14.3.21

Online lesson fatigue? What's gone wrong? Can I prevent it?

 

Online lesson fatigue?

What's gone wrong? How can I prevent it?



It’s been nearly a year since online teaching was adopted - practically overnight - and it has been on and off ever since, for most teachers all over the globe. The initial praising by learners and parents who appreciated  teachers’ hard work seems to have been replaced by a feeling of fatigue, both for learners and teachers. According to Stanford  researchers, it can be attributed to 4 causes related to the technical features of video conferencing (Four causes for Zoom fatigue and their simple fixes)

 However, there are elements of lesson planning that may contribute further to online lesson fatigue.  Below you can read some possible causes of fatigues and some suggested solutions. Though they may not be panacea, they can help you improve the lesson or prevent further fatigue.

 

·       Excessive TTT 

Excessive Teacher Talking Time (Teacher Talking Time) can tire learners in a “brick and mortar” classroom, let alone a virtual one.  Often teachers feel that the only tool they have is their voice but in fact, they can make the most of the tools given by inviting learners to contribute with their views in the chat box; applying different forms of interaction through breakout rooms and inviting learners to share their work in the forms of presentations.

·       Balancing synchronous and asynchronous

Not all tasks can or need to be done synchronously. Long texts, checking vocabulary and grammar exercises can take a long time of the lesson which often results in learners switching off their cameras and their minds. Dividing the tasks that need to be done synchronously (during the teleconference) or asynchronously (students do them at their own time and pace) is a necessary part of online lesson planning.

An array of tools like Forms, Quizizz, and Kahoot  allow you to turn tedious tasks into game-like activities (gamification) that can give learners instant feedback and the opportunity to do them as many times as they need. In addition, the teacher can receive (often detailed) valuable statistics based on the learners’ performance and exploit it to provide further feedback focusing on weak areas.

·       Use of visuals, video and audio prompts

Engage learners with visual or audio stimuli. Apply techniques that stimulate their interest such as: play video sound off and invite them to infer the dialogues; share on screen cartoon strips or memes without captions and ask learners to write their own in the chatbox; play sounds or brief audio clips and ask learners to guess the background and the next parts of the story.

·       Challenge students

Appeal to the learner’s critical and creative thinking skills. Start the lesson with a riddle or question that may intrigue them. In an educational system where students are constantly spoonfed and asked to do meaningless drills, asking them to use their brain is a change that is more than welcome.

 

·       Ownership and collaboration

Students often feel that they are left out of the learning process and they are treated as robots that do repetitive tedious tasks. Giving learners the opportunity to choose between two tasks helps stave off that feeling.  

Students also appreciate pair and groupwork, particularly now that they are locked at home. Using tools that promote collaboration can help learners to produce language. For instance, you can share with your students an online  MS Word document or a Powerpoint presentation and invite them to create their project on this file.

·       Incorporate short tasks

Don’t forget that you students have probably spent many hours in front of a screen before your lesson and their attention span is short. Plan a series of short tasks rather than a long one. The change is more than welcome and learners are highly likely to respond better.

            

 Hope you have found the above points useful. No matter how many difficulties arise, you can rest assured that your learners appreciate your hard work and support.

Dimitris Primalis




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