Teaching Exam Preparation Classes
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- Tips & Strategies
It is obvious that in recent years there have been a steady shift to online English teaching.
Yet, it’s impossible to say that online teaching is totally flawless. There are certain issues which arise during the learning process, particularly with classroom management and student organization.
Let’s have a look at such issues and some suggestions on how to deal with them.
When it comes to offline teaching, we can fully see what our students are doing and to which extent they’re engaged in the lesson. However, it’s much trickier with online lessons. How is it possible to control the learners’ actions when you can only see them as floating heads or just their names on the screen?
First of all, we should introduce certain routine which would allow us to check students’ attention and engagement. Here are some examples:
There are several ways to exploit this feature, e.g.: students can notify you when they’ve finished the task with a tick; if an exercise or rule is too complicated, they can use the baffled emoji; the celebration emoji can signify that the student got all the answers right.
Students often find it tempting to switch off their video and get distracted with other things.
It is important to emphasise that online classroom is still a classroom, which means that they should have proper surroundings, use their cameras and reduce all the possible distraction.
Certainly, there are exceptional circumstances, but if students are used to this routine, it will not only increase their engagement, but it will also make continuous assessment easier. Naturally, if you establish the rules, you should stick to them as well.
Normally, we can’t see what page the students are on if they’re using paper textbooks or the files on their personal devices, so ICQs will come in handy, such as ‘What page are you on? Which exercises are we doing?’.
It is a good idea to nominate students who are especially prone to getting distracted when asking ICQs.
Kahoot is a popular one, but if you want to try out something else, consider the following sources:
Have you used any of these resources?
Now let’s talk about online sources which will help you organize your virtual classroom.
Since there is no physical place where you can interact with your students apart from the platform you use for your classes, it is important to provide them with ways to keep in touch with you and with each other. One of the most efficient tools to do this is Google Classroom, where you and your students can post messages, links, and images.
Don’t forget about the classwork function, with the help of which you can assign tasks to your students, set deadlines and give instant feedback. Of course, you can also create a group or channel on social media for even more instant communication.
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Regarding the student organization during classes, we should remember that peer work is also essential. With this in mind, breakout rooms are a solid solution, yet there is one considerable difference from the offline teaching: you can only hear one pair or group at a time. To make our monitoring as efficient as possible, we can come up with a system:
Even though certain benefits of traditional classroom can’t be replaced by online format, we can still enjoy it ourselves and make it enjoyable for our students if we keep an open mind about it. Don’t be afraid to experiment with numerous online resources and pick your favourite ones — and rest assured that teaching online can be as fun and productive as offline.