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 PE and Geography.
Hannah Jones – PE
Teaching in a virtual capacity has been an exciting new challenge. Previously, as a practical subject teacher, I have relied on student interaction with each other and visual support to see student progress. Virtual learning has opened my eyes to technological advances and, with a bit of creativity, albeit very different, lessons can still remain as engaging. My role to inspire those to remain active and enjoy learning theoretical concepts hasn’t changed, there is merely a screen that separates us. Within core PE lessons myself and the PE team have worked very hard to develop challenges and workouts to encourage those at home to get active, it has been incredibly rewarding to see uploads on the Healthy Me page and shows that Kennet PE is remaining as passionate and strong as normal!
Theory teaching has been an altogether separate challenge, the greatest thing I took for granted was to see body language and learning habits in the classroom. As learning stands it is common to have no visual contact with students therefore I have found Zoom meetings at the start of lessons invaluable to gauge student understanding. The chat feature has enabled me to ask questions and for students to feel secure to answer therefore allowing me to pitch following tasks. Using the ‘I do, we do, you do’ approach has been nice to model live during starters to again check for understanding.
As a department we have also used Zoom to support coursework delivery, using staff specialisms to target certain practical areas with the students have enjoyed. Guided videos have also been hugely supportive and are something I look to embed further. As I mentioned it is the interaction missed in PE that both the students and I are finding most challenging. In future weeks, I plan to use further features of Zoom to engage students using break out rooms as well as more interactive concepts to push for a greater positive learning environment.
Joe Costidell – Geography
Whilst ICT is a valuable component in the process of teaching and learning, personally it has never been my strongest element (face to face engagement and communication has always brought me greater satisfaction in the classroom). The prospect of remote learning was therefore a very scary challenge for myself, with many hours spent pondering how to best serve my classes in a way where pupils still enjoy and engage with their learning. However, conversations with my department, guidance from mentors, and staff training has highlighted the abundant opportunities presented by remote learning. For example, the use of frog quizzes to make sure students have fully understood the work in a fun and engaging way has brought much reward from my KS3 classes. This has helped me identify many positive factors and also points of improvement which I can feedback to my classes. Once we return to school, setting online quizzes as homework will be a creative way to use the skills learned remotely to enhance the education experience!