When I first heard that it was possible to get a job teaching English online, I was skeptical.
I felt like it would be difficult to get started, to find students who were willing to trust me with their time without having met me
I felt like it might be too hard to build up a relationship without being in the room with them.
But then again, online learning has been going on for ages.
Professors beam their lectures to computers which allows students from all over the world to have access to their knowledge. It’s even possible to do a full degree online!
Webinars, and websites such as Coursera and The Great Courses open so many doors for anyone to learn practically anything. Never mind the fact that in recent years platforms such as youtube, Facebook Live and Instagram have provided ways for literally anyone with a webcam to impart knowledge to anyone who wants to learn.
So why can’t language learning be the same?
I began teaching online with a popular online platform which caters to young learners from China.
My mind was blown.
In China, students as young as 3 years old are learning English. I learned how to teach using what is called the “TPR” teaching methodology: or “Total Physical Response”.
This basically means that I’m able to help young learners acquire language through movement, through connecting words with pictures, stories, drawings and gestures. It’s huge in the online teaching community, and despite being 10,000 kilometers away from my young students, I was able to engage them in singing, dancing, and even writing stories together.
It was incredible to see such young children quickly pick up English. It makes me feel that online language learning is something quite revolutionary.
Online language learning of course is not restricted to young children. There are online companies which specialize in teaching professionals and people who want to learn a language for their careers. “TPR” comes into play here too!
Platforms such as Zoom and Skype allow you to share screens, do group video chats, and even have mini-meetings in group lessons. It’s possible to do task-based speaking lessons, collaborative writing, and to use technology to enhance the learning in a way that is actually impossible in a face-to-face classroom.
Since joining The Ladies’ Project team this year, I’ve learned that online language learning can go even further.
It goes beyond acquiring language online, and even beyond classes in a formal setting!
Members of our community are able to take learning into their own hands, and connect with each other to practice their skills.
Actually, this is becoming more and more common online. There are plenty of apps which connect learnings to each other, allowing them to chat, do a language exchange and even speak to each other.
But what I love about The Ladies Project in particular is that technology is also used to build a community around these connections.
This online network is as addictive as Facebook, and it means that everyone is checking in and practicing their English every day.
TLP Ladies are able to improve their fluency skills dramatically because of this! Even Ladies who live in an English speaking country feel like they get more practice at TLP because they feel more comfortable and more connected in this amazing online community
The Ladies’ Project has taken the revolutionary concept of online learning to a new level.
I have really changed my viewpoint on online learning since my first steps a few years ago. I believe it is an amazing option for all people.
It’s an equalizer. It doesn’t matter where you are from, or how far away you are from a teacher. It allows learners to connect with each other and practice.
It provides opportunities for people who are unable to travel or who don’t have options for face-to-face classes. It opens so many doors.
I’d love to hear other people’s experiences with online learning and teaching!
What platforms do you use to connect and practice speaking? Do you think there is a big difference talking face-to-face compared to chatting online?