A sure-fire way of ensuring you build an amazing online English teaching career is to make your online English classes amazing too! By creating super effective, fun and engaging lessons, you’ll be ensuring your students learn lots with you, recommend you to their friends and keep coming back to you to learn. You might be wondering how to make your online English classes amazing, keep reading to find out…
1. Plan your lessons effectively
The first step in making your online English classes amazing is planning your lessons effectively! Creating and executing your online English classes will go much smoother if you’re prepared, plus you’ll feel so much more confident. Winging it in front of the camera for a full lesson won’t be very fun for you or your students, so make sure you’ve planned your lessons ahead and know exactly how they’re going to run. If you work for one of the big names in online English teaching such as VIPKID, QKids or PalFish, they’ll provide you with ready-made lesson plans and a curriculum, but if you work for a smaller company you might have to plan your lessons yourself. If you took a comprehensive TEFL Course like ours, you’ll have been given lesson planning training – it’s time to put it to good use!
Good lesson plans generally have:
- One main objective which outlines what the student will be able to do by the end of the lesson
- Key vocabulary words that will be taught to the student
- Target sentence frames that the students will be able to use in context
- Plenty of opportunities for the student to practice speaking
- Visual and audio elements to enhance understanding
2. Pick your software wisely
If you work for an online English teaching company, they’ll often provide all of the software you need for your online English classes so you can skip this step. But if you’re a freelance online English teacher you’ll be required to choose and provide all of the software yourself. To ensure your online English classes run smoothly, you’ll need to make sure you choose software that you’re confident using. There are lots of software options when it comes to teaching English online, generally you’ll need the following:
- Video conferencing software such as Skype or Zoom to host your online English classes
- Data transfer software such as Google Docs or Dropbox to easily transfer files to your students
- A cloud account such as Google Drive or OneDrive to share editable documents
3. Use interactive tools
To keep your students engaged throughout your online English classes, it’s a great idea to use interactive tools such as a whiteboard or editable sharing documents. You can use the whiteboards to get your students to complete sentences, draw pictures, match images to words or order sentences, the list is endless. Some video conferencing software will have whiteboards readily available such as Zoom, but if you’ve chosen to use a video conferencing software that doesn’t have it included, there are lots of other options online such as Whiteboard Fox.
4. Add games to your lessons
Playing games with your students will help them take in the information you’re giving them and also keep them engaged throughout your lesson. It’s a good idea to start and/or end your online English classes with a game. If you’re planning on starting your lesson with a game, you should try and relate it to what your students learned in your last class, this way you can see how much they’ve remembered and get them ready to learn more. If you’d prefer to end your class with a game, it’s a great idea to make it about what your students have learnt today. Some good games to include in your online English classes are:
- Pictionary – use your interactive whiteboard to draw out an image and get your students to guess what it is
- Find something – ask your students to go and find something in their house, use terms that you are currently teaching. If you’re teaching colours you can ask them to “find something blue”
- Draw what I say – ask your students to draw what you say, this way you can test their knowledge on some of the words you have learnt in your lessons
- Guess the sound – play sounds such as a dog’s bark or a lion’s roar to your students and get them to guess what the sound is. If you’re working with older students, you can make it harder by choosing different sounds
5. Use props and visuals
Visuals are SUPER important when it comes to creating amazing online English classes. Visuals and props will help your students take in more information and understand what you’re talking about more. You’ll be able to find lots of props just by looking around your house. For example, if you’re teaching your students about food, have a quick rummage through your cupboards to find relevant fruits, vegetables and snacks. If you’re teaching an online English class about clothes, grab a few of your clothing items to show your students – easy and free!
It’s also a good idea to have a set of ABC flashcards when teaching English online. You can find lots at a super low price online, but if you can try to get a set that has illustrations for each letter as you be able to use these pictures to teach other concepts.
Other useful props include:
- Dry erase board – great for creating visual aids during your online English classes. Before the lesson, you can write key vocabulary words and target sentence frames on the board too
- Puppets/stuffed animals – can be used to help bring stories, songs and games to life, especially useful when teaching younger students
- Rewards system – such as stickers or stars that you can stick to your backdrop or dry erase board. Reward systems are a great way to motivate your students throughout your online English classes
6. Add audio elements
Depending on the age of your students, audio elements can be super helpful in improving your online English classes. Songs, video clips, sounds and stories can demonstrate concepts in a way that reading can’t. Plus, they can help break up your lessons and keep your students engaged! Just remember – if you’re planning on using audio in your online English classes, download it before the lesson time and make sure you can pull it up quickly to keep your lesson running smoothly.
7. Be patient
Patience is key! All of your students will learn at different paces and in different ways so it’s essential that you’re patient with them and let them learn in their own time. Take the time to understand your students and their learning methods so that you can incorporate their ways of learning into your future online English classes.
8. Have fun!
And finally, have fun! If you’re having fun, your students generally will be too. Also, by creating really fun, exciting and enjoyable online English classes your students are more likely to want to come back and learn more with you.