9 Ways to Make Your Online English Lessons Interesting
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If you’ve ever learnt anything – French, calligraphy, karate – you’ll know that a big part of learning is repetition. Repetition, repetition, repetition. (See what we did there?). And, if we’re honest, that can get a little boring at times. Then there’s also the theory behind the skill you are learning, plus the million mistakes you have to make to get it right means that your motivation can hover close to zero quite regularly. Let’s look at some ways to make your online english lessons interesting.
Now, imagine if you were learning that skill online. Online learning means your learning is totally up to you. All the balls are in your court. If you don’t feel like learning, you don’t need to turn on your computer. If you’re feeling a bit unmotivated, you can cancel your lessons without reason and your teacher can’t question you. If you’d rather finish the latest series of 13 Reasons Why on Netflix, nothing’s stopping you.
Ways to Make Your Online English Lessons Interesting
So it’s not surprising that online courses have very low completion rates. And we mean, really low. The average completion for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) is 15%! 15%!
If you’re a student, this isn’t so much a problem – though it might dissuade you from learning online or paying someone to teach you online. If, however, you are an online teacher, this can have drastic consequences. If your students aren’t motivated to attend your lessons, you won’t get paid!
The key is to make sure your online English lessons are interesting and informative as well as educational and engaging. If your students are enjoying their lessons, their motivation levels will be high and they will come back to you for lessons again and again. And the money will come rolling in!
Easier said than done? Maybe, but we’re here to help. Here are 9 ways to make your online lessons interesting.
1. Take off your teacher hat
EFL teachers are a very different kind of teacher; we teach differently. Needless to say, you shouldn’t be lecturing in any classroom but you need to be very careful of overly long explanations and presentations online. It is much more difficult to portray your energy through a screen, which means it’s much easier for students to get bored or distracted. Try not use Powerpoint slides with too much text. Rather break down your lesson into manageable “bite-size” pieces and make sure you use lots of images.
Read more: How to Deal with Zoom Fatigue
2. Step away from the limelight
In online lessons, your students need to be front and centre of the lesson. They need to be doing the brainwork and exerting all the effort. In other words, they cannot sit back and let you do all the talking. You need to constantly be asking questions, eliciting words and ideas, and giving them activities to do. If you are teaching a group class, this is easy to do by including pairwork activities. If you are teaching 1-to-1 you can do this by making your lesson more of a conversation than a lesson.
3. Let’s get personal
Following on from the point above, it’s essential to personalise your lessons to your students in order to get them interested in the lesson. As you get to know your students, find out about their likes and interests. What sport do they enjoy? What music do they listen to? What kind of movies do they watch? Do they enjoy reading? What’s their favourite subject at school? How many people are there in their family? Do they have any pets? Then you can incorporate that information into your lessons.
Read more: 3 Factors Affecting Personalised Learning
4. Adapt to the online setup
Especially if you have experience teaching in a classroom, you’ll need to get used to teaching in the online space. Make sure your activities are suitable for being done on a screen. Reading texts may need to be given for homework or shortened to fit a computer screen. You might need to flip the classroom once in a while to change things up a bit. Pair work and group work may need to be tweaked so that it is manageable, such as through the use of breakout rooms.
5. Use technology
The fact that you’re teaching online should be seen as a blessing rather than a curse. Students love technology. While we complain endlessly about our students being on their phones in the classroom, in the online classroom we already have their attention. The trick is not to try to replicate a physical classroom but to use the tricks available to you online to make your lessons more entertaining. Think video clips, songs and interactive games – YouTube, TedEd and Kahoot.
6. Get physical
This is one for the Young Learner teachers. Being an online teacher can tempt you to stay in your chair the whole lesson. Don’t forget, in a physical classroom there would be opportunities for your students to move around the classroom and mingle with their peers. Online, you need to make sure they move every few minutes to keep their brains awake and active. This can be as simple as getting them to stand up and stretch or jump around, or you could play a game like Simon Says, or do a scavenger hunt in their room.
7. Mix it up
Similarly, you can’t let your online lessons morph into the same lesson day in and day out. Your lessons need to be varied in terms of activities and execution. For example, one lesson you might try flipping the classroom. For the next lesson you could try a webquest. For the next class you could ask your student what they want to learn. This way you students won’t get bored with your lessons because they’ll never know what to expect.
Read more: 3 Ways to Flip Your EFL Classroom
8. Don’t forget the gold stars
We don’t literally mean gold stars – unless you’re teaching Young Learners – but your online lessons need to have goals and rewards integrated into them. The goals shouldn’t be over-ambitious but they should be challenging, or else your students won’t feel proud of themselves when they achieve them. Don’t forget to keep track of these goals, preferably somewhere visible in your background so they will always be on your student’s mind.
9. Be real
Above all, be yourself. Being an online teacher can make you adopt a persona which is not your usual self. This is because you might be more self-conscious than usual or you might not come across as energetic or enthusiastic as you usually do. Try to be as natural as possible so that your students can get to know you. If you are comfortable in your lessons, your students will feel much more comfortable, and you will both enjoy the lesson much more.
So there you have it, 9 ways to make your online english lessons interesting. Just as in any EFL situation, your lessons will be as interesting and entertaining as you make them. Online lessons can be a bit different but there are still many ways you can make sure your students will keep coming back to your virtual classroom.
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Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that Everything TEFL Ltd securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to Everything TEFL Ltd collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think Everything TEFL Ltd has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the Everything TEFL Ltd processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the Everything TEFL Ltd has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, Everything TEFL Ltd is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the Everything TEFL Ltd.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to Everything TEFL Ltd, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
Everything TEFL Ltd
28 – 32 Pembroke Street,
Republic of Ireland
Telephone: +353 (1) 554 6227
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.