by TeachThought Staff
The shift to online learning is somewhat new and it has its share of challenges for many teachers all over the globe.
Whether learning remotely or in an actual classroom, effective classroom management is crucial in achieving a productive study environment. Although students are no longer staying in a single room, teachers should take the necessary steps in managing behavior and engagement in an online setting.
eLearning Is Different Than In-Person And Requires Unique Support For Students
Whether you have no other choice but to go through virtual learning or you’re one of the teachers who chose to teach students online, there are several tactics you can use to help maintain a well-managed virtual classroom environment. Here are some of them:
1. Communicate clearly
Establishing norms for communication between teachers and students is essential for proper online learning management. During video conferencing, you should set up standards and expectations such as enabling camera use, reducing background noise, and studying the discussion ahead of time.
Standards are also crucial for adding inputs or feedbacks in online forums. When dealing with students, you’ll come across some who couldn’t grasp virtual communication etiquette. Make your students understand the potential ramifications to prevent inappropriate use of the platform.
Remember, even parents are overwhelmed by the new learning method. Most are working at home while managing the schoolwork of children at the same time. With this in mind, it’s best to make the communication process simple, positive, and accurate.
Depending on how you’ll provide both students and parents information, you should state the available methods. Some ways include posting guidelines on social media, utilizing an online learning platform such as Google Classroom, or basic modes of communication such as emails or fax from computer. Providing clear communication lines will eliminate any confusion and question from them.
2. Encourage autonomy
Creating a positive relationship among teachers and students is one of the key factors in cultivating a productive learning environment. Likewise, camaraderie among students is crucial during online learning in the same way as a traditional classroom setting. For students, it’s easy to feel isolated in online learning, so try to create opportunities for them to collaborate.
Also, online learning and virtual classrooms aren’t ‘worse’ or ‘better’ than in-person but they certainly are different–and so require different forms of support. Helping students help themselves, while vague, is a major part of managing
3. Design for student engagement
Poor learning engagement is the main reason why issues arise in online learning. It’s crucial to establish a learning experience engaging for your students.
Take the time to understand their interests, where their strengths lie entirely, and what challenges they’re facing. Make the most out of this information to build a plan specific to the needs of your students while also providing several opportunities for interactive learning.
4. Emphasize digital citizenship
The definition of digital citizenship is the “quality of habits, actions, and consumption patterns that impact the ecology of digital content and communities.”
And while there’s a lot that goes into a concept like that, part of it is content attribution, copyright laws, safety, and plagiarism. Ever since online learning has become the norm, it led to an increase in plagiarism among students as they’re utilizing devices allowing them access to abundant resources. Sadly, the temptation to copy information can feel overwhelming. Whatever the subject, it’s critical to deal with plagiarism.
Educate students about what plagiarism is all about and provide clear examples. Additionally, outline the possible consequences for the offense.
5. Set norms and expectations–then be consistent
When establishing standards in an online learning environment, students need to follow while staying consistent with their responses. Therefore, ensure they know the possible consequences and penalties of disregarding classroom guidelines.
Remember, some students might not meet your expectations similar to a traditional classroom setting. You should have a plan if this occurs and make sure both students and parents know this plan. Make sure to always be transparent with everything you’d implement.
6. Establish routines
Creating a routine is essential in a virtual learning environment, especially when you can’t be present with your students daily. Therefore, it’s best to simplify the essentials. A good example is how the students would submit work and receive feedback, which should be consistent throughout the course.
You should set up office hours to get in touch with you in case of concerns. Additionally, maintaining consistency with the work assignments every week will help students establish a routine at home. Lastly, it’s vital to reiterate your guidelines often.
7. Recognize student achievements
When your students are engaged, productive, and learning effectively, make sure you acknowledge them. It’d be best if you consider this in every classroom. It’s important to note online students won’t get to have a high-five from teachers as they’re not in a physical classroom.
Utilizing the communication avenues available to let your students know they’re on the right track is a must. Always remember, positive reinforcement will result in higher engagement. A higher engagement in a virtual classroom is the key to a well-managed online environment.
More Tips And Strategies For Online Classroom Management
Use the right technology for engagement. Your video streaming platform may not be up to you (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, etc.) but for presentations, Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint are the standards while tools like Pear Deck can improve engagement.
Have a place for messaging or announcements. Even a simple shared Google Doc can be useful here. You can also use a private twitter account or a teacher blog.
Create a strong sense of community.
Use checklists–or rather, create them for students or have students create them for themselves. These can be for projects, due dates, group activities–whatever they need help organizing and reminding about.
Use feedback forms–Google Forms is useful and free while Type Form has more features for cost (though they also have a free account level).
The camera is the student. (This is obviously not literally true but if you think of looking the camera ‘in the eye’ as looking a student in the eye, it can help shift your mindset as a teacher.)
Be human. You have needs, shortcomings, hopes, failures, etc. This can more obvious in person than online.
Have an online morning meeting where you communicate norms, needs, changes, priorities, tasks, to-do, etc.
Have a weekly summary and ‘look forward’ to the proceeding week on Fridays.
Create an online learning space as close to possible to your physical classroom while also taking advantage of the benefits of eLearning (e.g., asynchronous, 24/7 access).
Have an FAQ page. Whether for assignments, content, class procedures, upcoming events, or anything else, a class FAQ page just makes sense. Make one.
Emphasize relationships with students because, after all, relationships are the best basis for classroom management of any kind.
Creating the ideal virtual classroom environment is crucial to ensure effective learning. Despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, it shouldn’t put a stop to learning.
With the help of these tips in establishing an effective online learning environment, it’ll make the learning process engaging and productive.