Languages: Online vs In Person Teaching

COVID might have changed some of your life or work plans. It might have changed how you teach: online vs in person teaching. You might be looking into teaching English and not sure if you prefer online teaching or in person (when and where it is allowed due to COVID).

I have compiled my thoughts on teaching online versus in person from my own experiences doing both. There are pros and cons to both and the following lists correlates to both pro and con.

Be sure to read on how to be the best language teacher possible!

Activities Online vs In Person Teaching

During class, you need activities to help the students understand the grammar and learn new vocabulary. However, activities are very different between online and in person teaching.

You might be telling me, well of course it is!

I am mentioning it now, as the first point, to emphasize how different it is. In person activities are a lot easier to manage as a teacher and a lot easier to do as the student. You can have more physical activities such as dances or moving around the room.

While online, it is more online games.

Another important thing to note is how to transition your lesson plan between online and in person. As someone who went from in person to online, I had to redo my whole lesson plan to better account for online learning. This meant moving all my written work to a Powerpoint and finding online games.

When you start either online teaching or in person, keep in mind it is like starting from scratch in terms of preparing lesson plans and activities.

Individual vs Group Classes

Teaching in person allows easily teaching groups or multiple students. Teaching multiple people online, especially when they are in different locations can cause a variety of issues.

There is no downside for teaching individual students in person. In fact, there is a lot of upside since you can make each lesson geared just for that one student. This is also similar for online teaching as well. Often, online teaching is individual or two students that are in the same location using the same computer.

Internet and Technology Online vs In Person Teaching

Not all students have modern computers and high speed internet. Unfortunately, that is just how it is as of writing.

Teaching in person eliminates technological or internet barriers for students. It also eliminates an age barrier. Very young students and very mature students tend to have a harder time when coordinating technology.

However, teaching online has the benefit of incorporating videos and other online items easier, which is perfect for listening exercises.

Time and Length of Classes Online vs In Person Teaching

In person classes can be quite long. I have been in class as a student the whole day and as a teacher, the longest has been 2 hours.

Online classes tend to be shorter often being around 30 minutes to an hour. Part of this reason is that staring at a screen for a long time is uncomfortable. Another reason is that sitting for a long time is uncomfortable.

This means you might need more classes to make the same income.

Making Mistakes Online vs In Person Teaching

We are all human. We make mistakes. Even though you are a native English speaker, let us just say, you will still mess up.

One, because native speakers often don’t speak grammatically correct. An example would be Americans don’t use past perfect when we should.

Two, humans make mistakes.

I have seen my own language teachers write the wrong word or spell the wrong word on the board. It is fine. It is normal. And no one thinks less of them.

However, I believe it is easier to forgive in person than online. There is bit of pressure to be more perfect online since you have everything at your finger tips and you have more time to prepare (if you also account for the lack of commuting time).

BUT, on the flip side, you do have time to make sure everything is correct. You can use a Powerpoint more easily.

With everything, there are pros and cons. Teaching in person or online is no different. After having experienced both as a teacher and as a student, I will always prefer in person. However, as a traveler, I prefer online because I can be anywhere I want to be while I am still learning. What are your thoughts?

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