The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of education across the globe. It has compelled schools to function remotely. This has been the greatest challenge for teachers in the history of education. Setting up a classroom was a challenge earlier. But now setting up and managing behavior in a virtual classroom seems to be the greatest challenge of all. Successful classroom behavior management is key to ensure that learning is effective even though it is remote. An amazing fact about teachers is that they are always ready to adapt, learn, and refine to suit children’s needs. Aaliya shares some amazing hacks that will help you in managing behavior in a virtual classroom.
Design an engaging virtual experience
Children should feel comfortable with the new virtual environment. Hence, Aaliya ensures that the virtual schedule looks similar to what children may have experienced back in school. She nicely shapes up her academic tasks with some fun ways that engage children in a great way. Circle time and storytime can also be made interesting in various ways. Playing treasure hunt or scavenger hunt with some academic twist can be extremely engaging for young children. For example, Aaliya simply instructs her preschoolers to hunt for 3 fruits in the house. Or asks them to find an object that starts with sound, /e/ like an /egg. The morning routines including prayers, welcome song, discussion on the day, date, month, year, weather, etc. should be considered. So, the more you keep them engaged, the less they would have to focus on managing behavior in the virtual classroom.
Use digital resources to make your class lively
There are tons of resources and applications available over the web for teachers to use. It is important to look at your class needs before deciding on the right tool you would like to use in your virtual setup. You can also consider creating or using available virtual backgrounds as per different themes of segments of the classroom. That can also appeal to children visually and keep them engaged with the screen. Apart from these, you can engage them in digital games that teach them about different concepts like literacy and math.
Influence them with gestures
Going virtual may make you feel nervous. So practice staying calm before and during the virtual sessions. Always have a big smiling face so that children and parents also feel confident and trustworthy when they look at you. A smiling or rather a joyful face can attract children’s attention towards you. Managing behavior in a virtual classroom can seem easy with children paying good attention to you. With confidence, you also need to work with your body postures. Aaliya always reminds herself to sit straight and relax her shoulders in front of her students. She uses her hands very carefully to cover all the space on the screen. But she also ensures that they do not go out of the screen. This can distract the students a lot. Also if there are any props or flashcards being used, they need to be visible without cutting off the screen.
Set up clear expectations
Why allow behavioral issues to erupt at all? Just calm down the volcano way before it may erupt. Setting up expectations is a key rule to this. Aaliya allows children to understand the classroom rules. She reinforces the rules each day before starting up her virtual class. She uses puzzles simply made on a PowerPoint presentation. Children fill up these puzzles with correct answers. This also makes them responsible online learners. So automating the process of behavior management like this can be really helpful for young children.
Increase motivation and engagement
This is not just about students but also about parents. Parents across the globe have been tirelessly working with young children at home in this pandemic. So you need to motivate and engage your parents and students both during the online sessions. Aaliya has lovely ideas to set up a reward system for both parents and students in her classroom. She fixes up a list of available rewards for her class and makes it clear when can they achieve it. Then she uses a whole lot of appreciation stickers at the end of the month to honor each of their victories.
Managing behavior in a virtual classroom can be tough. But applying small strategies and best practices like the ones above can help teachers avoid huge chaos in the virtual classrooms. Aaliya is always excited to share her experiences with you. And above all we would be excited to listen from you about which of these practices worked best for you.