Recently, my school switched from in-person to remote learning, and I thought it might be useful to share how I approached establishing norms for our online “classroom.” (Zoomroom?) Normally I'd write this kind of thing down, but time is tight these days, and a video is better than nothing. (That's also why I'm hosting a session this week on things that are helping right now — you can get access to that here.)
So, take a look.
A few things to point out:
- This “drafts of learning” approach to establishing norms mirrors how I teach my students to know and do anything else in my class, too. I want my students to have lots of efficient, meaningful interactions with the content I need them to know and work with. If I can get students thinking about what I want them to learn — whether it's the behavioral norms of our synchronous sessions or the way that states facilitated maritime exploration in the early modern era — then they'll remember (and therefore be able to do) more with less effort. That less effort part is important — I want my students to become intelligent, strategic, and delighted learners, not stressed out or anxious ones.
- I am not a complex lesson guy. Here's my class, whether in-person or remote: lots of reading, writing, speaking, and listening, all within the context of a knowledge-rich curricula (a generous feast) and an abundance of attention toward the five key beliefs. (If anything explains why my approach works, it's the beliefs.) I love teaching, but I also love my family. This approach is what enables me to be a good teacher — not the best teacher — and have plenty left for my loves at home.
- My students enjoy this. It is nice to come to an environment where the norms are clear and the vibe is humane. It is hard to create that online — hard — but there are actionable things that we can consistently do, and these things do make a cumulative difference.
So much of this period in our teaching careers is about keeping the faith in the work that matters most.
Lots more like this in the webinar. Check it out.