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3 ways you can support students during online learning. From a student’s perspective!

3 ways you can support students during online learning. From a student’s perspective!


I am currently in Year 11 and studying for my GCSE’s. I was asked to reflect on the past year of my schooling and give ideas that a teacher might be able to use, from a student’s perspective.


This unfamiliar time is difficult, not just for students, but for everyone across the world. With England in the middle of a full lockdown, many of us will be feeling lost, unmotivated and uncertain going into 2021 after spending much of the prior year absent from friends, fellow students and family.


One of the most effective strategies to support students through online learning is to include variation during contact. The fact that this year alone was repetitive for all in some way (most of the time) makes it even more important to create a range within lessons.


I personally find it more enjoyable in class when the teachers ask students to participate. This includes participation in smaller groups as well as the whole class. Personally, I found (and know from classmates after conferring) that the smaller group online discussions are the most fun. Especially when we had a say in the topic. It goes without saying, people like to speak when they have a say in what they speak about. So, students led variation up to point.


I don’t know how many teachers deviate during a lesson in the wider school population. In my school, I would say it’s roughly a quarter of the time. A quarter again would never deviate during a lesson with the remainder occasionally. By deviation, I mean talking about things outside the curriculum. It might be a teacher sharing a joke, light politics, weather, sport or anything really. Sharing a joke is the most memorable, I find, especially when there is laughter involved. By looking back and remembering a laugh, it might not help the student remember the actual teachings within the lesson, but at least they would remember the lesson. This memory of a laugh or a smile might just have an added effect of improving attention and engagement during the current class and also subsequent attendance.


During the pandemic, many routines have been damaged. One of these is health through exercise; both physical and mental health. Encouraging exercise cannot be a bad thing as only a short amount of exercise such as a walk increases mental alertness and energy. A teaching technique worth thinking about is finding ways to introduce exercise during a lesson. For example, you could set an informal test and ask half the students to walk on the spot while answering. Then maybe look at and discuss the data. You do not really have to be teaching a science class to incorporate experiments and analysis. You could ask the students to voluntarily perform some sort of exercise pre-class and discuss results.


To summarise, variation, laughing (or at least a smile) and some sort of movement within the lesson would be the best three ways to support a student’s online learning, in my opinion.


Louis, Year 11, English Martyrs School