Published 23rd May 2021

Online English teacher educating herself reading

No matter where you are on your journey teaching English as a Foreign Language, continuous professional development is important. Popular views on the best way to teach a foreign language change all the time and it’s necessary to keep up to date with the latest research and findings. This is, even more, the case when it comes to teaching English online because it is a relatively new field. Besides, even if you have been teaching English as a Foreign Language for a while, you might be new to teaching online, so you’re probably more than happy to get a few pointers.

As an English teacher, there is a good chance you enjoy reading, but we say, put down your John Grisham and pick up something with a bit more meat to it. Something that will help you in your teaching and ensure you stay on top of your game. So here are 9 books we think will be helpful for online English teachers.

Read more: 5 Tips to Be a Successful Online English Teacher

1. Teaching Online – Nicky Hockly and Lindsey Clandfield

A general book on the topic of teaching English online, this is a great resource for both new and experienced TEFL teachers who are interested in or are starting out teaching online. It has an introduction to the topic, as well as lesson ideas and activities, and a list of helpful resources.

2. The Ultimate Teaching ESL Online Manual: Tools and techniques for successful TEFL classes online – Andromeda Jones

This is the guide for you if you’re thinking of teaching for an online company. Andromeda Jones shares her secrets on how she became a top-rated teacher on a teaching platform in just four months. She gives you tips and techniques on how to start out, how to attract students and how to maintain teaching English as a full-time profitable career. There are also more than fifty pages of pictures, speaking activities and worksheets designed to be used in an online classroom.

3. Become an Online English Teacher: Essential tools, strategies and methodologies for building a successful business – Nestor Kiourtzidis

If, on the other hand, you think you might prefer teaching as an independent teacher, then this is the book you want to read. The book offers an unbiased (ie honest) account of what it’s like being an independent online EFL teacher – the good, the bad and the ugly. It has chapters on finding students, building a blog, and promoting yourself, as well as tools of the trade and getting paid. Plus, it has ideas for resources and ideas for your online lessons.

4. Remote Teaching Tips – British Council

Not so much a book as a guide to teaching online, this helpful resource is free! Over fifty pages of tips and tricks and helpful considerations for the different online teaching situations, you might find yourself in. This is a great starting point if you’re totally new to teaching online and it’ll give you some good points to consider going forward. Head on over to the British Council website to download it.

Books for online English teachers

5. Teaching Unplugged – Luke Meddings, Scott Thornbury

This book is a must for any teacher, but it’s particularly helpful when teaching online. Teaching Unplugged harnesses the theory of Dogme as the basis for its activities. Dogme is a teaching technique that is paperless and low-prep – so you can see why it’s perfect for online teaching! This book offers both a background to the theory, as well as tips, tricks, ideas and activities to help you become more “unplugged” in your lessons. Because these activities are conversation-based, they are flexible and very handy to have up your sleeve for your online lessons. Even if you’re not brave enough to try a totally paperless lesson, they’re very useful activities for when you have a few spare minutes in your lesson.

Read more: Dogme

6. Structuring Fun for Young Language Learners Online – Chris Roland

This one is for the Young Learner teachers. Young Learners are very different language learners to adult learners, and this book will help you understand how best to deal with short attention spans, fun-loving personalities and overwhelming enthusiasm. With lesson ideas and activities, it will help you plan and carry out engaging lessons for Young Learners online.

Read more: How to Engage Young Learners Online

7. Understanding Teenage Language Learners Online – Chris Roland

Teaching teenagers can be challenging at the best of times, and particularly so when it comes to teaching them on their own territory – online! This book gives us advice on how to deliver motivating and engaging online lessons for your teen learners. It gives practical tips and lesson ideas, while also considering online safety and best practice.

8. Interaction Online: Creative activities for blended learning – Lindsay Clandfield and Jill Hadfield

This book contains over 75 activities to use in the classroom. It aims to help teachers incorporate online interaction into classroom learning, which makes the activities perfectly suitable for the online classroom. It gives you helpful ideas on how to use everyday technology within your lessons to encourage interaction and discussion.

9. Oxford English Grammar Course – Michael Swan and Catherine Walter

Not specifically for online teachers but if you’re teaching English as a Foreign Language in any situation you need to brush up on your English grammar! This is a very accessible grammar reference book with simple grammar explanations and online activities. It’s a great book to recommend to your students but it’ll be just as useful to have on your bookshelf.

Teaching English online is a learning curve for most of us. While there are a handful of teachers who have been doing this for years, the majority of us have jumped on the bandwagon only recently due to the current global situation. And now that we’re doing it we realise how great it is! So if you are still considering starting your career as an online English teacher or if you already have some experience with it, these books will no doubt help you improve yourself as a teacher.

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