Online learning has become the new norm in Singapore’s education system. It is convenient, and as we step into the fourth industrial revolution, we rely on technology even more. So it seems that online learning is here to stay.
But just because we have switched from face-to-face (f2f) lessons to virtual meetings doesn’t mean we’ve changed the way we teach.
Is it time to rethink how we teach online?
Shift to Online Learning
At the start of the pandemic, Singapore turned to using online learning to facilitate students’ education and learning. After all, it allowed teachers to conduct school curriculum through virtual means, so students and school staff aren’t exposed to the virus.
Even though the threat has lessened considerably with vaccinations, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has realised the potential of online learning. This led to MOE integrating online learning into students’ everyday life through hybrid and blended learning.
Our ‘Old Way of Teaching’
When we started teaching online, we carried on the ‘old’ way of teaching. This teaching style was more authoritative and very top-down. Teachers were meant to teach, and there was less facilitating and guiding.
Lessons followed a more passive and less interactive structure. Students were also required to engage in rote learning and less independent learning.
How Should We Teach Online?
Although the ‘old way of teaching’ worked for physical lessons, it doesn’t work as well in virtual ones. This is because teachers cannot monitor their students through the screen.
Instead, there should be more student participation and more involvement of students in their own learning.
Here are some ways to improve the way we teach online:
Make lessons more active
When you make lessons more active, you encourage your student to take a more central role in learning. This helps them achieve better grades because it improves their understanding and engagement. It makes them more motivated to learn too.
Here are some ways you can encourage active learning during your lessons:
1. Include group work
2. Include interactive demonstrations
3. Role play in lessons
4. Encourage problem-based learning
5. Include activities like debates
Make it more personalised
When you make lessons more personalised, you can track students’ progress, and it also helps them to improve on weaker areas.
Take this chance to involve your student in assessing and personalising lesson activities and plans too! This makes them more aware of their areas for improvement so they can conduct their own learning to fill those gaps.
Here are some ways you can personalise learning for your students:
1. Set personal learning plans
2. Encourage self-assessment
3. Offer more learning pathways
4. Utilise digital tools like Geniebook and XSEED
5. Conduct frequent formative assessment
Take on a facilitating or guiding role in classrooms
Singapore’s education system is now encouraging students to engage in self-directed learning. This means lessons are now used to support, facilitate and guide instead of teaching.
Here are some suggestions to do that:
1. Offer more consultation sessions during your lessons (you can open up breakout rooms and answer your students’ queries)
2. Encourage debates (let your students research and study on their own. Then, during the debates, they can present their supporting points)
3. Include more group work and let students present their work
4. Allow students to call on one another for answers
5. Encourage classroom discussions
As Singapore’s education system moves online, we must adapt and change the way we teach online. However, it cannot be done immediately, so start slow and ease yourself into the transition.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and if you would like more suggestions on how to make your online lessons more effective, let us know in the comments!
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