Teachers’ biggest worries about transitioning to online learning… and tips on how to overcome them

Teachers’ biggest worries about transitioning to online learning… and tips on how to overcome them

From teachers in Croatia delivering video lessons hosted on National TV, to students in Egypt receiving free SIM cards to pursue online learning from their devices*, one thing is certain – education is changing. Schools all over the world are transitioning to online forms of education in order to ensure that students still have access to quality education in these unprecedented times


Change and fear of the unknown can be worrying, especially for the educators responsible for ensuring learning continues. We’ve gathered and listed the most common current worries of teachers, along with our advice on how to overcome them

Worry Number 1:

The Digital Divide

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Ensure you know this information about each one of your students, and bear it in mind when planning.

Don’t rely on live lessons or conferencing as the one source of learning, but use these as an ‘opt-in’ to supplement projects or lessons which students can complete at their own pace. This might include entirely offline projects, the details of which you may need to print and send home for students. Don’t worry – you don’t need to reinvent the wheel here! Educators around the world are going through the same transition, and so there is a wealth of resources accessible online. Check information provided from your Department of Education as they may have provided resources aligned to the relevant curriculum, such as the offline learning scheme from FUSE from the Victoria (Australia) State Government.

Reassure your students, and their families. Let them know what support will be available, and how they should reach out for help if they need it.

Worry Number 2:

More Exposure to the Internet = More Safety Risks

Digital Citizenship and Digital Safety has never been so relevant and important. The internet can be a scary world for children and their parents/caregivers, if not used in the right way. As their teacher, you can help learners to use the internet safely.

  • Schedule in teaching digital safety as part of your curriculum. Young people now more than ever need to understand the risks around using the internet and how to mitigate such. Use Digital Citizenship lessons to raise awareness, and to develop learners’ critical thinking skills, compassion and self-awareness

We love Google’s ‘Be Internet Awesome’ initiative. Check it out here. You’ll find The Internet Code of Awesome; a useful mantra for students to follow, as well as to help parents manage digital safety. There’s also an entire ‘Be Internet Awesome’ Curriculum containing great resources such as a template communication to parents/carers, structured lesson and activity plans, and an interactive game whereby students can learn to be safe as they play.

  • Seize the opportunity to teach students to use technology in a productive way, and help them see the value in digital skills. With the label ‘Quaranteens’ already flying around the internet, many may worry that our younger generation will lack the stimulation and/or motivation provided by traditional classroom learning. We like to take a glass-half-full-approach and think of the increased exposure to technology as a brilliant opportunity for students to develop essential skills needed for jobs of the future.

Google for Education offers more free stuff to make your life easier with their free Applied Digital Skills Teaching Resources. Find set projects which develop students’ digital literacy. There are also lessons and starter activities for teachers to use, appropriate even if you’ve never taught anything IT related before

Worry Number 3:

Teachers themselves not being ‘tech-savvy’


Share, share, share! Speak to your colleagues, peers and other teachers online to get and give support with online learning

Spend some time investing in your own development. There are tons of online courses, articles, Youtube videos and so on which you can use to improve your own teaching and digital literacy. Check out Coursera and Udemy, both host free and paid accredited courses in a range of disciplines.

Worry Number 4:

Things going wrong

Internet drops, broken hardware, lost log-ins, student disengagement, the cat walking over the laptop mid-class-video-conference… Transitioning to online learning may feel like the epitome of Murphy’s Law.

Be prepared for things to not always go smoothly, and have a back up plan for students to engage in learning which doesn’t require technology, in case they are unable to access any lessons or resources

Use this period as an opportunity to experiment, learn and grow in the process of doing so! Gather feedback from your students and their parents/carers. Did the project you assigned take the expected amount of time, or longer? What method of learning has been the most engaging for your learners? Collaborate with your community, and don’t be too hard on yourself when things don’t quite go to plan… sometimes that’s when the magic happens

Worry Number 5:

At risk students falling further behind

Many educators and caregivers worry that students being removed from the classroom can impact not only their attainment but could also be detrimental to their personal development and wellbeing. School is a safe haven for many of our learners with diverse needs, and the transition from school to home learning could put our disadvantaged children further behind their peers.

EAL students may naturally speak in their mother tongue more often at home, and as a result their English Language development may naturally decelerate. Students with Autism or other students who crave routine and familiarity may struggle with learning in a different environment. Students with gaps in learning in core subjects may struggle with retention more so than when in class. All of our students, like all of us, will have a forced change in their levels of interaction with friends, family and other important people from their daily lives, from the bus driver to the playground supervisor. The good news is, social distancing (or, more aptly, physical distancing) doesn’t have to mean a lack of social interaction.

Take time to check in with your students and make yourself available for students and parents/carers to speak to you when needed. You could organise ‘drop-in’ video conferences for a set 30 mins per day, whereby any student can join by open invitation, to ask any questions or just to have a chat.

Smaller virtual group sessions may help your students with special needs or a fortnightly phone call with individuals could be of great value to your student and their parent/carer

Let us help.

Making an investment in one-to-one tuition can ensure that your at risk students remain engaged and supported in mathematics during these unprecedented times.

Our tutors have a wealth of experience of delivering online maths intervention and our Learning Plans can be tailored to meet individual needs of students. You may even want to have your whole class engage in sessions, to free up some of your own time.

