Teaching Remotely: Tips from the Experts at Speexx
This is part two of a blog series by Speexx aimed at providing best practices for coaches and professional learners around the world.
With many years of experience teaching remotely and working with learners from around the globe, Speexx coaches have adapted well to digital and remote learning and found what works best for both coaches and learners. During the last few months, many professionals are working from home, learning remotely and adapting to a digital world of work. To help you learn more about adapting to teaching remotely and distance learning, we have weighed in on our experts. Read on to discover their best tips for teaching remotely.
1. Use technology to its full potential
With over ten years of experience teaching remotely, Speexx language coach Frank Hubber says his number one tip for coaches is to use technology to its full potential. Try taking advantage of tools like virtual classrooms and put your learners into breakout sessions so that they can experience different forms of online learning and collaboration.
Frank suggests putting learners into groups of three or four and having them work together on a task while the coach turns off their camera to silently observe the learners. He says coaches should encourage their learners to interact with each other and use the language actively to complete the task.
Many coaches will agree that teaching remotely has quite a few advantages over traditional classrooms. In traditional face-to-face instruction, setting up groups can take more time. Learners may be talkative and slow in setting up their groups and physical distractions can take place easier than in a virtual space. In a virtual situation, a simple click of a button allows coaches to quickly and effectively split learners into groups.
When it comes to making good use of technology, Frank also suggests regular use of chat tools. With Speexx, a chat function is available to both coaches and learners. This is a great way to foster engagement by the learner and to give feedback to learners as well.
2. Set yourself up for success in teaching remotely
Working as a Speexx language coach and teaching remotely for over ten years, Katie Schinkel believes it is essential for coaches to set up a workspace ahead of time. Be prepared to start the day in a space that is strictly designated for your work. To help create a healthy work-life balance, separate your work from your personal life at home. This is a tip that all Speexx coaches agree on.
Katie offers the following tips:
Get your tech setup right – Katie points out that it is important to understand your tech setup, because in some neighborhoods it may not be possible to teach with wireless internet connection. To coach effectively and add reliability to teaching remotely, find a way to provide stability to your internet. Do your research and keep in mind of connection issues or interferences.
Invest in your health and in good equipment – Quality equipment is also important for language coaches teaching remotely. Katie suggests investing in quality equipment that provides comfort. She adds that it is important to keep health in mind, since many coaches manage themselves while working remotely. A suitable desk, comfortable chair and headset is not only important for your health, but will also enhance your work experience and improve sound quality.
Be prepared – As a coach, you need to be prepared for everything. Sometimes students may want to take a different direction in class, you may encounter a failed internet connection, or perhaps your computer has crashed – be prepared with alternative plans. It is also good to have a backup plan when it comes to communication with the rest of the team.
3. Organization is key in teaching remotely
For Paula Vilas and many other Speexx language coaches, staying organized is a key tip to successfully teaching remotely. Try organizing your weekly and daily calendars to find a balance between work and personal life, helping to reduce any stress that may arise.
Paula suggests that coaches prepare for classes one day ahead of time and that they distribute tasks evenly throughout the day. She completes written assignments, answers emails, and finds out about company news first thing in the morning. Paula then dedicates the rest of her day to her classes and enjoys having contact with her learners, whether through 1:1 sessions or virtual classroom sessions with larger groups.
How do you organize your day to ensure you stay organized and keep a healthy work-life balance? Here are a few tools and tips to keep you organized while working or teaching remotely in a digital world.
4. Personalize the learning experience
It’s true that AI has helped learning content become more personalized than ever before, but Speexx coaches are taking extra steps to personalize the learning experience further. Speexx language coach Pippa Sharp, enjoys taking the time to personalize the learning experience for each of her learners. She believes that coaches teaching remotely are at an advantage to help students in adapting to digital learning.
When teaching remotely, keep in mind that learners can always change their minds and may want to focus on something new, so it is best to be prepared. According to Pippa, coaches should check the needs assessment and session report ahead of time to uncover more about the learner. Aside from the material you plan to work with, have a few backup options available.
To personalize the learning experience, try the following:
- Do some research and get to know your learner ahead of time
- Know the type of content your learner prefers (whether it may be videos or longer articles and get to know their favorite topics)
- Have content available related directly to their industry and their professional role
Pippa likes to add authenticity to her sessions with learners and suggests having websites with relevant information or articles on their industry open for quick reference. A little bit of preparation goes a long way and makes for a good plan.
5. Maintain work-life balance in teaching remotely
Good time management is key for many coaches teaching remotely, especially when working in one’s own home. For Speexx language coach Valeria May, separating her work from her personal life at home is important to finding a good work-life balance. She dedicates one room to act as her office and another room where she can relax and take breaks. Valeria plans out her day each morning, allowing her plenty of time to see when her learners have booked sessions with her and when she will have more time to take care of other tasks.
She suggests the following tips:
- Plan your day out ahead of time (the day before or early in the morning)
- Find a balance by looking for gaps in your schedule where you can take breaks
- Dedicate a space for teaching and keep it separate from your break room or personal time
By following Valeria’s tips, you can create a healthier work-life balance while teaching remotely and working from home.
Teaching remotely now and into the future
In recent months, the entire world has been forced to go digital. Doctors’ visits, universities and many businesses are rethinking embracing completely digital processes. In the past decade we have already seen the delivery of higher education, reskilling, and corporate training initiatives, being overturned by technology. And while digital learning, teaching remotely and working from home may not be new to everyone, some may still struggle with adapting to this new world of work and learning. Start with our expert tips for coaches teaching remotely and distance learning for professionals, and you will be coaching and learning like a pro in no time.
Are you interested in discovering more best practices on teaching remotely and distance learning? Visit Speexx for more information.