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What is it like to teach pupils virtually?

Most teachers have had to become familiar with online teaching and may not have been given any training before having to do so
screen grab of a virtual lesson showing a PowerPoint and educator on display
© Royal Observatory Greenwich

Many if not most teachers have had to become familiar with online teaching and may not have been given any training.

Although the aim of transferring knowledge and skills has not changed, the platform and environment through which this teaching takes place can make the experience vastly different for both teachers and students.

We asked some teachers about their experiences of teaching virtually and here’s what they said:

‘Major learning curve’

“Teaching virtually has been a major learning curve for both myself and the students in my classes. I deliver a mixture of ‘Live lessons’ and assign students tasks to complete and hand in virtually to me.

“I have developed my confidence in this and now enjoy teaching this way. At the start I spent a long time preparing and developing resources but now have the confidence and ability to tailor-make a lesson to deliver online that meets the needs of most learners in my class.

“Unfortunately, teaching this way will never meet the need for all, and providing support for students struggling is an issue I think will never be truly resolved”

Stewart Crowdell, science teacher at South Wigston High School, Leicester

‘We changed school day times’

“We teach each lesson online and live on zoom. It has been difficult but as a private school we are fortunate that all of our students have access to the required technology and have parents that are generally supportive.

“As our students are aged 14-18, they are all old enough to be at home alone and access their education (so we don’t have the issues other schools have). It has certainly been challenging.

“We have changed the times of the school day and shortened lessons to enable those abroad to access the lessons and to give students less screen time during the day.

“Teachers have had to learn quickly and we have experimented with new programmes — Zoom, OneNote, making videos etc.”

Anonymous, science teacher

‘Good to explore new ideas’

“I have done a mixture of live/pre-recorded/sending online activities. It has been good to explore new ideas and really have an opportunity to concentrate on what makes good teaching and learning.

“The main issues are technology, and what happens when it fails. It is also difficult when you have a mix of students in the classroom, students on teams and then students who cannot access teams/the internet.”

Amy, science teacher

© Royal Observatory Greenwich
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