Online Classes: Procedures

In a previous blog I wrote about the practical aspects of taking online language courses. I’d now like to make some suggestions about how to get the most out of online lessons. I strongly suggest you allocate a minimum of 15 minutes to pre- and post-session work. I will usually spend the last 5 minutes of a session reviewing what has been covered in the lesson.

Before the Session

  • Review the work done in the previous session
  • Open any documents I may want you to share (eg exercises, writing done for homework)
  • Open a word processor or an image editor where you can save screenshots

Zoom chat screencapDuring the Session

  • Keep an eye on ‘Chat’, where I will give immediate feedback on your speaking
  • Take screenshots of anything you want to keep, such as work we do on the Whiteboard
  • In the last 5 minute review, type into chat the main things you want to remember – words, phrases, grammatical points, etc

After the Session

  • Go back over everything we’ve done in the session
  • Transfer words and phrases to your notebook/spreadsheet, or wherever you store vocabulary
  • Schedule a time to do any homework I ask you to do

I’ve used the word ‘review’ several times above. I see this as one example of what is called ‘retrieval practice’ – defined as ‘the act of trying to recall information without having it in front of you’. Studies have shown that this is a very effective way to help fix things in our mind, and make it more likely that we will remember them in the long-term. Retrieval is one of six strategies put forward by a group called ‘The Learning Scientists’, whose work I admire. If you’ve got any questions about how I try to use their ideas in my teaching practice, please feel free to contact me here.