Ever since CB went online during the Coronavirus pandemic, students and teachers have learned to adapt to online learning. From teachers trying to present the material via Microsoft Teams to students trying to learn from a different environment than the classroom, online learning has no doubt presented some struggles throughout the year. However, one of […]
Ever since CB went online during the Coronavirus pandemic, students and teachers have learned to adapt to online learning. From teachers trying to present the material via Microsoft Teams to students trying to learn from a different environment than the classroom, online learning has no doubt presented some struggles throughout the year.
However, one of the biggest challenges with online learning is that many teachers have to try to make sure that students remain engaged and pay attention to the material, especially since the home environment enables students to be more distracted and disengaged from the material. It’s also challenging for many teachers to notice whether students are paying attention or not since they are not physically present in the classroom.
“It’s not as much fun trying to teach online. It’s much, much more difficult” math teacher Mrs. Kelly Safford admits. “Before, I would explain how to do the problem and then have my students do it on their own. While they are doing the problem, I would walk around the classroom to see what they are doing.”
However, Mrs. Safford noted that doing this would be impossible online, so she shared how she would call on students to talk. “It helps that most students know that they save time when they listen. They can’t just read the textbook and expect to learn the material that way,” she says. “I would call on students and have them solve the problem on the online whiteboard. If they say they don’t know, then I’ll say ‘I’ll come back to them’ so they can pay attention.” She also said how she’ll have students type their answers into the chat.
Personal finance teacher and varsity football coach Mr. John Wiley shared how using relatable examples can help engage his students.
“I would try to bring a lot of real-life examples to my classes and try to relate to some personal things that have happened in my life when I’m teaching,” he said. “In my personal finance class, I have my students work on creating a budget as a real-life example.”
But he says that students not turning on their cameras can negatively affect online learning.
“I think the biggest problem is to get students to turn their camera on, since siblings, parents, and other distractions can be an obstacle to getting someone to turn on the camera,” he said. “In-person, I can literally see who’s engaged or not, but the online screen acts like a shield, so I can’t see if they’re engaged or not.”
Both of them also had advice to some teachers who might privately feel that it’s almost impossible to get students to pay attention during online learning.
“It’s our responsibility as a teacher to get students engaged,” Coach Wiley responded. “It’s not an easy task, but to keep students engaged, I would try to try to create projects to get students to engage. In my personal finance class, I had my class do a presentation on the Seven Components of a financial plan so the material sticks.”
Mrs. Safford recommends that teachers try to find ways to teach the material outside of Teams meetings, such as making videos so students can learn at their own pace.
“I would do a lot of work outside of Teams by making videos of math topics. That way students can learn the material outside of Teams. I would also simplify things in terms of organization, so it’s more helpful to students.”
There have been some challenges adapting from in-person to virtual learning, but after almost a year of experience teaching online, teachers are still working tirelessly to make sure that students stay engaged during class. Only time will tell when full in-person classes will return once the Coronavirus pandemic ends, but for now, teachers have made the best of their ability to make sure online learning works for their students.