Leading Online Classes

 

Growing Families’ online classes use the “Flipped Class” methodology. Participants watch each week’s lesson prior to class time and then come together online using the Zoom® group meeting platform. Each class is led by certified online class leaders (COCL). 

If You Are:

  • Interested in joining an online class visit the many class options on Growing Families.Life

Class Preparation Tools and Training Suggestions:

  • After choosing which online class to lead, use this Leader’s Place website to get an idea of the resources available to you and email templates for each week. You will lean heavily on these resources for your classes. 

  • Choose a consistent location to host your class each week. Creating consistency helps your class participants. 

  • Choose a place in your home with good lighting. Consider using a selfie light that attaches to your phone or computer. Lighting from behind the camera toward your face is best.

  • Use a computer, if possible, on a stable foundation. It’s very distracting if you are holding a phone and moving it back and forth between you and your spouse. If you can fit the two of you on one screen and use a computer camera that is ideal. 

  • Position your device near your wifi router to ensure strong signal with no obstacles (i.e. fireplace) in the way to diminish signal.

  • Set up your class in Zoom® as a “recurring class” for the amount of weeks ahead of time on Zoom® allows for your entire class to have the same call in number and access code for the duration of your class. This is very helpful and prevents accidental call ins to an incorrect/out of date session. If you change to a different day, note that you will have a new link that will need to be sent to your class members.

  • Prior to the first class, send your class participants a test Zoom® to test their device and to become familiar with the platform. Include any other pertinent information about Zoom® depending on their level of familiarity.

  • Begin your first class with an icebreaker. Have everyone share their names, children’s ages, favorite thing to do as a family, where they live, etc. The more community you create the more meaningful conversations will ensue. As leaders, take notes so you can reference their first names and children’s names in future discussions. It helps to call on participants one by one during the ice breaker since they will not easily be able to cue one another as in a home setting.

  • You may consider using the first class period as a ‘getting to know you’ and ‘getting to know the technology’ and getting to know the ‘curriculum’ night. This will add an extra night to the schedule but can be very valuable. It does not need to last very long.

  • You may like to record each class or just when participants are not able to attend. Inform the class that you are recording the class so that you can share the recording with those who were not able to attend and for class participants to review the class if they so wish.

  • If leading a large class ask your participants on the first call to keep themselves on mute to prevent background noise and to unmute to ask questions or to share. 

  • Pay close attention to the group. Often people will want to say something or begin to share but Zoom® may have a short time lag and if the leader moves on too quickly often the participant will remain silent. Pay close attention to body language and signs of wanting to share. Also show them how to use the “raise hand” button indicating they would like to speak.

  • Introduce the chat box to the participants and encourage them to use it during class. 

  • Do not be afraid to sit quietly for a minute after you have asked a question to give people time to speak up. Conversations don’t always come as naturally in a Zoom® setting as they do in a living room so give people time to share. 

  • On that same note, you have to be willing to call on families by name. It’s tempting in a Zoom® setting as a participant to keep yourself on “mute” and just listen. As leaders, we need to be sure everyone has a voice and opportunity to invest into the discussion. Politely call on couples by saying something like “Hendersons, do you have something to share on this?” or “Henderson Family, did you all incorporate (couch time, blanket time, interrupt courtesy, etc.) this week and can you share how it went?” Once people are talking we can learn from their victories or defeats in a parenting area and it also sparks more conversation. 

  • Have conversation starter questions ready to go before class. You can often find these in the Leader’s Guides or you can come up with them as you prepare for your class. These help guide the discussion and also come in handy if participants seem less likely to share. Leader’s Guides are a valuable tool as they have many discussion questions along with the key principles listed.

  • Be vulnerable with your group. Share takeaways that impacted your family or spoke to your parenting and ask if other people felt the same way or had takeaways that spoke to where they are in their parenting journey. Vulnerability begets vulnerability. 

  • You may have class participants from all over the nation and on several different time zones. There may be occasions where some of your participants are only able to watch the recording or they may come in late. Be flexible and mention all of your participants even if they aren’t on live to make them feel connected to the community.

  • Have other people close in prayer. Ask your group “Would anyone be willing to close us in prayer?” to give your group the opportunity to hear everyone’s heartfelt prayer for our community of families. 

  • Send out the Zoom® recording of your class as soon as you can so that your participants have time to watch it. Anyone who missed on a particular week will be watching the recording AND the parenting video so you want to give them ample time to watch both. 

  • If time allows, follow up with couples that miss class. Often couples will have something come up and feel like they have fallen behind and can’t rejoin. A personal reach out shows we value them in the discussion. 

  • Mentimeter and Kahoot are online tools that can be used during class to continue to engage your participants.

  • A class Facebook page can be a great way to continue the discussion in between class meeting times.