Virtual learning spaces can include synchronous learning opportunities (i.e. live sessions on Zoom) or recorded teaching (i.e. recording screencasts or Flipgrid videos for your students.) In either situation, you can plan how you “show up” in order to maintain the warm demanding stance you’ve established in your classroom.
Here are some agreements you can set for yourself when teaching and learning in a virtual space:
Planning & Preparation
- Get dressed and ready for the day like you would for students...even if that’s for a casual Friday dress attire!
- Find a place to work and make that a regular space for teaching & learning. If possible, work at a desk or table while sitting in a chair, rather than sitting on a couch, for efficiency.
- Maintain your morning routine. For example, if you typically need quiet time at school before meeting with colleagues or students, do the same at home. When possible, plan to get up and read a book or listen to a podcast before the day “begins.”
- Create a routine that allows for regular movement. For example, stand and stretch every hour on the hour. Or, schedule a “walk & talk” with colleagues instead of Zoom meetings. Try to set aside 10-15 minutes between virtual meetings or teaching sessions so you can reflect, process, or just use the restroom!
Engaging With Students & Colleagues
- If engaging in giving video feedback, or participating in gatherings via video, commit to being fully present. Silence your other devices or apps that may be a distraction.
- Use professional language in written and oral communication with students - continue to show competence through your communication.
- Plan virtual time to continue building trust and rapport with your students, establishing virtual rituals and routines, and maintaining connections. See “How do I support a virtual culture of safe, inclusive, and emotionally supportive environments?”
- If leading or engaged in adult learning, solid virtual practices still apply. See What are the practices that lead to a successful Virtual Convening?
Facilitators may also need to teach students how to show up to a virtual learning space - which could be beneficial for college and career situations down the road! Create guidelines for your students that help them with both the logistics of virtual learning (i.e. muting a microphone on Zoom when not speaking) and how to engage professionally (i.e. wearing school-appropriate clothing.) See How do I have a successful virtual class meeting?
Also think about whether your guidelines are inclusive of all students, and how guidelines may need to be shifted for individual situations. For example, you may need to record synchronous sessions so that students who are absent due to other obligations can watch later. Consider asking your students for ideas of reasonable expectations, and co-create a list together, the way that your students might do for team contracts during PBL/PrBL units.
To view all the Help Center's articles on Virtual Learning, click the links below: