Remote learning presents a new format of instruction for many teachers and students. While platforms like Zoom offer a variety of features for keeping students engaged, the truth is that most of us, teachers or students, are not used to sitting for this long. If you have a learning or attention difference, like ADHD or dyslexia, sitting for long periods can be even more challenging.
In this installment of Real-Life Experiences with Remote Learning, our middle school correspondent describes a particularly boring day.
In English class, we watched a bunch of videos of my classmates reciting Shakespeare. It was very boring and un-engaging. We did that for about 10 videos in a row and that took an hour.
Student presentation day can often be a bit dull and watching video presentations one after the other on a computer screen only makes the problem worse. Make sure that students have ways to engage actively with the material: encourage participation, use surveys and polls, and ask students to take notes.
After that I had health and wellness, which is a new version of an old class that we had, now focusing on wellness in this stressful time. Basically the teacher emailed us and told us to go outside and meditate for about 15 minutes with no further instruction. This did not go well because I can’t sit still for 15 minutes unless I have something to do. And meditation does not count as something to do.
Personally, I love the idea of a class focused on wellness right now; however, this particular assignment missed its mark. Clear directions are a crucial part of remote learning. In this instance additional instruction could have helped the student realize that there are active ways to meditate that might be more aligned with her learning style.
We ended with an art class, which was un-engaging. I did a craft project, which was below grade level for me.
Figuring out the right level of challenge is another difficulty of remote learning. While we don’t want to set our students up for failure, we risk losing students’ interest if things are too easy. As we figure out the best practices for distance learning, finding ways to challenge all students, while teaching them strategies to stay engaged and persevere, will be essential.
- Michael Greschler, M.Ed., SMARTS Director
This post is part of our Real-Life Experiences with Remote Learning series.