How Can Teachers Teach Better, Online?

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Online Teaching


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
Read more about @TeacherToolkit

How can teachers close the disadvantaged gap, teaching online?

To close the gap and avoid students missing out important steps, modelling and direct instruction can be highly effective to reduce the disadvantage gap…

During COVID-19 with hundreds of thousands of teachers working online, making teaching more precise and explicit is more important than ever. If there is an important element of the lesson that students haven’t grasped, retrieval practice is an essential component to support long-term memory. Even more critical for vulnerable students…

Ten techniques all teachers can use…

  1. Show what a good piece of work looks like, and how it is created, step by step, piece by piece. Demonstrate the whole process of creation, whether that is an equation or a model paragraph.
  2. Talk it through, and not only the things you decide to do but also the things that you don’t. The class need to hear you say, ‘I know it can’t be 17 because the answer’s final digit is 0’…
  3. Speak your thoughts. It is the very thoughts that our students cannot hear or see that they need to understand the most. Watch me model a maths equation…
  4. Make mistakes! One of the hardest skills in the world is editing, especially when you’re not yet wise or good enough. Work needs to be modelled. Students need to see that crossing out and making mistakes is part of the learning process and nothing to panic about.
  5. Show students what to do when you don’t know what to do. Model ‘just drawing a line’ when you are not sure of the word to put and don’t want to waste ten minutes’ thinking time. Demonstrate ‘just having a go’ at a problem when you don’t know where to start. This is very easy to do with online resources.
  6. Don’t use up all of your modelling tips at the beginning of a lesson. It can be equally (and sometimes more) valuable to stop the class after an initial experiment to address any common misconceptions found, or at the end of the lesson to build success criteria together and challenge thinking.
  7. In an online, classroom climate it is essential to instil a belief that with good practice you can get better; a visualiser is your friend and a piece of work can be the next top model.
  8. Never make assumptions about what the students already know and understand. Never. The most basic things also need modelling – from letter formation and counting slowly to ‘what does good listening look like?’
  9. Model the learning in many ways – as imaginatively as possible. It is important that your modelling acts as a creative catalyst and not as an inhibitor. Students need to see possibilities, not one solution.
  10. Have at the forefront of your mind your goal – and within this should be the independent application of whatever it is you are teaching! Some students will be ready to run and make it entirely their own after one tiny exposure. Some may need a little guided work, some will need a confidence boost and others may need the same skill modelled in different contexts many, many times before those connections are forged.

Download the resource

Reteaching is a necessary part of any curriculum scheme; all teachers must do it! The important thing is to spot the ‘gap’ in your students’ learning through assessment and feedback and then go back and teach it again. Working out how to do this and what information you need to gather online is tough! All teachers need to reteach material – this resource offers 10 ideas.

Modelling To Close The Disadvantaged Gap by @TeacherToolkit

Even when teaching is precise and explicit, allow time to reteach the aspects of the curriculum that your students are struggling to master.


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