When learning moved online earlier this year, teachers were forced to focus on the practical aspect of distance teaching; how to create a class, share the coursebook, assign tasks and mark student work.
But once everyone started feeling more confident in the online learning space, teachers became aware of a new challenge. How can you keep your teenage students engaged – especially when it comes to exam preparation?
For at start, easy access to online tools, materials and solutions makes a huge difference to both teachers and students. Having your course materials and resources available virtually gives students more opportunity to revise and practise their language skills. What’s more, planning and delivering online lessons is much easier for teachers when using the digital components of the course alongside an efficient learning management system. With Gold Experience 2nd Edition, all of this and more is available through the Pearson English Portal.
Here are three ways to use Gold Experience 2nd edition and the Pearson English Portal to help you engage teens online.
1. Follow the ESAP framework
The ESAP framework has been adapted from a face-to-face classroom environment to support you with remote learning. The framework can be used for all types of online classes and is a great way to make sure that your exam preparation classes are fun and engaging for learners. ESAP stands for:
In the opening stage of the lesson, learners are immediately engaged with lesson content in the form of warm-up or revision activities.
This second stage is the online equivalent of presentation and practice. You introduce the new language that you’ll be focusing on, and follow it up with some controlled practice.
In this stage, free language production can be facilitated through using breakout rooms and chat boxes.
Students will be able to practise the new language independently with interactive online exercises in the Pearson English Portal. Featuring automated scoring and reporting, it allows you to monitor your students’ performance. That way, you can work on any weak areas in the next class.
Learn more about the ESAP framework for online learning, and watch a video with ESAP expert Lindsay Warwick. This blog and webinar from Billie Jago also offers a detailed look at teaching online with the Gold Experience coursebook, with lots of practical advice.
2. Making the most of your online teaching tools
When it comes to keeping students engaged, it’s important to use every online tool you have at your disposal to keep your classes dynamic and interesting:
This allows your students to see what’s on your screen and you can use it to present material from Gold Experience. Screen-sharing also gives you the chance to mix up your lessons with additional materials such as videos, photographs, or infographics. The possibilities are endless!
The digital version of your classroom blackboard – the interactive whiteboard can be used in exactly the same way. It’s a great place to note down additional vocabulary that comes up in class, clarify student mistakes and leave notes. And most interactive whiteboards come with a text option, so you don’t have to struggle with wobbly mouse writing!
This is a good way to get your students used to writing quickly and fluently. You can use the chat box to elicit answers and reactions to activities and exercises, brainstorm ideas, speak to the class as a whole and encourage dialogue. You can also chat to individual students that might need additional support with a learning point.
These are a fun way to mix up the class energy. You can use breakout rooms to split classes into groups or pairs for speaking activities or team games. They work especially well for learners who aren’t necessarily as confident about speaking in front of the whole class.
Those using Zoom can also launch polls directly in your lessons. These are a great way to get anonymous feedback from your students. They can use them to answer questions, share thoughts and feelings or express how much they are enjoying the activities in your class. If you aren’t using Zoom and your video conferencing platform does not enable you to run polls check out the fun online tool Mentimeter.
There are lots more digital tools which you can incorporate into your students’ online learning experience. For a more indepth look at these tools and others, watch our webinar on teaching exam students online or read our blog article: Teaching English from home? Try these 5 fun online platforms.
3. Activities for boosting student engagement
There’s no denying that online classes have a different dynamic from face-to-face lessons in a classroom. However, there are certain techniques you can use to boost student engagement and keep their motivation high. Especially when you’re all working towards the shared goal of passing an exam!
Creating online class norms
Successful online learning requires trust between teacher and student. At the start of the course, it’s a good idea to talk about what you expect of your students, and ask them what their expectations are in turn. You can then explain what they need to do to pass their exam. This will motivate students and take responsibility for their own learning.
As each student enters the online classroom, take the opportunity to say hello, and ask them how their day is going. These small moments of personal connection are just as important when teaching online as in a face-to-face class, if not more so!
Keep up the pace
When you’re teaching an online class, it can be harder to spot when a student is getting bored or distracted. Setting a good pace throughout the lesson means there’s less opportunity for distraction. Encourage students to let you know when they’ve finished so you can give them extra activities to do, while waiting for the rest of the class to catch up.
Ask for feedback
After a few weeks of the course, make a point of asking your students for feedback on how they feel the course is going. Are they happy with the pace? Do they feel like they’re learning enough? Is there anything that they’d like to review? How is the online format working for them? Taking the time to ask for feedback and adjust your teaching accordingly will make them feel like active participants in the learning process.
For more tips on boosting learner engagement, have a look at these tips from Michael Brand.
Your handy guide to teaching online
Gold Experience 2nd Edition includes a wide variety of digital components available to both teachers and students that make distance learning engaging and easy-to-deliver. What’s more they are all available in one place, through the Pearson English Portal.
We recommend you download our useful flipbook to learn more about how to teach with Gold Experience 2nd Edition online. It will give you a better understanding of all the digital components and how to use them in each stage of online learning. There’s even a suggested lesson plan for one of the units so you can see exactly how an online class would work and lots of other tips and tricks to get you started.
How do you keep engage teens online in your classes? Let us know in the comments.