TEFL Online

Teaching English over Skype


The growth of technology for educational use has revolutionised the way in which people learn and access education.  Teaching English over Skype is developing fast and could soon become the norm in teaching English as foreign language and an integral part of the ESL industry. Learning English online is well established in France and growing rapidly in much of China, Japan and South Korea.

It opens up a lot of creative options for teachers who will gain 21st century skills in cross-cultural communication and eliminates geographical restrictions for teachers and students alike. For many students, English language proficiency is the key to their future success. Learning English online provides the opportunity to learn in an interactive environment with a native speaker which they may not have access to where they live, in a cost effective and convenient way. For teachers, the benefits of teaching English online are outlined below!

Benefits of teaching English online

  • You can work from anywhere in the world. This means that you can be constantly on the move, or settle somewhere remote and you can still have access to students even if there are not great teaching opportunities where you are based.
  • There is no commute and with no travelling between classes, lessons can run straight into each other and can last 60 rather than 55 minutes.
  • The flexible schedule is ideal for those balancing a busy family life/other commitments. You can set your own hours and work as little or as much as you want. With potential students all over the world you can work at any time of the day.
  • You can own your own business while delivering a needed service. Although there are some big recruiters that you can work for, most teachers are attracted to the opportunity online teaching provides to be your own boss.
  • Teaching English online is also a new challenge for teachers, with plenty of opportunities to be creative and develop new ways of teaching.

If teaching English online sounds like it could be for you, read on to find out how to get started!

Initial set up: good equipment

Skype is a very user-friendly platform for online teaching, which many freelance teachers opt for. Its greatest appeal is its simplicity. You can have free video or audio conversations with your students, you can send files, type corrections and new vocabulary in the message box, and you can also screen share your desktop to show PowerPoint presentations or work directly from educational sites.

You will also need a good strong internet connection, a fast computer and a working headset to get started. (There is nothing more frustrating than a slow connection when teaching!). As an independent freelance teacher you will be responsible for maintaining and upgrading your equipment where necessary.  In in terms of receiving payments, PayPal is one of the best options.

How to teach English over Skype

You will focus on improving your students’ fluency and confidence in English language, in a virtual environment. Generally teaching English online or via skype will entail going over conversations, correcting pronunciation and providing feedback. You might work one-on-one or with a small group in a virtual classroom.

You do not need to speak the students native tongue as communication between the teacher and students will be exclusively in English. It has been proven that this form of language immersion is one of the best ways to learn a new language. Make sure to slow down your speaking speed so your students can follow you.

Finding a TEFL job

When you start off teaching English online you may feel like a bit of a lone wolf. In order to start a thriving business with student referrals you need to start creating a network with other teachers. Get yourself on LinkedIn, twitter, Facebook. Thanks to the internet you can now post one online advert that can be viewed by thousands instead of trawling the streets and handing out flyers.

Find out more: advertising as an online TEFL teacher.

Promoting yourself: You want to create and online brand and develop a following. It is important to have a website and online presence through which you can promote yourself and draw in students through your content and profile.

Having a niche, specialising, and creating a unique teaching style might just be the route to your success. Think about the type of audience you want to attract. This will also be based on how much you want to earn.

Don’t forget to get qualified

If you are thinking about teaching English online we highlgy recommended supplementing your TEFL training with an advanced course in teaching English online.

The course is designed for people who have already completed some initial TEFL training. It is a 40-hour course, and is designed to teach you everything you need to know to get you started in teaching English online. It includes information on online tools and how to utilise them, teaching effectively online, online learning environments, activities for working online and how to adapt materials to use them while teaching online. It gives you an in-depth understanding of how to transfer the TEFL skills you already have to communicate and teach effectively online.

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