How to help your students actively participate in a virtual classroom

How to help your students actively participate in a virtual classroom

How to help your students actively participate in a virtual classroom

We all know that one kid in the school loves raising his/her hand when the teachers ask a question. And there are always quite a few who feel hesitant to participate or engage in the classroom. Most of these kids are introverted and need their time to think before they answer or just get overwhelmed by the question. It is hard for these students to participate and bring themselves to terms to be vocal.

Participating in the classroom could be challenging for some students, but these challenges have intensified more than ever with remote learning. Many teachers have also complained that it is hard to communicate and engage with virtual classrooms or read student's expressions and body language. Technology, the teachers say that is another barrier that hinders the online discussions, course of understanding, and the possibility and reading of subtle messaging in the classroom.

But it turned out that getting students contribute to virtual classrooms needs a strategy. We talked to several teachers and went through thousands of social media groups to understand how they tackle students' participation and contribution. We found out that teachers are using specific smart strategies to implement the classroom values and ensure their equal participation, even those who are introverts or hesitate to raise a hand.

How to help your students actively participate in a virtual classroom

The teachers told Campus guru about the conventional approaches that they applied in their classrooms for traditional learning. Some said that the live video chats helped them engage the students while others talked about the digital tools that helped them boost students' participation in the virtual classrooms.

How to help your students actively participate in a virtual classroom

while exploring the internet and experiences shared by teachers worldwide, we found out about the 'Spider web discussion' approach. In which the teacher-led the discussion over Google Meet. Before beginning the class, the students were asked to answer individually; this allowed them to take it as a jumping-off point for a more expansive and class participation in the rest of the class.

While students conversed, the teacher drew lines on a paper to track the conversation; this created a spider web type model. The teacher later shared the model with the students to reflect on the conversation flow, who talked, built on other students' ideas and listened while others talked. This approach helped the students to gauge their participation and encouraged them to discuss and participate.

How to help your students actively participate in a virtual classroom

Some of the junior grade teachers found an 'emoji approach' very practical while conducting online grades 2 and 3. The students were asked to type a question or send thumbs-up or thumbs-down to show whether they understood the teacher and the concepts. The teacher also decided to use only one emoji at a time. The teacher shared that it helped her students stay attentive and participated more enthusiastically in the classroom.

For young students, asking them to write their answers in true or false as T and F also helped. Moreover, the teachers discussed various platforms that allow students to type their answers in Zoom or Google chat provided young students with a lot of keyboard practice.

How to help your students actively participate in a virtual classroom

Another high school teacher shared that he tries to use a blended approach during remote learning – traditional and digital.

The recorded lectures were shared with the students for students to prepare before the live sessions. At the start of the live classroom, students shared their understanding individually and summarized the concept they understood through recorded lectures. The teacher also divided students into small groups to discuss the ideas and spent more time listening and identifying if they grasped the lessons well. This allowed him to correct students in a more targeted way and help them follow their individual understanding.

How to help your students actively participate in a virtual classroom

Some elementary school teachers shared that adopting a "project-based learning" approach encouraged their students to participate more actively in the live sessions. They were given more assignments and projects, and once they submit their projects, they were free to talk about their experience, research method, and interest, and automatically, they had a lot to share.

The students were sent to breakout rooms in small groups on Zoom to discuss and record their answers. The teacher wasn't there in each breakout room; the students also wrote their responses on live Google docs and sheets. Volunteers from each group shared their answers with everyone.

How to help your students actively participate in a virtual classroom

For younger students, the show and tell approach at the beginning of the classroom made students comfortable to talk in a virtual environment. The teachers would then ask students questions such as why you said that. What do you notice? How do you feel?. According to teachers, this helped them break the ice in virtual learning.

To share your teaching or learning experiences, write in the comment box.

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