Top Tips for Teaching English to Children Online
Online learning is getting more and more popular. For many parents this way of teaching is very convenient – the children stay at home, don’t skip classes because of getting a little sick or because of unfavorable weather conditions. However, teaching online has some peculiarities which are to be taken into consideration by a good teacher.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Nataliia M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Teacher’s Online Responsibilities
Online lessons are usually individual. One of the difficulties is that a child might quickly lose concentration when the teacher isn’t nearby. They often prefer the teacher’s physical presence at the lesson. To compensate it teacher needs to make some adjustments.
Good preparation is vital. I always think in advance about the greeting, warm-up, engaging, study and activation of the material, explanation of the homework and so on.
What helps is the use of the full diversity of modern technologies. Possibility to demonstrate the screen can help the teacher to control the activity of a small student and watch his reaction at the same time. I include cartoons and develop some worksheets for them, songs – we enjoy singing them together, interactive online games.
I try to be a pleasant interlocutor for the child and his/her parents. We always make good friends and children can often share their experiences without any shyness. Although we cannot meet in one room I can still break the ice being warm and kind.
The emotional reactions of the teacher are of great help. Children like exaggerated joy or pretend sadness of the teacher. I prefer to use a lot of gestures and show the emotions of the characters in the dialogues.
To my opinion, the use of puppets is one of the best ways to make a child say something in English without telling him: “Say this…” It helps to avoid drilling. On the example of the teacher’s dialogue with the puppet the child can easily grasp the gist of the conversation and immediately repeat it. The online camera helps to make the emergence of the puppet more unexpected and surprising for a minor student contrary to watching the teacher putting it on his hand in the classroom.
Movement is one of the problems. Children love jumping, running, performing all sorts of moving activities during their English lessons. Online lessons make it far more difficult for the teacher to control it. Still, it is possible. I prefer to include some songs with specific movements on certain stages of the lesson. It helps the child to change the focus for a while and have fun for a minute together with the teacher. The teacher needs to dance as well – to encourage the student and to have some exercise.
Using technology for our benefit is essential. Teaching “close” and “far” by approaching the camera and moving away an object is helpful. This way can be taught “big” and “small”.
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As for me, the key to the most successful teaching children online is the diversity of activities. They should change every 2-4 minutes and be consistent. The transit from one to another should be logical. This always helps to keep the student-focused, interested and involved in the process.
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