In this series of blogs, colleagues from across the school will share their experiences of teaching remotely. I’ve asked them to consider the challenges they have faced and to reflect on some of the strategies they have used. The idea is to share some good ideas and provide some reassurance by recognising common struggles. Today I’ll share contributions from teachers in Drama, Biology and Maths: look out for more posts every day this week!
Clare Stubbs – Drama
remote learning experience for our pupils. Luckily with a great team in the department we’ve created some imaginative lessons and pupils have particularly enjoyed the hands-on tasks where they’ve been drawing set designs and costumes. Most recently, they have been enthusiastically making a brawl scene from Romeo and Juliet in stop-motion animation or a series of photos using their family or toys. The resulting submissions have been amazing. In a busy normal drama lesson it can take time to stop and appreciate what everyone can do and reward them with house points equally. I’ve appreciated using my time wisely at home to look through each pupil’s work and have already raised the amount of points and commendations I award for every lesson. I have also made a bigger effort to e-mail parents when their child is putting in an extraordinary amount of effort as I know that receiving that positive feedback will mean so much to them after all their hard work. I want to make sure that when we return to school fully that I maintain these two habits that hopefully will be fully formed during my time at home.
Naomi Burns – Biology
There have been many highs and lows of remote learning. The hardest part I’ve found is knowing that two-way communication is the best option (via zoom for example) but not having the childcare in place to be able to offer live sessions throughout the day. I have adapted my teaching to doing pre-recorded zoom sessions where pupils get the lesson presented by myself and this is followed by exam questions or a quiz so that both pupils and myself can see how well they’ve grasped the subject. Feedback on this has been relatively positive and pupils enjoy being able to pause my videos to make notes and revisit sections they’d like to go over again, this is one bonus compared to face to face teaching as I feel those who are reluctant to ask for explanations again are able to get them straight away.
Chris Betteridge – Maths
I grew up with technology around me, but I never thought that it could create such a barrier to learning. I too have had to study a course through remote learning and from that experience, I thought that I would understand the challenges that students would face. I didn’t consider the challenges an educator would face. I have used my experience as a student to try and make the most of my remote teaching and put forward the most accessible content. As a 23 year old, I struggled to self-study by reading through masses of content that I found very over whelming. I have been using a combination of styles and resources so that students are not receiving the same lesson delivery, and I hope through this that they are staying interested and, dare I say, excited to study Maths. By pre-recording lessons, my most able students are able to quickly progress to extension tasks to keep them stimulated and my students that need more support are able to slowly work though the videos to ensure that they can fully grasp the content. I have received great feedback and can see from assessment that this is working! Although this is really powerful, it can never replace a student looking me in the eye until I can impart that knowledge to them, and I look forward to seeing those eyes light up again when I return to the classroom.