13 MARCH 2020
Tips to deal with school closure
Whether your school is currently closed or you want to have a contingency plan in place, we hope these tips from teachers on our international online research community will be useful to you and your colleagues.
Many of the teachers in our community are working in countries that have closed schools due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). We have been talking to them to find out how they are adapting their teaching.
We've collected all the advice and made it into a handy infographic. Download below to save a version you can refer back to.
It may be difficult to communicate with your students and keep them engaged while your school is closed. Here is Michael's recommendation:
"Prepare the students for the eventuality that you may be teaching online, set up expectations and develop systems for notifying and completing the assignments. Nevertheless, expect it to be difficult."
Find the right tools for you
Assign homework and activities:
Google Classroom, Moodle and Microsoft OneNote are some of the tools that are proving most useful.
"We use Google Classroom, Google Drive, and Google Meet as contingency e-learning platforms."
"I'd recommend using Moodle to assign tasks and grade them. Not just assignments but also quizzes, polls, debates etc. For some activities the results are instant, which keeps the students motivated."
Deliver your lessons:
Try using Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Skype for business for distance teaching and learning.
"A software I found very useful is Zoom where we can share the screen and see students if their video is activated."
You can use Apple Quicktime or PowerPoint to share screen recordings.
"We record our lessons through Quicktime as it allows for video recording of what is on the screen."
Follow a normal timetable
This will help give structure to your students' disrupted learning path:
"We began by setting work online and hoping students would complete it. Very few did. We then moved to a different model, where we followed the normal timetable through Microsoft Teams. We made a point of emailing or calling parents of any students who were absent. This worked far better."
Assign appropriate activities
Consider compiling worked activities, assigning long-term, research activities or suggesting reading lists.
"I assigned a couple of detailed step-by-step research activities so that the students could independently complete the task within a given amount of time. It is also a good idea to provide the students with a reading list so that by the time they return to school they will have completed some part of learning."
Teach students life lessons
From fighting fake news and misinformation to building resilience, there is a lot that can be learnt from the current situation.
"As teachers, our role is to educate students, and students make an inspiring mission to inform the local community about the virus and how it is prevented by creating digital posters, videos, printed posters and distributing first aid kits and hygiene products in the local community."
Keep in mind the difficulties students may be facing from an emotional point of view. It may not always be possible for them to complete tasks or study.
"Having been evacuated from a school and missing an entire semester, I found that it was very difficult for my family and even with the best intentions it was difficult to help my daughter keep up with her classwork. A lot of older students will find it very hard to sit in front of a computer all day and do all the lessons online for every class. Depending where they are at, this may be really difficult."
Get in touch
Each country and school will be addressing the current challenge in different ways. It's important that we keep supporting one another and sharing successful strategies!
If you have a useful tip, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org – we would love to add to this guide and make it as useful as possible.
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