How to ensure that your first online French lessons go well
Whether you are an experienced Skype teacher or about to undertake your very first French lesson online, you want to make a positive impression on your audience
The purpose of this article is to help you make the most of your future French classes online
Preparation, preparation, preparation
Find out as much as you can about the student and their problem before the first online French lesson. Confirm the subject and topics they need help with, the level, exam board and syllabus. Remember to ask them to bring all relevant course materials such as textbooks to the initial tutoring lesson online so that you can work out together exactly how much course content you need to cover.
Remember to agree a firm date, time and location. You may also send them an email two days before to confirm that the lesson is still going ahead.
Create the right environment for teaching and learning French online
Arrange for a quiet place for your Skype French classes online, somewhere with no distractions like television. You need to be able to sit alongside the student. Remember to bring all of the teaching materials you need and to test your internet connexion.
Put the student at ease
Start off by introducing yourself. Tell them about your background and explain why you love working as a French teacher online. Be professional and friendly, and remember to remind them that you are there to help them and that literally no question they may ask is irrelevant.
Get the learners to tell you something about themselves, maybe their hometown and region, favorite places for traveling, or things that they like and enjoy outside of school or work. If they are interested in sports for example, you may be able to weave this into online French lessons, so keep your ears open.
Find out what is challenging
Are your students excellent in French conjugation but not at ease in listening comprehension? Are they quick at understanding complex grammar rules but not so great at expressing themselves? Let them tell you what their problems are. Listen carefully, remembering to ask ‘why’ as this will help you get to the root cause of their problem.
Remember that there are online educational tools out there that may be able to help you. For example, if the student has difficulty with memorizing large chunks of information then why not introduce them to mind maps. These visual tools are great as they can used to synthesize large bodies of information.
Getting through to the student
Students learn a foreign language in so many different ways. Some learners are reflective; they need time to mentally digest new information; others are active – they like learning by doing things. For instance, they might prefer to drive by actually getting in a car and starting the motor, rather than spend time leafing through instruction manuals first; reflective learners will prefer the complete opposite.
As professional French teachers online, you need to understand how your student learns can be a really useful way to find the best way to tutor them. You can work with them to workout their favorite French learning style.
Prepare a Study Plan
Once you have identified the difficult areas, you can draft a detailed plan of what you want to cover, and how much time you need to cover each topic / sub-topic. Provide a copy to the student so they, too, know the pace at which they need to study important concepts. This strategy helps manage expectations and remind them that French learning is a work in progress.
Make your French lessons online interesting and fun
Ideally, an online course should have features that allow you to grow in the four language learning areas: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Good online French courses should also contain practical exercises, so that students get a chance to practice the material they’ve been taught during the lessons. What better way to practice newly-acquired words or grammar topics than by using them in activities and exercises that are specially intended for the material you just learned?
Give the students some homework
It never is too early to encourage students to prepare for the next session!
From the very first French lesson online, assign your student work that covers both previously learned material and introduces them to the next topic. Whenever you can, try to make the homework as practical and engaging as you can.
Try not to rely completely on textbooks. You could recommend them to watch engaging videos, films, TV series and internet searches to your learners. You can also tell them to consider following a French language blog. Reading fresh updates on the French language and culture will help them stay engaged in their studies and keep their enthusiasm for French alive.
Schedule your next ONLINE French LESSONS
If the lesson went well, and the student is happy then you should be looking to book further Skype French classes. These will be easier to remember if you keep the same day, time and location.