Updated: Jul 24, 2020
Classroom management is one of those challenging teacher skills that we must master to provide valuable ESL lessons. Still, although you may have mastered the art of children taming in the classroom, teaching online comes with its challenges!
One of the main differences between online and classroom-based teaching is the ability to read the room. In the classroom, we can see all of our students, we get visual feedback from our students, and we can see when they are bored or starting to fidget and can adjust our teaching to manage it. However, this is much harder in the online classroom.
And not only that, The teacher has to manage the group so that people aren't talking over each other and also aren't falling silent.
So let's look at three tips to help you manage group classes online.
Keep everyone involved
It is essential to keep all your students involved during class, and that can be challenging and easy to forget. Not everyone feels comfortable talking over the internet, and others do. As the teacher, you need to make a conscious effort to keep all students contributing. You can do this through games such as silly banana, which I explain in this video. Silly Banana works because the whole class has to react to a prompt, in this case, a Silly Banana, at the same time. Another excellent game example is Clap If True, which I explain in this video. Again, it works because students can respond together.
But how can we keep everyone's attention when we need students to respond individually? Well, we can keep students on their toes by using Quickfire questions, asking a question, and then quickly say the name of the student who needs to answer. Again, this keeps everyone on their toes because they don't know if their name will be called or not. You can then extend this by having the class touch their nose if they think that the student answered correctly or not.
But having the teacher shout your name can be unsettling for some, and so to make the experience more comfortable, you can assign everyone a number or a color. Then at the end of asking a question, the teacher says the name or color, and that student then needs to reply with the answer quickly.
Have students interact with each other. Just because they are not in the same room doesn't mean you can't have a student ask and answer a question with each other. You need to manage who is talking and when. You can do this by managing student's mute buttons, but another fun way to do this is to make actual speech bubbles that you can hold up to indicate who should be asking and answering questions. Again this keeps students on their toes.
These kinds of group reward systems can help keep everyone involved and feel part of a team throughout the lesson.
It's essential that when planning your class, you plan activities with different energy levels in mind. What I mean by this is that if you plan an activity that you know is going to get your students excited and loud, you need to follow it with an action that is going to calm and quiet students down after. Because most especially with online group classes, once your students get excited unless you have planned activity or an attention grabber to help calm them down again, then all hell breaks loose!
So there you have it, three tips to help you with managing your online ESL class! If you liked these ideas, make sure you share it with your fellow teachers!
Watch the full video here:
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Some ideas in this blog were from The Ultimate Teaching ESL Online Manual https://amzn.to/2x7uaMt
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