Teaching English Online to Groups: The Future of the Virtual ClassroomBy Maricela Breedlove
January 11, 2021
You’ve been teaching English online for some time now, and you’re finally comfortable teaching your students one-on-one — great job! But, fortunately for you and all other online EFL teachers, online learning is booming, meaning that the future of teaching English online is quickly becoming more focused on teaching groups rather than individual students. So, it’s time to check out the benefits of teaching English online to groups and how you can succeed as a group teacher!
What constitutes a group EFL class?
Online English teachers who teach lessons in a one-to-one setting only have one student at a time. In this scenario, the teacher can focus entirely on their one student, correcting pronunciation and vocabulary in real-time. This also means that you, the teacher, will be the only interaction the student will receive in terms of practicing their English and using newly-learned conversational vocabulary.
On the other hand, as the demand for online learning continues to grow, groups of students are becoming the more likely and, oftentimes, more lucrative option. A lesson with two or more students is considered a group, with smaller groups consisting of 10-15 students maximum. In these classes, the opportunity to have more student participation and interaction grows exponentially, but teaching group online English classes vs. one-on-one does come with its unique challenges, such as managing more students at once.
There are several instances when you might find yourself teaching English online to groups:
Why is teaching English online to groups a good skill to have?
So, whether you’re already teaching English online in a one-to-one setting or you’re just starting out in the field, why would you want to master this new area as an online EFL teacher?
Access to more job opportunities
When looking for online EFL jobs, you may notice that more and more platforms are offering group lessons, meaning that you may miss out on a great work opportunity because you don’t have the experience or the skills to teach in a group setting. While some companies are still willing to hire teachers to teach English online with no experience, online English learning is constantly evolving, so it’s best to take on as much continuing education on various skills as you can to ensure that you’re a competitive job candidate.
Marketability as a freelance teacher
More and more teachers are beginning to go the freelance route and marketing their services online. This is a wonderful option for those who’d like to make the most money as an online teacher and reach the most students possible, all at once.
Potential to earn more money
Let’s be real, money talks. So when teaching English online to groups, the opportunity to make more money with your lessons is a huge advantage. A very simplified and hypothetical situation is the following example of what a freelance online English teacher might charge for lessons:
As you can see, having the skills to teach groups of students English online provides the chance to teach more students and earn a higher hourly rate than one-on-one classes _ and quickly grow your profit margin and your business.
How to manage online EFL group classes
Start with training on how to teach English online to groups.
Whether you have loads of experience teaching English online to one student at a time or are just starting out as a teacher, it’s highly recommended that you take steps to learn some new teaching strategies when approaching teaching English online to groups of students. Taking a Micro-credential course like Bridge’s 10-Hour Certificate in Teaching English Online to Groups is one simple yet effective way to prepare yourself for this type of teaching.
Take advantage of the group dynamic.
In group lessons, students will not only be learning from you but from one another. This is conducive to more interaction, self-correction, and team-based activities for the ESL classroom, such as role-playing, quizzes, and games that are more easily implemented in a group setting. This leads to a much more laid back and lively lesson!
Teach existing groups.
This could be groups of people who work together, classmates, or friends who are already familiar with one another. This can make English lessons even more effective because of the existing rapport between the students.
Don’t neglect individual communication.
Make sure there’s a way that you can communicate with individual students if necessary. This is a feature on some popular platforms such as Google Classroom, Zoom, and Skype. Being able to communicate with individual students ensures that you can encourage participation and address individual issues during lessons without disrupting the whole class.
Find the right technology and platform for your classes.
If you teach English online for a company, the learning management platform, student scheduling system, and other online tools will be provided for you. However, there are many platforms available to teachers who are looking into freelance teaching English online to groups. Some popular ones include:
These are just some examples, as there are loads of options out there!
Define goals for your group.
In a group setting, as opposed to one-on-one lessons, you might have to be less flexible and more focused to ensure each student is learning as much as possible and is effectively reaching all of their learning objectives on time. This is especially important in groups of adults who typically like to prepare for lessons beforehand.
Consider issues that are unique to groups of kids.
When teaching any group of children, the opportunity for distraction and rowdiness can be a concern. Coping with this comes down to making your lessons engaging and maintaining composure when things do get a little out of hand. Take deep breaths, and remember your teaching props and, most importantly, your patience! This is when being able to reach out and communicate with individual students/parents is of the utmost importance.
Where can you teach English online to groups?
There are many different online English tutoring companies, each with its own hiring criteria, where you can teach English online to groups of students. Some allow you to teach English online with no degree, while others have more strict requirements to teach English online on their platform. Another difference among companies is whether you’ll be teaching children or adult students. Below are some examples of companies where you can teach English online to groups.
Hopefully, this has given you some insight into group ESL lessons and some tips on how to move forward with teaching English online to groups. Whether you choose to pursue freelance English teaching online or work for a specific company, teaching English online to groups is growing in popularity and accessibility. Don’t get left behind!