Virtual Teaching Tips

Virtual Teaching Tips

By La Verne Tolbert, Ph.D.

Practice makes perfect! Be patient with yourself as you teach virtually and know that students are aware of the challenges, so they are willing to be flexible. It helps to write and practice what you are going to teach. Read your script aloud a few times before the actual class to "hear" how the lesson sounds. If someone is available to listen to you, their comments and suggestions may help fine-tune your teaching. Do practice going through your PowerPoint.

1. Begin by developing an outline of the main points of the lesson.

2. Develop a slide deck (PowerPoint or Keynote) and add clip art or pictures.

3. Hook or open the lesson by sharing a few brief words about why the lesson relates to you personally.

4. Play a video of a song that highlights your lesson. Put the link to the song in your slide deck so that everything you need for your lesson is in one document. You will have to share your screen if you are not the host. Practice ahead of time to make sure you are comfortable.

5. Transition to the next slides.

6. Rather than lecture, asking questions helps engage students. Give them time to write the answers in the chatbox. Read the answers. Find a way to acknowledge everyone who participated, encouraging others to be involved in the lesson.

7. If you are tech-savvy, divide the class into breakout groups and put them into video "rooms." If you have someone on your team who is a technical assistant, allow that person to manage this task so that you can focus on teaching. Give each group a question to answer about the lesson. Questions should not be "who, what, when, or where" but "why" questions). Allow 7 to 10 minutes for students to discuss the answers. Return everyone to the main season.

8. Debrief by asking a representative from each group to summarize the discussion.

9. Highlight the lesson's main points, which should be outlined on your slide deck.

10. End the class with a YouTube video that relates to the lesson. For example, if the lesson is about keeping the faith and not giving up, find a video about an Olympic champion who continued to run the race despite the odds.

Adapted from the soon-to-be-published book, The Digital Disciple: Teaching Like Jesus in the 21st Century by La Verne Tolbert.

About Dr. Tolbert

Dr. La Verne Tolbert completed her undergraduate study at New York’s Hunter College and earned her Master of Arts in Christian Education and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Talbot School of Theology/Biola University. 

Dr. Tolbert’s passion is to equip leaders in the local church with resources, digital content, and interactive teacher-training seminars. Dr. Tolbert is Vice President of Editorial for UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.), the leading African American Christian publisher, which provides media, curriculum, books, and Vacation Bible School for over 10,000 churches throughout the U. S., Africa, and Europe. With approximately 15,000 weekly viewers, she hosts the weekly YouTube program, “Sunday School Made Simple,” where she teaches the upcoming adult Sunday school lesson based on UMI’s Precepts for Living Commentary.