Alyssa Ciarrocchi Explains How Teachers Can Help Families Overcome the Challenges of Remote Learning
Virtual learning is a relatively new phenomenon. While some schools and universities may have dabbled in it before, most were unprepared for a pandemic that would launch them into a full or even part-time remote learning situation. Very quickly, teachers, students, and parents are being forced to adapt to this new educational reality. Although some aspects of online learning may be viewed as more convenient and certainly safer, other aspects of it present challenges that will need to be overcome.
Alyssa Ciarrocchi is an educator from Hammonton, New Jersey. She knows there are a few ways teachers can help families overcome the obstacles that virtual learning presents. From focusing on content over comprehension and regularly communicating with and surveying families to understand how they are getting on, there are certainly ways that teachers can make remote learning easier on themselves, their students, and their students’ families. She provides her insight into how teachers can help families overcome the challenges found in remote learning.
Given that virtual learning is something that many students and families have never dealt with before, Alyssa Ciarrocchi advises teachers to regularly communicate with and survey families throughout the process, but especially at the beginning. To better understand the challenges of remote learning that families are facing, create a survey using a simple tool like Google Forms and send it out to the parents of your students (keep in mind that for those without internet access, you may have to call them). Ask questions about how they think their child is doing with this new type of learning, as well as what devices or tools the family has access to at home. Once teachers have a better idea of which students are excelling and which need a bit more help, it will make things much easier.
Keep Things Simple
Simplicity is key, especially as students are easing into the new world of online learning. According to Alyssa Ciarrocchi, teachers need to learn to provide instructions that are as clear and simple to follow as possible. Given that teachers will have a much harder time telling if a student is confused, it’s best to do everything in your power not to confuse them from the get-go. Logistically, this means using a minimum number of online platforms or websites to deliver lessons. Similarly, try to develop a daily classroom routine that you don’t stray from. Knowing what to expect each day is important if this transition is to be as seamless as possible.
Focus on Content
Alyssa Ciarrocchi claims that with virtual learning, the focus should be on content over comprehension. While we still want to be teaching students to think critically, this can be more difficult to facilitate through remote learning. Thus, for schools that may be doing a mix of in-person and virtual learning, try to focus on content during online sessions and comprehension during in-person sessions. Further, studies have shown that virtual learning is best suited to the review of already taught material, rather than the introduction of new material. Thus, when creating virtual lesson plans, Alyssa Ciarrocchi recommends reinforcing what the students have already learned, to build out their knowledge and vocabulary around a subject and to ensure they don’t forget it.