I like to keep up-to-date with what’s going on in the world of EFL. This is because it’s always interesting and that I like to try new things in my teaching.
One of the changes that caught my interest last year was Online Teaching. More online schools are appearing and schools who once offered extra online activities then moved to Blended Learning and are now offering full online courses. The majority of these seem to be 121’s but there are some groups.
So, with my interest tickled I enrolled in some training and became an online teacher.
1 day was all it took to get to grips with the whats and hows, this mainly revolved around gripping the school’s platform and materials which ranged from self-produced to purchased. What struck me was why were we using all this high tech stuff but with digitized books, wouldn’t digital resources or flash exercises be better?
Here are my thoughts on the experience of teaching 121 online:
1)It’s cool and interesting because you and the student can see each other, use tools and also take away a record of everything you cover
2)There is lots of material but you can also make your own
3)The interface was pretty easy to use and so was the tech
1)You need to buy a special phone/headset, have the right dialup speed, a proper webcam and a phone package that covers calls to a special number.
2)There are tech problems. One day the number didn’t work, another the students’ camera, one day it crashed and on and on.
3)You are often required to submit a plan and set and mark homework, none of which may be covered and when you get 10ish Euros an hour this is a problem. Yet, some people who go direct to companies can earn 40 Euros+ but often pay for their own software.
There’s no questioning, this is a growing market but companies nee dto provide more than just a scanned book and a foreign face. Specialised courses using videos, audio and technical wizardy all moulded around a specific student will be far more marketable than a GE class from a book taught by a fresh faced CELTA grad.
During this time I also ventured into Second Life teaching with some groups and it was very interesting. In one activity I did mock job interviews with students from another university from my virtual office.
Over to you….
Is this really the future of EFL?