Teaching with a Face Mask

With the coronavirus lock downs easing off, recently I had the experience of teaching with a face mask on. Though the question that it poses, is it viable to actual wear one while teaching?

Health Benefits

We all know why we wear a face mask, to reduce the risk of transmission of the disease. It is also common courtesy nowadays to wear one. I have an article on the purpose of a face mask that you should check out!

Classrooms can be small or cramped with a lot of students in a restricted area. If one person in the classroom has any symptoms, it can spread fast. A mask won’t protect us fully but can reduce the risk. The face mask itself is now an essential when coming to school, and I can see it being the case for many months to come.

However, if everyone is wearing a mask in class, how effective can the lesson be with the covering and non visual of mouth movements?

Teaching Restrictions

For Primary and Secondary these restrictions may not apply, as the learning concepts in these levels don’t require much visual mouth aid. I teach in a Kindergarten and a face mask does limit my methods.

Pronunciation is key at younger ages. It is important to fix their pronunciation at a young age to ensure that they do not develop bad habits. Teaching phonics is a necessity, and a big part of phonics requires students to be able to hear the sound properly and to see how it is being produced with the mouth. With a mask, the sound can be affected and there is no visual aid at all. When a student tries to mimic the sound they tend to look at the teacher’s mouth for help.

In a lesson recently, I had to put my mask up and down constantly to try and correct my students efficiently. It was a pain, but it was something that I had to do considering the size and severity of the pandemic. If face masks become essential when teaching, it will affect the service we are providing. For very young learners, simply wearing a face mask throughout the whole day can be a chore, and to keep high hygiene levels can be an even bigger task. All this must be considered before resuming back to ‘normal’.

Face Masks or No Face Masks?

For me, I want my students to come back to school to finish off the year. Even if it means coming in with a face mask and going through all the new routines of cleaning regularly. Kids simply can’t learn effectively at home. There needs to be a new set up that ensures that students can see the mouth movements of a teacher, as it is an essential tool when it comes to teaching. I look forward teaching with or without a face mask!

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Mr. Greg

An English teacher from Scotland who made a website to share resources for free with the whole world! Currently based in Hong Kong, teaching in an International Kindergarten and tutoring Primary students.

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