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How to boost your classroom engagement when teaching remotely

Article written by Helene Cue

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Classroom engagement
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COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world of education.

While 1.38 billion schools around the world were forced to shut down, both students and teachers had to switch to remote learning.

Optimists would say that this change was necessary, and this pandemic inspired creativity in education and facilitated the creation of more tools, necessary for remote learning.

Unfortunately, there is a dark side to this situation, too.

The world talks a lot about the struggles that students and their parents have to face, from the lack of proper organization to the inability to get EdTech resources.

Today, we’ll talk about teachers and they have to face because of forced remote learning, namely the lack of classroom engagement.

Does lack of engagement mean that you are failing as an educator?

Teachers around the U.S. say they are unlikely to return to schools after the pandemic ends.

Covering this problem, USA Today claims that only 1 out of 5 teachers are ready to get back to the classrooms after the coronavirus pandemic, leading to potential massive resignations. Apart from that, 6 in 10 students say they will pursue homeschooling.

The source emphasizes that, although two-thirds of the teachers said they had to work more than usual to find resources to engage students, most of them now feel that they haven’t been able to do their job properly.

Andy Brown, a teacher from Ohio, shared with USA Today that because he was unable to facilitate engagement in the classroom made him think that he was failing as a teacher. Interaction and engagement with the students was the main reason why he became an educator and being unable to achieve that forced him to reconsider his career choices.

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Andy Brown is not the only one struggling with online classroom management. However, this doesn’t mean that he is failing as an educator, but he, like many other teachers, was unprepared for the rapid changes that the current pandemic brought along.

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That’s why we prepared a few tips for the struggling teachers to help them boost classroom engagement when teaching remotely.

1. Try Project-Based learning

The reason why you fail at engaging students in an online classroom might be because you’re trying to stick to the lesson plan that does nothing to improve engagement of your students. 

Your task is to encourage students to work together, and project-based learning can help you achieve that.

Project-based learning aims to unite students to find solutions to a problem.

Jason Seed, an online education expert at essay writers service Essaysupply, shares that teachers, who use project-based learning, notice that, with this activity, students are able to memorize the material better. Besides, it boosts engagement and improves communication.

How can you use project-based learning?

For instance, if you teach Social Studies, you can invite your students to rethink democracy. This activity can be a kind of an online debate, where you ask your students to divide into groups and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of democracy.

To conclude this debate, you can ask students to form an independent group, which will draw the final conclusion of the debate and find solutions.

Naturally, students need to prepare for these activities.

For them to collaborate on the task effectively, you need to create an online space, where they can communicate and you can track their progress and steer it in the right direction.

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2. Create a chatroom for more communication

Let’s continue speaking about communication.

Effective communication is an important part of classroom engagement. The more you encourage it, the more students will be interested in active participation.

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So, to facilitate effective communication, you can benefit from different online platforms, but choose those, to which students can get access from any device.

For instance, you can use Telegram to create a channel with the name of the subject you’re teaching. In this channel, you can encourage students to discuss and collaborate on tasks.

Also, you can use Telegram and other social networking channels to share updates with students and parents, for examples, on tasks and homework:

You and your students need to have an outlet for constant communication that helps you focus on community and connection. As long as you make it your primary concern, you will be able to maintain high engagement in the online classroom.

How else can you use Social Channels to boost engagement?

You can go beyond networking channels like Viber or Telegram, and use social media channels to engage your students and encourage them to be more active during your classes.

Many teachers around the U.S. are already doing it, and you can adjust this strategy to any subject that you’re teaching.

For instance, Eric Devendorf, a basketball coach from Syracuse, is teaching students effective ball handling drills on Twitter:

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Classroom engagement

What can you do?

Similarly, you can create an Instagram channel, where you can upload engaging stories and posts about your subject or a topic that you will cover during your upcoming lessons, and then discuss them with your students during the class.

Social media channels can help you engage your students in a creative way. These channels also bring you closer to your students, helping facilitate the sense of community.

3. Establish an effective feedback system

It’s quite hard to track student engagement in the online classroom, that’s why you need to establish a good feedback system.

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You can use networking channels like Telegram to collect feedback from students, but there this feedback gets easily lost and it can be hard to track engagement over a long period of time.

To collect and analyze feedback from students, you can use online classroom management tools.

You can also benefit from classroom observation, which means that your colleagues and peer educators can see, analyze, and comment on your activity.

All this feedback can help teachers see, what they are doing wrong and try other strategies that will facilitate engagement in the online classroom.

Over to you

If you feel that engagement in your online classroom has dropped, don’t panic. The whole world has been forced into something that we don’t know how to deal with, but we can learn one step at a time.

To boost engagement in your online classroom, first of all, ask for feedback.

How do your students see the new classroom atmosphere? What do they want to experience?

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What can your colleagues recommend?

This feedback can help you later adjust your teaching strategy and switch to more engaging formats, like project-based learning.

Also, don’t forget about making remote teaching about communication. Facilitate the sense of community and connection through networking channels, and make yourself more available to your students through social media.

These tips will help you get a new perspective of how the online classroom should operate and how to boost engagement of your students.

Author bio:

Helene Cue is a senior essay writer and a content writing specialist. She is keen on providing best essays on all things digital. She is also an educational expert, helping teachers adjust to the new reality of distance education and excel at creating engaging online classroom environment.

@TechEconomyNG connects past-present-emerging technological impacts on Businesses, People and Cities. All Correspondence to: [email protected]

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