Learn about ESL Online Teaching and 4 requirements to begin teaching English online even if you’re just starting out as an ESL online teacher.
What Does ESL Stand For?
ESL stands for English as A Second Language.
Teachers that teach students who English is their second language are called ESL teachers and the students are called ELL which stands for English Language Learners.
There are so many students who have different first languages and living in multinational countries.
This makes it important to learn a common language.
The number of ELLs is continually growing and statistics show that currently, 1.7 billion people worldwide speak English as either a native language or as a second language• Statista – The Statistics Portal for Market Data, Market Research, and Market Studies
Let’s take a look at why it’s important to learn English.
1. It is the international language of communication.
English is the second most used language worldwide.
Therefore, for you to speak to people in other countries either for leisure or official purposes, it is important to speak and write in English.
English is the official language of 53 countries in the world, most of them being in the U.S and U.K.
2. It is the language of business.
It is nearly impossible to go to a meeting and not find them speaking English.
It is the dominant language in offices and companies to a point that it is almost a necessity for you to know at least conversational English.
3. It gives you access to a large variety of entertainment options.
Most of the top seller fiction and non-fiction books, movies, and TV shows are written in English.
Of course, there are translations, but more often than not, translations alter some bits and pieces of the original piece.
It would also be easier for you to have fun and entertain yourself and friends with some of the best and most popular songs.
4. It gives you access to more internet.
Slightly less than 50% of the websites are written in English.
When you can read in English, you will be spoilt for choice when browsing through the internet.
With all those reasons English is important, you see how learning the language is essential.
The increase in ELLs increases the demand for the ESL online teaching and different schools came up with professional acronyms for these teachers.
It is not strange to find different schools using different acronyms.
The most common acronyms are:
TESOL: It stands for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.
It is a general industry term used to refer to teachers to those students that learn English as their second language.
Within TESOL there are more acronyms and they are:
a.) TESL: It stands for Teaching English as a Second Language.
It is mostly used to mean the same as ESL.
They may work in public or private schools.
b.) TEFL: It stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language.
It involves teaching English in countries where English is not the primary language.
They may work for international schools, companies, or organizations.
c.) ESOL: This stands for English to Speaker of Other Languages.
It refers to the programs for students that need English for academic and professional purposes.
These include vocabulary, grammar, and phrases.
d.) ELL: It stands for English Language Learners.
Those students that are in the process of learning English.
Now that the terms are understood, let’s get into ESL.
What is Online ESL?
As the name suggests, online ESL is an instructional program that is created for students where the English lessons we have talked about above are taught virtually.
This means that lessons are conducted through a computer and any device that can connect to the internet.
On their website platform, the students learn to read, writing, conversational skills, and access system support.
How are Online ESL lessons conducted?
Like any other online service, their websites are organized in such a way that students and teachers navigate through it easily.
Here are some must-haves of most ESL websites:
1. One-on-one online classes – whereby the different software are used by both the teachers and students to communicate and carry out the lessons.
2. Scheduled classes – according to the student’s preferences.
Also, the instructors are allowed to choose when they would like to conduct their lessons.
This makes things more organized and you don’t have to deal with situations where a teacher is required to teach two students at the same time.
3. The students are given learning material by the teachers and are given time to understand.
The instructors correct them easily.
This helps even in pronunciation of words correctly since the instructor guides you, hears you speak, and easily corrects you where you go wrong.
4. When you speak to students, speak clearly and at a slower pace than you would when naturally speaking to other people who are well versed with the language.
Also, try to limit your local dialect by making sure that the way you pronounce the words is as close to the standard way as possible.
This minimizes rubbing off of your accent to your students.
Do I Need to Get TEFL certified to Teach English online?
The answer is, yes!
You definitely need to be certified. Just like all the other professions, teaching is also a profession.
There has to be a body that ascertains that you as a teacher are teaching the right information and that students get value for their money.
Also, some of the learners are children and you need to be trained on the skills needed to handle the group of learners that you will be teaching.
I would suggest that you get the certificate right away!
Challenges you might face as an online ESL teacher.
Picking up on Non- verbal cues.
In a classroom, you see the students face to face and are able to pick up on the non-verbal cues that students show.
This can help you determine whether the student is paying attention or they are being distracted.
In online ESL this is difficult because you cannot see the student and gauging their concentration might be difficult.
Learning a few troubleshooting tips and tricks.
Sometimes, computers can get tricky and you might lose the internet connection, or your sound might have a problem.
