Home TEFL forum Coronavirus and TEFL Do you have any tips for Online English Teaching During Covid-19?

Do you have any tips for Online English Teaching During Covid-19?

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  • KatFi419
    Participant
    23 March, 2020 at 17:49
    • Total posts: 2

    As a result of this virus, my language center will be closed until late April, at the earliest, interfering with our spring term. In order to try to engage students in the meantime, we are thinking about posting some materials or doing some mini-lessons online. The platform we’ll most likely be using is Google Classroom.

    Does anyone have any experience with the site, or some helpful tips/suggestions? What kinds of activities work best in this kind of setting?

    I’m looking for recommendations on how to make the best of this unusual situation. Thanks in advance!

    Keith
    Moderator
    26 March, 2020 at 13:30
    • Total posts: 272

    Hi

    The key with online teaching is to make the experience as similar as possible to the experience of sitting next to your student(s) in a classroom. The closer you can stick to the kinds of lesson plans, activities and methods of classroom management that you’re used to in a physical classroom, the easier it will be for both you and the student(s).

    So you’ll need:

    – a virtual classroom
    – a way to easily share your screen so that you can show your students documents, pictures and so on
    – a way to share worksheets and activities for your students to edit
    – a virtual whiteboard

    If you can combine several of these into one with one tool, so much the better. Skype for Business (I think it’s called Microsoft Teams now) has pretty much all of these features and I think is free for schools. I haven’t worked with Google Classrooms, but there’s a guide with some good resources here.

    Zoom is really good.

    If you need a separate virtual whiteboard, there are a number of apps, like GroupBoard.

    Google Docs works well for sharing worksheets, activities, etc.

    So, with a group class, I would try planning a lesson in the way you normally would, and then think through each stage of your lesson, picturing how this will work with the tools above. If you come to a particular point in the lesson that is clearly not going to work so well virtually, think about a work-around.

    For example, pair work and group work obviously don’t lend themselves so well to online lessons. A simple workaround to students completing a worksheet in pairs would be to have them do it alone and then come back for group feedback. Not as interactive, I know, but still a solution. If you use Zoom though, they have a feature called Breakout rooms, where you can split the class into as many groups as you need to, and then “visit” each of these groups in turn. (I’m not sure if Skype or others have this feature, but they may well do.) This way you can do group activities almost as you would in a physical classroom.

    Once you’ve planned a few lessons in this way, thinking through each stage of the lesson in your head and including workarounds for some of these stages, the whole process of planning an online lesson becomes a lot easier.

    With one-to-one lessons it’s a bit easier – with screen sharing and whiteboards, there’s no reason why you can’t do a lesson almost exactly as you would in a physical classroom.

    Hope that helps. There are some more interesting tips and ideas here.

    Keith

    cozyteacher7
    Participant
    23 September, 2020 at 0:28
    • Total posts: 1

    Interaction and Participation

    Hello everyone!

    As with a lot of other teachers, I have had to create an online classroom due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a new ESL teacher, I can admit that this was at first very intimidating and brought a lot of new challenges that I may not have faced in a traditional classroom setting. One of the best advice that I can give for other teachers that have online classrooms is- interaction and participation.

    Because we are not face to face with our students, I think that participation is more important than ever before. How will we know that students are understanding concepts? How can we make learning fun? How can we get students involved with their learning? I think that these questions all lead to interaction and participation. I personally like to design all of my lessons around these participation loaded activities. Some examples include discussions, games, and even online group work. I think that this situation is new to all of us and we shouldn’t be afraid to try new things as we are essentially in new environments. Try using technology to your advantage as well and use these online meeting sites to their full potential. In my own classroom, I have used on-screen tools and annotation functions to get students involved in lessons. Additionally, I know that some sites also allow for you to assign students to online groups where you can moderate them and check in on each one just like you would in a physical classroom.

    Overall, I like the person’s above perspective on treating your online classroom similar to your in-person one. But, I also think that it is very important to change it up. Times are different and we have to think outside of the box and be innovative!

    korhamilton
    Participant
    30 September, 2020 at 9:58
    • Total posts: 2

    Hi Keith!

    Have you tried pair or group work virtually? If so, how did the students react to it?

    korhamilton
    Participant
    30 September, 2020 at 10:00
    • Total posts: 2

    Student Learner/Future Instructor

    Hi all!

    I am currently a student taking courses for my TESOL certification. After reading your post, I found them to be very helpful and informative. As a conversation partner last semester, it was my duty to make virtual learning interesting for English learners at the university. I used https://www.playfactile.com/ to create my own jeopardy with the vocabulary words of that week. I would share my screen on zoom and have the students participate virtually. They loved it. Zoom even gives the option to send and share links for the students to access the game on their own.

    A question that I have for you fellow teachers is if your students have retained their grammar knowledge virtually as they would if inside a real classroom?

    Thank you!

    Keith
    Moderator
    30 September, 2020 at 10:04
    • Total posts: 272

    Hi korhamilton

    Have you tried pair or group work virtually? If so, how did the students react to it?

    As long as you set it up well, it can work. Students normally take a little time to get used to it, but the general reaction is positive!

    Daniel Tanner
    Participant
    15 December, 2020 at 10:14
    • Total posts: 1

    Sharing material

    Hi all,

    I’ve been teaching online now since Feb, mostly on Zoom and Teams. I have loads of material that I’d usually just print out, so I tend to send pdfs to students before the lesson via email or set up a shared google drive folder etc but I miss being able to send material “in the moment”. I know you can send pdfs etc in the chatbox but I’ve found students to be a little frustrated when faced with documents they can’t modify/write on.

    For the last few months I’ve been using something called Thinkio (I know I can’t post links on here, so you might have to do a Google search). Basically it lets you upload pdfs and images etc and share them via a url. Students open it in their browser and it’s instantly interactive thanks to a text and draw tool.

    I’ve found it quite useful so thought you might want to try it if you’re having similar issues.

    All the best and happy teaching!

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