Something I Never Really Thought About

Teaching virtually IS different than teaching in a brick-and-mortar classroom. We have to think about the ways in which we present information, how we manage student behaviors, and even how we communicate with our adult family members in new and different ways. We also know that this is a relatively new teaching space for all of us and so there are times when we think about something after the fact.

How we use “mute” is one of those pieces. It did not occur to me that we really should have a systematic way and agreements for how we use this feature.

But it should have. And know that we know we need this, we want to implement it and share our plan with you all.

In general, here is how we will use mute:

1. We ask students when in larger group settings, such as for field trips, all group discussions, to all be on mute and to come off of mute after being called on by the presenter/teacher.  We do this because it allows everyone to have a voice in the discussion and helps prevent confusion as to who is speaking/commenting/asking a question.

2. We may use mute at other times in smaller group settings.  This is generally to help us hear what one student is saying or for another instructional reason.  If we engage in this, we will be sure to let students know that we are asking them to mute themselves and will provide them with the reason we are asking this of them.

There are times when we may hit the “mute” button accidentally (if you have ever taught or presented virtually, you know that you may have a number of screens open at one time which can be tricky to work with).  I know that I am in many zoom meetings each week and almost never have an entire meeting without someone muting themselves or forgetting to come off of mute! Thank you for your understanding of these kinds of situations.

We also understand that using mute is not something we would use in a brick-and-mortar setting.  Teaching virtually is different in many ways, and this is another aspect of this difference.  So while we do need to consider how and when it is appropriate to use it, we can’t say that we would never use it.

We appreciate you being part of this learning journey with us as we continue to refine our virtual teaching practices!

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