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Tips for teaching groups of students using Skype


Do teachers need to be present for a successful presentation to groups of students? Not according to Nathan Lomax, who is instructing Libyan teachers in the UK by using Skype with the help of local trainers. Here are his tips for teaching a class from the computer.

Without the visual cues that are available in a face-to-face class, it’s difficult for the teacher to make decisions based on the mood of the group, or to respond to individual learner needs. Yet, with careful preparation and engaging activities that focus on students it’s possible to give stimulating and beneficial classes to large numbers via Skype . That’s what I’ve seen with on-line TKT (Teaching Knowledge Test) classes with the British Council. Here are my best practices for teaching groups of learners from a distance.

Keep the directions simple

In the event that there is no way to tell how reliable the internet will be, and when there is the potential for power cuts, it is important to give detailed and concise instructions for every activity in the lesson plan — particularly for trainers local to the ground who are responsible to facilitate the lesson. They may need to understand what to do should the connection be not working.

One of the benefits that comes from cutting down oral instructions is that it can encourage you to decrease your teacher’s talk time (TTT) — a habit which all language teachers are guilty of at times.

Learners’ needs and issues

It’s generally a good idea to organize a brief training session before the lesson with trainers in the area to talk through any difficult questions with them.read about it expressdigest from Our Articles Be prepared, however, for some things to be unclear and for things not always going as planned. Activities may also take longer more than expected as it’s difficult to model what learners need to do from afar.

Based on the culture, trainers at the local level may explain their activities too much and are reluctant to relinquish control to the students. After the course but they’ve developed a habit of having the role of facilitating rather than leading, the class.

Let it be social and enjoyable.

As in a traditional classroom setting, it’s beneficial to provide warm-ups and ice-breakers at the beginning of each class, like exercises, surveys, or role plays. Also, you can include the whole class mingling activity (onestopenglish is a good resource to look for these). The students are eager to interact!

All teachers know that the manuals that they use for classes can be dry and require some tweaking to make the information more learners-focused and communicative. I do this by changing manuals into different kinds of dictation (running with a group, moving back-to-back) and displaying texts up on the walls to allow students to wander around and discuss. If you’re lucky enough to have wonderful people in your classroom (as I do in Libya) they’ll assist prepare the lesson materials necessary for these activities (photocopying, chopping up as well as putting up things around the room) in advance.

Promote a vibrant environment

No matter where you are located on the opposite side of the globe, that does not mean you can’t be a positive influence in the classroom. Nearly all students, whether young and old, enjoy challenging games and activities. I’ve found that mimicking games like backs on the board and board slap are the most successful. Competition is one of the main factors that keep students focused and on task. Smaller groups also can make competitions Based on the subject matter of the course.

Learners can assist with classroom management

One of the challenges of not being present in the room However, one of the challenges is ‘policing’ these activities (which can be very intense occasionally). It can be accomplished by local trainers or students who are able to take care of classroom management. Indeed, if you’re teaching local teachers, you’ll be helping them improve their classroom management abilities.

Explore the technology

If you’re looking to teach on the web You’ll have to get aware of the tools at your choices. One of them is the “share screens” function within Skype it allows you to share any content that is available on your desktop including flashcards, instructions or games like Blockbusters played in PowerPoint. If your school uses projection devices to interact with you, your computer becomes an interactive whiteboard through the share feature.

Be prepared for glitches, and, as far it is possible, set the things up ahead of time, so you don’t have to spend time fixing the microphone, focusing the projector, and so on.

Find innovative ways to give feedback

Although remote teaching makes it impossible to oversee individual and group activities in person, it’s still possible to provide feedback on students’ performance. Edmodo can be a great tool to meet with students individually or in groups basis, and to allow students to collaborate on projects and provide feedback to each other. It’s a safe and secure method to engage in learning and can be a viable alternative to Facebook, especially if you want to stay away from being bombarded with friend requests.


On the whole, if lessons are well planned, with lots of enjoyable activities and well-trained assistants at the table It doesn’t matter if the instructor absent or present. In reality, as you make the rules precise, the absence of the trainer can make activities more student-centered.

I’d recommend online-based training to anyone, as in the event that you’ve got patience with technical glitches. If these issues can be worked out the future of online education is bright.

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