Maybe I’m just lucky but I feel I have been blessed to have such motivated, interesting students over my last 10 yrs of online English teaching. When it comes to learning a foreign language THEY really know their stuff. So I thought I would share what they have taught me on how to get the best results from learning a language online. Here’s how they do it:
Consistency with breaks and surges. What does that mean? So while it might be common knowledge that consistency is one of the keys to improving any skill or acquiring knowledge of a subject this consistency doesn’t mean learning 2 or 3 lessons a week all year round. Of course every student has their own preferences and particularities but what I’ve found works best for most is having 1 or 2 lessons a week for the majority of the year for making steady gains or at least not losing your level. Then for a week or 2 once or twice a year trying to be more intensive with 3 or 4 lessons a week and perhaps including some extra writing and reading exercises. Having a break from lessons can also be a good thing as long as you’re able to hit the restart button!
Changing the environment where you do the lessons. This helps to freshen the energy levels of both the teacher and the student bringing up new topics of discussion and interest. When going on holidays or a business trip you might think doing a lesson is the last thing you’d think of doing but I find they’re really the most enjoyable lessons for both. From a teachers perspective it’s just as fun for me too it’s like I can enjoy the trip of someone else by experiencing it with them.
Curiosity for life. One of the strengths of online teaching is the ability to have people from different countries and cultures sharing and learning together. Without needing to get too personal there are amazing opportunities to experience other peoples day to day lives, things you wouldn’t necessarily know even if you visited the country. The ability to be open to sharing and curiosity for life makes the lessons more enjoyable which in turn makes it easier to do more lessons and therefore improve.
Lastly, don’t get too hung up on grammar. Some of my best students love grammar and love digging into the details of exactly why it’s this way or word and not that way and I enjoy having occasional lessons focused on these rules and details too but I think once a student is above an intermediate level the main skill is fluency and a free flowing conversation covering a lot of different topics is the best way to achieve this goal so that’s where the majority of your lesson time should be spent.
Hope this helps, thanks for reading.