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Eight key strategies for successful remote learning

Deliver high-quality and effective remote teaching with these easy-to-implement strategies.

With schools across the country now closed to the majority of pupils, remote learning is taking centre stage once again. Whilst this may all feel like a bad dream, a huge amount was learnt in that first lockdown which can now be implemented to improve the experience for pupils, parents and staff. 

There’s no doubt that remote learning can be daunting. All your experience thus far has likely been focused on delivering face-to-face in-classroom teaching (bar a few months last year!) 

Managing behaviours, providing extra challenge or more support where needed are all part and parcel of being a teacher. Moving to remote teaching can make you feel like an NQT all over again! But don’t forget, teaching is teaching. Whether pupils are sat at desks in front of you in the classroom or are individually learning in their own home. The same pedagogical principles still apply and by implementing some of these strategies, you can be sure to continue to deliver a high-quality education to your pupils, wherever they’re learning.

Eight Strategies for Remote Learning

1. Reassuring children (and their families!)

Understand that whilst some children will enjoy remote learning (and some parents will enjoy homeschooling), others will not and will find it a real struggle. Do your best to reassure them that this situation isn’t forever and their best effort is good enough!

2. Regular check-ins

Try running surveys and quick polls with your pupils and their parents to check in on their wellbeing and understand how they are finding learning at home. You’ll quickly get a sense for what’s working (and what isn’t) and it can help to flag any issues such as lack of access to technology.

3. Connecting children and building communities

Many children will feel disconnected from their school friends at this time and will miss their daily social interactions. Utilise technology to bring children together virtually.

4. Overcoming barriers to technology

Access to technology (or rather lack of) is a consistent stumbling block when it comes to remote learning. It’s essential to identify what technology pupils have access to and how often they can access it. Are they sharing a laptop with two other siblings? Can they access the internet through broadband or mobile phone data only? There are schemes in place to support all children to access devices and data. See: DfE devices scheme and the internet access scheme.

5. Variety is key

Capturing and then maintaining children’s attention can be even harder online than it is in real life. Keep things fresh with a variety of techniques and formats such as polls and quizzes, quick-fire questions, offline projects, independent activities, online games and competitions to motivate children and hold their interest!

6. Quality not quantity

If you are delivering live or recorded online lessons, consider making them shorter than a face-to-face lesson. Zoom fatigue is real and affects children as well as adults! It’s tiring to concentrate for long periods of time so use this time wisely. You might want to go live to give an explanation ahead of a new topic, hold morning registration and connect with your class, or use it to check-in and give feedback at the end of a session.

7. Prioritise teaching over tech

According to a report on distance learning from the Education Endowment Fund, “Teaching quality is more important than how lessons are delivered”. When it comes to remote teaching, ensuring that the elements of effective teaching are present (clear explanations, scaffolding and feedback) is more important than how they are provided. Consider using this as your starting point rather than the tech you’re going to use to deliver it.

8. Keep talking

Schools, parents and children are all in this together and we’re all learning as we go. It’s an uncertain time for everyone with guidelines and procedures changing frequently so be sure to keep open lines of communication with parents and families. Let them know what you are doing as a school and how they can support you.

Consider how implementing some or all of the above strategies could support you and your school on your remote learning journey. And above all, remember that this is a learning experience for everyone – pupils, teachers and parents! So don’t be afraid to try new things, get a feel for what works and what doesn’t, and remember to support each other along the way.

Do you have more strategies to share? Or top tips that have worked well for you? Get in touch. Tweet @sumdog or share with us in Facebook.

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