Online Teaching Is Still Teaching
As most schools continue to hold classes online because of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s one question that needs to be answered – “Which is the MORE APPROPRIATE AND BETTER way to teach online – upload a class video for the students to watch or meet the students online via WEBEX, ZOOM, GOOGLE MEET, or any other virtual learning platforms?
Instead of answering the question directly, let me just share my views about online learning.
Teachers like me should understand this – online teaching is still teaching. It’s not a magic trick that we are using to keep the students entertained or preoccupied while we are waiting for the COVID-19 crisis to dissipate. It should not be treated as a band-aid solution to the problem of not being able to meet the students face-to-face.
Online or otherwise, when you are a teacher, you should teach. You ought to find a way to achieve the objectives of the course/s you are teaching, cover the topics enumerated in the syllabus, motivate your students, discuss the lessons, give assignments, and evaluate learning. This is the time to use your creativity and resourcefulness.
Be reminded of the three major activities teachers do – planning, instruction, and assessment. Pedagogy – the art, science, or profession of teaching – remains the same, with or without COVID-19. The virus is not an excuse for you not to perform to the fullest your duties and responsibilities as a teacher.
The most important part of the planning process is the setting of learning objectives. Whatever you do as a teacher, online or otherwise, should be grounded on the objectives of the course. There are course objectives and there are unit objectives (or goals). You should know this if you are really trained to be a teacher (and was not just plucked from certain geographical locations of the world to pose as a teacher). Supposedly, you should also know that for every topic you present to the students you also have objectives (or goals), right?
It is only when you are well-grounded on the objectives (course-unit-topic) that you should begin teaching – online or otherwise. You’d better not teach if not because you will become the embodiment of “the blind leading the blind.”
So, online or otherwise, you should be guided by the objectives of the course and of the specific units listed in the syllabus. There are times that even the objectives (goals) for each topic under specific units are provided by the school where you are teaching. If not, then it is your duty as a teacher to create them. Don’t whine, it’s part of your job. You signed up for it. And come on, creating learning objectives (goals) is not rocket science.
After setting the learning objectives (and planning other teaching-learning activities), what should you do? I know that you know (hopefully) what comes next after the planning – instruction. Simply put – after the setting of objectives – you TEACH.
In case you have forgotten let me remind you of the definition of instruction – “the purposeful direction of the learning process.” The main aim of instruction, online or otherwise, is learning. Don’t forget that. So, whether your meet your students “face-to-face” or through any of the different platforms online, you have to teach them purposefully. We have different views. Rest assured that I respect yours. But for me, just uploading videos is not teaching, no matter how sophisticated are the videos you create. Videos cannot carry out the multi-faceted role of the teacher. Videos, at best, are just supplementary learning materials.
Don’t tell me that students prefer just watching videos over attending actual online classes. Of course, they would prefer that because it’s convenient for them. But teaching is not a matter of choosing which strategies the students consider comfortable for them. Teaching is choosing which methods are best for them. It’s choosing which ones could maximize learning, which ones would lead to the attainment of the objectives of the course.
Now, let me continue.
After setting the objectives, you teach. After that, what comes next?
Answer – assessment. Call it testing to make it simple.
After teaching, online or otherwise, you need to determine whether or not your students learned through quizzes, exercises, assignments, tests, and other methods of assessment. But don’t forget that like instruction, assessment should also be purposeful. You don’t dump in the laps of your students all those academic works for the purpose of making them busy and simply to comply with course requirements. Education doesn’t work that way. You will use their scores in whatever you require them to do or submit to measure the extent of their learning, to evaluate how efficient are your teaching methods and strategies, and to determine if the course/unit/topic objectives are met.
There are two more important reminders for those who are teaching online. Firstly, don’t forget that you are not supposed to give your students assignments and tests on topics you did not discuss and thoroughly explained. And secondly, make sure to mark/grade each of your students’ tests and assignments. All marked/graded course requirements should be returned to the students. They need to be given feedback on their performance.
So, online or otherwise, when you are a teacher, be a teacher. Set your objectives, teach, and assess. Even if you’re holding the class online, you still need to motivate your students and elicit their participation. Do all those things purposefully.
Now, what do you think is my answer to the question I asked at the beginning of this article?
Posted on September 24, 2021, in Face-to-face or Online Teaching?, Online Teaching, Teaching During the Pandemic and tagged Online Teaching, Teaching During the Pandemic. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.