Readers’ Blog

How to Teach Online

Viewed 507 times 2020-3-14 22:41 |Personal category:Consulting|System category:Life

Groom yourself and dress professionally as though you are going to be on TV. At the start, say hello and ask, "Can you hear me?" Talk for under 20 seconds. Model the answer before asking the question in Q&A lessons. 

Some platforms want no extra words and some platforms want natural English. Find out which is which before you do your demo. Maximize TPR (Total Physical Response). Let students speak target sentences twice. 

Suppose you have a slide with an ear and 'ear' is a target word. Slowly, circle the ear. Say ear. TPR ear. Now you: ear. TPR say. Ear. When the student says ear and points to their ear a couple of times, give a point. 

To scaffold from easy to difficult, 
1. Model it. That's why we say the answer before we say the question, so we model the answer. Model words in sentences, not in isolation, usually. 
2. Together. Do the Q&A or other target language together. Count the words. Beginner students often think syllables are words, so, work on correcting this if you see it. 
3. Now you. You say. Still do the TPR action and count the words. 
4. Your turn. You say the language without support. 
Good! Yay! High 5! (Students love high 5 through the camera.) 

Good transitions between slides A and B raise curiosity for topic B while ending slide A, so, have your notes prepared so you know the topic sequence. For example, if slide B has sentences and slide A introduced words (new vocabulary), then end slide A with "Let's make sentences!"

Correct students nicely. For example, suppose the student said "I see a ox."  Congratulate the good effort then say, "I see AN ox." TPR absolutely every word and action. 

Do the activities your host platform puts on the slides. Meet objectives and timing. 

Example: Target language is "I feel sad."

1. Sad. Show a picture of a sad face. Model sadness. Say sad 2 times. 
2. Now you. Point to mouth (that's TPR for you say).  Sad. Point you, cup ear (TPR for your turn to talk and I listen). Keep doing that until... you say sad alone, twice. Good! 
3. Say, I feel sad. TPR point to self, circle heart, cry. Say it again, count 1, 2, 3 and point to mouth. 
4. You say. Point you, mouth. Count 1, 2, 3, and cup ear. Do this two to three times until you speak 'I feel sad' alone, twice. 
5. If you hear 'I feel sat,' encourage and correct it to 'I feel saD.' 

You will need to make a self-introduction video. Say your name and welcome parent viewers to the host site. Say your credentials and experience. Do a silly mini lesson such as teaching a blend sound, singing a song and reading a page from a book and asking a comprehension question. Then show you teach Q&A correctly (answer first); embrace the wait and correct a mistake. Fetch full sentences. Then close with a call to action such as "Nice to meet you! See you in class!"

Some platforms want you to make rewards you give students. Favourite rewards are stars, fake flowers and food magnets. These are usually 5 rewards in a 25 minute class, with the magnetic rewards visible on your magnetic white board throughout class. Have a bin to pull rewards from (stars of different colors, foods, different flowers) because students love "What will be pulled out next?"

You will want to set up your computer in front of a wall, with your magnetic white board on the wall where you can reach it. Have light shining down on you and straight at you so you look good on video. 

To prepare your lessons, do word by word TPR. Practice the I, We, You order of events. Make sure you see the timestamp on each slide so you get the timing right. Have great transitions prepared, unless your host platform wants silent transitions with no extra words. 

Keep notes with the lesson code and the student information such as gender and age. Comments about students are things like: likes Batman, princesses, has a nickname. Don't put anything negative in the comments, even if the student speaks the mother language all through class and class is a total frustration. Talk to staff in that case, instead of leaving a comment. 

Prepare your props by sequencing them in the right order. Make activities look the same on your white board. Wet erase won't smudge on white boards so you can do memory games and rhyming words with changing consonant beginnings. 

Have a picture of a computer mouse taped to a dry erase marker to show students how to circle with the mouse. Other usful props are a ruler. a fake microphone, animal pictures, food pictures from flyers, a ball globe that you can write on with dry erase markers, a sun, a moon, clocks, some relevant flags, stick puppets with emotions showing, and a way to store it so you can grab what you want quickly. Also, have a puppet. 

Adjust to your audience. Slow down and never add any extra words for slow students. Ask, A or B, which one (do you like)? Add natural English and chat a bit about personal experiences with advanced students. Ask, What does it remind you of? Where have you seen it before? Make sure you are ready to extend or simplify prepared lessons so you are appropriate to the student's level. 

Wondering if you will get bookings? Many teachers sign up then don't get booked. Make sure your introductory video and recorded lessons show you are tidy, professional, attentive, you have good posture, you are respectful, genuine, friendly, warm, you build rapport, you give meaningful information, rewards, praise, you speak at a good pace with good word choice, you are level appropriate, you give positive corrections, you meet the objectives, you embrace the wait and you have good lighting. You also have good props. Never be inauthentic. Be happy, have fun. Be 10% happier than your student so you don't overwhelm them. 

Change your voice when you are repeating vocabulary. Use a silly voice sometimes. Chant, sing. Make repetition fun. 

Remember that the start of the day is the evening overseas and the children have been in school all day. They haven't played yet and depending on class time, may not have had supper yet. Does your student need alone time to decompress, or recharge personal energy each day? That's the primary symptom of a socially overwhelmed person who needs models and no pressure. Students can feel overwhelmed because of eye contact, fashion, costs, expectations. An overwhelmed student cannot express or parse his or her own inner thoughts and feelings. Whence the need for quiet time alone, but they may not have enough decompression time. So, "Do you like ice cream?" sounds as complex or demanding as "Who should be the president of the USA and why?"  This is why it is so important to model the answer before asking the question in Q&A. We prefer human faces to other shapes and we absorb phonics from Motherese. Overwhelmed students need models to imitate, and so they can relax. 

Advice for New Teachers

Confirm you do not need to create a curriculum. ( Making the curriculum is a classic waste of time. As soon as it's done, students change their mind about what they wanted. ) Confirm school authority will ask children to behave well. Confirm you get about $20/hour, not $2/hour. If you are overseas, confirm your visa won't get changed from legal to illegal without your awareness. 

Do good marketing. Give minimal lesson plans to guide parents well but don't sink all your free time into it. 

Before you sign up with a platform, do your research. Do they penalize you for technical difficulties? Is early late? (Some schools specify you must be 20 minutes early, so 19 minutes early is late.) Do they want natural English or no extra words? 

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




Shake hands

Like 0 Share


Comment (0 comments)

facelist doodle Doodle board

You need to login to comment Login | register


Recent comments

  • Education Methods 2020-1-7 20:25

    Then, IF you are the Secretary General of the United Nations, how do you tell the young students of the world what is going on in our world and, how to do is the right way

  • Education Methods 2020-1-5 01:54

    snowipine: Punishment strictly following the rules is always the last resort , usually we don't this way, but if here is no other wayout, how to do ?  I guess.
    Thanks for your comment, Snowpine. In schools and in prisons, we shouldn't feel trapped into punishments as persuasion or as motivation. We should be able to use rewards systems. What inspired my blog entry is thinking about the failed terrorist reform efforts, like Gitmo, and why they fail. Negativity doesn't cause improvements and secrecy just makes it worse, but rewards systems may work. It's unclear though since terrorists are different from students and normal prisoners.

Star blogger










Most Viewed

Most commented

Contact us:Tel: (86)010-84883548, Email:
Blog announcement:| We reserve the right, and you authorize us, to use content, including words, photos and videos, which you provide to our blog
platform, for non-profit purposes on China Daily media, comprising newspaper, website, iPad and other social media accounts.