The Importance of Teacher Presence
by Dr. Aiko Malynda Maurer, Director of Innovation, Incubation, and Development/CEO of CPDLF at Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8
Years of research and personal experiences have taught us that teachers who facilitate learning are essential in the learning process.
Humans are social beings. While being social may look different among cultures, communities, or personalities, we all learn and grow when we are connected and interact with one another. In physical, virtual, or blended classrooms, it is the teacher that has the ability to beautifully orchestrate harmonious interactions that create a sense of belonging for each student while facilitating meaningful and worthwhile learning experiences. Remember these very important points:
A digital device does not orchestrate anything, it is a tool to assist with learning.
Content does not create a valuable learning experience, it is the foundation of knowledge necessary for learning.
A digital platform that contains content does not create a sense of belonging, the platform provides a way to organize and manage content to create a pathway for learning.
An effective teacher connects all the various tools, resources, and knowledge to create an authentic learning experience that engages the student emotionally, socially, and cognitively. This orchestration of interactions should look different between the physical classroom, the virtual classroom, and the classroom that blends the physical with the virtual. Whether you have been a teacher in a physical classroom who has suddenly found yourself as a teacher in a virtual world or you have been a teacher in a virtual world, check out these resources for tips to help you orchestrate beautiful harmonious interactions that let your students know you are present.
Anita Young, a virtual Spanish Teacher with the World of Learning Institute at Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8, shares how the power of Hello is essential in the virtual world in her blog “The Power of Hello”.
Check out the 7 Ways to Maintain Relationships During Your School Closure article linked under Social and Emotional Learning for Educators on the getconnectsu.com website for specific ways to stay connected and create space for virtual interactions that happen naturally in a physical classroom. Other resources gathered by the Educational Consultants at Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 on the getconnectsu.com website help us all understand how to apply social and emotional learning as well as positive behavior support systems in a virtual world.
Thinking ahead: As 2020 unfolds, we are learning a new normal in the world of education. While COVID-19 continues to affect us all in different ways, we are making history and creating a new way of thinking about education. Check out the article What we know about Successful Instruction in a Digital Environment to learn how we can apply what we have known about personalized learning and what we are learning now about remote learning that help shape the new normal of education in a blended classroom.
Attend an Extended Campus Webinar this week to learn ways you can let your learners know you are present.
Whether in a physical, virtual, or blended classroom, let us never underestimate the power of the TEACHER!
To all the awesome teachers who are doing the best they can to create connections and build positive relationships that engage students in their learning so they can be empowered to be the best they can be - THANK YOU! We APPRECIATE you! We NEED you!