How Online Education Is Changing The Global Ecosystem And if you're a teacher looking to transition to online teaching, here's what you should know...
Technology has had a critical effect on the way we do almost everything.
For example, it has changed how we shop, interact, behave, get our news, and even learn.
One area where technology has been especially unique is regarding education–from our local brick and mortar classrooms to working with international students across the globe in digital classrooms.
Today, we have greater accessibility to higher education, learning a new language, and connecting with students around the world.
Because of this technological accessibility, students who live in countries without native English speakers can now take advantage of learning from native English teachers, while still receiving the education they need in their home countries.
If you’re a teacher in the States and may be considering a change to teaching online, here are five tips as well as benefits to help you transition.
1. Choose the right online teaching experience
One concern regarding online learning is about student and teacher interaction. In some classes, students don’t get the face-to-face interaction they may get in a traditional classroom.
The connection between teacher and student is crucial but can be lost depending on the type of digital classroom setup.
However, this isn’t always the case. For example, the teachers who work for HAWO American Academy work with students who live in China, and teach in live, real-time classrooms where they can see and talk with each other.
Also, students can take the lessons they’ve learned in their online classes and apply them to real-life scenarios, which is ultimately the goal of acquiring language skills.
2. Look forward to less stress for both teachers and students
Many ESL students can feel nervous about attending classes in the traditional classroom. They can be afraid of communicating in the wrong way, making a mistake, and feeling left out due to the language barriers. Since online courses don’t always require students to sit together in one room, their stress levels may be reduced. For example, they don’t have to worry about what their peers think of them, their educational progress, language development, assimilation or pronunciation.
3. Create unique relationships with teachers
There can be many constraints when it comes to providing individualized attention students need in a live classroom setting–especially for the ESL learner. This challenge can also be somewhat tricky in online or digital classes. However, relationships across borders have unique characteristics when it comes to the way students and educators interact with each other. Culture and communication can play critical roles.
Students can message teachers, receive feedback, and can connect reasonably quickly outside of lessons. This instant communication can help students to improve their language skills while building confidence.
4. Performance can be different
Online classes can be more useful for some students. For some, they may perform better than students in a traditional classroom setting. There are a few reasons for potential growth. First, the relationship between student and teacher can be more responsive. Also, students can learn freely without worrying about judgment from their peers. Finally, students can have more control over their education from timing to convenience in an online setting.
5. Students and teachers can discover more independence
For teachers and students to be successful in an online or digital classroom, teachers need to know how to work independently while still motivating their students. Fortunately, many students who choose this type of learning are self-starters who can excel at their own pace. If students are young learners from other countries, having a family to support their learning experience is key to a successful online classroom. Online classrooms are growing in popularity because they can allow students to learn at their own pace. Not everyone can attend a brick and mortar classroom. Therefore, having the ability to participate in these unique online learning courses can provide students with better opportunities for growth in ways they may not have ever had even ten years ago.
Here are some tips from teachers at HAWO American Academy who teach in an online, live environment.
John L: Take time to transition.
Elena S: If you struggle with technology, most teachers have back up computers and wi-fi equipment in case of outages that are out of our control.
Annika M: Find ways to be interactive and fun when you can only use partial body language (like your hands). Make sure your ESL students are engaging with their whole bodies.
Michelle D: Consistently create meaningful discussions with your students. Understand that classroom management is different in an online setting. For example, students can get up and leave the virtual classroom. They can turn off the mic and video. It’s essential to remember to remain in charge. Also, online learning can be more of a customer-based service, rather than your typical classrooms found in the States.
What are your suggestions?