Creative methods for online teaching –

Let’s face it – very few teachers have taught online before, until now, during lockdown.

It helps to think about what you reckon your strengths – and weaknesses – as a teacher in the classroom are. Now is the time to build on your strengths and to improve your weaknesses.

Weaknesses are, generally, perceived as more changeable – if you focus on (improving) your weaknesses this could make you a better teacher!

  • Be yourself

This might seem obvious but take a moment to think about it. As a teacher you have your own teaching persona.
Your learners know the way you teach, the methods you use to explain concepts and the types of resources you use.
Don’t change your style! If you tend to use humour in your lessons, continue to do so. If you use a raised voice or gesticulate to emphasise a point you are making in class, do not be too inhibited to do so whilst teaching online. This will create a continuous flow to their learning process and also ensure that your lessons are more engaging to your learners.

  • Create a recap and an overview

Achieving learning continuity is essential at all times but it reaches an even higher level of importance when online teaching is taking place.
Ensure that learners are coping with the (volume of) work you are teaching by assisting them in the following two ways:

  1. Start off your lesson with a short recap of what was covered in the previous lesson(s).
  2. End off your lesson with a short overview of what will be covered in the next lesson(s).
  • Vary the format of your lessons

A long lecture seldom has the desired effect.
Make a concerted effort to present lesson information in a variety of forms. Be creative about this. Using colour is effective and easy to implement. Break up text with photographs and illustrations (also see point 4).

  • Provide background and extra information

If you create ‘a picture’ of what you are explaining it is easier for learners to grasp a concept and/or remember the information.
It is also easier for learners to retain information if it is memorable in some way or if they can connect with it emotionally. Use humour, an appropriate 1-minute movie clip, a cartoon or another form of visual stimulation to illustrate what you are explaining.
Add useful resources, relevant links and reputable websites to your lesson content.

  • Incorporate independent reading and work

Create worksheets for learners for which either research, or revision of the lesson given, is needed to get to the answers.
Ensure that the questions are set at different levels. Also ensure that, as with a class test or exam paper, various type of questions (such as short answers, medium-length answers and longer answers, multiple choice, fill in the blank, and mix and match) are used.