The vital key to successful online lessons is to have proper lesson plans. Remember that online lessons are very different from face-to-face lessons, because your body language is limited for your student. They cannot rely on body language to pick up your meaning, although some will come across over video calling. Also, online lessons should be limited to 30 minutes as the lessons are very intensive and students can become tired and lose interest.
So how do you fit everything into 30 minutes? You split the lessons into three parts – before, during and after.
Let's say for example that you and your student have a lesson once a week. In the days preceding the next lesson, send them some material to either watch, listen to, read over, or complete, but keep in mind that most people who do online lessons are busy and may not always have time to complete the assignment. To avoid making the student feel uncomfortable about continuing, make sure that the lessons do not rely solely on the student having done the preparation. All lessons are supposed to be fun and engaging and this is particularly important for online lessons.
For the actual lesson, go through the prep materials briefly and find out where there may be difficulties in understanding or pronunciation and deal with those first. Then go into the materials that you have prepared prior to the lesson. Make every minute count, as time is limited. Your student must speak as much as possible to practice the language in a setting where you can correct and encourage them.
To finish off, give your student some work to do at home, which they will send to you online when it is done and you will send them your feedback. This work must complement the lesson so as to reinforce what they have learnt. Bearing in mind that your student might be working long hours, keep homework short and to the point, especially when it comes to a writing assignment. Anything that needs extra attention from the homework can be made into a lesson for the next session.
Before signing off, ask your student if there is anything that they would like to cover in the next lesson. If you plan your lessons around their interests, you are bound to succeed in planning sessions that will keep them interested and engaged.
Good planning makes great lessons!
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April 2, 2019 © Kerry Biddle