A group of teachers got together to share ideas about online English teaching activities to try. We also discussed tools and tips for making our lessons more engaging and dynamic. We had some fun experiencing different learning interactions and began with trying a listening activity ourselves. It reminded us what it feels like to be our students. One of the fundamental things about teaching online remains as always: to underpin our lessons, stages, and activities with solid pedagogy that is taught on courses such as the CELTA or Trinity Cert TESOL
Online English teaching activities: A double viewing
The video to follow is like a double helix! On one level we have the activities and ideas that we are sharing as part of the presentation. On another level is the observation of the online workshop itself as it unfolded.
Observing an online lesson is invaluable. We do this as part of professional development at school – we go and observe our colleagues teaching. When we participate in online webinars and workshops, we can get a feel for what our students are experiencing and adjust our own online teaching practice. So take the same approach the next time you take part in an online workshop.
Links for References made in the video
Teaching English Online: Activities for the Online Classroom
An alternative platform if you are having trouble with youtube: https://vimeo.com/419974330
Things to consider about your online English lessons
The next time you participate in an online workshop yourself, reflect, and consider your answers to the following questions:
Was there a variety of pace during the online lesson?
When do I feel myself drifting away from the session? What is happening? Why is this affecting my concentration?
Did the teacher give me enough time to process information? Was it too fast or too slow-moving from one stage of the lesson/workshop to the next?
Did the session go too long? Or was the length about right?
How much distraction is there in online English teaching?
What else is happening around me that distracts me? Other open apps? My phone? Noise and movement in the room?
Did I miss any instructions? How did my teacher bring me back into focus effectively? How did they check instructions with me?
Was I prepared for being “ON” online?
Did I feel prepared before the workshop/lesson? Had I been told in advance what I needed to have ready? What windows, apps, or documents I needed to have open? Did I feel nervous about being online with others watching me in my little box? Did this affect my participation in the workshop?
What was the presentation like of my online workshop or lesson?
Where was the presenter sitting? What was behind them? Was there anything distracting, disconcerting? Did the presenter/teacher look professional? Does this matter if they are at home?
Did the teacher/presenter sit too close to the screen so you couldn’t see their hand actions or flashcards, but you could see their nasal hair?
Were slides simple, clear, and easy to follow? Were they necessary or a distraction? Did they aid me with helping me focus and support what was being said?
How was technical failure handled in my online lesson?
If things went wrong with tech, for example, the video was buffering too much, or the audio was cutting in and out, how did the teacher/presenter react? Did they have a plan B?
Was I engaged during my online class/workshop?
In what ways were you actively engaged through break out rooms, chats, writing your own notes, reading, listening, and speaking? Or was this workshop like a webinar where you could wander off and put the kettle on for a cup of tea and no one would notice?