Get the most from your online English classes - Part 2 - Students
One of the biggest impacts of the COVID pandemic has been to education. Language learners are having to adapt to their new online and blended classrooms, as their teachers trial this new method too. This article is your solution to classes that are hard to follow, boring or you feel left out of.
Earlier this week we published part one of this article, looking at the problems and solutions to some issues that teachers face.
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Problem Number 1 – The class is a mess!
If your teacher isn’t comfortable using technology, or seems to have a hard time talking to multiple different people, then you guys as students need to cooperate better too.
When students don’t listen to their teacher, or can’t hear them well, continual chatting can make the class really chaotic.
If internet connection issues and audio problems are making the class choppy, do your best to wait for the instructions from the teacher, and wait to ask questions until the end. Less interruptions will make it easier for your teacher to build a structured class that you will enjoy more.
Solution Number 1 – Patience and listening
You will really help the class to be organised and easy to follow if you are patient with your teacher and the pace of the class. I think we have all seen now that often online classes are not always as successful as in-person classes. In those difficult or challenging moments, patience and understanding will be vital!
If your classmates can’t hear you, or the teacher has a connection issue, do you best to wait, and see what happens. Frustration and getting annoyed with each other won’t help, and we are all dealing with the exact same issues, no matter where or who we are.
Problem Number 2 – I can’t see you!
It makes total sense that some students would rather not have their webcams or cameras turned on, especially if the class is quite big and lots of people will see them. Combine this with a fairly intense ‘pyjama mood' that comes from long lockdowns, and people don’t want to be seen very much.
The problem is, there’s so many different elements of communication, and your voice is just one part of it. Your gestures, your eye movements and body language; these all tell your listener a lot about your intentions and ideas.
When your camera is off, so is that side of communication, so don’t be surprised if debates seem stale, or spontaneity is rare.
Solution Number 2 – We’re all in the same boat (we’re all the same)
Getting used to being on webcam in front of lots of people is something new, but in this ‘new normal’, it does seem to be a necessary change. Turn on your webcam, don’t worry about your hair too much, and interact as humanely as possible.
It won’t only help your classmates to see and interact with you more, it will also make you pay more attention to the class. Normally, your teacher can see when you are not listening or have lost focus.
Part of the teacher’s job is to keep you on track. Let them do their jobs, and you will get much more out of your English classes or online classes in general.
Problem Number 3 – No one is listening to me!
We have heard students around the world complaining that they struggle to get the attention of their teacher and classmates when they want to say something.
This means that these students lose motivation to participate, and seem to be ‘unengaged’ or ‘not listening’ from the teacher’s perspective.
This wouldn’t be an issue in a normal class, as your teacher can see your attempts to participate much more easily. In an online or blended class, it may be harder to be noticed or to interact as fluidly.
Solution Number 2 – Video, sound and signals
The first part of the solution to this problem is making sure your camera is turned on, the areas is well lit, and you have headphones/a headset connected. If the teacher and your classmates can see your properly, they will be able to interact with you better.
The second part of the solution is to organise signals with your teacher so that online and blended classes can flow smoothly.
Signals like raised fingers for questions, or a raised palm to signal the desire to interrupt, can help to bring back better conversations.
Try your best not to just talk over the other person. With audio delays and bad connections, two people talking at once is bad enough in real life, but online it’s painful to be part of.
For any English student out there, hopefully these tips can help you to improve the quality of your online classes. It won’t just make for better education, you can relax knowing that most of the biggest problems you’ll face, are already solved!
For any students who want better quality English classes, taught by native English experts, then visit us at www.rkavalencia.com and find out more. We teach online, in person, or you can choose when you visit us at our Valencia English academy.