and test it. As you gain experience, the speed will increase and many new ideas will appear, because the study of new techniques and technologies fascinates, enriches offline practice and expands your audience. Well, we at Polygled are always happy to listen, share our experience and help you launch your first course online.

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