Strong decision-making skills can help educators build engaging and welcoming virtual classrooms. 

As educational intitutions begin to roll out their plans for instruction next year, most involve some form of online or hybrid learning. For some teachers, the virtual classroom has felt like a neq frontier , full of technological uncertainties that inhibit traditional curriculum.

Yet, according to this article, excellent online teaching isn’t based on the ability to navigate a Zoom room or create a Google doc. Excellent instruction is based on decision-making — how teachers decide to respond to and engage with students, select curriculum materials, organize learning, and use communication strategies. That principle, may hold true in physical and virtual spaces alike.

A teacher’s “decision-making base” helps determine whether instruction engages students and fosters deeper learning. Good decisions are informed by the intersections of:

  • content knowledge
  • pedagogical knowledge
  • cultural awareness
  • self-awareness

Excellent teaching is rooted in the kinds of decisions that are shaped by these four elements. As students enter classrooms, teachers need to be prepared to reflect on how their decision-making base supports and limits their ability to respond to a wider range of student experiences. “During this time, teachers need to develop their instructional decision-making base to better prepare themselves to understand and value their students and their experiences,” says Rhonda Bondie, director of professional learning and lecturer on education. 

Credits: Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Read the full text here