Last week was residential week at Aurora College. Students and teachers converged on Sydney from all over NSW for 4 days of face-to-face classes and some cool excursions. I have finally recovered enough to think.
What this week has confirmed for me is that face-to-face experiences are important for good teaching and learning. Getting to know my students and colleagues ‘in the flesh’ so to speak will help me teach better in an online environment. It has helped establish relationships that are vital for knowing my students and how they learn.
This may have developed eventually in the online environment. Eventually. Probably. But it would take longer and require greater effort. My students are now living breathing beings, not just an avatar. As I am to them. Body language and facial expressions are powerful cues to teaching and learning. Now that I know them a little better, I can adjust to their individual needs and idiosyncrasies.
To meet with the staff was vital. I am not physically in a school and I have missed teacher talk. The virtual classroom is not quite the same. It does not have the smell of coffee and maniacal laughter of the if you don’t laugh you go mad type. It was amazing to share notes, ideas and experiences. You can never discount the value of impromptu PL, coffee & shared chocolate.
I am looking forward to our next residential in term 4.