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Best Online Methods for Teaching English Abroad

11.55, 08.11.2022 . Aktualizacja: 12.04, 08.11.2022
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Teaching English online is a great way to earn money while you travel the world since the job is accessible to anyone and still quite flexible. Besides providing you with an income, teaching English abroad is mostly just a great way to further your own personal development. You’ll meet new people, learn new languages, and get introduced to new cultures and ways of living. By teaching English online, you build experience for your resume and you earn an income to fund your adventures abroad.

Do you like the idea of teaching English Abroad? Then read further for tips on the best online methods for teaching English abroad. TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and a TEFL-certification proves you are proficient enough in English to teach it to other people. So can you teach English online abroad? Yes! Or at least, if your passport is in order. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need an English or teaching degree to do it. It does help if you have a degree, but most schools and online teaching platforms ask for a TEFL-certification.

Teaching online can be a bit more challenging than teaching in front of a class. There is a risk of less interaction if you don’t involve your students enough and human contact is limited through the screen. However, here are some methods to improve your online English teaching.

Plan ahead

Just like in a normal classroom, it is necessary to plan ahead your lessons and be prepared. If you want, you could use a lesson plan template for each lesson to fill in what you’ll be teaching and what you need for that. You could even share that lesson plan with your students beforehand, so they are also prepared for the upcoming lesson.

Teaching online also has some practical challenges. Make sure that all the needed material is easily accessible to your students. For example, you can set up a Google Drive or DropBox to share files. Some schools have their own platform, so familiarize yourself with that so you know how it works and be prepared for questions from your students.

Crucially, a stable internet connection is a must. If you don’t have a good internet connection, teaching online, especially with video, will be so much harder. When you are traveling, whether you are constantly on the move or staying somewhere for a longer period of time, you must always make sure your accommodation has proper internet. The problem with hotel internet is that it is unsecure and not always reliable. Homestays and Airbnb’s are much more reliable in that regard.

Presentation

Providing good presentations is essential to any lesson. Presentations are especially helpful for students who are visual learners. It is also the best way of grabbing the attention of your students. Having something to look at and read for themselves is much more interesting than when a teacher is simply relaying information out of a textbook.

You can be as creative if you want with your presentation, but there are some guidelines to what makes a good presentation (and what to avoid!). First of all: keep it simple. Use key points and important definitions, but leave the details of the story out of the presentation. In this way, the students can read the important parts on their own, but they still need you to fill in the gaps.

The best part about a presentation is that you can use visual aids. Videos and photos are welcome in presentations and break up the structure of your lessons to keep the students engaged. Using visual aids or props is also unexpected, thus making it more likely that students will remember it. You can make presentations with Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides, or SlideShare.

As for the graphic side of a presentation, here are some ground rules to consider:

  • Use a calm, minimalistic background
  • Don’t put entire blocks of text in a slide
  • Be consistent with colors and fonts
  • Aim for max 6 to 8 lines of text per slide
  • Work with bullet points to keep it structured

Game-based teaching

Gamification has always been big in the teaching industry and it is especially helpful with online teaching. Using games as a teaching method improves student engagement and better retains their attention. It also helps students relax and reduces anxiety, because students are having fun.

So how do you introduce games into your lessons? There are several ways. If you have a regular class, you can set up a point system or leaderboard for students to compete with each other. Be mindful you don’t create too much competition, though, because that would be detrimental for the overall atmosphere in the class.

You can also use actual games in your lessons. Duolingo and Kahoot! are probably the most popular games used in classrooms. Duolingo is a language learning app where students can learn languages through stories and play. The app itself has some built-in competition between friends and leagues. Duolingo is especially helpful outside of the classroom, for example as part of daily homework. Kahoot is another game-based learning platform that is popular among teachers. You can set up quizzes or play actual games. The games can be team vs team or player vs player. All games require the correct answer to a certain question, so that is the educational part of the platform.

Pre-record or live sessions?

When teaching English online, you face the question whether you want to pre-record your lessons or do live sessions. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and it might be worth it to try a little of each.

Pre-recorded sessions have the advantage that students can rewatch them whenever they want. You don’t have to worry about internet connections or time-zones as students can log on whenever they want. The disadvantage is that pre-recorded sessions are way less engaging for students. They’re just watching a video, and distractions are nearby if they are already on a computer.

The advantage of live sessions is the interactions with your students. You can ask questions, play games, and let them explain concepts to their fellow students. Interaction is an important part of the learning process, and that is something that is much easier with a live session. The disadvantage is that it takes more effort and you have to be more careful about practical things like having a good internet connection and time-zones.

A good solution is recording your live sessions. This way, you have all the advantages of a live session and students can rewatch the lesson whenever they want.

Testing

Test and grading assignments might look more difficult online, but they don’t have to be. It’s important for students to know if they understand the material or not, and tests or grading assignments are the best way to do it. Having them do assignments that they have to turn in is pretty much the same online as on paper, but tests can be a bit more difficult to organize.

Having your students do the test live with their camera on gives you more control and prevents cheating. Some programs also allow you to take random screenshots of your students' screens so you can check whether or not they are researching information on the internet. Another great way of taking tests without cheating is taking them orally. Some students might be more scared for oral exams, but oral exams or presentations are things we all have to do in life, so the earlier you start, the sooner you get comfortable. Oral tests are especially handy when teaching English since speaking is such an important part of learning a language.

Conclusion

Teaching English online is an excellent way to fund your travels so you don’t break the bank as you travel the world and it is much easier than you would have thought.

However, teaching online does have its own set of challenges. Luckily, there are some tips to make it easier. Preparation is half the work, so make sure you prepare your lessons and be ready for questions. Also make sure you have a steady internet connection.

Secondly, a presentation goes a long way. It’s a great way to help visual learners and it makes it easier for you to pick up the lesson in case you get sidetracked by a question. Thirdly, game-based learning is an excellent way to increase student retention and keep them engaged with the lessons. Duolingo and Kahoot are two popular educational platforms that teach through games and competitions.

Also don’t forget to think about pre-recorded lessons or live sessions. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Lastly, online lessons also need tests and grading assignments. Students need to know what they are good at and what needs a little more work, and tests are the best way to provide that kind of feedback.

Sources:
https://www.tefl.org/teach-english-abroad/
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/does-travel-really-lead-to-empathy
https://legio24.pl/pl/715_o-tym-sie-mowi/118079_nowy-rejestr-dokumentow-paszportowych-bedzie-kilka-dni-utrudnien.html

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