Connection

Classes moved online for the pandemic, even those that rely on in-person interaction. How can we maintain connection with students? Sherri Spelic explains.

Connection

You can also view a full transcript of this episode.

The now-infamous (and now-ubiquitous) “pivot to online” that redefined the global education landscape added layers of complexity to normal human interaction. What used to be a simple matter of meeting together in a room now requires coordination and a webcam. Our connection with students requires more effort than ever before. The added complexity also exacerbates issues of access and equity, further widening the privilege gap.

In this episode of HybridPod, I talk with Sherri Spelic about how she transitioned to online learning in the wake of the global pandemic. An elementary-grades PE teacher, Sherri’s work revolves around physicality and observing movement. If anyone has to get creative to move online, it’s Sherri.

Her strategies for maintaining a connection with students have developed over time and respond to their feedback and changing needs. That flexibility means she’s constantly evaluating the effectiveness of her methods and the affordances of her situation. She shares her thought process and the approach she takes to figuring out what’s best for students.

Sherri also shared a video she made for students. In this video, she directly addresses the viewer and demonstrates her response to failure — two very important elements of her approach. We spend a few minutes dissecting this video in the episode.

How do we maintain a connection with students during a pandemic? First, by showing students that we’re listening. Then, by responding to their needs. Sherri talks about how she manages teaching to a diverse student population. She also shares some predictions for where she fears education might go after the crisis of this pandemic passes. It’s a great call-to-arms to connect with students and hold on to our principles.