5 Ways Online Teachers Can Connect With Their International Students
Online education provides a plethora of opportunities to learn about a variety of topics from anywhere in the world. As an online instructor, it can be a challenge to work with students from a variety of countries because of communication barriers and differences in time zones.
This article highlights five ways international online teachers can connect with online students. Also, this piece will provide examples of how the leading online language school 51Talk goes above and beyond to make these connections personal and long-lasting.
To begin building these bridges, online educators should have the following in their education tool-box.
1. Bio Summary: Teachers should have a short biography of themselves on their landing pages. Adult students should provide background information for their teachers. Personal landing pages are essential so teachers can share information, and students can get to know them better. A short bio and a photo go a long way.
2. Open Talk Opportunities: Teachers can create discussion forums where students can interact with their educators and other students in a relaxed manner. A free talk forum can give students, both international and domestic a safe space to practice their learning skills, and build chemistry among groups.
3. Provide Individualized Feedback: All students need personal feedback. When providing comments, teachers should take into account student background experiences, and learn about the cultural differences. Understanding student perspectives will help students learn better, and will make teachers more approachable.
4. Stay Connected and Take Notes: Teachers should track student interactions, primarily when working in different time zones. Keeping track of student interaction, taking notes, and remembering small things will build a strong rapport. Also, by maintaining records, teachers will know when to expect communication from international students.
Also, when teachers keep records, they can become more aware of how often students communicate and see how behavior differentiates among cultures.
By learning and paying attention to differences in behavior, teachers can begin to notice a pattern of cultural traits and act accordingly-which leads to compassion.
Also, by providing structure and keeping notes, this will show students that their teachers care about them. Compassion is especially important when there is no face-to-face or synchronous communication between instructors and students.
Patience and active listening are also essential for students to find success in an online and international classroom.
5. Build Unique Activities: If possible, teachers should incorporate more than individual feedback into the course curriculum.
For example, when educators work with a group class, they can provide team activities which can provide a level of comfort for students who may not like one-on-one encounters.
For international students, it is also essential to help students work together when possible. Also, different groupings allow for students to ask their peers questions, especially when they may not fully understand their instructors just yet.
Building positive team chemistry among online teachers is just as important as making one-on-one relationships outside of the classroom. These powerful connections reinforce each other, help students learn better, and make the teaching experience more enjoyable.
Online learning can provide an excellent opportunity for teachers to broaden their skills, learn about new cultures, and make for global connections that can last a lifetime.
This article has shown some practices teachers can use in an online, international classroom. Once educators and students create purposeful bonds, teachers and students can move forward and connect in so many more ways.
Having acquired many of the skills and goals mentioned above, the teachers and students at 51Talk recently came together in different ways to show their appreciation for each other during the holiday season.
After meeting all of the logistical and academic needs suggested above, your international school can become a place where students and teachers make tangible and meaningful connections.
Take a look at how 51Talk celebrated the holidays this season-from across the ocean and into their homes.
One teacher from 51Talk, Catherine Smith, knew that even though the North American teachers were located in many different states, she knew she could create a montage Christmas video that showcased the Christmas spirit. She enlisted the help of another educator, Kristyn Marshall, who helped her collect videos.
Each teacher was assigned 7 to 10 seconds to perform based off of Justin Bieber’s song, Santa Clause Comes to Town, and Jingle Bell Rock. The teachers were able to watch the video portion and then reenact based on what they saw. They were also challenged to be creative and have fun. Smith then took the clips made by the North American Teachers, and put them together to create engaging videos for their students.
And thank you to Yeshi from 51Talk who created this adorable video from the students in China for their teachers here in the States.
The following is a list of teachers who participated and played an incredible part in this project in one way or another.
Red Team Educators
Beau Danner, Kelly NotKel Mullins, Crystal Green, Adela Tamayo, Susan Mabee, Deb Frabasilio- Khosla, Sara Kocab-Redmon, Dana Schollar, Alicia Reyes, Susan Hawkins Shely, Kim Oliver- Grzesek, Rigel Reyes, Hermann Rojas, Luiza Campos, Violeta Talavera, Jose Carlos, Michael Horan, Jhanelle Alleyne, Helen Maureen, Luis Ricardo Orrantia, Catherine Becka, Rachel Padilla, Daniel Gutierrez, Catrina Sanchez, Carol Dawson Sanford, Jason Harris, Kristin CB, and Ian Reed.
Green Team Educators
Heather Ostipwko Penn, Rebecca Crutchfield, Annette Jone, Christin Pearson, Kristy Brown, Kathleen Giralt, Lisa Pinkis Calvert, Lemmon Dempsey, Kelly Carson Fowler, Susan Von Balson Cox, Angela Blinn Keller, Diana Keown Foxworthy, Ashley James, Carolyne Cheriyan, Timothy Daly, Michael Donohue, Jenn Ferrari, FaeLois J Lumauag, Christopher Murray, Taylor Ashton Bruenning, Juliette Robinson, Carmen Kelly Cox, Bree Spafford, Maria Wenilyn Cacho Austria, Sarah Griego, Laura Cimmino, Lynn Fisher Hauth, Jana Barfield, Jana Donaldson Heckel, Carli Mitchner, Shelby Lynn Retsoor, Shanawar Afghan, Virginia M Mann, and Kristyn Marshall.