When teaching young students online, particularly if they are beginners to the language or new to your classroom, it’s typical for parents to sit and watch. Often times, these parents will scrupulously dissect your lesson and leave pretty strong feedback. The expectations are high, and you are expected to deliver. Certain elements of teaching should go without saying and be inherently understood, such as a commitment to professionalism and being on time. It should be considered common sense to act courteously, refraining from yelling, aggressive behavior, and giving excessively negative feedback and reprimands. Dress should be modest and not distracting, and personal upkeep is important, as well. While it might seem like a huge bonus to wear your pajama bottoms while working through a computer screen, it’s important to project the impression that you’ve prepared for class and not just rolled out of bed- fixing your hair, wearing a plain top, etc.. Being on time should also go without being said, just like with any other job. However, there are some common complaints from parents that new online ESL teachers might be unaware of. Avoiding certain behaviors will make your ratings higher and your schedule more bountiful, which is good for everyone, right?
Golden Voice English (GVE) is a Toronto based company that teaches online English lessons to Chinese elementary students across grades one to nine. GVE offers a range of packages for students to meet online with a regular tutor between one and five times per week. We have created engaging and interactive lessons that are based on the Chinese government mandated English curriculum. All curriculum, including powerpoint presentations and lesson plans, are created in GVE’s Toronto office by a talented team of Chinese and Canadian education experts.
GVE is part of a growing industry of online English education programs that are available to Chinese elementary students. Three important factors make GVE a particularly unique and desirable company for ESL teachers seeking new tutoring opportunities:
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The FCE Oxford Press textbook acts as a good guide for teaching each topic, but it is not necessarily something to be depended on to engage your students. The activities presented in the textbook are often dry and lack excitement. Many of the topics are often outdated as well so teachers must find more modern and up-to-date material to work with. If we put ourselves in our students’ shoes, who really wants to sit in a chair staring at a textbook for 4-5 hours?! Here are a few ways you can supplement the FCE textbook with fun and engaging activities.
About the author: Clare Esler completed the 120-hour TESOL Certificate Course and a 20-hour Practicum
Learning to communicate in English has become a necessary skill in the modern world. Many adults who have not practiced English since their school days are returning to the classroom in order to advance in their careers or make the move to an English speaking country. Others, who did not receive formal English education during childhood, are making the independent step toward learning it for the first time. While learning a language can certainly be deemed more challenging as an adult, having low literacy in one’s own language undoubtedly adds to the difficulty, as is the case with many vulnerable populations who now rely on learning English to integrate into a new society.
Teachers who take on the task of teaching English to refugee children put themselves into a very unique situation, facing challenges that they would probably never be exposed to otherwise. Unlike the average ESL classroom, this environment demands a variety of special considerations that can have much bigger and more permanent consequences on the individuals concerned. One major fact to consider is the likelihood that the children have experienced an interruption not only in their lives but also in their education, if they had one previously. It is important to find out as much background information about your students as you can, as assumptions just won’t cut it here. Never receiving a formal education is a concept that most Westerns cannot truly understand, but it is an unfortunate reality that occurs in many other places in the world. Imagine attending a lesson for the first time- and it’s in a foreign language. It’s a lot to digest and is certainly high on the list considerations teachers must make.
The reasons for having a textbook can be varied; maybe it was chosen by the Director of Studies or maybe you, as a teacher, insisted on having a textbook for the class. Whatever the reason, it is adamant that teachers are aware that the textbook is not ‘the be all and end all’ of your class. This article explains some of the advantages and disadvantages for using a textbook in the ESL classroom, and shows solutions for using textbooks effectively.
Business English students have a high level of English and require lessons for a specific purpose. With this in mind, it is vital for teachers to find out what the students’ needs are as early as possible, preferably before we even start teaching. The best way to do this is to conduct a thorough needs analysis.
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Every year in school, my class would have that one student- the one who never raised his hand, preferring to sink lower and lower into his seat behind the propped up textbook. As I grew older and transitioned from sitting behind my student desk to standing in front of the board, this scene did not change very much. Now, imagine that you are the shy student and, to add to that, the class is being conducted in a foreign language. Seems fair to characterize it as at least mildly intimidating, right? Shyness is a composition of emotions, ranging from fear, apprehension, and embarrassment, often manifesting itself as self-consciousness. More often than not, an ESL class will have one student who is less keen to participate. I’ve found that this is only exacerbated as the group grows larger, allowing the student to retreat into anonymity. When you are inevitably faced with this common challenge, there are a few ways to gently encourage (never ‘push’) your shy student to come out of his/her shell.
Kids are typically a lot easier to engage than adults. Even the shyest kids can usually be persuaded to participate and feel more relaxed through edutainment. Children are naturally less inhibited than adults, as they haven’t had years of experience moulding them to feel embarrassed at not knowing something or trying new things. As adults, most of us understand the dread of feeling and/or appearing incompetent amongst our peers. While these feelings are normal, they are intensified for a person coming from a culture that puts a strong negative connotation on shame. There are many countries and cultures, particularly in parts of Asia, that have a strong outlook on shame and embarrassment. This starts in childhood at school and is only exacerbated into adulthood. Looking ‘foolish’ is deemed quite disgraceful; with such a huge load of pressure, it’s unsurprising that some adults may lack confidence to put themselves out there in the classroom. Dealing with shy adult learners adds another layer of challenge to a teacher’s job, as it might feel awkward for you to try to engage them. Understandably, you don’t want to come off as forceful or disrespectful, especially when your students are older than you. I’ve encountered this predicament time and time again through my own teaching experiences as well as through discussions with other teachers, and wanted to offer a few suggestions to set your shy adult students up for success.