Free professional blog for English teachers
The most important aspect of teaching English that cannot be ignored, overlooked or cheated, is building positive relationships with students. Relationships. That's what teaching and learning is about.
Having rich relationships with your students leads to:
Whether you are teaching English online or face-to-face, we have collected our favourite tips to connect with your English students and build those important relationships.
We recommend sharing something personal with your students every now and again, like on their first day of school or a Monday morning. This encourages them to relate to you as a human being outside of the classroom. It doesn’t need to be anything intrusive - a picture of your cat or a recommendation of something you watched on TV on Saturday night works a treat!
Learn their culture. The world of teenagers is very different from when we were their age. Ask them to teach you the latest dance moves or to explain the latest slang. Showing an interest in them as individuals will foster trust and help you understand them better. If you can understand them you can connect with them.
This is a new challenge for those of you teaching English online. When English teachers are in school they might pass students in the hallway and say ‘hello’ or have parent-teaching meetings.
We can simulate these same connections online through email reminders, ‘Hey! Looking forward to seeing you all at the lesson tomorrow. I have something fun planned!’ or an online forum where participants can share their English homework or reading tips in a communal group. Small communications can go a long way.
Speaking in English class is a top priority and will only be achieved through practice. Practice can build confidence, normalise mistakes, and make classmates feel comfortable with each other. This allows them to build relationships, try harder in English lessons, and strengthen the feeling of community.
If you are teaching English online, this doesn’t need to stop. Arrange group discussions to take place online for homework or ask provoking questions in your webinar to encourage students to get involved. You can even set up ‘breakaway’ groups where students are redirected to smaller, group sessions online where you set a topic of discussion and time limit. We might not be together but we can still communicate.
Written by Jennifer Gardner
Owner of The English Classroom