Switching from the Classroom to Online Teaching

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Author: Shanna P. Published on: Jan. 9, 2019 Expected Reading Time: 3 mins

Teaching is an extremely varied and diverse career. Although most of us have some experience teaching in a classroom, the lure of moving from a physical classroom to an online environment is growing stronger in this digital age.

Who wouldn’t like the chance to do work they love and make a difference all from the comfort of their own home? Moving to an online classroom can be an incredibly rewarding change, but there are some key differences you should be aware of before you begin.


If you’re used to having a classroom to yourself to decorate as you wish or spread out in, you may find yourself a little cramped at first when making the change to online teaching.

You will need to pick out a comfy and well-lit spot to make your teaching area. You will by no means have the same amount of space as you would in a classroom, but with some careful planning, you can set up a versatile space that should be perfectly adequate for your needs.

A neutral background and good lighting are essential. Bear in mind also that working from home comes with some potential challenges. If you have kids, you will need to set very clear boundaries - make sure you have arrangements in place to avoid distractions.

Total Physical Response Will Be Different

As teachers, the physical way in which kids learn is drummed into us from the start. When you’re teaching online the physical aspect is largely removed, especially when it comes to learning through play.

You will need to be very creative when it comes to teaching your students through fun activities and games. The only physical things you and your student both have on you are your hands and your face … which means that you’re going to have to get your student remembering vocab using hand gestures, facial expressions, and sound effects.

Just because you aren’t in the same room as your student it doesn’t mean you can’t get them having a bit of physical, memorable fun!

More details about TPR can be found here.


It’s About Conversation, But Don’t Forget Reading and Writing

The four pillars of English teaching stay the same regardless of whether you’re online or in a classroom: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

In an online environment though, where the entire lesson revolves around conversing with your student, it can be super easy to totally forget about the other two elements - reading and writing.

Make sure these two aren’t neglected. An easy way is to set some English writing homework and have your student read it back in your next lesson.

Discipline Is a Different Ball Game

Dealing with an unruly child in a classroom is one thing, but what happens when you have a student who is disinterested or has a bit of attitude in an online class?

Typically, students who partake in online lessons will be well behaved and maintain an interest in what they are learning, The accountability to their parents is likely to be a big factor in this. But, as with all young ‘uns, you may have to deal with the occasional badly behaved or demotivated kid.

In most cases, you aren’t going to be able to reach out to parents directly if there is any sort of behavioral issue. It should be brought to the attention of your employer, and it is likely they will contact the parents and go from there.



What you can do in an online classroom environment to promote better behavior is to play to the student’s strengths. Get to know your students, what they enjoy, what they don’t like. This is far easier one on one than in a traditional classroom.

Once you know what gets this kid going, gear your lessons around that. If he likes basketball, structure your lesson plans around basketball. If she likes animals, bring them into conversation often.


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