“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” -Nelson Mandela
If you have ever tried to teach language online, you know it can be one of the most challenging ways to teach. Learning a language must be accomplished with patience and more importantly teaching languages should be handled in an even more patient and proficient manner. To achieve the same, some strategies need to be followed, and this will definitely lead to a successful online language teaching career.
With many people working as an online language teacher, the competition is fierce and one of the ways to succeed is by being prepared, and the level of preparedness has to be as high as possible. The following tips are best practices when you teach languages online.
In-depth Knowledge of the Grammar
Every language has some basic rules of grammar associated with it and profound knowledge of these rules is a prerequisite to a successful online language teaching career. Apart from this, the organization of these concepts has to be even more clear so that the students can understand them in a sequential manner from the basics to the more advanced grammatical concepts. This will define the level of understanding you have of the subject and how easy it is for the students to understand. The more ordered the theory is, the better it is for the easy and smooth flow of the course. Hence the in-depth knowledge of grammar definitely boosts the process of online language teaching.
Online language teaching and learning languages online can be isolating at times. When most students think of learning online, they tend to attend endless online lectures, and probably switch teachers regularly. Their teacher merely delivers the lectures and simply hands out grades and periodically answers emails.
Great online foreign language teachers find creative ways to make online language courses interactive. Learning to speak a foreign language requires dialogue, and you have to get creative to figure out how to create opportunities for language dialogue in an online environment. This has to be accomplished by one-on-one interaction with the students. Creativity is especially important considering that the students may belong to different time zones. In order to avoid making students watch recorded lectures very frequently, scheduling of classes has to be done wisely so that different time zones do not disturb the normal functioning of live classes. These online sessions with your students should be set up to give them a chance to practice having conversations in the foreign language and to check on their fluency in the language.
Regular Practice Tests
Teachers should prepare online practice assignments regularly which can either be weekly tests biweekly or maybe monthly. Having regular tests will help both parties in several ways. First, the teachers will have a clear idea and detailed analysis of the performance of each student, which will determine the topics that need to be reviewed. Second, it will help the teacher recognize the students lagging behind who need more individual help. Third, the students will get an idea of their weak areas and can put more time into practicing those skills.
In addition to written tests, oral tests should be regularly conducted to keep a check on the progress of the student’s fluency. The teachers need to track students’ progress – both during class and throughout their course. Have students present their own ideas to the class using their webcams and give them feedback on their oral presentation.
Scheduling Timely Troubleshooting Classes
Clearing up the doubts that students have plays a vital role in firming up the foundational basics of the language. These troubleshooting sessions are important for the students to have a clear picture of the language, and this ultimately will make them understand the concepts more fully. Learning a language online will not be as easy of a task as it seems to be unless all the students’ questions have been answered. Thus, scheduling timely troubleshooting classes is mandatory since a small doubt if not answered now may lead to a bigger doubt in the future.
Look for Ways to Make it Fun and Easy
A teacher’s experience of an online course is not usually fun because of the isolation associated with it and probably the same is the case for the students. So, irrespective of the age level being taught, teachers have to find ways to make the experience fun for the students. Depending on the teaching situation, the teacher may want to set up a few sessions at different times during the week to meet the needs of students. If they are going to learn a foreign language, they need as many opportunities to practice as the teacher can give them. Creating additional options for synchronous learning opportunities should be high on the teacher’s priority list.
Recognizing Exemplary Scholars
Recognizing exemplary scholars of the language adds value to the language class and makes the learning process even more interesting. Every language has some great scholars and their literary works associated with them. This can be well understood by someone who is learning the English language, who would have definitely come across William Shakespeare’s plays or some of his famous quotes. Recognizing such great scholars enhances teachers’ profile and let students connect with some of the greatest writers of the language.
Thus, becoming a great online language teacher requires an amalgamation of the aforementioned tips. The most successful online language teachers are those that allow their passion to maintain spontaneity. It also gets students to see them as an individual and not just virtual teachers. Teachers can even share their personal experiences with the language to encourage students to try using it in real-life. If you would like to become a successful online teacher with CORE Languages, apply now!