Five Barriers to Break Down Through Online Teaching
Aug 27, 2013 English Language Teaching (ELT) 2916 Views
When we chat with educators considering whether to take a leap and begin teaching online, we often hear reservations. Will my private students really get the same value in an online setting? Will they really want to pay my full private rate for online classes? We (TurksLearnEnglish.com) launched a site dedicated to conversation classes for Turkish speakers in May 2013. So far, we’ve found that the online experience can actually be more powerful than the in-person traditional English lesson. For any teachers humming and hawing whether to take their business online, we present to you five barriers that are removed when teaching online:
1: Kill the commute: As urbanization grows across the world, the commutes in many of the world’s largest cities can be hellish. Many students learning English as a second language are also young professionals working long hours. If a young professional leaves work at 6:00 pm they may not arrive to a centrally located language school until 7:30pm. Three hours of class later and they are lucky to arrive home by midnight. This cycle is not sustainable. Offering online classes in large cities removes hours of unnecessary travel time. In rural or remote areas, you are offering a service that is simply not available in person.
2: Focus on conversation: Most adult students do not need another grammar lesson; they need communication confidence. As any online teacher knows, the virtual world is a great platform for developing language communication ability. When a student pops on their headphones, they are able to focus with concentration that is rarely seen in a physical classroom. Better yet, the online classroom does not inhibit students in the way that a traditional classroom does. Fewer students and the webcam somehow boost a student’s willingness to take risks and make the mistakes every learner needs to advance in a language.
3: Between classes: Video self-study lessons for outside of classroom reading and listening are extremely powerful. These video lessons can enrich your students’ experience and provide them with an additional way of connecting with you as a teacher. At TurksLearnEnglish.com we’ve created a series of videos called İngilizce Dersleri where we read current event articles related to Turkey and introduce new vocabulary. So far they are a big hit with our students.
4: Location flexibility: Your students likely travel. If they are working in a competitive field, sometimes they’ll have to travel without much notice. Even if they don’t travel, they often have to stay late at work and do not have time to get away to an 8pm class. We’ve all seen this in the past; a busy student misses two weeks of class in a row and suddenly drops off, partly due to embarrassment. Online lessons give your students they ability to stay up to speed with their lessons even if they need to skip town for a week or work late.
5: Additional tools: There are many things that can be done online that cannot be replicated in the real classroom. Running games and quizzes using pre-developed lesson plans and screen sharing is more natural online and can be great for motivation. Using the chat function to help a student while conversing is also a great tool. Recording lessons can also be powerful. We’ve found that many of our students like to go back to lessons they found challenging and review them.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our story. We would love to hear your thoughts!