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teaching online

5 myths about Online Language Teaching

So you’ve been thinking about teaching online. You have likely taken an online course yourself, so you believe you have a pretty good idea about what the job entails. Hmmm…. You may need to think again. Your conventional notions may deceive you.

online teaching

1-Teaching online is a career supplement (not a career).

The scene is shifting. As we’ve shared before, 53% of education professionals believe real-time video collaboration and mobile devices will be the primary way students engage with content by 2025. As more and more content moves online, so does the demand for quality educational professionals to oversee, manage, and deliver that content.

With a global company, teaching online can be teaching without borders. A teacher in one location may be able to teach learners in different time zones throughout their day, making a good living from their home office if they choose to do so. However, teaching online also offers the flexibility to organize one’s work schedule around other personal or professional commitments as life demands.

online teaching

2-Teaching online is a lonely job without colleagues.

It’s true that many opportunities for online learning operate like a marketplace. This is business. You are the service provider. They do the marketing for you. They drag you in and lure you with the promise of more customers. You compete with other providers, more often than not on price, which far too often ends up being dreadfully low.  Once you are in, you are on your own. The platform’s involvement is to get a commission on your lessons. You have no colleagues. You have no support. You are entirely free if this is what you are seeking – free and alone.

With a team of like-minded professionals, it doesn’t have to be so isolating. What if online schools operated like, well, schools? Teachers should be able team up to share best practices, discuss a student’s progress or learning needs, come together regularly to brainstorm ideas and resources, or just chat. At VivaLing, teachers are our greatest asset. As such, we offer them a collaborative environment where they can thrive through helping each other reach a common purpose – to impact the lives and learning of young children.

teaching online

3- Teaching online is impersonal and monotonous.

As one VivaLing Coach puts it, “Distance increases proximity.” Are you baffled by the paradox?  While teaching online, you are meeting your students in their world (both physically and generationally). They open up through the little window that is their screen, diving into the magical internet tunnel, dedicating unparalleled attention to the interaction, and building an incredibly strong bond with their coach. How do we know it? They tell us. Their eyes tell us. Their smiles tell us. The eagerness to join their daily or weekly session tells us.

Seeing each learner in their world also reveals just how different they are: their interests, their personalities, their preferences for learning. By customizing the lesson based on the child’s interests, pace, and level, you increase the learning effectiveness and student engagement. And with online tools for adaptive learning and spaced repetition, a truly personalized learning experience is just a click away. Each learning experience is entirely different and unique, far from impersonal and monotonous.

Of course, this only applies to online schools that recognize the importance of differentiation and building a strong rapport with learners. Unfortunately, most online schools rotate teachers and learners around as if they were interchangeable. Perhaps they even mandate you to teach a rigid curriculum or provide you with a script of exactly what to say. Such an environment can quickly lose any hope for creativity or connection with learners, which are often the very elements which attract us to teaching in the first place.

teaching online VivaLing

4- Teaching online doesn’t allow for career advancement.

Connected to the first myth above, as more and more educational content moves online, so does the need for teachers who don’t just know how to utilize technology, but who can enhance it through smart implementation combined with an exploitation of uniquely human qualities. Great teachers are and will be those who have become experts at motivating, personalizing, and interacting with their learners. The best online academies will develop them, recognize them, and promote them to reward their professional growth.

But it does not stop there. As the integration of automation into the learning process is being perfected, there is a need for teachers to utilize their many talents in new and creative ways. Traditional materials and methods must be adapted and optimized for the online environment, new standards for teaching and learning must be set, and new innovations must constantly evolve to meet the needs of the next generation’s workforce.

As experts in content, cognition, and delivery, teachers are the best-suited to lead these efforts when they are appointed as full-fledged members of their academies’ Learning teams. At VivaLing, for instance, all of our Master Coaches, teacher supervisors, teacher trainers, teacher recruiters, Language Consultants, and many more were initially hired by the academy as Coaches – myself included.

teaching online VivaLing

5-Teaching online is just like teaching offline.

