With most students currently being taught remotely at home, maths teachers now have the challenge of learning how to adapt to remote teaching.
Challenges of Remote Teaching
The obvious challenge of remote maths teaching is that you no longer have a physical classroom where you get face to face teaching time with your students. Whereas in a classroom you would be engaging with the children as you teach, when teaching remotely you are broadcasting information rather than interacting and getting feedback as you go.
Unfortunately it isn’t as simple as just taking your usual teaching techniques online. It’s much harder to hold the pupil’s attention when they’re not there with you and you also can’t follow what they’re doing step by step. They will have far more distractions and worries than usual too, making it even more difficult to stay focused and engaged.
Another complication is that different children will have different learning situations at home. Their schedules will vary, with some having more responsibilities than others, they may not all have the same type of equipment or amount of space in which to learn, and levels of parental support will vary too. There could also be the added complication of self-isolating family members to deal with.
Of course your own situation will vary from other teachers too. For instance you may have limited space or equipment to work with, or you may be less tech-savvy than you think you need to be for this unique situation, which can feel intimidating.
Remote teaching solutions
In order to make the transition to remote teaching, you may need to adjust your teaching style to be more suitable. Try some of the following strategies to see what works best for you and your students.
Don’t just lecture
Without the feedback of students it can be easy to slip into just lecturing them, reeling off the information like a textbook. Unfortunately this is likely to lose their attention. Try to keep your tone conversational, perhaps throwing in an anecdote or joke now and then if appropriate. You could also try breaking the lesson up with videos or gifs on the screen so the students aren’t just watching you teach.
Although students won’t be working through your lessons while you are presenting them, they’ll still need help and feedback. Letting them know how to contact you if they need to will go a long way to reassuring them that they’re not doing this alone. If it’s possible in your situation, check for messages from your students regularly and try to respond as quickly as you can so they’re not left hanging if they get stuck.
Make expectations clear
When you can’t see your students face to face it’s even more important to be clear about exactly what you expect from them. Make sure they know when assignments are due, what’s involved and roughly how much time they should be spending on their maths lessons each week.
Make use of technology
There is some great technology you can use to help you adjust to remote teaching. For instance, you can make use of Blutick to more quickly set and review tasks, see student progress in real time, and focus in on where your students are struggling (you can even see their line by line workings at the click of a button). Without all those marking and admin tasks taking up your time, you’ll be able to give additional support to students who need it and prepare new lessons that are more suitable for remote learning.
Alison Borthwick, international maths education adviser, has some great recommendations for remote teaching resources over on her blog – read her recommendations here.
Adapting to remote teaching
Hopefully some of these ideas will help you to adapt to remote teaching and ensure that your students do too.
One other area to think about is your wellbeing and that of your students. While learning maths is very important, it is just as crucial that as much stress and worry as possible is removed from what can be a rather difficult transition. There are a lot of other concerns that all of you will have that don’t directly relate to school learning, so be kind to yourself and sensitive to your students’ situations.
Finally, we have seen how much Blutick can help both teachers and students in a remote learning situation, so please check it out. It’s very user friendly on both sides, easy to set up, and we are offering it to you free of charge.
Take a tour of Blutick today and see how it could save you time and worry, unlocking a whole new world of remote teaching opportunity for you and helping you manage your time more effectively.
Take a look at our Teacher Information Pack for more information – if you have any questions we’re here to support you.