I have decided to open my own online school and teach English. Science and technology content will be used as the medium for English instruction. In this way, I can make the instruction interesting and relevant. By looking at other online English schools, I feel confidant that by using science and technology as the medium, my school will offer a unique product.
Many students in other countries need help with their English conversation from beginner to advanced. While online teaching is convenient, it is still demanding as the teacher needs to focus their full attention on the student for fifty minutes. So I am fully aware of the time demands. Each of these lessons also need preparation time so this must also be factored in.
I know what it’s like to learn long distance because I have taken online Bisaya lessons for over two years. I studied the southern Filipino language Bisaya, also known as Cubuano language, using Skype and I know the pros and cons of using this technology. My other experience using online teaching and learning has been the use of Wiziq. My MathCounts team regularly met online at Wiziq for online math practice. I routinely taught between four and ten students the finer points of advanced mathematics. I often used the online whiteboard to solve problems and manage the students. The skills required are different from face to face, but good people skills are a plus.
Wiziq has the benefit of having an online whiteboard. This helps the teacher and student to interact when numbers and symbols are important for understanding. Another benefit of Wiziq was being able to share powerpoint presentations. I suspect that sharing files, video and a whiteboard will slow the connection, especially from students in other countries. For this reason, I’ll only use Skype for my English lessons.
The Link Between Teaching English and Science & Technology
I have lots of ideas on topics that may be of interest to talk about when teaching English conversation. Some ideas to make the connections will be to discuss simple science demonstration like observing an egg or ice floating in water. Why does that happen? How can you explain that? This would give the English learner something interesting and authentic to talk about. Another idea would be to show some pictures in current events in science so the student has something concrete to think and speak to. In this way, science and technology are the ling to learning more English vocabulary.
Other ideas I plan to implement include using mathematics and statistics as a link to improve English vocabulary. Many of the students hoping to come to graduate school here should be familiar with some of the more basic topics in science, math and statistics. I’ll find in each student their interest and background and use these links to improve their English vocabulary and conversational skills.
Helping with the English TOEFL test
I also will be getting into TOEFL test prep for English learners. This English test is used by many schools and corporations to assess the English reading, writing, listening, and speaking levels. Many ESL students need to score at a certain level to study here in the United States and this creates stress and a need to improve their TOEFL score.
I have taken professional development classes and also graduate classes in teaching English as a second language. Even though this will be my first time teaching English online, I have almost twenty years teaching science and mathematics. I also have over five years experience in online teaching and learning. I’m ready to go.