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5 ways to support distance learning

Andy Collins shares his top five pointers for helping students study remotely...

  • 5 ways to support distance learning

1 | Value routine

The school routine is key to structuring students’ lives and supporting their mental wellbeing.

When students are unable to attend school regularly, teachers can fill this gap by assigning activities and working to timetables that mirror a regular school day.

2 | Monitor student progress

If students are to successfully continue their academic journeys, teachers must be fully aware of the areas they need to improve upon.

With the right edtech tools and insights, teachers can create their own virtual classrooms from which to monitor each student’s progress.

3 | Differentiate learning

Every student learns at their own pace, so keep in mind the speed at which they’re likely to learn outside the classroom.

Use resources that cater to a range of student needs, such as online articles that are readily available at different reading levels.

4 | Deepen subject mastery

To enable continuity of learning in core subject areas, ensure that any online resources are fully curriculum-aligned.

Our teachers have recently made use of Britannica LaunchPacks curriculum and multimedia sets that make it easy to assign inquiry-based lessons across different subjects.

5 | Areas to consider

A rapid evidence assessment produced by the Education Endowment Foundation has highlighted five key areas for schools to consider when implementing distance learning.

Firstly, the quality of teaching – including the clarity of explanations and extent of scaffolding and feedback – is more important than the manner in which lessons are delivered, such as real-time or pre-recorded lessons.

Ensuring access to digital technology and online services was, unsurprisingly, considered important for effective digital learning, but especially so for disadvantaged students.

The assessment also highlighted the useful role that peer interactions can play in motivating students and improving outcomes, via strategies such as peer marking, organising live discussions and sharing models of good work.

Finally, the assessment acknowledged the need for teachers to adopt different distance learning approaches, based on the content being taught and students’ ages, and that strategies aimed at improving independent skills– supporting students with checklists and daily plans, for instance, could further improve learning outcomes.

View the full assessment here.


Andy Collins is senior teacher for school improvement at Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust.

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