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Learning reflections: "How to Engage Students in the Remote Classroom”.

My Name is Sajad Ahmad Teli, Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Linguistics, University of Kashmir, Srinagar India. I feel honoured to be part of the Everyone Academy Ambassador Programme, Everyone Academy is the wonderful Platform for all stakeholders working or interested in English Language Teaching and Learning. Everyone Academy provides the opportunity to get connected with the teachers, researchers, specialists and professionals from all over the world and to learn from each other. The Academy is organising webinars on different themes Continuously. One of the webinars which I found very interesting was the webinar titled as “How to Engage Students in the Remote Classroom”. The webinar was interested for me because presently there is the need for such kind of webinars and trainings due to the Covid-19 restrictions throughout the world and the online mode teaching and learning is the only option left.

The webinar Coordinator Aziz Soubai formally welcome the guest speaker of the webinar. The speaker of the webinar was Nik Peachy a world-renowned writer, teacher educator, course designer, content writer and learning technology consultant. He is the cofounder and Director of Nik Peachy Publication Ltd. He is also the two-time recipient of British Council Innovation Award. The speaker started his presentation with the title Training teachers for Remote Learning in which the speaker talked about the six main areas of skills and knowledge which the teacher needs to master for the smooth transition from physical to online mode of teaching. The six areas are 1. Environmental, which talks about the environmental settings of the teacher like quiet room, good lighting, distraction free etc. 2. Technical, which talks about the skills of teachers to use the different online gadgets and tools properly.

3. Interpersonal, which includes making eye contact, using body language, use of voice clearly, stand up and use movement. 4. Pedagogical, which includes active involvement of students in the class, monitoring students’ interaction, giving feedback to the students etc. 5. Behavioural, following code of conduct, monitoring students’ safety, privacy, dress etc, understanding the reporting procedures. 6. Motivational, creating the socialisation between the students, understanding that students are impacted by the isolation, set learning goals, motivating the students by creating interesting teaching learning process.

After completing these six points the speaker started explaining practically how to maintain eye contact with the students, how to fix the camera, how to stand, how to monitor the students. The speaker also talked about using headphones and to adjust the sound to speak naturally. The speaker also shared some questions to audience regarding the perceptions of students using the web cam. He gave importance to show and tell method while teaching online in which teachers need to model the activity like showing the pictures or exact thing while explaining.

There was also the discussion on the magic object method in order to make the teaching motivated and interesting and to develop the vocabulary among the students. Mirroring was discussed in which the teacher needs to use the body language to show his attitude and encouraging students to copy the same. The other strategies which the speaker discussed for the virtual teaching were the Dress up day, showing the active and positive attitude, role playing and empathy making. In empathy making the teacher needs to check many things like what is bad day for the students, what are they afraid of, what are the obstacles they are facing, how they measure their success and how could we help them to reduce their stress levels. Finally, the guest speaker talked about the team building in which the students can learn through the games like they will be asked to share a photo graph and after that they will be encouraged to talk about the photograph, students can be distributed in team and each team will be given a team name and teacher will monitor the teams accordingly. lastly, there was a healthy discussion between the coordinator and the speaker regarding the presentation and participants also asked some questions to the speaker to clear their confusions.

The topic of the webinar was very interesting and demanding because presently the lockdown due to Covid-19 possess many problems and challenges for the teachers and students to learn virtually and this webinar discussed thoroughly on almost all the aspects of how we can engage the students during the virtual teaching and learning process to get the fruitful results.

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