1. Set objectives for your remote work
It’s easy to just try to replicate what you do in class, but think carefully why you are setting work. Are you looking to practice and embed already taught skills, to keep students engaged with learning or to teach them new ideas for external examinations? And how will you know if you are achieving these?
2. Seek out activities that cut down your planning activity
There are a host of sites now that offer free content (the UK’s Department for Education has a list here) or a plan for the day (including Oak National Academy and BBC Bitesize for children over 5 and EYFShome for those 3-5). Writing everything from scratch at this time will leave little time for reflection.
3. Build in simple opportunities to test student knowledge
Schools at this time have widely different systems which allow feedback, but the easiest tool is a quick quiz, to check understanding. Google Forms lets you create simple surveys, or if you have a live lesson you can use the increasingly popular Kahoot!
4. Ask for student feedback
In the classroom you can ‘feel’ how students are responding to your work. But when you’re setting work remotely you have no idea if you’re setting too much, or if is too easy. Let pupils and their parents know that you welcome feedback on time take and difficulty level.
5. Ask colleagues to review your material and review theirs
This is certainly not a suggestion that schools should be trying to replicate lesson observations and ‘learning walks’, but that a second pair of eyes works extremely well in difficult conditions. Keep feedback positive and constructive – it really helps to know if students can’t access the work or something vital is missing.
6. Discuss your learning experience with colleagues
Some teachers (believe it or not!) actually enjoy the experience of online teaching (especially those who have done it before or have strong technological experience) while others will find it very difficult. See if the process explained in our last blog might help.
7. Store ideas that might help you in the future
It may seem that lockdowns have been in place for ever and remote teaching is the new normal, but most students will only lose a few weeks of learning and we will all be back in classes soon. But what will you have learned that will help you in future? Will you keep using tools like Microsoft Teams or Google Classroom to share or accept assignments? Can you record and store key lessons so students can watch them later?
We hope this blog has inspired you to go on and spend some time on this incredible discovery journey that self-reflection can be. We’d love to hear what you have to say on the topic – share your experience and tips with the teaching community on Twitter and LinkedIn.