How to Choose the best Online ESL Teaching Platform
Benefits of Teaching ESL Online
1. Flexibility A flexible schedule. Teachers can choose their own hours and can work from anywhere with a stable internet connection, making it a convenient option for those who value flexibility and work-life balance.
2. Global Reach You have the opportunity to connect with students all around the world, gain exposure to different cultures and perspectives and enrich their understanding and knowledge.
3. Huge Demand ESL Teachers are in demand worldwide!
4. Huge Earnings Potential Teaching ESL online can offer higher earning potential compared to traditional classroom teaching, as online teachers can work for multiple platforms, offer private lessons and have potential access to a huge pool of potential students. This allows teachers to maximize their income while maintaining a flexible schedule.
5. Reduced Expenses: Teaching ESL online eliminates commuting costs, classroom space, and a whole host of other expenses.
10. Positive Impact Teaching ESL online allows teachers to make a positive impact on students’ lives by helping them improve their English language skills. This can open up new opportunities for students in terms of academic success, career advancement, and cultural exchange.
Challenges of Teaching ESL Online
1. Limited access to technology Students may not have a reliable connection or up-to-date devices such as laptops or tablets, to participate in your ESL classes. Other technical issues, such as audio or video problems, software glitches disrupt the flow of the lesson. So you may have willing students, but if they don’t have an adequate internet connection of device, you can’t teach them.
2 Lack of personal connection Building rapport and establishing a personal connection with students is more difficult online than in a traditional classroom. Creating a supportive and engaging learning environment without physical presence.
3. Limited resources: Online ESL teaching may require access to specific resources such as digital learning materials, interactive activities, or multimedia resources. Finding and utilizing appropriate resources can be a challenge, especially for teachers who are new to online teaching. Learn More about our online curriculum
4. Time management: Managing time effectively in an online setting as well as in a classroom is challenging for teachers and students. At times, it may be difficult to ensure students are engaged and focused, and teachers may find it challenging to give enough time for individualized attention and feedback.
5. Time zones Managing time zones is a major issue when teaching students from different parts of the world.
6. Limited social interaction Online ESL classes may lack the social interaction and collaborative learning opportunities in traditional classroom settings. This can impact students’ ability to practice speaking and listening skills and develop interpersonal communication skills. Several things can assist, such as break out Zoom sessions where students can practice new material or roleplays with each other. See our online curriculum here
7. Distractions and lack of focus Students learning ESL online may face distractions at home, such as noise, family responsibilities, or other commitments. It can be challenging to maintain focus and engagement during online lessons. Students may not have a quiet place in their living situation.
8. Adaptation to online platforms As with any new technology and way of doing things, teachers and students need time to explore and adapt to the online learning platforms and tools used for ESL instruction. This can involve a learning curve and may require additional training and support.
Start by researching and selecting a reputable certification program that you feel aligns with your teaching goals and target student audience. Consider the specific type of English you’ll be teaching, such as, general English, business English, or exam preparation. Look for a program that will provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge to be an effective online teacher, including strategies for engaging online students, creating interactive lesson plans, and using technology effectively.
ESL Certification – What to Look for
1. Accreditation Probably the most important! Look for a certification program that is accredited by a recognized organization or institution. This ensures that the program meets certain standards of quality and credibility.
2. Curriculum The Certification program may include a curriculum that you can use, or you can teach students with our curriculum online.
3. Practical Experience Also very important for gaining confidence and real-world teaching skills. Are there opportunities for practical teaching experience, such as teaching practice or observation?
4. Expert Faculty Check the faculty’s qualifications and experience. Look for educators who have extensive experience teaching ESL, training, as well as academic understanding of different teaching methods.
5. Flexibility Is the certification program schedule and location flexible? Does the program offers online or in-person options, or both?
6. Support and Resources What support does the program offer if you need help? Look for programs that offer mentorship, access to teaching materials, and ongoing support after completing the certification.
7. Reputation Research the certification program online by doing searches for reviews and testimonials.
8. Cost Consider the cost of different certification programs and what they offer. Find the program that has the most of what you want for a reasonable cost compared to others.
9. Job Placement Another critical factor that will be worth extra cost. Often certification programs have partnerships with schools and organizations that can either hire you, or help you find a job after completing the program.
10. Continuing Education Opportunities for continuing education or professional development. Look for programs that provide resources or courses to help you further enhance your skills and knowledge in the field of ESL teaching.
Online Teaching Platforms – What to look for
Some of the top online teaching platforms that fit my qualifications and preferences include Learning English Curriculum, VIPKid, TeachAway, and Outschool.
TeachAway offers opportunities for teaching in international schools and institutions, with a focus on providing teachers with the support they need to succeed in an online learning environment. Outschool is known for its innovative approach to education, allowing teachers to create and design their own curriculum based on their expertise and interests.
Learning English Curriculum is a do-it-yourself platform – you bring the students, they provide the curriculum and platform. Innovative payment system – teachers are free, students pay $19.99/month and you pay a 30% commission on student fees. In business since 1999 and have sold curriculum to over 100 countries.
When evaluating potential platforms, the most important factors are curriculum quality, flexibility in scheduling, and commission rates.
What to look for when choosing an online ESL teaching curriculum and platform:
- Look for an online teaching platform that has a user-friendly and intuitive interface. It should be easy to navigate and understand, for teachers and students.
2. Features Evaluate the platform’s features and tools to ensure they meet your teaching needs. Look for features such as video conferencing, screen sharing, chat, whiteboard, file sharing, interactive quizzes, and assignment management.
3. Compatibility Is the platform compatible with a range of devices and operating systems. Many of your students probably will not have up-to-date devices or operating systems. It should work smoothly on desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
4. Technical Support and Communication How available is technical support? Do they respond to email quickly? Look for platforms that offer prompt assistance and have a reliable support team to address any technical issues.
5. Integration and Customization Does the platform integrate with other tools and will they customize a course of study just for you.
6. Analytics and Reporting Consider platforms that provide analytics and reporting features. These can help track student progress, engagement, and performance, allowing you to identify areas for improvement and personalize instruction.
7. Scalability If you plan to expand your online teaching efforts, consider whether the platform can accommodate a growing number of students and courses without compromising performance.
10. Cost and Pricing Model: Evaluate the cost and pricing model of the platform, considering factors such as subscription fees, transaction fees, and any additional costs for premium features. Compare the pricing with the value and features offered by the platform to ensure it aligns with your budget and requirements.
Tips for Online Promotion of your English Classes
1. Create engaging and interactive content:
- Use social media for content (infographics, images, and videos) that grabs the attention of ESL students. For example, include short quizzes, grammar exercises, vocabulary challenges, or even fun language games. Need help? Need content?
2. Offer free lessons Tried and true way to get students. Also, or special discounts for ESL students.
3. Update regularly Keep posting online! Provide regular updates and reminders about upcoming online classes or learning materials.
4. Create unique exclusive content Provide exclusive content that nobody else has.
5. Share success stories and testimonials Builds trust and credibility by share success stories and testimonials from your students.
6. Provide a huge number of resources and study materials Share useful resources, study materials, and additional learning opportunities on social media platforms. The more the better! Examples are, links to articles, podcasts, online courses, or recommended, or favorite books.
7. Engage Actively engage with your social media audience by responding to comments, answering questions, and providing feedback. This will demonstrate your dedication and commitment to helping ESL students succeed and will encourage them to continue learning with you.