The Power of Patience in the Online Classroom

Hi there, I am Tasha and I have taught with Qkids for a little over a year and a half! I am currently a Finance student at the University of Texas Tech. I have studied French for many years and even was a bilingual nanny for French children. If I am not working or studying, I love to travel. My first trip to Asia will be postponed for a bit, but I will make it out there soon!

The Power of Patience in the Online Classroom

As a student of a language myself, the power of patience is everything to a student’s confidence and ability to retain information. During my language classes, I often find that I become frustrated with myself when my teachers are quick to give me the answer to a question. I need some time to think of my response and I want to show off my knowledge! For our younger and older students, this can lead to checking out during class, frustration, or a lack of confidence in their ability to speak. This is the last thing we want our students to be feeling when teaching online! So how can we improve our teaching by the power of patience? Here are a few ideas to improve your patience in the online classroom and get our students speaking!

Give the Students Time

The number one way to encourage a student to speak and continue speaking is by giving them plenty of time to respond! Especially when it comes to sentences, allow the students some seconds to attempt a sentence. It can be very daunting for students to create sentences when they are learning a new language. Students often think of the sentence in their native language and then translate the sentence into the language they are learning. I’ve been guilty of this a handful of times during my language classes! As teachers, we want to encourage our students to take off their Chinese hat and put on their English hat during a class. However, it can take some time for students as they are learning and will probably spend some time shuffling through their words. Try to remember that if they are slow to answer, it’s not always a lack of knowledge. It’s sometimes just the students figuring out what to say!

Lead Them On

After giving students a bit of time to think of the sentence, we might need to help them along. We don’t always want to give the answer right away. Rather, we want to walk them through the sentence. If a student is struggling to begin a sentence, encourage them by starting it off with them. For example, “They are running”, say “They are….” and act out running. This allows the student to figure out the sentence for themselves but keeping up the pace of the class. This will really help their confidence too, as most students will feel proud that they found the right word to complete the sentence.

Sometimes Ask the Easy Questions

We want our students to speak! How can we get our students to speak more? By asking the easy questions from time to time. I always start the opening screen by asking "what do you see?" and give 30 seconds to a minute for the students to respond. I feel that this opens the door for the students to say whatever they want and shows their level of vocabulary for the lesson. Sometimes the responses are as simple as "Koby and Momo" or "I see a book". Other times, the students will tell me what Koby and Momo are doing or where they are. If they don't speak up, highlight key items and ask questions like "what's this?", "where are they?", "what are they doing?”. The goal is to get the students speaking and praising them for what they can tell you. The students will get a boost in their confidence and be more likely to speak more often throughout the class!

Encourage, Encourage, and Encourage

Encouraging is always the most important thing to be a successful online teacher. While the students may not always understand a lesson, sentence, or word thoroughly, it's our job to encourage the students to the very end. This can take a lot of patience! As teachers, we must remember that some words and sentences will come easier for some students than others. Always encourage each student to do their best and don't forget to sometimes give the students the win. The most common examples I have is "play soccer" and "do the laundry". The students often say, “play football’ and “wash the clothes”. While these aren’t technically wrong, we are looking for specific phrases! So, encourage the students by asking “what is football called in America?” or saying, “that’s very good, but I’m looking for a different word!” This way you praise the student for their efforts while encouraging them to think of the vocabulary we want!
For me, I find patience to be my most important tool for online teaching. Its impact can encourage students to speak more and try to answer questions that they might not fully understand. I hope you can take a few things away from this and apply them to the next time you teach! What do you think is the most important tool for teaching online?

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