5 Tips for Becoming a Great Online Language Teacher

"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

Online Language Teaching is one of the most challenging things to be a part of. Learning a language has to be accomplished with utmost patience and more importantly teaching language has to 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 teachers, 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. Apart from this high level of preparation, the following tips have to be kept in mind in order to boost your online language teaching career.

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 right from the basics to the advanced ones. 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 inline language teaching.

Interactive Learning

Online teaching and learning 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. Apart from this online sessions with your students can 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 or fortnightly or maybe monthly. This will help both parties in some way: firstly, the teachers will have a clear idea and detailed analysis of the performance of each student which will help find the topics that have to be re-explained to the students and also distinguish the students lacking behind and specifically focus on them; secondly, the students also can get an idea of their weak areas and put in extra efforts to make sure that these assignments are fun to do and learning a language is made as much easy as possible. Apart from this, speaking sessions are also equally important, and oral tests should be regularly conducted to keep a check on the fluency of the student. 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 offer them progress tests through online forms and writing assignments.

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Scheduling timely doubt classes

Clearing the doubts of the students plays a vital role in building up the basics of the language, hence only teaching doesn't suffice. Doubt sessions are equally important for the students to have a clear picture of the language and this ultimately will make them understand in a better way. Learning a language online is not as easy a task as it seems to be unless all the doubts have been answered. Thus, scheduling timely doubt 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 to do the task because of the isolation associated with it and probably the same is the case with 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. Apart from this additional options to create synchronous learning opportunities for the students must be looked out for.

Stating Exemplary Scholars

Stating exemplary scholars of the language adds value to the language 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 Drama or some of his famous quotations. Stating 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 mentioned tips. The most successful online language teachers are those that allow their passion to maintain spontaneity. It also gets students to see themselves 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.

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Contributed by:
Balpreet Brar
Chester Ammons