Five resources that will make you love online English classes
(Para português, clique aqui)
I am confident you have already associated the idea of online English classes with comfort and flexibility. After all, you can study wherever you are without worrying about traveling, right? Well, it turns out there are many other perks an online English course can offer.
Below are five of my favorite resources:
In a f2f class, especially if it's one-to-one, it is very hard for the teacher to take notes on mistakes without creating a distracting/uncomfortable situation to the student. Let's face it: nobody likes to see someone writing down their mistakes at the time they are happening. Therefore, teachers sometimes wind up letting some errors get past, either because it's difficult to remember or because we don't want to affect student fluency. Or worse, we do work on every mistake, but on the spot (interrupting the student), which makes the student lose their train of thought and turns the conversation into an unnatural thing. The screen sharing feature of online classes means the teacher can share anything they want, which means they can choose to share nothing. In a nutshell, it is possible to simply choose when to share only the video and (secretly) note down mistakes to be worked on later in the lesson (one of my students calls this "the black list"), which means we can choose to interrupt the student only when their mistake compromises understanding (much so like what happens in real life). I have found this to really boost my learners' self confidence with speaking: the less I need to interrupt, the more they know they can make themselves understood. Moreover, we can have google open, take a series of photos related to the vocabulary they lacked while talking and have them associate the new words with pictures. This, for visual learners, is wonderful.
Here's an example from a class where my student told me about his car wreck (it was quite a shock!). He shared the me the story in a natural way and we then worked on vocabulary and error correction:
2. The magic board
Best known as eboard/interactive board, it is basically a cross between a regular white board and powerpoint, which means you can write, type, add notes, pictures and new pages, have your logo in the background and anything else you need to make a class interactive and fun regardless of the physical distance.
Here's a snippet from a Travel English class where my A2 student and I revised meals:
(Here are a few ways to have an eboard in class.)
3. Designing an exclusive class space for your students:
Instead of a binder filled with copies and hardcopies of textbooks, you can have exclusive learning/teaching environment. This is great because the classrooms can be named after the student or the goal with English, they can easily be accessed and best of all: it's all organized and visually appealing. I don't understand how some teachers still use google drive folders, email or, frankly, even paper in class.
This is just so much better and definitely takes the concept of personalized English classes to a whole new level.
(Check out some of what I have been doing here.)
4. Google Docs
Google Documents is an upgrade to homework. Both teacher and student can co-edit the file simultaneously, which means the student can have a notebook and the teacher can create fund tasks. I still can't believe there are online teachers sending .pdf and .word files to students, which can not be edited by multiple people at the same time.
Here's an example from a class when I corrected some of my student's homework:
(Here's how I use google docs in class.)
5. Recorded sessions
And last but not least, my favorite feature: the recorder. This is a fabulous resource with can be activated with a click when you have classes online, allowing the entire lesson or parts of it to be immortalized. By using this tool both student and teacher can be on top of the learning progress in a realistic way. This can be a great way to practice conversation, create business presentations to showcase your work or even to create fun self-correction tasks where the student has to take notice of his/her own mistakes.
Not only that. If a student misses a session s/he can even get an e-class: a recorded version of the class with a task to be done. I love doing that when students have a last minute appointment, or when they let me know they are going to be late.
Let's talk about online English classes today!
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