Teaching online is different in many ways, but actually gives you the chance to use a huge new range of resources and tools in lessons to support your teaching. For instance, you can take your students on a virtual tour! Sounds good, right? Many famous museums have virtual tour options. You can design a lot of activities afterwards and make your lessons more engaging. Take the tour yourself first and share a digital scavenger hunt list with your students. An idea is to have them choose one exhibit they love and write a paragraph about its history, origins, or a personal reflection.
4 tips for teaching an unforgettable online English class according to Cambridge English:
Create a routine
Do your best to develop a routine in the classroom. This will help your students feel they’re in a safe learning environment and makes giving instructions faster and more efficient.
For example, you can start with a warmer activity that involves all the students (for example, a game, a review or a few student-centred discussion questions), then go into your class objectives and review homework or project work. Also, make sure you mix study with energising games or mini-breaks and have students share their ideas.
Online classrooms can be easier to manage than physical ones. It’s unlikely that you’ll be interrupted by students whispering at the back of the class, passing notes or running around.
It’s a good idea to have students mute their microphones while you are delivering input and have them close all other windows on their computers, so they are only focused on your class.
It’s harder to engage with your students when teaching over a webcam connection. Exaggerate your expressions and tone of voice slightly so they stay alert and interested in what you have to say (just don’t overdo it).
You can also keep them on their toes by having every single student in the class respond to your questions by typing in the chat box. That will ensure they pay attention. Incorporating fun digital tools such as Quizletor Quizizz will help keep learners engaged too.
You could also use a spinner to nominate students for tasks and questions to build a sense of fun and suspense – or get students to nominate each other!
Remember, just because they’re quiet doesn’t mean they’re not learning.
In-class group work
Mix up your activities to keep things interesting. Just because you’re online, it doesn’t mean students can’t collaborate.
Realities shift constantly for teachers, but we shift with them. Our priority is always the same, being there for our students. We do our best for them, learn from them, and for them. Everything you learn ultimately helps you become a better teacher, capable of reaching more students with more variety. Digital learning is definitely a challenge, but we’ve got this. Teachers open new worlds for students all the time, and virtual classes are just another way to do so.