Methods of Teaching Adult Students Online
There is no doubt that the development of new technologies has a great effect on people's jobs and the ways they manage their work. It is also the case when it comes to teaching. At this step, one should understand that teaching English to kids and teens, especially in groups, might require a teacher's full presence and in-class participation. However, teaching adults is something that steps away from the methods used with children. In this work, several ways of tackling this issue will be suggested.
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This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Alena D. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
It is beyond question that adults lead a busy life, full of work, child-rearing, and if they are lucky enough, spending time on a hobby. In such circumstances, it is hard enough to find time for managing your personal development and goals in English, at least because it requires a minimum 2-hour commute daily plus the time spent in class. That is why a lot of people have started to opt for online education and courses.
Also Read: 10 Tips to Help You Enjoy Your TEFL Course
The most advantageous thing about teaching English online to adults, of course, is to have these mature people who have made up their mind about the goals they need to achieve. More likely those are people who want to prepare for an international exam, have speaking practice, or to just simply learn about the culture abroad if they are willing to relocate. So, for a teacher, it is easier to define the goal and to suggest an action plan.
For those who have not had any experience with teaching one-on-one, teaching English online might be a challenging job. Besides your skills and abilities, you need to rely on the internet connection, quality of sound, and your headset. It might be useful to find some technical explanation in student's L1 about how to set up the connection or fix some troubles with the headphone or microphone and always have a back-up plan or another resource where you can contact your student. Also, it is of great use to set up some ground rules about canceling/rescheduling lessons so that the student does not cancel it at 5-minute notice. When everything is set with the internet connection, the first thing a teacher should understand that even though you do not have this close contact with your student, you need to work even harder to build rapport with your students and catch their attention and interest from the first lesson.
Therefore, the same rule might be applied - to use ice-breaking games, for example, "never have I ever", "describe yourself with 3 adjectives" or "one truth and 2 lies". Probably, it would be a good beginning to tell the student about your experience and what kind of person you are and where you can connect. Moreover, all the goals and ways to achieve them should be suggested and discussed with the student. Even if you teach online it does not mean that there should not be any coursebook or materials. All the major aspects of your discussion must stay with your students after you have disconnected. For this purpose, you can use some online tools and special software such as virtual whiteboards, audio and video recording for further feedback and corrections, online websites for creating handouts, e.g word search, crosswords, matching exercises, etc. It is also useful to create flashcards for explaining new material or just use links from google pictures to show the meaning.
The most essential part of online teaching is to keep your students engaged and motivated. Your lessons should be structured and logically developed so that the student feels that you do not play by ear. To consolidate the result a teacher should always give homework to students. It might be an article to read on the topic or listen to podcasts. There are plenty of ready-made lessons and resources a teacher can use in order not to create a lesson from scratch.
It is a common misbelief that when teaching English to adults you should make it seriously. But it could be a useful and encouraging thing to play some games together or to use some online tools such as websites that help to create a questionnaire or a website for storytelling.
Someone can say that teachers have the whole internet at their fingerprints and if they do not use all the resources, the lessons come down to just purposeless waste of time.
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