It takes work…a lot of work, especially in the beginning, to adapt your years of classroom-tested activities, back-pocket games, and wealth of resources to a completely new environment. You aren’t just moving to a new classroom. You are moving to a new universe with different rules, new tools, entirely different class dynamics, and a new generation of learners who are likely more adept at online learning than you are.

It doesn’t come naturally, and you must be trained in many new skills and tools. However, online teacher training courses like VivaLing’s VOLT-YL course  can prepare you for the exciting adventure into online teaching through the perfect blend of knowledge, training, collaboration, rehearsal, and teaching practice.

How many of the myths above did you think were true? The correct answer is that none of them have to be. Keep in mind, however, that not all online schools were created equal. Choose wisely and you can build yourself a successful career path.

 

by Abbie Adeyeri

mandarin teacher

Meet Jing, Mandarin coach at VivaLing: “I’ve never felt the sense of fulfillment, that teaching gives me, from any other job”.

Who are you?

My name is Jing, which means calm and peaceful. I am from Baoding in Northern China,, Hebei province.

Now I am living in Haarlem, in the Netherlands.

I graduated from the Hebei University with  a degree in Economics and then went on to get a degree in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language in the East China Normal University,  Shanghai (2011). I also have the Certificate for teaching Chinese to Foreigners from the Confucius Institute.

How long have you been a Chinese teacher for?

I became a Chinese teacher in 2011.

Why have you decided to be a teacher?

Since I was very young, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Unlike other kids, I loved to stand up in front of people and was always super-excited to get the chance to “act” like a teacher. I really loved to go to the front of the classroom and explain the things I’d learned. I think I just burned to be a teacher.  I’m always able to put myself in my students’ shoes and I love to think about how I would like my next class to be. I’ve never felt  the sense of fulfillment, that teaching gives me, from any other job.

mandarin teacher

I especially love to work with children, I feel naturally able to speak and enjoy the “kid’s language”. I am never shy to act silly or crazy with my students. I feel awesome when I realize that  I can help to make kids love Chinese, that because of me, learning is fun!

Why do you like teaching online?

I am obsessed with incorporating technology into my teaching, I love to explore all kinds of tools to help engage and involve my students, and make my classes more fun and efficient. On top of this, teaching online gives me so many possibilities; I can teach students from around the world and  take my job with me anywhere.

chinese teacher

What are your hobbies?

I love travelling and singing. I also love all kinds of interactive games that can be played in groups,, like the board games or outdoor activities.

What food/dish do you prefer? ( best to choose a typical dish from your country)

I love Chinese food. Even though I live in Europe now, I want to eat Chinese food all the time. I love the Donkey burgers from my hometown Baoding.  They’re made of dough stuffed with donkey meat- delicious!

What is your favourite Chinese movie or book?

My favourite Chinese book is 围城 “Fortress Besieged” by Zhongshu Qian

What is your favourite place on earth?

My favourite place is home

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What would you say to a friend to convince him/her to learn Mandarin?

Currently, Mandarin Chinese is spoken by over 1 billion people around the world.  That’s about one-fifth of the global population.  Each year more and more non-native students from all around the world, choose to study Mandarin, and are doing so  with enthusiasm and success. With a good teacher and good pedagogy, I am sure that you can do it too!

Hannah English coach at VivaLing

Meet Hannah, English coach at VivaLing

My name is Hannah, I’m from Scotland but I live in Italy.

I studied at the University of St Andrews and I have a BSc in Biology.

I have been teaching for almost 4 years.

Hannah photo 2

Why have you decided to become a teacher?

I really wanted to have the chance to live in Japan and someone suggested becoming a teacher. I took a course and found out I love teaching :)

Why do you like to teach online?

The fact that it is so natural. I like chatting to my students in their home, in their lives with things they like. I like introducing things in a way that I would introduce my friends or family to something new. I like learning from my students and letting them get involved naturally with support from technology :)

What are your hobbies?

