There are many times in an educational year that a teacher asks what they can do to inspire, motivate and engage pupils. It is a perennial problem. I do not have the solution but I do have a suggestion. Try online tutoring for some of your students.
As I said, it is not the solution but it is a route that is used in many outstanding schools across the world. Please do not get me wrong. I am definitely not advocating that all students spend all day every day on the computer. This would be the way of madness! What I am suggesting is that you consider using online tutoring for some pupils so that they can mix up their modes of learning and thus create space in their minds for a different approach to the curriculum.
I am a tutor for online learning so I do have experience and an agenda for this. There are many students who are just not classroom shaped all the time. They want individual attention for a variety of reasons. These reasons are not as important as doing something about it. The amount of time that they will spend in a virtual classroom is flexible according to their needs.
Give them the chance to trust an online tutor who they will never meet. This lack of face to face, far from being a negative factor, is often liberating to the student who just wants to learn. The focus of the online lesson is on the student and their learning. The combination of the screen and a headset make for a safe environment. Many students are finding this gives them the confidence to take minute intellectual gambles such as (in English) actually creating a paragraph with their views about a text. This can be a massive boost to a child who does not feel that they have a voice, is building confidence or needs a positive part to their day for whatever reason.
There is also flexibility in the online classroom. At TLC Live, the teacher works with students on a 1-1 basis so that their individual needs can be met and the idea of student led learning can really happen. Certainly my experience of the classroom of thirty students and the online class shows that tailor made lessons can occur online and much less frequently in the school classroom. This plasticity of content and approach can be changed in real time as a result of the collaboration between the student and the tutor. Linear learning is not always useful and so this more varied approach is powerful and engaging.
Student are engaged because they can play a significant part in what they learn. Habits and routines are established, the student is absorbed in the process and can have some say in the route they take to the learning.
Written by Claire Brayne
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