Teaching English online can be very rewarding, particularly when you have the adequate up-to-date methods, tools, and resources under your belt. This combination will give you the help and confidence you need to provide a first-class teaching service to your students.
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Adequate Tools to Utilize
Technology is progressing in great measure. Every couple of weeks, there is a new tablet or smartphone on the market that rapidly gets surrounded by immense hype from both consumers and media alike. Even though tablets and smartphones are convenient, it is important that online ESL teachers opt for a regular laptop or desktop. These types of computers reflect professionalism and allow you to interact more effectively with your students.
Having the proper headset will allow your voice to be heard nice and clear at all times. Before purchasing one, go through high-quality headsets that are made by respected brands and find out which one best meets your preferences by reading the specifications and reviews that they have received from consumers. If you can splurge on an extra headset that would be best since you never know when it will be needed. Having a headset on reserve is always a good idea.
Your camera has to be high quality in order to teach online. Many new laptops already come with high-quality cameras, but make sure that you look at the specs before making a purchase. Just like you should when searching for the perfect headset, you should also read reviews and specifications of the camera that has caught your eye. Remember that the lighting in the space that you are planning to teach from has to be bright. Your students must be able to always have a clear view of you. Make sure that the camera is facing you directly. You want your eyes to look straight ahead, not up or down at the camera, as this will just distract your students from learning properly.
There are different platforms that you can choose from to provide your teaching service to students. There is Skype, which seems to be the preferred tool, as it is extremely reliable. Plus, many students are already familiar with Skype. Skype has a free tool named Talk and Write which is a whiteboard and drawing tool. There is also Scribblar, a free online whiteboard tutoring program that permits audio conferencing. The only way to find out which one you will prefer the most is to test them both!
Many teachers have moved over to Zoom. Zoom adds in extra functionality along with a better connection in many cases. Zoom is also preferable for when you have group lesson and it allows you to record a lesson. You can record lessons with Skype as well by using third-party applications but with Zoom, the lessons are already stored for you.
Zoom can become rather expensive when you add on a lot of features. When you start, it is recommended for you to build your student base so you can take on the extra costs. It is easier for onboard students using Skype since most students have used it in the past.
This site is a free tool that allows online ESL teachers to plan their lessons or projects. You can utilize it to even keep track of notes and ideas on new lessons and to stay in touch with students.
Teaching Methods to Utilize
In order to learn English fluently, it is necessary for students to emerge in the language outside their virtual classroom, too. Find and share movies, music, and eBooks in the English language and encourage them to enjoy them on a daily basis after class. It is crucial to notify your students that learning English doesn’t stop when class finishes.
One method to take advantage of is assigning a video and then proceeding to talk to your students about it. Discussion allows different points of views to be established, and thus, different thoughts will emerge that will make students think outside the box.
This is a free application that will permit your students to emerge more in the English language, as it goes through basic English words that are heard on a daily basis in English-speaking countries.
You can track the progress of your students through DuoLingo. It gives teachers a weekly report along with the ability to assign new tasks.
DuoLingo also has a teacher certification program. This program allows you to better understand the system while you earn a certificate after passing the course and becoming a certified DuoLingo teacher.
The English Mom
I use a method I call The English Mom. When you were younger and would make a mistake your mom would not point you to a grammar rule. She would simply correct you and move on. Of course, there are times where she would go into more detail as to what mistake you made.
“I like dog”. “Oh, you like dogs… that is what you want to say”.
When teaching adults you correct them by repeating back their errors with the corrections. You have to decide the frequency based on the student. Students from Japan love to be corrected while an Italian student would rather keep talking. Of course, this is a generalization and each student is different.
As the lesson moves along you will write down all of their errors. This includes ones you correct and ones that you do not.
Save some time at the end of the lesson to go through the errors and corrections. Have the students repeat the correct answer.
Error: “Last week I went see the doctor” “Oh, last week you went to see the doctor”
Student, you forgot the article to. Here is a link to a lesson on articles.
List out the error, what the issue is, and give a link to an article covering the grammar rule. Do this same thing for pronunciation errors as well.
Encourage your students to download free printable flashcards. Eslflashcards.com offers free printable flash cards that contain colorful pictures. They are easy to download and print. No registration is required.
Assign your students to hear and read a short-story online. Esl-Bits.net is a site that is replete of short-stories for students who are trying to build their English vocabulary.
One method that will facilitate learning is to collect and assign homework through a cloud-based file-sharing website. This can be a timesaver and a stress-reducer solution for students, as there are some files that tend to be too large to attach to an email. You can choose to use Google Drive, DropBox, or SugarSync.
Adequate Resources to Utilize
As an online ESL teacher, it is a must that you are always up to date with everything that is occurring in your field. There are many resources online that you can visit, but only a few of them contain helpful content.
A great resource is reallifeglobal.com, a site that contains five hundred articles, videos, and podcasts for online ESL teachers. Englishfluencynow.com is an option that offers high-quality upper-intermediate and advanced English materials for teachers.
When it comes to your persona, make sure that you present yourself in a professional manner. Before you begin to teach, you should silence your phone and close YouTube, email, and Facebook accounts. If you choose not to do so, it will look extremely unprofessional when you begin a screen share. The chances of you losing students will be highly probable in nature. Another thing, the space that you are planning to teach from should be free of clutter. The fewer things you have around you, the more professional you will appear to your students.
Boost The Confidence Of Your Students
You will notice that a lot of your students will have a lack of confidence when pronouncing words, as they will overthink, thinking that they might mess up. There will be some students who will be too afraid to speak up, but this fear can subside if you inform them that the only way to learn is to make mistakes. Not even Einstein was born knowing everything. Everybody starts from zero in every aspect. Even though this is common sense, a lot of people often forget about this truth. One of your duties as a teacher is to boost your students’ self confidence so that they can go out into the real world and speak the English language without any type of fear holding them back.
Following the previously mentioned adequate methods, tools, and resources can definitely aid you in being the best online ESL teacher that you can be. Put them to the test and see for yourself!