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the learning balance

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Remember a great lesson you delivered face to face, before the pandemic. What made the learning work for the students? It is likely to have included:

Engagement (connection), with:

  • The content of the learning

  • You as a teacher and human being 

  • Each other as learners

Self-determination / empowerment 

For hybrid and online teaching, your challenge is to find good digital 


Engaging with you, as a teacher and human being

The first equivalent you need to consider is how to build rapport and human connection with your students online, and here the way you use your camera is vital; you need to role model how it should be used if we are to encourage students to turn on and use their cameras.

Here is how NOT to do it:



gives the 'chimp' the message:

'they don't want me to see them, they must be hiding something, don't trust them!'

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Top of the Head 

gives the 'chimp' the message:

'they are trying to hide / they are so insignificant that I will take no notice of them'.

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Up the Nose 

gives the 'chimp' the message:

'they're looking down on me, they're trying to dominate me!' I'm not engaging with that

And here is how to do it:

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Full Face

The face is well-lit, from the front, nose and eyes in the top half of the screen, a little 'headroom' at the top, and shoulders visible. 

This is the equivalent of the area of focus someone would have if they were in an engaged, face to face conversation with you.

It gives the 'chimp' the message: 'this person is open and not threatening, I can engage with them safely'.

Also notice the very plain background, which reduces distraction and enables them to focus on you.

Engaging with the content of the learning

Once you have established an open, engaging connection, try not to break it for too long by switching to Screen Share and replacing yourself with a document or presentation. If you disappear and become a disembodied voice for too long, students will begin to disengage.

Try using 'real' presentation aids such as placards, flip charts or objects.

This is the equivalent of you standing in front of your 'live' class presenting, where the students can see your whiteboard or screen and they can see you.

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For more equivalents, have a look at the RLC videos on the homepage

 Find Out More tabout how to engage your students in hybrid and online lessons: 

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