How i-Learner Keeps Online Lessons EngagingTweet
To help students make consistent progress, most i-Learner classes are 70 minutes long, even for our youngest students. Teachers are experienced at checking facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, and responses to make sure students are engaged. If anyone seems tired, teachers are great at adapting activities or even getting students moving around the classroom to keep up the energy.
However, when we started online teaching a year ago, we had to adapt our skills to help students get the most out of their new style of classes. Our tutors have shared their top techniques for keeping lessons engaging. Whether you’re teaching, studying, or simply looking for some ideas to keep video chats interesting, they’ve got ideas to help.
Check-ins and Chats
Since we can’t rely on facial expressions and body language as much, especially if students have technical issues, we’ve added more discussion to our lessons. Telling students what’s coming, regularly reviewing what they’ve learned, and engaging them in conversations throughout the lesson helps keep them focused on what’s happening.
Our small class-sizes also mean it’s easy to adapt the lessons to suit our students.
Ms Lina likes to ‘invite students to share in class and incorporate their ideas in lesson planning,’ and Mr Jamez ‘engages with their interests, especially when building up examples for topics.’ Several teachers, including Ms Esme, Ms Cori and Ms Gigi highlighted the importance of asking questions throughout the lesson. This not only keeps students listening carefully in case they’re called on, but it helps spotlight any things they haven’t understood.
The great thing about teaching online is that we have books, articles, videos, images and more available at our fingertips. This is important to Ms Ceri as it allows her to ‘take an adaptive approach to the lesson materials in accordance with students’ focus and energy levels. This might mean adding a video or a game, or adjusting activities to make them more discursive and engaging.’
These varied activities can also help make tricky topics clear. In a recent class of Ms Esme’s, the students read a passage about Galileo Galilei, and she could bring the topic to life by showing a video about this amazing man.
Several teachers noted that variety doesn’t always need to come through the screen. In Ms Christine’s lessons, ‘we might use the chat box, screen share function, or even do an activity that requires them to get up and look outside or find examples around them to share with classmates. My students also love Bugbug’s Library books, and we have made extensive use of the e-books in VLearner.’
These could come under the heading of Variety, but 70% of tutors mentioned games specifically as a tool for keeping students engaged. Games are great for boosting energy, rewarding hard work, and bonding a group. But that’s not the only reason we love them. Games are great educational tools, and i-Learner teachers use them to keep students learning in new ways. Ms Iqra loves to play hangman and guessing games, Mr Rob challenges students with crosswords, and Ms Alison builds vocabulary through Boggle and scavenger hunts.
At i-Learner, we believe learning should be fun, so games, variety, check-ins and chats are key to keeping our students engaged and making our classes the best they can be.
For even more tips on focus in online lessons, check out our article on How to Fight Online Learning Fatigue.