Moving you tuition online opens up a vast client base to which most tutors would not have access. Students living in rural, hard to reach areas for example have the pick of the best online, rather than finding their choices limited to those with the time and means to travel to them. Online tuition is particularly revolutionary when it comes to language learning, since students are suddenly able to secure contact time with a native speaker of the language they want to learn. As any language learner knows, practice with a native speaker of the target language is invaluable.
Online tuition requires a different skill set to regular face-to-face tuition to ensure an effective lesson. An interactive approach is crucial; otherwise students may sit back and passively watch the tutor’s lesson. We have put together some top tips to help you become and impressive and effective online tutor, as compiled by us in the office and our best tutors!
1. Take a question-led approach.
This is an incredibly important aspect to bear in mind when teaching online, as it makes sure students are fully involved in the lesson and actively engaging with the material, rather than staring at it blankly. Every statement should be turned into a question. If this were a lesson, you might say: What should every statement be turned into? Tutors will then be able to see if a student has understood a point or not, since unlike in face-to-face tuition sessions, this cannot be read from the student’s body language.
2. Apply the 80-20 rule.
Students should speak for 80% of the lesson, leaving the tutor speaking for 20%. As in point one, this makes sure students interact. It also forces students to recall information from their memory from the very first lesson. Getting students speaking a language from the word go is a huge plus in terms of confidence and knowledge! Ask them, ‘how would you say?’ or ‘what is the word for?’
3. Give lots of positive feedback
Remember that students will be less able to read your positive non-verbal feedback such as nodding, smiling and eye contact in an online tuition session. It is therefore really important to maintain a positive approach to learning by encouraging students with what you say.
4. Test the technology before and prepare your resources.
The key to online tuition is preparation! Valuable time can be wasted due to technical hitches, so make sure everything is ready beforehand. Technical hitches slow the pace of a lesson that needs to be quick and interactive, so check everything in advance
5. Make the most of the wealth of resources available online.
Why not use a podcast for a listening exercise, watch a video on YouTube that illustrates your point? Check out a recent article I wrote called ‘5 Ways to Use the Internet When Learning a Language’ if you’re teaching a language online. The trick is to try and be as imaginative and interactive as possible when teaching online, and the Internet is a fantastic source of inspiration!