Do You Really Need Props? Teaching Online with Qkids

Do You Really Need Props? Teaching Online with Qkids

Hi Everyone! Teacher Stephanie here, welcome to my blog post!

When I started with Qkids 5 contracts ago, I was a complete newbie to the world of online teaching. There was so much more to learn than I expected coming from a background of in-person training and instruction. I thought that, with my experience, I would just be throwing on a headset and doing exactly what I did in person in my previous roles. I had no idea how different it would be or how much I would grow as a teacher. People think teaching online is easier. I challenge you, especially now in times of COVID and at-home learning, to ask one of your teaching friends if they agree with this statement.

Today I want to talk about something that most ESL teachers have discovered they cannot live without Props. When I first got started with Qkids, I had no idea how important props were in creating an engaging learning experience for my students. If I am being completely honest, the idea of incorporating props into my classroom seemed cheesy and even a little ridiculous. As was the case with many of my preconceived notions about teaching online, I quickly learned how wrong I was. So, let’s look at how to effectively use props and discuss how, why, and when to use them.

Why Are Props So Important?

There are no “one-size-fits-all” approaches when it comes to teaching. The reason for this being that all students learn differently. Some children respond better with one on one interactions while others see more personal growth as a member of a group. Additionally, students also benefit differently depending on the format or the style of the lesson. For example, I always retain information better when the lesson is taught in an auditory format – such as that of a speech or a lecture. Many people, however, learn best with the use of visual, written, or even movement-based exercises.

So, how do props fit in? Props are a simple way to combine different teaching styles and reach as many students as possible. Adding a relevant prop to conversation practice can turn a speaking exercise into a visually engaging experience. Modeling with props can also add a personal connection to the material that will deepen the learning potential of the lesson.

How Many Props Do You Really Need?

Confession time! I used to agonize over what props I’d use and how I would use them. I even had a filing cabinet full of folders with lesson-specific props. Each class I taught had its own folder full of talking points and handmade or specifically curated props. For example, a class about verbs that had “reading” as a target word would have a folder containing ABC flashcards, a newspaper, and a magazine. As helpful as this was, there was a glaring downside to this practice.

What do you think happened when my class was canceled and replaced with a new one after I prepared all these items? How ready was I for the new class? Ding, ding, ding! I wasn’t prepared AT ALL! Had I spent half the time and energy in finding or making a small number of versatile props that could be used for many different lessons, I could have saved myself hours of work and a lot of heartaches.

What Kind of Props Should You Use?

The best kind of props are those that can be used for many different classes. Versatility is key. Having one prop that you can use five different ways is much easier to manage than keeping five totally different items within reach of your teaching station.

A great example of a versatile genre of props is plastic food. Artificial fruits, vegetables, meat, etc. can be stretched through many different lessons. Your class is about color? “What color is this apple?” Your class is about healthy v. unhealthy habits? “Which food should you eat, pizza or vegetables?” I can go on and on, but this genre of prop has been my single most helpful tool while teaching.

What Are My Essential Props?

Besides food, here are some of my go-to props and why.

Stuffed Animals: This can be used in lessons about toys, textures, animals, sizes, and various other descriptive exercises. “What does it look like?” or  “Does it have a long tail or a short tail?”

Toy Microphone: This can be used to emphasize that I am asking a question. I can point it at the camera to prompt responses in sluggish classes. It can also make lessons with songs livelier by emphasizing the need to sing along. “Let’s sing along!” or  “Okay, your turn!”

Printed Photographs: An extremely popular prop of mine with my students is a set of photographs of my dog, a Siberian Husky named Pavel. I love to use them as ice breakers during intros or for conversation practice to extend classroom content. “Do you like dogs?” or “What kind of pet would you like to have?”

What Props Will You Use?

Don’t overthink it! Have fun teaching and your students will have fun learning!

If you haven’t taken the leap yet, feel free to use my referral code to get started with Qkids. 

https://teacher.qkids.com/ref?code=ZZBTWN

Good luck and happy teaching!



Love,

Qkids Family

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