Tips for teaching groups of learners on Skype

Do teachers need to be in the room in order to effectively deliver a lesson to a group of students? This is not the case, according to Nathan Lomax, who is teaching Libyan teachers in the UK via Skype using local trainers. Here are his best practices in teaching a class using the computer.

Without the visual cues when teaching in a face-to -face setting, it’s difficult for the instructor to form spontaneous judgments from the moods of the class or respond to student’s individual needs. Nevertheless, with careful planning and activities that are centered around students it’s possible to give interesting and engaging classes to large groups of students using Skype . My experience has been teaching classes online TKT (Teaching Knowledge Test) courses through British Council. British Council. Here are the tips I have to teach groups of learners online.

Keep instructions simple

In the event that there is no way to tell how reliable the internet will be and there is a possibility of power outages, it’s essential to provide detailed and concise instructions for every part of the lesson plan and especially for local trainers on the ground, who are responsible of facilitating the class. They could need to be aware of the best way to carry out activities when the internet connection is disconnected.

One of the advantages of trimming down oral instructions is that it will encourage you to limit your teacher’s chat time (TTT) -something that all instructors of language do often.

Make sure you are aware of learners’ needs and issues

It’s often a good idea to hold a short preparatory meeting with local trainers so that you can talk through any confusing explanations with them.read about it click here from Our Articles Be prepared, however, for some things to be confused and always going as planned. Some activities may take longer more than expected as it’s difficult to explain what students are supposed to do from afar.

The culture that is prevalent, trainers from the local community may exaggerate their teaching methods and may be reluctant to relinquish control to the students. Then, at the end of the course However, they’ve usually got used to the idea of facilitating, instead of leading the class.

Be social and have fun.

Like in a traditional classroom , it’s a good idea to include warmers and ice-breakers at the beginning of each class, like exercises, surveys, or role plays. Also, you can include entire-class mingling exercises (onestopenglish is a great site to find these). The students are eager to interact!

We all know that book content can be dry and require some tweaking in order to make them more relevant and centered on the needs of the learner. My method is to transform texts from the manual into different dictation styles (running through, group, back to back) and also displaying the text on the walls for students to walk around and discuss. If you’re lucky enough to have a few wonderful helpers in the field (as I have in Libya) they’ll be able to help in the preparation of the teaching materials for these tasks (photocopying making chopping boards, cutting and placing things around the room) prior to the time of.

Inspire a lively and energetic environment

If you’re in the other end of the globe, that isn’t an excuse to not inject some energy into the classroom. Students of all ages, young and oldalike, enjoy the competitive nature of games and other activities. I’ve discovered that miming and games such as backs to the board or board slap are the most popular. The competitive element can keep learners engaged and focused. Smaller groups may also create games for themselves in line with the content of the course.

Help learners with classroom management

One of the issues of not being present The other challenge is the task of ‘policing’ these activities (which can get quite intense sometimes). This is usually done by local trainers as well as volunteer students, who can take care of the classroom management. If you’re actually training local teachers, you’ll also be helping them develop classroom management abilities.

Explore the technology

If you’re looking to teach over the internet It is essential to become aware of the options at your choices. One of the most effective is the “share screens” feature in Skype it allows you to share anything that you’ve got on your computer, such as flashcards, instructions or games such as Blockbusters that are displayed in PowerPoint. If your class uses the projector to communicate with you, then the desktop transforms into an interactive whiteboard when you use the share feature.

Be ready for the possibility of hiccups, and, as far as is possible, have things set beforehand, so that the lesson isn’t taken up fixing the microphone and focusing the projector and so on.

Find innovative ways to give feedback

Even though teaching via remote makes it difficult to track individual and group activities in person, it’s still possible to give feedback on the progress of learners. Edmodo can be a fantastic tool to meet with students either on a one-to-one or group basis, and to allow students to work together on assignments and offer feedback to each other. It’s a secure and safe means to interact with others and a good alternative to Facebook, especially if you would rather not be bombarded with requests for friends.

Summing up

If the lessons are planned properly, with lots of enjoyable activities along with good instructors on the ground, it doesn’t seem to matter whether the trainer is active or not. In fact, as long as the guidelines are well-written, the lack of the trainer can make activities more student-centered.

I would recommend online training to anyone, as long as you’ve got patience for technical glitches. If they can be sorted out, the future of online training looks great.

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