I love cooking! I really enjoy making bread and anything else made of dough! :) I also really enjoy video games and music.

 

What food do you prefer?

Scotland is not well known for cooking but we have fantastic ingredients! I love anything with Scottish seafood.

What is your favourite movie?

My favourite movies are The Lord of the Rings films.

Hannah English coach at VivaLing

What is your favourite book?

I really enjoy reading The Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy.

What is your favourite place on earth?

My favourite place on earth is a forest in Wales near my grandfather’s home.

Hannah English coach at VivaLing

 

What would you say to a friend to convince him/her to learn English?

I would say “English is a global language and is a key to so many things in life: travelling, working, friendship. What do you have to lose? :)”

Mathilde VivaLing

Meet Mathilde – French coach at VivaLing

My name is Mathilde, I come from Le Croisic, a beautiful little coastal town, one hour away from Nantes. I have been living in Athens, Greece, for 8 years now.

Mathilde French coach at VivaLing

How long have you been teaching French?

I began to teach French upon my arrival in Athens, straight after graduating in French language, teaching. I have never stopped teaching during my studies. Indeed, I obtained a Master 2 of FLE / FLS via the Faculty of Arras and the French Institute of Athens. I also had the chance to give several courses in bilingual kindergartens, including that of the French school in Athens. For five years now I have been teaching French language to children at the French Institute of Athens.

Why do you like teaching online?

Unlike some people believe, teaching online is not a limited or binding experience. We are not behind a screen, passive, imparting our course like software. On the contrary, on-line teaching makes it possible to open the 4 walls of the classroom to the world. We have the world at hand: videos, books, articles, innovative  and fun tools to learn grammar and vocabulary. Online education is the future of learning! We transmit our language and culture by accessing the world around us at any time! Since I am a coach for VivaLing, I sincerely believe that there is no other efficient method to learn a language.

Mathilde VivaLing

Why do you like teaching French?

I love the French language, its culture, its sonority and its expressions.

The French language is a language rich in history, it has always conveyed the values ​​of tolerance, freedom and a certain philosophical reflection.  It is for me, a fantastic chance to be able to teach my language to people all around of the world!

How many languages ​​do you speak ?

I speak 3 languages ​​fluently: French of course but also English and Greek.  I particularly enjoy Greek; I am proud to speak a language whose roots go back thousands of years!

What is your favorite place or monument in France?

I love going back to the places where I grew up in Britanny.  I adore the indomitable, gothic atmosphere of its wild coast. There’s nothing more inspiring than sitting on the rocks or on the beach and watching the Atlantic raging, a reminder of how small we are in the face of nature!

 

brittany

 

What is your favorite French tradition or festival?

I like to go back to France for Christmas! The atmosphere of the Christmas markets in France is second to none! The smell of hot wine and cheeses in the streets, the wooden huts of craftsmen, the decorations of the shops …. And of course the interminable dinners and parties with the family are priceless!

 

christmas fair VivaLing

What are your passions ?

I love painting and drawing. I also love horseback riding. I am also a fan of the “Vendée Globe”, the most difficult solo sailing race in the world! (Well, I only like to watch it!)

What is your favorite food ?

Breton cakes and pancakes without a doubt!

Your favorite book or movie

Everything by Anna Gavalda ( Ensemble, c’est tout) and all the films made by Jean-Pierre Jeunet ( Amélie Poulain…).

What is the place on earth where you would like to live or discover?

I would love to discover Asia and its culture so different from ours! I love being totally “lost in translation” when I travel!

 

mathilde VivaLing

What are your tips for learning French?

Do not be afraid to immerse yourself fully in the culture- and this is valid for all languages!

I think that watching movies or cartoons in French and reading articles helps a lot when it comes to understanding the language. But it is also necessary to practice as quickly as possible, even if you make many mistakes. You just have to go for it without being afraid!