These tech skills will come in handy so that you do not have to call someone else or take time off to repair your computer.
Fortunately for you, Google has a large variety of websites to help you sort your issues out.
Responding to questions may not be immediate.
English is best learned through conversations and interactions and as a teacher that is your primary focus.
As much as there are writing skills, for a student to write properly, they should first be able to read and speak.
There are delays that may be experienced due to the distance of learners but this should not discourage you.
Some students and teachers take ESL as part-time and it would be a great idea to manage time well.
This allows both of you to get to class on time and also to complete tasks as planned.
Perks of becoming an online ESL teacher include:
1. Flexibility – online teaching allows you to teach from the comfort of your home.
This gives you so much flexibility to do your own thing while still teaching.
You do not have to move to a specific location for the lessons.
2. Direct student-teacher interaction – the instructor can pose questions directly to the student and this is really beneficial since the teacher will track the learner’s improvements and know where exactly to assist.
In general, as an ESL teacher respecting your students and knowing them is as important as teaching them English is.
Creating a respectful and professional relationship with your students makes the lessons fun and learning is achieved at the same time.
Remember that your students understand more than they can articulate.
All the vocabulary that you have once learned for your exams and have never used them during conversations but you can still remember them if prompted.
Be patient with your students and they will grasp the language easily.
What are the requirements to teach English online?
Lucky for you, most institutions offer a dual program that allows you to be a student and earn a degree and at the same time get the certification for the ESL program that you decide to do.
Here are the requirements for becoming an ESL teacher:
1. A bachelor’s degree.
The minimum requirement to become an ESL teacher is a bachelor’s degree.
Most of people study English, education, writing, or teaching English as a foreign language since it is useful to have knowledge in the English language.
A master is mostly preferred to be able to teach adult students but a bachelor’s degree will also do.
2. ESL training.
For you to teach ESL, you are required to undergo training. An example of a training course is CELTA.
It is the most recognized English teaching qualification worldwide.
It is the most requested certification and it stands for Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.
Although these courses more than often vary according to the geographical area, it is wise to research for the courses you need for your specific area.
Courses for ESL teachers include:
Undergraduate ESL programs: They are not as common, but they are still offered by a number of institutions in a number of states.
For you to complete the entire course, you will be needed to take an elementary or secondary school education degree.
You will also be required to minor in TESOL to complete it.
The training combines applied linguistics with the latest language teaching methods.
Once you graduate, you will have a great understanding of grammar, intellectual communication, linguistics, and teaching language methodologies.
Course work you will cover in this degree include:
– History of the English Language.
– Standard English usage.
– ESL assessment, advocacy, and placement.
– ESL methods.
Graduate ESL Programs:
They are designed as preparation for previous teachers who had certifications and would like to further their studies.
It may be a Master’s of Arts (M.A), Master’s in Education (M. Ed), or a Master’s of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T).
There is also a further master’s degree program in TESOL which generally focuses on theory and language research.
For you to get admitted into this program you will have to go through strict tests of your knowledge including writing a graduate-level essay.
Course work you will typically cover include:
– Language and culture.
– Second language acquisition
– Research Methods
– ESL curriculum
– Structure of English
– Methods of assessment in ESL curriculum
– Learning theory and so much more.
Different programs vary differently but most of them require you to complete an internship program to show the skills that you have acquired through the studies.
3. Obtain a license
You are required to get licensed before you start ESL online teaching.
These are otherwise called certifications.
An example of one is the TESOL Certification.
This is for trainers that already hold an authentic practicing license.
These programs are available through approved colleges and universities.
Typical coursework include:
– ESL methodologies
– ESL trends and practices
– ESOL assessment and curriculum design
– Reading Foundations
– Introduction to linguistics
The main reason for seeking accreditation is to make sure that the knowledge you are getting is up to standard.
4. Gain experience
The patience to work in a multinational country is required for you to be successful in the industry.
The ESL online teachers can work in a variety of places like international, public or private schools.
Having some experience in the industry will be a plus for you and will help sharpen your skills.
Not every person that speaks English is a good online English teacher.
All the information shared is to help you as you begin your new career in ESL online teaching.
Simple gestures like smiling will help put your students at ease and make learning more comfortable.
Don’t be afraid to be as dramatic and demonstrative as need be, as this will help make the process easy to understand and the student can relate to you easily.
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Maureen Kasyoka is the editor of Weshare’s blog. She has gained excellent research and writing skills through the years, writing on ranging of topics from social media to marketing in more than 5 years.
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