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Become a VOCAL Online Teacher!

by | Sep 29, 2021 | News, Schools

When John Savery created an acronym in 2005, he hoped it would be useful to teachers in their attempts to be successful in online teaching (Savery, 2005: 141). Visual, Organized, Compassionate, Analytical, and Leader-by-Example were the words used to create the acronym, to urge teachers to consider these qualities while teaching in an online setting.

In the traditional classroom setting, face-to-face teaching methods may be found with a lengthy history of research to back them up. While there are some similarities between online teaching and traditional classroom instruction, there are also some significant differences in terms of challenges and rewards. Consequently, since the traditional environment is primarily text-based, many of the techniques and tactics associated with successful teaching practices must be changed or replaced in an online environment, if online teaching is expected to be effective.

Kipp (2013: 34-35) in her work succinctly describes the acronym VOCAL as:

Visible: Create visibility for yourself as a teacher by making frequent announcements, engaging actively online and checking in on a daily basis, reading postings on a regular basis, and responding to comments in a timely way.

Organised: Manage your course so that it is correctly planned, clearly set out and simple to follow, and ensure your learners are aware of the expectations that have been put on them.

Compassionate: Teachers who are compassionate must recognise that their online students have a broad variety of learning needs and difficulties, just as they would in a conventional classroom, and that they must be flexible in order to meet the vast range of expectations.

Analytical: The online environment has a plethora of helpful data that may be utilised to make informed choices and to assist in the creation of classroom and instructional materials. When teachers utilise this knowledge to their benefit, it is easy to alter and enhance teaching methods and methods of instruction.

Leader-by-example: Provide prompt responses to emails, react to conversations or comments in the same way, and keep a professional but courteous demeanour at all times. Create an environment that teaches learners how to conduct themselves and interact in a similar way in an online environment in order to educate them on how to behave and interact in a similar manner online.

The capacity of teachers to successfully integrate VOCAL characteristics into their teaching practice may result in the creation of an educational environment that is supportive, demanding, constructive, and successful. As a result, teachers using the VOCAL-method could have more productive learning environments, less management problems, and more enjoyable learning experiences with their students as a result.


Kipp, K., 2013. Teaching on the education frontier: Instructional strategies for online and blended classrooms grades 5-12. John Wiley & Sons.

Savery, J.R., 2005. BE VOCAL: Characteristics of successful online instructors. Journal of Interactive Online Learning4(2), pp.141-152.

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