Learning a new language can be complicated and nerve-wracking, so here are some tips on how to make your online language lessons as enjoyable, educational and engaging as possible for your students:
Gestures and facial expressions form a vital part of learning a language, so it’s essential to make sure that you have access to a decent screen and good camera, as you may even need to demonstrate mouth and tongue positions when teaching correct pronunciation and how to produce certain sounds in another language!
Also, as some students are more nervous and sensitive than others, make sure to adapt to their individual personality and needs, and always aim to offer corrections and feedback in a positive and encouraging way, so that your student can learn without feeling discouraged or being afraid of saying something wrong. You could also write down any errors you catch and send them feedback with your corrections and explanations so that you don’t have to interrupt them mid-speech, and so that they have it to refer back to in the future!
It’s also essential to consider what the student’s main goal or point of focus is when planning lessons - listening, conversation, grammar and writing all require different types of preparation and strategies, and they may wish to focus more on one area than another. It also helps to do some research if they mention a specific exam board!
Do they want to learn basic expressions for small talk and travelling? Practise for a job interview? Learn phrases used in their favourite Korean drama or anime? You can make great use of the 15 minute free video chat function to discuss any expectations or queries the student may have before they book in a lesson. If they want to learn a language which uses a different alphabet, you could check if they have already learned the other alphabet or want to learn the alphabet before the start of the first lesson; managing expectations is essential in order to maintain motivation and enthusiasm!
Encourage them to ask you questions in the target language too, so that they can improve their listening skills as well as their speaking skills, even if it’s just asking how to say something, or asking you to repeat what you said in the target language - if they are comfortable doing so and depending on their level, you could even conduct the whole lesson in the target language and speak as little English as possible (if English is their mother tongue).
We hope these suggestions will aid you in planning fun, informative and successful lessons with your students!