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Why do we need teachers who are online education competent now?

Posted on: September 6, 2022

Teaching Online for Kindergarten and Primary Teachers is a clear, informative, and pragmatic book for all educators and students. It offers tried-and-tested exercises, takeaways, and reflective questions to give the reader numerous moments to consider how they will use, adapt, and develop these tools.

The author of the book - Gregory Michael Adam Macur - was able to share snippets of his recent book. 

  1. What inspired you to write this book?

Having taught online with various schools over the last few years, (prior to Covid), I found myself to be a big fan of online education, and yet, simultaneously, its biggest critic. I enjoyed the freedom it gave us as teachers but I missed all of the tools we have in a traditional classroom. I soldiered on; eyes wide open for how to recapture these key educational approaches, like group-work and Project Based Learning. Over the years, I found myself gradually coming across research that gave me ideas to improve my online practice, I also found that the technology was improving nicely.

When Covid 19 happened, my school group at the time, which had well over 150 teachers in the region in which I was the mentor, needed to start delivering classes online. The only problem was, none of the teachers had taught online, and we did not have an online curriculum. So I started working with the Research and Development team to put together an online curriculum, then I created a training program for the teachers. As we ran through the training program, I saw the impact this had on the teachers’ practice. I got a great deal of satisfaction from seeing the practical improvements teachers were experiencing, also the positive feedback spurred me on.

Seeing the new technologies available since then, and having gained a greater depth of understanding and online education know-how, I started to think about methods by which I could continue to help teachers develop their online practice. As a writer, doing research, writing articles and producing this book, were logical next steps.

I wanted to create a practical, pragmatic book, based on experience, research and 100s of teachers’ opinions, which could be easily digested and utilized quickly, by all teachers. A book written by a teacher, for all teachers.

  1. What are some key messages that you hope our readers will take away from this book?

Readers will find practical answers to the following questions:
1. What opportunities are there for you to enhance your practice through the use of platforms? What variety of ways can these platforms support you? Can you reduce your marking workload? Can you provide a more student-centred learning environment through the use of these technologies?

2. What is classroom management? How can classroom management be utilised in an online setting? Can this be positive? What about engaging the students? What options are there for bringing these two concepts to life?

3. How can body language and instructions support your online lessons? What about posture and a proper learning environment set up?

4. What role do parents play in online learning? How can they support you? What are they worried about? How can you alleviate this worry?

5. How will you approach the teaching of different class sizes online? What challenges and opportunities will this present?

6. How will you correct students’ errors online? How will you feedback to your students? How can students’ errors provide feedback to you as a teacher?

7. What about assessment? What types of assessment are there? How can you use these in your online practice? How can assessments inform you about the students, curriculum and yourself?

8. Student welfare is key in online learning. What are some of the core ways to support student welfare when teaching online? How can you integrate these into your practice? Where can you find out information about safeguarding?

9. What kind of activities can you use when teaching online? How will you adapt them to suit your students and lessons?

10. What should students have ready for class? What do you not want them to have? How will you communicate this to parents?

  1. Why is this book important in our current time? 

Covid 19 changed the world, it opened our eyes to the possibility and likelihood of viruses closing schools and public areas. As a result, we now need teachers who are online education competent. This book equips you with knowledge of the research, tools, tips and tricks that allow you to navigate this new domain of education as a professional.

All of the ideas put forward in the book are based on a combination of the related research, interviews with over 100 professional teachers and trainers, surveys spanning 40 countries regarding teacher perspectives of the problem areas when teaching online, and the author of this books own experience both teaching online and training teachers within this domain. This means, the strategies presented are tried and tested.

  1. Who do you envision reading your book? Who needs to read it?

This book is written in a digestible and accessible manner. It is written with stories and examples embedded within it. It is also written in a way that allows all to access the content, whether you are an educational researcher, an experienced teacher with years of online practice, a newly qualified teacher looking to begin building your toolkit, or, if you are an aspiring teacher getting ready for your new career.

  1. You were a teacher at Able High School. How did your teaching position there influence the ideas in your book?

My teaching positions and school leadership positions have influenced this book deeply. Too often, the passing on of advice and wisdom is theoretical and vailed with superiority. I saw this repeatedly over the years. As such, this book was written to be practical, specific, tried and tested and most of all, the strategies put forwards are ones that make teachers lives easier and teaching and learning for students better.

We also sat down with Gregory Macur, Dr Elizabeth Hidson and Vikki Wynn to discuss the latest book: Teaching Online for Kindergarten and Primary Teachers. This virtual book launch was supported by the University of Sunderland, UK. Check out the video below!

This book is available for purchase here