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Top Tips for Teaching English to Younger Students Online

Top Tips for Teaching English to Younger Students Online | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Whether online or in-person teaching English to children is higher energy than adults. A teacher must be kind, happy, fun and energetic. A teacher must speak clearly, slowly as needed and use lots of hand gestures, visual aids, and props. Teachers should prompt students, giving them time to answer and lots of opportunities to speak, ensuring a student-centered class.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Laurel C. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Obvious Difficulties in the Approach

Teaching English online presents some differences from a traditional class. It can have the benefit of being in the comfort of the child’s home with interactive games that seem less like school and more like fun. The child is in the comfort of their own home with QKids; however, the teacher and students are new every class so interpersonal comfort must be established through the engage phase. With different students every time there are no established peer relationships, a teacher must work to unify the class, working together and having fun. It also comes with challenges such as tech issues and not sharing a physical space.

Also Read: How much can I earn teaching English abroad?

My Experience

I am pursuing my TEFL certification so that I can teach children English online with the company QKids. QKids so far has shown itself to be a great company. QKids equipped me with online training that included instructional reading, videos and a personal coach that gave me constructive criticism through mock classes and observation of my trail classes. QKids emphasizes the importance of student-centered classes that start with the engage phase; the teacher and students introduce themselves, the teacher asks questions based on their level and age and plays short simple games to build a positive fun environment, showing oneself as an approachable teacher.

This phase is also for fixing tech issues and managing student volume. It is important to be energetic and animated, being creative within a class to bring it to life, using props, visual aids, and storylines. Online English interaction is limited through a screen but the teacher must make the class as interactive and dynamic as possible. A teacher must use the advantages of online software to hold student interest, unlike in a classroom setting where a student is surrounded by a classroom environment the online teacher must maintain student attention with the parameters of the computer screen. QKids has great gaming software and interactive animations, it is the teacher’s job to bring these to life, making it a fun learning experience. The teacher creates storylines within the animations, having as much teacher-student and student-student interactions as possible.

Also Read: 7 Great and Easy Ways to Introduce New Vocabulary

QKids is wonderful for having interactive animations and games where the teacher can put students two at a time on the screen and encourage dialog, more than be able to be prompt or answer questions a teacher should try to encourage more natural style dialog interactions. Before I teach a class I review the QKids lesson plan material; I make sure I understand all the games, the focus content of the lesson, and plan how I will explain concepts and increase interactivity. For example: to explain what a bakery is I used the visual aid of a cartoon bakery and prepared a chart of different labeled cartoon bakery treats. I asked the students which they would like most from the bakery.

Teaching Process

The teacher must juggle student attention and pay attention to all the student's needs equally based on their language level, age, and behavior and giving all students equal attention. In the QKids digital classrooms without regular class members, the lack of established relationships presents a challenge. There is a lack of unity within the class. The teacher must do their best to encourage comradery and unity within the class, with teamwork and increased interactivity. A twelve-year-old boy may feel bored in a class of younger students, the teacher must be creative to keep his attention, asking questions that would be of greater interest and relevance to a twelve-year-old vs. a five-year-old.

I see interest spark as I pull out my globe and ask the boy to name different countries, showing how impressive it is how far apart we are on other sides of the world. A teacher must think of new fresh ways to keep the class from becoming repetitive and losing interest. As well as content awareness between different ages the online teacher must change their degree of animation, acting more mature for an older student while still being energetic and positive. Every class has a different set of student and a teacher must adjust their presentation style accordingly.

Also Read: Games in an ESL Classroom: Are They Really That Important?

Out-of-control

Technical issues are a constant occurrence with online teaching that students or parents cannot always fix during the short scheduled class. The teacher must know how to make parents aware of issues, alert tech support, while not wasting limited class time, problem-solving is necessary to make the best of the class with unresolvable student issues such as by turning off mics with distracting noises if necessary. A teacher must also be prepared to mute a student's mic or remove their image if they are at all disruptive to the rest of the class. Unlike the traditional class setting, students learn remotely within their homes often with their parents hovering nearby. Parental support can be helpful but it can also be disruptive or the parents, with good intentions, do too much work for the child. A teacher must try to keep the class student-focused and in a non-offensive manner try to encourage the child’s independence.

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As described children’s online teaching has its advantages and challenges. By managing technical issues, using online software for maximum fun and interactions, establishing student and teacher rapport, and creating a positive supportive student-centered learning environment online teaching can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for all.

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