Part II: Top tips for remote teaching and learning
Earlier, we covered some main tips for teachers that make remote teaching easier in times of a pandemic. Today, we’ll look at it from a student’s perspective. Read on to find out what are useful tips for students and how to efficiently study online.
Time Management And Self-Motivation
Asides from the aforementioned digital anxiety, time management and self-motivation are the biggest hurdles that students will face when transitioning towards remote learning. Moving from a rigid education structure towards an autonomous mode of working is a massive transition, and not one that should be viewed lightly. Therefore, the first step is acknowledging this challenge and how much more draining it can be to motivate yourself.
Different methods to keep you on target
Keep a detailed note of deadlines. Whether you want to keep these documented in a notepad, a planner/personal calendar, a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, or a Microsoft Word document; keeping these deadlines in one place that you check regularly can help. Breaking these deadlines into smaller tasks can help too, and can help you feel as though you are actually making progress in your tasks. If you decide to use one of the Microsoft Office Suite (or if you have an Apple device and wish to use their equivalent platforms), you will be able to find a vast array of templates that can help make detailed to-do lists, trackers for tasks etc. I also find colour co-ordinated sticky notes stuck to my desktop monitor to be just as effective.
Personal schedule and structure. Keep a separate note of your personal schedule. This can be in the same form as the above deadlines. Again, both Apple and Microsoft Office Suite offer a variety of free templates to utilise for this. There are also many good mobile apps out there too . Make sure you schedule rest and social times too. I personally start making my 2 schedule by allocating time for eating, then working out, then scheduling some down time (either going for a walk, listening to a podcast, or sticking on some Netflix), and then finally I add my productive time into the schedule.
Timers. This is a studying hack I discovered late in my education journey, but it very quickly became a staple. This is particularly helpful if your attention span isn’t quite there, or if you rely on your teacher reminding you every 15 minutes to concentrate. There are a variety of free applications out there that allow you to set timers and goals (while growing virtual trees, for example). But personally I find using the timer on my phone to be just as good. The only additional benefit you can gain with an app is that it can lock access to your phone while the timer is active, and can motivate you by threatening the overall health of the virtual tree you were growing.
These are just a few key ways to keep yourself on target, and again it will take some work and trialand-error to find the methods that work for you.
Transitioning to remote models of learning can effect more than just the learning experience, but it can have the effect of making you feel more isolated. But there are a few things you can do. The first is reach out to your peers, whether its to meet up or just to check-in on them. Don’t be afraid to be the first one to message. Secondly, and most importantly, try setting up a remote study group. If you normally spend a lunch break doing homework with a group of peers, or if you spend free periods in the common room doing so, why does that need to change when you shift to a remote model? Sometimes sitting in silence, working away on a shared struggle (like a challenging piece of maths homework) can make the actual task feel less daunting. Particularly if you are all in the same
Whether you are a teacher or a student engaged in remote learning, self-care is more important now than it has ever been. Just because you are working from home, doesn’t make it any less demanding, in fact, the removal of a school structure and routine, and any form of accountability can make any progress feel slight or minimal. There is a tendency to underestimate how hard you work when you are doing so remotely. Take it from me, a Masters graduate who feels like she put more effort into her first year of her undergrad than she did her postgrad, but retained a higher grade standard during the latter… and I am not an outlier.
As mentioned above, schedule in time for yourself. If you can set up your remote desk somewhere that isn’t your room, do so. So that your room is a safe space, somewhere you can go to relax. And if this isn’t possible, try to relax somewhere that isn’t where your desk is. It is important to create barriers between where you work and where you relax, otherwise you won’t be able to relax properly as you will be surrounded by remnants of work and stress.
How you self-care is down to you as an individual. The main priority is that you are doing something you enjoy, and doing it because you want to, not because the education system dictates you have to in order meet the requirements of the course. I personally paint, or go our for a cycle. But if the weather is bad, and there is no where for me to paint, I may just sit and watch Bob Ross paint on YouTube. Again, this is more trial-and-error on your part. But eventually you will find something.
Vocalise Your Struggles
If you find that you are struggling, whether it be with time management, self-motivation, the coursework itself, or just in general; reach out to someone and speak up. That someone can be a teacher, a peer, a parent/guardian, or a family friend. Just make sure you talk to someone, and someone who you trust of offer some rational advice. This is particularly important as teachers are no longer able to adequately keep an eye on their students, and peers can no longer keep an eye on their friends.
It all comes down to flexibility
All we can do is try to be understanding when it comes to remote learning and teaching challenges and appreciating that this is a monumental transition in the education system, an education system that has ignored innovation and remained stagnated for too long. Just remember there is no onesize-fits-all approach, self-care is more important now than ever, and all you can do is try your best; even if the results don’t feel like that.
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