Many of us are going back to class soon. There’s lots of talk on how best to engage students in the online environment; lots of techniques, lots of technology, a growth industry. I was talking to a friend recently who mentioned he was taking an online Sanskrit class out of India. It was a large class, I can’t remember the head-count, but much larger than any biology class I teach. I asked how it was going with a certain expectation of what I’d hear in return. To my surprise he said it was fantastic.
His response got my attention. What magic technique was this teacher using? I inquired. He responded that the teacher just made his students very aware of how glad he was to have them in class; how happy he was to be their teacher. I pressed further about techniques and pedagogy, but it became clear that this was not something this teacher was creating. It was just who he was.
Could it be that simple? Are all the techniques out there just different ways of barking up the same tree? Maybe. Maybe not. But I’d venture to guess it couldn’t hurt to let them know we’re glad they’re “here” in the little zoom window.