Author: British Council | Uploaded on 1 August 2022

 

Look at each of the questions in turn. Think carefully about how they relate to your own training experiences. Then click on each box to see tips, advice, guidance and further information.

1. Think about any online training sessions which you have attended. Did you feel included, motivated and supported? Why / Why not?

Good remote training sessions need a strong trainer presence. The trainer sets the tone, in the same way he/she does in face-to-face training. This helps the teachers to feel supported and motivated, improving the learning experience and learning outcomes.

In order for your trainer presence to be as effective as possible, think about how trainer-to-teacher interaction takes place online. These principles are relevant to teaching remotely.

  • Check the context of the teachers. Do they understand what will happen during the course? How tech-savvy are they? Do they have a suitable device? Do they have access to Wi-Fi or data?
  • Encourage active learning by providing online activities and forums where they can share ideas.
  • Build an online community by encouraging introductions in the online platform, by using teachers’ names frequently, by encouraging teachers to share how they are doing, etc.
  • Encourage contact with you and with each other. Send emails and messages reminding teachers of sessions coming up or tasks due for submission. 
  • Give feedback on how people are doing on tasks.
  • Communicate high expectations 
  • Respect diversity and difference

2. Think about online training sessions you have given or may give in future? How can you ensure the teachers feel motivated and supported?

When you first set up a remote online class, spend time building a relationship with the teachers and setting ground rules. This is the same as you would do in face-to-face training and helps the teachers to feel secure. 

You could record an introductory video, audio, or written text about yourself and post it on the platform you are using. This could include showing or describing your personal workspace. You could ask the teachers to do the same.

Remember that participation, collaboration, interaction, and contribution all look different in a remote classroom. Tell teachers at the beginning that you will call on them by name and nominate them to give feedback and answers in live online lessons. 

Have patience, too! Teachers who are participating in online groups for the first time will ask a lot of questions and expect immediate answers. 

Spend time creating a community and explaining how you expect the teachers to participate. It sets them up for success! 

3. How can you ensure everyone feels included? What strategies can you use?

It’s just as important to be inclusive in remote learning as it is in a face-to-face session. In a remote teaching situation, you may not need to worry about different groups of teachers, but you will need to support individuals. Some strategies for achieving this include:

  • Make sure that every teacher knows what to do before you start the sessions. Send instructions and check that they have been received.
  • Use the teachers’ names when you reply to them during sessions.
  • Affirm all responses – if you are using a messaging platform like WhatsApp, use emojis like thumbs up, clapping hands or a smiley face.
  • If an incorrect answer is given, don’t single the person out and tell them they are wrong. Make a general comment about the error instead.
  • Follow up on each teacher’s progress through the course and give them individual feedback.
  • Be patient! Teachers will make mistakes and so will you! Being impatient will make the teachers feel uncomfortable and excluded. 

4. How could you organise training in order to keep teachers motivated?

  • Keeping teachers motivated and involved is less work for you in the long run. If you have to follow up on some teachers all the time, it becomes a burden.
  • Providing synchronous (real time) sessions is one way of motivating teachers.  
  • Make sure the course is not too long and that the time between the sessions is not too long, or people may lose interest.
  • Keep the material lively. Long, boring documents which they have to read will put most teachers off.
  • Remember to use teachers’ names and affirm their contributions.  If someone is not participating, ask them for an answer.  This will usually help them feel included. 

5. What challenges do you anticipate in making remote learning motivating, supportive and inclusive? What could you do, and what could you say to participants, to minimise these issues?

Online training can make teachers feel isolated and anxious. They may express this in different ways. You need to be prepared to look at what is causing the problem and try and address it. 

Some typical examples and what you could do are given below: 

  • ‘I am struggling with the technology and no-one wants to help me!’: Teachers often want instant solutions to technology problems and sometimes there is nothing you can do, because the problem is on their side. Give as many suggestions as you can and don’t get impatient, as this will make them even more frustrated. 
  • ‘I don’t understand what you are asking me to do’: Where possible, repeat instructions for a task at least twice. It’s best to explain in a slightly different way each time. You could give instructions in writing and as a voice note.
  • ‘You never answer my questions!’: It is possible to miss a question during a session because so many people are responding. It’s always a good idea to revisit the session and check that you have responded to every query. If teachers know you will respond, even if it is later, they will be more patient.  
  • ‘I’m not sure if I have completed all the activities’: Give regular feedback on what participants have completed. Make a spreadsheet or table and report back every week or so.
  • ‘This is going on for too long! I don’t have time to complete the activities.’: At the beginning of the course give the teachers a timetable so that they know exactly how long they will need to be involved and what activities to complete. If possible, negotiate dates that suit the teachers, but don’t let them make the time between sessions too long or they will lose motivation.

6. What changes are you going to make in your training sessions to make them more motivating, supportive and inclusive?

This is up to you! Think about the principles of good remote teaching and apply them as is best in your situation.