Get in touch with us to discuss how best MathsClub can support you to support your learners

A school shut down? Take learning online with these 4 strategies

A school shut down? Take learning online with these 4 strategies

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to intensify, countries around the world are having to consider impact of containment measures vs disruption to social and economic lives

Australia is currently considering a school shut-down which will severely impact students and families. School principals are having to look at how to support their students during this period

Here are 4 strategies to consider for your school

1. Managed online learning

There are many popular digital learning websites that allow teachers to register students and set assignments for them to complete. Matheletics is a great way to set assignments to all students. Hopefully your school is already using some of these

2. Self learning resources

In contrast to managed online learning, there are many more self learning digital resources that promote lifelong learning mantra. Here the learner is able to explore their interest and define their own curriculum.

Resources such as this could include great learning channels on YouTube (such as Crash course) or Khan Academy (teachers can track progress if assigned as a coach) or even Duolingo which allows you to learn languages for free. This self guided learning really requires students who are motivated with good self management skills

3. Teachers teaching via video conferencing

Intrepid teachers may wish to give video conferencing a go. All you would need is to have a webcam and virtual conferencing platform. Google hangouts is a free platform where you can create calendar event and invite your students or share the hangout link with them. They can then join the hangout and you can teach them whilst even sharing your screen.

There are more sophisticated platforms that will allow you to have chatbox, poll questions and grant annotate access so that students can interact with the learning resources on screen.

Check out our post on Overcoming Top 5 Worries about Online Teaching

4. Online one-to-one tutoring with MathsClub

MathsClub provides schools the option for students to receive one-to-one Maths tutoring at school or at home. Therefore this may be the ideal solution if your school has target students who need to improve in their numeracy and maths skills. Students are able to log on to their secure virtual classroom to receive their one-to-one tutoring as shown below

We have received inquiries about setting up programs ranging from 1 session per week for a student to daily sessions with most in needs students. If you would like to learn more, pleas book a free demo

Leave a comment if you have any other good suggestions/strategies/resources that can help ensure students don’t miss out on valuable learning time.

COVID-19 Education Inequality: Five ways you can bridge the gap

COVID-19 Education Inequality: Five ways you can bridge the gap

For many students, learning disruption caused by COVID-19 has increased the already existing education equality gap. Here’s our advice on supporting the most at-risk learners in your school in order to bridge the gap

UNESCO estimates that, to date, country-wide school closures due to COVID-19 are affecting over a billion learners world-wide. Consider also the impact of localised school closures and the figure increases by millions.

Whilst we now live in a time whereby technology allows education to continue without physically being present in a classroom, the harsh reality of distance learning for many students has meant further set backs against their more advantaged peers. Students of lower socioeconomic status are naturally more at risk both in terms of learning progression and their social-emotional needs.

Children from families with lower incomes or who are based in rural areas may have lacked access to the essentials of remote learning which allowed other students to continue their studies. Even with a device and an internet connection, the most vulnerable students would have to deal with circumstances which make home learning difficult, sometimes impossible. Students who had weak foundational knowledge before school closures may have regressed in their development due to the lack of routine classroom teaching.

The pandemic has highlighted educational inequalities, including the digital-divide, and has reminded us of the pivotal role that teachers, school leaders and support staff play in the holistic development of children.

As students around the world will begin to transition back to school, educators will likely feel the burden of bridging a bigger classroom gap. However, being faced with a crisis also brings with it the opportunity for educational reform; re-invention of traditional classroom practices, investment in innovative teaching tools and teacher development, and revision of current support systems in place for our most disadvantaged learners.

Leaders now have a chance to go ‘back to the drawing board’ and consider how their school can improve practices to support those most at risk.

Here’s our advice on how best to support those students most in need

1. Take time to understand the new needs of learners

Assess what skills/knowledge may have been (temporarily!) lost by students, and prepare to differentiate both teaching and curriculum development to support a wide range of learning needs

2. Prioritise remedial education

Focusing on literacy and numeracy foundational knowledge; don’t rush to complete your whole planned out curriculum but rather invest in ‘catch up’ education

Learning mathematics is like learning a language – the less you practice, the more difficult it can be to confidently engage in ‘conversation’. Going ‘back-to-basics’ by focusing teaching on number topics, and teaching for conceptual understanding, can help to bridge learning gaps

See our range of Mastery Learning Plans

Be prepared for more repetition of teaching content than usual in order to improve students’ retention

3. Target additional intervention to the most disadvantaged

Revisit your funding distribution; are your most vulnerable students receiving the most financial support?

Consider how to implement small group or 1-to-1 lessons to allow vulnerable students to catch up in an environment less intimidating than a full classroom

4. Focus on integrating a blended teaching and learning approach

Complete a risk assessment; if a school closure were to happen again, how prepared is your school to operate distance learning?

Develop the technological literacy of both teachers and students such that they are better equipped to handle distance learning

Plan how best to provide remote education both through teacher training and development, and by considering effective online intervention teaching and learning tools which would help free up teacher time

5. Put health, safety and wellbeing first

Address the crisis with your students. Talk to them about their worries, answer their questions and, importantly, help them to rationalise information they may have heard/be hearing about the pandemic.

Remind your school community of support available to them should they need it

Look after yourself. Working in schools can be challenging for staff in the most ‘normal’ circumstances; consider the impact of recent events on your own mental wellbeing and take time to reset and recharge such that you can best support your students

Learn Maths Club can help your most at risk students catch up quicker, and can free up teachers’ time to focus on contingency planning, invest in their professional development and take extra time to care for themselves.

Our ‘Mastery’ Learning Plans on ‘Number and Place Value’ and ‘Four Mathematical Operations’ help students to catch up with foundational math knowledge which they may not have retained as a result of learning disruption. Investing in one-to-one tuition for your most vulnerable students would help them to rebuild their confidence in mathematics whilst developing their fluency and verbal reasoning skills.

We’re here to talk through any questions you might have about how best to support your learners

Book a demo now