Best Methods for Online Tutoring
Information and Communication technologies have revolutionized each of the areas in which they have been introduced. Education is not an exception. In fact, thanks to these innovative developments, it is possible to consider the idea of establishing a new educational model focused on the use of technology.
Through short courses, workshops, talks, or simply spaces in which to ask questions and solve academic assignments, students can use ICT as tools to reinforce and improve their training. Thanks to them, it is possible to study from anywhere, regardless of time or distance.
For institutions, online education also implies a great advance, since it allows them to expand their borders, facilitating the enrolment of students of all nationalities.
For teachers, online education can be seen as an opportunity to increase employment options, creating or tutoring courses exclusively or in addition to teaching modality. Simultaneously, this can represent a great challenge since it implies obtaining a level of training that allows the best use of information and communication technologies.
Just as in face-to-face education, students have a teacher that permanently responds to their needs and doubts; in virtual learning environments, this figure is presented in an online tutor.
This teacher’s task is to energize the instances of work, keep the entire group of students at the same level, promote the correct learning of knowledge, correct the activities carried out, and monitor their progress. In short, do the same as a teacher in the classroom but considering the necessary adaptation to the online environment.
What is the importance of online tutoring methods?
Teaching in virtual environments is not limited to assigning work or tasks for students to do, on the contrary, as in face-to-face classes, the design of an intervention process is required that takes into account different aspects such as characteristics and needs of the students, the learning to be achieved and the digital tools available, among others. Hence the importance of having strategies and techniques that contribute to the optimal achievement of purposes.
From the above, certain questions arise such as how to carry out this work? How to motivate students despite the distance and get them to commit to their learning process?
For teachers, answering these questions involves making a wide variety of decisions. The first of these involves choosing an appropriate tutoring method. This may depend on the needs of the centre for which you work or on the students themselves, but ultimately the teacher will have the power to decide it.
Online platforms designed by the universities or educational centres themselves are considered the ideal spaces to ensure that this learning is effective since they can publish and share files, initiate general or individual conversations with each user, and initiate debates around a theme. Therefore, they will be the best way to carry out these tutorials, above tools/apps such as Zoom, Google Meet, YouTube, Google Docs, Skype or email.
Regarding the work methodology, the teacher must decide what kind of presence he will offer to his students. That is if it will be permanent or within a certain time.
Ideally, the student will always be able to resolve their doubts at the time they arise, so the content and activities should be specially explained. But even so, it will be necessary to have teachers present as much time as possible.
Therefore, the best online tutoring model will always allow the teacher to respond instantly. For this, it can be a good exercise to analyse the students’ schedules, or the sound alerts before new messages.
As in face-to-face environments, the virtual environment tutor must work as a guide in learning, and therefore, apply the method that allows him to carry out this work in the best possible way.
Strategies and techniques to teach virtual classes
This strategy is for students to build a glossary during the course of the sessions as they find unknown terms or words. Another variant may be to assign each student a specific term or word directly so that they can investigate their definition and share it with the rest of the group. In this way, co-responsibility is fostered, and learning of concepts or terms is encouraged.
It is the analysis of a real or imaginary fact to interpret, reflect, or solve it. Some examples of resources that can be used for this strategy are documents, videos, movies, and news. Steps to implement it:
- Select and present the case.
- Generate study or analysis questions.
- Publicize the instructions and the way of working (can be individual or in teams).
- Plan a moment for discussion, analysis, decision making, and finding solutions.
- Follow up on the process.
- Presentation of the solution proposal: each student or team presents their proposal, a final reflection is made, and conclusions are formulated.
It is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other concepts around a central theme. Ideas are arranged according to the importance of the concepts and are grouped together, forming ramifications. The use of this strategy favors a clear vision of the content or topic studied, develops concentration skills as well as creativity and memory.
It is a collaborative strategy; in this, the teacher asks the students to contribute the ideas or knowledge they have about the subject to be studied. Later, with the teacher’s guidance, a conclusion is formulated together. This strategy also allows teachers to carry out a diagnostic evaluation of what students know about the subject in order to make timely decisions and make the necessary adjustments to their intervention.
The teacher asks the students (individually or in teams) to present a topic studied using creative digital material. Some examples may be newspaper, poster, video, song, presentation, story, or magazine. Later the materials are shared on the platform that is being used.
In this collaborative technique, the teacher invites an expert in the subject being studied and uses the forum or chat to ask students to express doubts, exchange ideas with him, and make a query or contribution to enrich the learning of the theme.
Question and Prizes
This strategy consists of placing a question in the forum or chat and assigning it some value or score. The first student to answer it correctly earns some kind of incentive (for example, a point that will be valid for the final evaluation).
Show yourself on camera
Many teachers do their classes online only by speaking through the microphone; this means that the students do not feel that they are in a “live” class, rather they only feel that they are listening to audio.
Just showing yourself on the camera will “hook” your students from the start.
Make sure your internet connection works well
If you are teaching from home, make sure you are very close to the Router that gives you the Wi-fi Internet signal.
It is recommended that you connect a network cable (ethernet) to your computer so that the connection goes much better.
There is nothing more demotivating, both for the teacher and for his students than a class that is seen and heard with interference.
Currently, technological advances allow fluid communications, regardless of whether we do it by audio or videoconference. Still, you must make sure that your Internet signal is at maximum for this to work well.
Start your class by naming your students
If you name your students one by one, you will automatically have made a “connection” with them when you start teaching your class.
They will feel that there is a human behind the screen. They will feel that it is a live class.
And they will feel a kind of “urgency” that will make them alert because they know that you can ask them something at any moment.
Speak loud and clear (and if you can, with a microphone)
Many teachers make the mistake of speaking using the built-in microphone on their PC or MAC. Most of the time, those microphones are low quality and don’t just pick up your voice.
These microphones will also capture other environmental noises that may be in the environment, causing the class to be heard unclear and overwhelming the students.
Make a small investment in headphones or earphones that have a built-in microphone.
Connect them to your computer, and that will greatly improve the quality of your audio.
Speak clearly and loudly in your classes, and if you do it with a very low and flat voice, your students will not stay hooked to the class.
One of the most common mistakes made by teachers who are beginners in online education is not taking breaks.
Many teachers think that pausing will lose the students’ rhythm and attention, so they prefer to give online classes “in a row.”
This is very negative for the student experience!
We recommend you take 10-minute breaks for every 40 minutes of class. This will allow students to get away from the screen, take a breath, and return to your class with more enthusiasm.
Ask your class questions constantly
You have to keep your class “alive”. Teachers who only post content throughout their class and do not interact with their students do not achieve good learning results.
Ask questions like:
- “Someone knows…?”
- “Does anyone want to share their experience …?”
- Or “I give extra points for whoever tells me …”.
These non-invasive questions will make your students pay much more attention to the class and feel part of something.
On the contrary, the classes where there is no interaction seem more like online tutorials that could perfectly be seen on YouTube.
Much of the success of an online class depends directly on proper planning, so it must be consciously designed, taking into account various factors such as those mentioned above. It is worthy to note that planning different educational strategies and techniques greatly favors the development of the sessions since they promote favorable learning environments and various working modalities.
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