Although I am taking a break from my school and “formal” teaching, I have not really quit and I have now started to teach online (via Google hangout or Skype) private lessons to Spanish students who want to improve their English. It is actually very different from teaching a whole class and my students have a good level of English but they are not confident enough. They want to practice their speaking to become fluent.
To help students become more confident and fluent, I see them 3 times a week for approximately 20 minutes and I send them resources and links to keep practising on the days when they don’t have a lesson with me. I opted for 20 minutes lessons because I do believe an hour session is far too long in another language. You brain has to switch to another way of thinking and understanding and after 20 minutes or even less, you cannot concentrate that well any longer. I also think that 3 times a week instead of just one time a week is much more beneficial because acquiring a language is about practising it on a regular basis, every day if possible. This is when my resources and links come into place. They are there to make students practising a little each and every day. My resources are about providing more input. For example, students have to read an article about a topic we talked about or they watch a short video. The goal is to give them a lot of input to then become fluent in the language.
How do I provide input and keep track of my students’ progress?
I have opted for Edomodo, a platform I have used in the past at my school. Basically, Edmodo is a web-based platform that provides a safe and easy way for your students to connect and collaborate, share content, and access homework, grades and school notices. It is like Facebook but in a safe and controlled environment. With Edmodo, I can:
- Place digital resources for students to access or download.
- Share links and videos.
- Create polls for students to vote online.
- Write short summaries of lessons for students .
- Post “homework” information.
- Students can communicate to the whole class or to the teacher.
As an example, I have created an assignment based on British superstitions because it is one of the topics we talked about. It is a reading activity adapted from an article from the DailyMail. It has a True/False exercise, comprehension and personal questions, so there is a little bit of output from students.
Here is the document which you can edit to suit your own needs. (Of course you can also download it for free on Teachers Pay Teachers along with other useful resources!).