Building Positive Relations with Students Outside the Classroom

Physical classrooms benefit from interactions with peers and teachers that can provide a sense of community and motivate students to learn. Teachers also show their care through physical gestures and actions. How can we replicate this in the online classroom? Read ahead to find out:

Use office hours to talk to students informally: In your school, did you have dedicated 1-1 meetings with your students before or after class to discuss what was covered in class or something specific you noticed about a particular student or a general meeting you did with every student?  ‘Office hours’ in a remote setting is similar! Teachers can request students to submit questions aimed at broad concepts, on specific homework problems, anything specific they or their students (or parents!) would want to discuss or general 1-1 time with every student and have a conversation with them after or before online class hours.  

Encourage students to keep in touch with each other: Ask students to interact on WhatsApp or Google Classroom groups even without the presence of the teacher. This creates a feeling of community and bonding, especially in the new school year.

Be sensitive about access issues: Our students face device and access issues and it is important to acknowledge and respect that. If students drop out of meetings we can let other students know they’ll be back soon, call and check up on the students on phone and record the meetings to send to students if possible. 

Be mindful of students’ home environments: Unlike a regular classroom, the learning environment for the students is their home in a remote classroom. This is crucial because different students face different situations and challenges at home. Some students may be sitting in a room with all family members which might make it difficult for them to turn on video. Another might have started class just after a fight at home. One way would be to identify a quiet corner in your house (or any other place nearby which the student is comfortable with) and attend classes only from there. We can also suggest the use of earphones while attending an online class and/or ask students to sit facing a wall so that their background does not distract them or us. 

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