7 Tips for Teaching English Online
Teaching online brings with it a whole new world of challenges and complications that traditional education didn't have to deal with. But while the occasional technical issue can make a lesson frustrating to teach, overall the pros outweigh the cons. But how do you squeeze out the best in your classes as an online teacher? Listed here we have 7 tips for teaching English online.
1. Let the Students Do the WorkThis one almost seems obvious but it’s a fact of teaching that unless we self-monitor, teachers can end up giving students the answers rather than leading students to them. The more time a student engages with the materials the more they will learn. With this in mind don’t feel pressured to rush students to the answer. This may deprive them of the chance to make a deeper connection with the materials. Yet, even though you may guide students to answer more independently, it is still important to present new words for all levels, to prompt students with clues, and to give timely support if students truly do not seem to be able to answer on their own.
2. Be PresentStaying present isn't always easy. And at 4 or 5 in the morning, it can really be a challenge! But this might be the number one thing that affects a student’s ability to learn. Is the teacher really with them, engaged and present or are they just phoning it in? Use all the communication methods available to you to make sure you and your students are fully engaged at the moment.
3. Use Feedback Sources for Self-ReflectionWe know that sometimes the loop passing from the students to parents and parents to the system can affect feedback. But at this point - we are talking more about general trends rather than outliers in your feedback. Try to spot trends as they emerge by keeping an eye on the different feedback sources (thumbs up or not, green/gray tags, written feedback, coach notes, how you feel after lessons, student participation). Sometimes complacency, overworking or other issues away from the classroom might be affecting your performance in it. If you're seeing more of the same trends cropping up over a period of a week or so, despite feeling like you’re still your usual self it might be time to take a step back and see if there might be some things to reflect on to improve facilitation of the lesson (i.e. communication, delivery, interactivity, etc).
4. Foster Relationships Between Yourself and StudentsThis is a tough one for anyone working in the world of online teaching job but when we talk about building relationships, it doesn't have to be over weeks or months. Even the short time you are in class with a student can be enough. Make sure you are giving personalized responses to them, balancing their time as a group and individuals and sharing a little of yourself in the classroom. All these things will help bring you closer to your students and improve their learning experience.
|One pro tip: Take time to meet your students before the lesson and see how well they respond to small tasks like describing/counting stickers.|
5. Assess Your Students Speaking Ability EarlyEveryone has been there. You are mid-class and only when you put a student on the stage do you realize their speaking level is not up to the class average. It's tempting to think here that the students’ level might not be suitable. Actually, it might just be a weak part of their overall skill set. Regardless, it can really throw you off and also put your students in an uncomfortable position. So early on, especially in Section 1 and Animation slides, try to get every student talking and responding to questions to give you an idea of their levels. From there you can give each student the attention they need to grow.
6. Focus on ‘Active’ LearningOur platform will aid in this with its interactive model and creative gamified learning. But that doesn't get teachers off the hook entirely. You must be patient with students engaging them with words, actions, the platform features and props to have them actively participating in the lesson. Remember that many students will mirror you or follow your lead if you make your words, gestures and tone easy to follow, concise and clear.
7. Always Complete the Closing TaskTake the end of the lesson as time not only to award stars and share masks to the student but also to make sure students cover the task page. You can give them cues to finish sentences studied in the class, further reinforcing the material studied, but in a more fun and rewarding way. The last task page is meant to stimulate students’ thinking and ability to communicate for fluency, not just accuracy. On that last task page, all students should be speaking more freely if and when possible.
8. (Bonus Tip) Drink CoffeeWe are being a bit cheeky here but give the early hours something to shake off the cobwebs before your first class is a must!
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