Precaution is better than cure, they say. Being a student all my life, I am sure about one thing that being proactive gives you an edge over others. And in this era of unlimited content and smart devices, having an edge over the competitors is almost mandatory. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to the teachers to make sure that their students become proactive to lead the pack of the brightest.
Making your class proactive is not only beneficial to students but also the teachers. It allows teachers to handle disruptive students well. Many teachers with great content and great calibre lose out on making a great impact because they can’t handle the disruptive ones in the class. I am therefore going to take this opportunity to help you take actions to keep your class proactive.
- Team Building exercises
Teachers need to make sure that the students bond well with each other. It is very important as the students realise the strengths and weaknesses of each other. This knowledge about each other is useful while solving problems. The students learn to be proactive as they can avoid further problems by delegating work to each other according to their strengths and weaknesses. These exercises save time and make the students more proactive for their future endeavours.
Take a simple example of a presentation. The tutor has given a topic ‘ Homo Sapiens’. There is a group of four students. Now Team Gryffindor don’t know each other well, they take half of the time in deciding where to find the right thing. Team Slytherin know each other well and they delegate work to each other according to History, Biology, Anthropology and Economics. I will leave the rest of it your vivid imagination.
Teachers can ask students to work on assignments in groups, ask them to make presentations in groups. A fun way to do it is to give out random topics to these groups and ask them to debate in groups only.
Personally speaking, the best way to know each other well and bond well, nothing suits better than Outbound Learning. Various physical and mental activities require proactive teamwork and the fun that comes with it is the cherry on the pie.
2. Keep a virtual level playing field
It is obvious that a hierarchy should be followed when communication takes place between a teacher and a student. But this hierarchy can be tweaked and played with, by the teacher. The sole reason for this should be to make the students feel comfortable with the teacher. Now, this comfort can be used by the students to have their way in the classroom but it can also be used by the teacher to make the students listen to her.
It sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? You have a good argument here but hear me out. Did you stop talking to your friend when your teacher sushed you? I bet you didn’t stop every time. But you would have kept quiet if you felt connected to the teacher and understood what his intentions were. Teachers can make this connection by doing simple things like greeting students when they show up on the screen, asking them about their doubts from time to time and keeping up the sense of humour while explaining topics.
3. Set of Expectations
As we discussed in the previous blogs, it is highly important that you pan out your expectations to the students. An online class may get chaotic and sometimes, it is beyond repair if the coverage is not very great. For such situations, tutors should set out some rules that he expects the students to follow, to avoid the chaos. Failure in doing so can result in unproductive discussions and incoherent debates. Do not rule out the possibility of face-offs between students. That doesn’t sound very proactive, does it?
Sharing what you expect from the students goes beyond discipline and reaches to the unparalleled realm of productivity. If you assign a task to the class, set out a deadline and tell them about the quality of work you expect. This allows the class to map out the right plan and avoid the rework.
4. Controlled Supervising
Supervising through an online class can be tough. You never know what goes beyond the screen. But you can always ask for updates from everyone and make sure that everyone is up to the task. Make sure to draw a line between supervision and intrusion. Intrusion will only annoy the students and discourage them from completing the task right away and procrastinate.
Supervising can also make sure that everyone is treading on the right path. This precaution lets the students avoid making mistakes and saving time. This is how controlled supervising can lead to the class being proactive.
It is okay to use trial and error to find the perfect strategy but you need to make sure that if you succeed in one, keep it consistent. It’s human nature to keep changing with the surrounding variables. If you stop supervising after finding it successful for one month, the results will fall in the next months.
Some teachers believe in building relationships with their students and some believe in keeping it formal. There is nothing wrong with either of them. But if you decide to change your teaching style for online classes, you need to keep it consistent if you find it fruitful.
And the same thing goes for panning out expectations. Students might fall to their old ways if you are not consistent in sharing your expectations. Consistency is the key, be it business, teaching or learning.
With plenty of teachers trying to make their mark on this fast growing industry, you need to ensure that you run the race with the right pair of shoes. I cannot stress enough on the CONSISTENCY this race requires. It is not a 100 meter dash, it is a marathon. Please reach back to us if you need our help. We are always here for you 🙂
Avinash Somjani is a contributor at utobo. He caught fire writing. A fearless curious cat with a flamboyant pen, he is currently pursuing his MBA(Marketing) at SIBM Bengaluru. He is passionate about sports, science fiction, history and the ever changing colour of his pen. E-mail : email@example.com