A Step-by-Step Guide to Teaching English to Chinese Students Online
Recently, doing everything online, from buying groceries to ordering travel tickets, has become the norm. Another area that has seen a huge boom digitally in recent years is learning a foreign language.
For many, studying other languages is necessary to further their career, while for others it is much needed to gain entrance to a higher educational institution. Meanwhile, there are still others who wish to deepen their knowledge of global customs and cultures, and learning a foreign language is the ideal mechanism to help them achieve that goal.
In any case, it is evident that in order to be a successful student, being guided by a professional is a great step along the way. For non-native speakers of English, this means getting the help of a native or near-native English language expert, who understands all the ins and outs of English, and can explain them easily and effectively.
With this in mind, there is a huge demand for such educators, known in the business as TEFL (or Teach English as a Foreign Language) teachers. Below is a simple step-by-step guide to getting started as a TEFL tutor online, as well as some of the more common markets to teach these days.
Where are some good places to teach TEFL online?
For many years, a TEFL teacher has needed to travel abroad to ply their trade, being in a physical classroom in a foreign country to help students on their way. However, the last few years have seen an incredible rise in the number of options that a learner wishing to study English now has online.
For the TEFL tutor, this means that they could theoretically teach from almost anywhere in the world, so long as there is a decent internet connection. Then, the decision becomes more about other factors, such as cost of living, travel experiences, as well as the ability to find other work (online or offline) too, down the line.
One option to consider is the choice to teach English in China, where there is a massive population just waiting to learn more about the language. With one of the two biggest global populations on the planet (next to India), the Chinese market is primed to boost their knowledge of English, for both the short term and long term.
What is the first step to take to teach TEFL online in China?
First of all, the new TEFL tutor ought to investigate all the latest updates in the TEFL world, especially with all the recent changes that have taken place in the last few years, with technology, culture, and learning preferences. With that in mind, getting a top quality certification is the only sensible choice for any future TEFL instructor.
A reliable and trustworthy certification should provide peace of mind for the budding TEFL teacher, answering any and all questions they might have before they get started. These could range from how to teach a learner how to write a good essay, or assisting them in building their confidence in speaking fluently.
For speakers of languages that are vastly different from English, such as Chinese Mandarin, vocalising their thoughts and feelings can be challenging. Many of the sounds in English are new to them, and the language is less tonal than they are used to.
Thus, a good TEFL guide will be patient and understanding, supporting growth through encouragement and realistic assessment strategies. All these and more can be practiced and learned on a good TEFL certification course, which makes it a must for a TEFL teacher who is serious about their craft.
What does an online TEFL class look like?
In reality, the classes can vary hugely, depending upon a number of factors. While one student may be interested in the latest virtual influencers, and having an open discussion about these individuals that enables them to flourish in their speech, another may just be looking for the basics in grammar or vocabulary.
The level of the learner will play a massive role in how the TEFL instructor sets up the lesson too. For instance, a beginner in the English language will need a lot of steps to their lesson, as well as the TEFL instructor to take their time with gradually introducing new language concepts.
By contrast, a more developed English student will not need their hand to be held so much, and may in fact prefer to take the lead on topics. In this way, they ought to become the architects of their own learning, bringing their own queries and requests to a lesson that will dovetail nicely with what has already been prepared.
In a nutshell, each online TEFL class is as unique as a Faberge egg, and should allow the learner to slowly but surely acquire the skills they need in the language. What’s more, this variety must be a key element of keeping the TEFL tutor up to date on the newest happenings in the language, as well as ensuring they never have a dull day on the job.
What else should a TEFL teacher working in China know?
There are a couple of other points to consider for a TEFL teacher thinking about making the move to Chinese shores. For one thing, life as an expat in China is likely to be different depending on the town or city one settles in.
For example, a TEFL educator who makes their base in Beijing will have prime access to historical sites such as the Forbidden City, as well as the chance to take an evening stroll at the Olympic Park, with such architectural icons as the Bird’s Nest and Ice Cube lit up at night. Alternatively, a pleasant morning stroll at Beigongmen Park is a wonderful way to start the day and refresh the mind ahead of a day of online TEFL classes.
As an alternative, a smaller city such as Jinan (located in Shandong province) offers much of the big city feel, without quite as much of the hustle and bustle. A trip up to the 1000 Buddha Statue Park on top of the hill is an experience far fewer visitors are likely to have had.
In any case, it is absolutely worthwhile to think about immersing in the Chinese experience, to see exactly how a TEFL tutor can combine work and travel opportunities effectively.