More and more teachers are finding themselves teaching ESL/EFL online these days. Of course, it’s still teaching English but there are certainly some things that are different.
10 Tips for Teaching ESL/EFL Online
Keep on reading for the best tips if you’re doing the online English teaching thing. And be sure to add your own down in the comments section at the bottom. If you’re looking for activities, you’ll want to check this out: Top 15 Activities for Teaching ESL Online.
#1: Consider Various Online Teaching Platforms
There are a number of online teaching platforms to consider which can help make the transition into teaching online easier. You’ll get a feel for how it works and pick up a few tips and tricks along the way without having to organize everything yourself.
But, not all online teaching platforms are created equal and of course, each of them have their pros and cons. Another consideration is that not all teachers will accepted to all of them so be sure to apply for 3, 4 or even more. Some of the best ones to consider are the following:
- First Tutors
- Take Lessons
- Amazing Talker
Readers—I know that you may want me to tell you which one is the “best.” However, there is no one single option that will work well for all teachers. Some of the factors to consider are the following:
- Who is hiring
- Minimum qualifications required
- Rate of pay
- Student locations and hours of work
- Minimum hours
- Materials provided or not
- Age of students
As you can see, there are a lot of factors to think about! Do your research to find the online teaching platform that will work for you.
A quick tip is to teach on at least two of them. Although it can take a bit more work to coordinate schedules and payments between the two, it’s a protection in case one of them goes under so you’re not left entirely without income. These online teaching platforms are often newer companies and may, or may not do well.
#2: Or, Venture Out on your Own
Another option to consider for online English teaching is to teach without the support of one of the companies mentioned above. The main reason to consider this is that you’ll get to keep all the money instead of a percentage of it. However, you’ll have to do all the work of scheduling, managing payments and finding students.
If you’re tech-savvy and can manage creating a website or other platform to promote yourself, organized enough to manage bookings and are considering online teaching for the long-term, it may certainly be worth it.
#3: How to Teach ESL Online—All About No-Shows
One of the most annoying things about teaching English online is to deal with no-shows. Have a firm but fair policy that you explain to the student before getting started and stick to it. If you’re using one of the online platforms, they’ll likely already have this policy in place.
#4: Consider Zoom Instead of Skype
A few years ago, everyone was using Skype for online teaching. However, these days, Zoom seems to be more popular as the connection is more stable and it’s more hassle-free. If you haven’t tried it out yet, it’s free for a 1-1 lesson and a few bucks for the ability to host sessions with more than one student.
#5: Repetition and Review
When people ask me how to teach English, online or offline, one of the first things I tell them is to not forget about review! This is key for students to retain what they’re learning. Review throughout the lesson, at the end of the lesson and then at the beginning of the next class.
#6: Consider Using Props
A nice tip for how to teach English online is to consider using some props, especially with kids. Have some puppets for example and do your best to bring them to life. This will help students to pay close attention to what’s going on.
#7: Don’t Forget about the Parents if You’re Teaching Kids
If you’re teaching English online to kids, remember who is paying the bill! You’ll want to do your best to keep in touch with parents and provide feedback about how the lessons are going with their children.
#8: Close all Other Screens on your Computer and Put your Phone on Silent
Let’s be real here for a second. There’s almost nothing worse than someone who is checking Facebook or their email or texting a friend during an online English class! Close all other screens and turn your phone on silent so that you can focus on the lesson.
Even if a student is taking a minute or two to read something or do some written work, stay focused and don’t let your mind wander!
#9: Keep Track of your Lessons
Whatever method you use to keep track of lesson topics, homework, payments, etc. use it! Relying on memory for something like this is a recipe for disaster even if with only 1 or 2 students.
Imagine showing up for a class and pulling out the same lesson plan you did last month? The student will know for sure and will almost always point this out. Then you’ll be left scrambling at the last second. We’ve all been there but it’s easy to avoid.
#10: Mute your Microphone if You’re Going to Type a Lot
Keyboards are usually very loud in someone’s ear. Be sure to press mute when typing more than a few words.
Did you Like these Tips for Teaching ESL/EFL Online?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 123 Pages - 04/13/2020 (Publication Date)
Yes? Thought so. Then you’re going to love this book over on Amazon: 101 Activities and Resources for Teaching English Online. The key to better English classes, whether online or offline is a variety of student-centred, engaging activities and this book will help you get there in style!
You can find the book in both digital and print formats. Keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office to use a handy reference guide when doing lesson plans. Or, take the digital version with you on any device, including your laptop to your favourite coffee shop for some lesson planning on the go.
Yes, it really is that easy to have better online English classes. Pick up a copy of the book today for less than a cup of coffee:
Have your Say about these Teaching ESL/EFL Online Tips
Do you have any tips or tricks for teaching English online? We’d love to hear about them! Please leave a comment below and let us know.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other busy online ESL teachers, like yourself find this useful resource.
Last update on 2020-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API