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High-level guidance for teachers when teaching online

Below is a series of 9 recommendations to guide teachers as they transition to online remote teaching.

Keep it simple

  • Now is not the time to embark on course changes, ambitious pedagogies or learning a new software package.

Plan targeted, meaningful work

  • Students must continue to make progress
  • Align the work you set with the learning and assessment objectives you would use for a face-to-face lesson. The teaching and activities may differ from the lesson you would normally teach, but the students ideally should learn the same things.
  • Anything that does not directly support the learning or assessment objectives should be removed or indicated as optional.
  • Not all tasks need to make use of technology.
  • Reviewing previous work is a good use of students’ time, but be careful to set tasks that enable you to check what the student has actually done.

Sequence and support

  • Think carefully about the sequence of tasks you set for your students. Even straightforward work can be derailed if tasks are set in the wrong order.
  • Think about what support materials you might need to direct students to, so that they can seek extra guidance, re-cover something essential if necessary, or catch up on something they missed previously.

Less is more

  • Set your expectations at a high but reasonable level.
  • It is each student’s responsibility to complete the work that has been set, or to communicate with the teacher if they have problems.
  • Plan a system for dealing with students who do not complete the work you set.
  • Make the work you set reasonable. Do not expect students to be able to complete more work at home than they would be able to do at school. In all likelihood, the work will actually take them longer.

Share the workload

  • Work with colleagues where possible: seek guidance, plan lessons, share resources, and provide feedback.

Use existing resources, but choose carefully

  • Make the best use of resources you already have. Do not invest too much time in learning how to use new apps, or creating new content or resources.
  • Provide carefully selected resources for your students. Resources designed specifically for your course or resources that you have used before are best. A great deal of material is available online, but do not underestimate how difficult it might be for students to use it when they are working alone.

Be explicit and clear

  • Upload the day’s work as early as possible.
  • Ensure that instructions are clear and detailed.
  • Specify if one of the tasks is more important than the others. Draw students’ attention to what’s really important, as you would in class.

Specify expectations

  • Remember that the instructions you give in the classroom on timings and pace dictate the way students approach a task. Without specific guidance (i.e. ‘Give yourself 10 minutes to complete this task’) students will not know what level of detail you expect.

Be available

  • Be clear on how and when you expect students to communicate with you. Offer them a way to ask a question about the work, and be available to help them.

Source: This guidance was developed by John Etty at Auckland Boys’ Grammar School.

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