Many teachers were forced to adapt to teaching their students online, or are new to ESL online teaching and are struggling to cope with the change, especially on how to teach younger learners. Let’s look at ten essential skills and tips on how to teach kids online:
You need to get your learners’ attention. So instead of a dull background, make it fun and entertaining. Keeping them focused is easier if you have props around you. Stimulate their curiosity and participation with toys, puppets, or flashcards. Use anything you can to make your classroom exciting and colorful. The following video is all about using props online.
Keep your lessons simple. Most teachers try and over-complicate their lessons because they don’t think it is enough information. Remember, these are young children and on a low level. Take it slow and make sure they understand the basics. There should only be one point of focus per lesson. Only do one grammar point at a time and don’t try to push too much vocabulary on them, but make sure they learn and use the few words you share.
Video takes away 20% of your energy. Smile, be expressive with your emotions; be energetic and excited. Vary your voice and use it as a tool to keep them engaged.
Always incorporate fun activities into the lesson. For example, Scavenger hunt: Tell them to find things in their houses. Something red, blue, starting with the letter A, a fruit or a shoe. Pick up three objects and tell a story using those items. Be creative ideas by simply look in their environment.
Teaching online does not mean that the students cannot respond with body movements. Get them to stand up and do yoga poses, or act out words and sentences. Play charades – send them a private message with a word they have to explain. Ask yes or no questions – Pizza or cake; blue or red? Let them touch the screen, or move their heads to the left side, to the right side; look up, look down. Do you like Shrek or Iron man? Let them stand up during the class, repeat words while they are in different positions – The ideas are endless.
Use multimedia. Most textbooks have an e-book format which you can use on your computer with the share screen function. Play audio clips and create chants. Chants have been one of the staples of teaching English to young learners. So play a song and create movements that they can copy. They will have so much fun doing it.
Always get your students talking. Ask them questions, let them explain themselves. The less you talk the better your class will be. Cut down on teacher talking time. Keep it at the back of your mind that you want them to talk. That will also train your students to be more responsive during class.
Many ESL online classes are one-on-one or with small numbers. Get to know the students. Talk about their family, ask them about their lives. Let them share their hobbies and who they are. They will love you for it. I like to do show-and-tell with my learners. What is your favorite toy? Tell me about it? Where did you get it?
Always have a routine. Have a little fun to start class and set a positive atmosphere. By raising their excitement at the beginning of class they will be more engaged in the lesson. At the end, finish on a high and a quick review of the lesson. Thank them for their time. Students often only remember the way you made them feel at the end, so when they come back for the next lesson they will be excited to meet you.
Praise your students often and never discourage them when they make a mistake. Correct in a subtle manner. You want them to enjoy your classes, to look forward to it. Nobody wants to join a class where they don’t feel loved. Make them all feel special.
Teaching online is the evolution of education, if you don’t want to be left behind, you need to adapt and become better at teaching remotely. If you want to learn more about how to teach online with Zoom: You can watch this video: