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Masking in the Classroom

This post was compiled and co-written by Belen Garcia and Carla Vecchiola

This August our campus faces a bit of the uncertainty that other universities faced last August. Because our campus made the decision early in Summer 2020 to hold the majority of Fall 2020 courses remotely, most of us knew we’d be teaching un-masked via videoconference or completely asynchronously. 

While public health policies change rapidly to address an evolving virus, some of us might be wondering for the first time what it will be like to teach in the classroom behind a mask (see the bottom of this post for current campus policies).

Below is an annotated list of resources from those places with more masked teaching experience. No time to click? These quick tips summarize the information from the resources.

Tips for Teaching with a Mask

  1. Use body language to help you communicate with your students (more is OK).
  2. Share your picture (or a short video) of yourself without a mask.
  3. Practice speaking with a mask to articulate better and speak clearly (instead of loudly).
  4. Take small breaks for every 20 minutes of speaking to avoid vocal fatigue.
  5. Be more intentional when building relationships in your classroom.
  6. Do breathing exercises to strengthen your vocal cords and control your stress.
  7. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Resources for Teaching with a Mask

How to Teach F2F With a Mask and Create Caring Classrooms: Includes not only practical tips but also pedagogical strategies to humanize a masked-up classroom. Changes will include far more than just your voice and this article does a good job of making that transparent.

3 tips on teaching while wearing a mask: The tips encourage patience and flexibility not just with your students but also with yourself.

From the expert: Tips on lecturing with a mask: Tips to save your voice; for example, increasing articulation is more effective than speaking louder. 

Experiencing COVID-Style Classroom Teaching: First person narrative that includes broader pandemic restrictions but gives a sense of the emotions and struggles you might not anticipate.

Or look for twitter threads like this one that crowd-source masked teaching tips

Support from the Hub

We in the Hub like to help faculty think through how to match a teaching strategy to your pedagogical goal. Last year, we all learned new, sometimes more flexible, ways to work and teach. Some strategies that worked in a remote setting might be a great fit, with slight adjustments, for a masked-up classroom.

Please do reach out to the Hub if we can help you think through teaching strategies for any issues you might be facing in physical or virtual classrooms.

Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay 

UM-Dearborn’s face covering policy

UM-Dearborn’s face covering non-compliance policies

1 thought on “Masking in the Classroom”

  1. Pingback: Hub Newsletter, January 2022 – The Hub for Teaching and Learning Resources

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