Online Tuition (or remote learning, distance learning, e-learning) are increasingly required as we cope with the social distancing measures.
Even without having face-to-face interactions, online classes can still be effective, so long as we learn how to use technology to its fullest. Free video-conferencing tools like Zoom, Whatsapp, Skype, Hangout etc, are all available to allow tutors to interact with students and continue supporting their learning without physically being with them.
Here are some tips we have:
1. Try out the video-conferencing tools and get comfortable, esp if you haven’t used any such tools before
The most basic video-conferencing can be done with WhatsApp video call or Facetime. You can switch between the front & back cameras on your phone:
- Front camera – to talk to your student “face-to-face”
- Back camera – to show notes, answers, questions that you have on your side, or to show your student the answers as you write them down on paper.
WhatsApp video call allows up to 4 participants at any 1 time, if you need
If you have soft-copy materials to go through real-time, or share your screen etc, you should consider tools with more advanced features, like Zoom. You will probably need to use a laptop or PC with web-camera and microphone to maximise the free features
2. Try out a quick video-conference call with the student.
You should run through the steps needed for them to join your call, and iron out any issues faced in the process.
- Mic check: Can both of you hear each other?
- Camera check: Can both of you see each other clearly?
- Is the environment conducive? Any background noise, glaring lights, inappropriate backgrounds?
This rehearsal is very useful to ensure both parties are familiar and comfortable with the process and you can identify any improvements needed, before starting with formal lessons
3. Prepare for Class
For more efficient online lessons, do communicate more with your students/parents. We suggest that you
- send a brief lesson plan to them 1, 2 days before the lesson, so that they can be prepared in advance
- list items, work, books needed for the class, so that no time is wasted during class for them to retrieve the materials from other parts of the house
- have the materials you intend to show in class readily available, so that they can be sent/shown quickly during lesson. Soft-copy or hard-copy depends on your lesson delivery method
- mentally run through a class to anticipate any potential disruptions that may occur
4. State how Homework should be managed
If you give homework for tuition, depending on the type of homework, you may need the student to send photos of them to you before class starts. This needs to be conveyed clearly, preferably as after-lesson summary points to be sent to the parent.
5. Send after-lesson summary points to the parent
Besides the above tips, you should also consider the following, as you transition from face-to-face classes to online tuition
- Duration of each class: should it be shorter now?
- Your charges: any changes to your rates, since there’s no travelling needed for online classes?
If you have any suggestions that you think your fellow tutors can benefit from, please share with us so that we can include your ideas. Let’s help one another out!
Related to: For Parents | For Students | Tips