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5 Communication Skills That Every Online English Teacher Must Have

In this article, you will find the top communication skills that you must develop to keep your students engaged and be an effective online English teacher.

teacher communication skills

Communication generally refers to the process of giving and receiving ideas, information, signals, or messages. Given this definition, we can say that effective communication is more than just writing with excellent grammar or speaking with the proper diction and intonation. Furthermore, there are skills that one must possess or develop to be an effective communicator.

Successfully creating a dialogue with your student and keeping them engaged throughout the lesson is a fundamental yet challenging part of teaching. It is among the first steps you have to take to fulfill your responsibility of helping the student learn a new language. As a home-based online English teacher, however, communication can be more challenging given the limitations of being on the other side of a screen.

To help you become a more effective communicator and instructor, here are some noteworthy skills that you must develop.

Listening

As you give your ESL lesson, you must remember that you should not do all the talking. Listening is a crucial communication skill that allows you to empower your students to participate in the lesson and practice their English skills.

To be an effective English teacher, you must give your students the chance to talk and practice what they learned.
To be an effective English teacher, you must give your students the chance to talk and practice what they learned. Image: Pexels

You have your time to talk and go through the lesson, but you must also give the students time to talk and put what they learned to use. Doing so not only helps them hone their skills but also makes them feel valued. Furthermore, this will encourage them to keep learning and do better.

Some straightforward ways to become an active listener is to be attentive to what your student is saying, respond accordingly, and ask follow-up questions as needed.

Aside from improving your own active listening skills, you can also teach with EnglishClub using their materials with listening and speaking exercises for students.

Body Language

Communication involves not only the words you say but also the cues you give through your body language. Students learn from these, whether you make them intentionally or not.

Considering this, it is best to be fully in the moment as you teach online and be intentional with every move. Make sure that your body posture, gestures, and eye movement are positive and align with what you say.

Additionally, you must also pay attention to the learner’s body language to understand them better throughout the session. Slouching or keeping the head bowed, for example, may mean that they are still nervous or that they are not yet into the lesson. Use this insight to adjust your teaching style and encourage them to participate. 

Facial Expressions

Facial expression is one of the primary sources of information during communication. It is found to be the most expressive way through which people display emotions. It is what your students immediately see and look at throughout the lesson.

You can use your facial expressions to help you convey a message more effectively. Beyond this, using various facial expressions as you deliver the lesson can help you keep the students motivated and interested.

Lastly, you must know how to read the learner’s facial expressions like how you pay attention to their body language. A student’s expression can give you an idea of whether or not to slow down, pick up the pace, or modify your teaching style to help the student follow.

Tone and Pitch of Voice

A teacher’s tone and pitch of the voice can make or break the mood of the lesson. The right voicing can help you keep the students engaged and build rapport with them. However, a monotonous voice can dishearten them further or make them lose interest in what you have to teach.

To establish an authoritative yet approachable voice, it’s best to find the right balance between being stern and kind. If you are teaching younger learners, maintaining a firm yet friendly voice enables you to be in command of the session without scaring them.

Clothing Style

Even if you are a work-from-home teacher, you still need to dress well for your lessons. It may not seem like it, but the way you dress conveys a message to your students and influences what they think about you. Consequently, this perception impacts your effectiveness as an instructor.

Even Even if you are a work-from-home teacher, you must dress appropriately for your lessons to ensure a positive and professional atmosphere.
Even if you are a work-from-home teacher, you must dress appropriately for your lessons to ensure a positive and professional atmosphere. Image: Pexels

A pleasant physical appearance can help you gain respect from your students. As a result, this respect can encourage positive student attendance and help you keep a session in order. Ultimately, you should remember that as a teacher, it is important to dress appropriately to set a good example to your students, even if you teach at home.

Communication is Key to Effective Instruction

The communication skills mentioned here will help you deliver your lesson successfully. If you think that you do not have everything on this list, there’s no need to worry! You can develop these skills as you go along your home-based online teaching journey.

However, you will need determination and intentionality to hone these strengths. The more you level up your skills, the more your student will learn. Ultimately, honing these skills will also help you prepare for the world beyond the virtual classroom.

Written by 51Talk for EnglishClub | September 2020

4 comments

  • Leo Salazar says:

    “Clothing style” a skill?!

    How about empathy, or adaptability, or flexibility, or adequate preparation, or…. etc.

  • Michael Sullivan says:

    Keeping students engaged with an activity, sometimes called a “warm up,” is a good way for you to step back and allow students to share.

  • HABIBU ABDULLAHI says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH, I WISH YOU! LEARNING

  • The King Of Love From IRAN says:

    Thank you so much.
    I wish you love & peace,

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