Online schools continue to gain in popularity and there is a growing concern about teacher-student relationships. Although there are online courses that allow real time interaction between the instructor and student, it is not the same as doing it in the traditional classroom.
We all know that part of the learning curve is social interaction. Your children are not only learning academically, they are also learning how to interact with other people. It is the teacher’s job to lead all of these learnings. But how is it possible to get the genuine interaction experience online?
We cannot take this away because there are people who have credited their success with the relationships formed with their teachers. This is one of the challenges of online schools. The convenience of having to learn anytime and anywhere means you have to give up this type of learning.
That does not have to happen. These online courses are also created by teachers and school administrators and it is possible for them to keep the teacher-student relationship even in online schools. The main ingredient in teacher-student relationships is communication. This is not lost in online courses. You just have to learn how to channel being a mentor through a different platform.
Here are some tips that we have for online teachers/instructors.
- Make sure the information reaches its destination. This is ideal for online courses that have a one way communication. Do not just put the information out there. You have to make sure that it reaches the student and not only that, they understand it. This is how you will encourage them to react to the material you put out there.
- Incorporate different communication tools in the course. There are so many tools available. You can use forums, online chats, newsletters, voicemail messages, text messaging and of course, social media. Learn how to use these to interact with students.
- Set up feedback system. Do not make the mistake of being the only one sharing information – even if it is a one way communication type of learning. Give them a portal to get in touch with you.
- Do not delay in establishing rapport. Even online, this is possible. Do not automate your answers. Be real, interact and be present – these are all possible online. It is possible to form authentic relationships and connections online – if you are sincere enough to want the relationship to form. There are tools like Google Voice that will let you interact with students even as you withhold your personal number.
- Make discussions a part of the lesson. Chats and forums are a great way to do this. Not only will you be able to form relationships with students, your students can also interact with each other. For one on one interactions, Skype or a similar tool is a great way to take to students in real time.
Technology knows no bounds and you will realize that eLearning does not have to remove the human aspect in learning. In fact, online schools should be an improvement from the traditional learning. Relationships can be formed online and we have the tools available. You just have to learn how to use them.