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Managing learners

Ways of managing learner expectations, setting ground rules and helping learners to become more autonomous.
© UCLES 2018

Whether you teach an online learner one-to-one or in a group, situations will arise that you need to manage. In this step, we look at a number of classroom management situations and consider ways that we can prevent them from happening, or deal with them when they occur.


Read the three situations below. How could you prevent these situations?

Situation 1 Situation 2 Situation 3
A one-to-one student comes to class having not read an article you asked them to read in preparation for the lesson. The lesson you’ve planned relies on the learner having read the article. You ask a group of learners to do some writing for homework and then share it with you via a document-sharing tool, such as Google Docs. Half the class fail to do it. When you ask why, they say it’s because they don’t know how to use the tool. You teach an eight-year-old child. Her parent complains that her lessons are too ‘fun’ and not focused enough. You know that the activities you set the child have a very clear learning goal, as well as being engaging.

Read the three situations below. How might you deal with these situations?

Situation 4 Situation 5 Situation 6
You set instructions for a task in a group lesson. One of the learner’s internet connection drops out. They come back a minute or two later but they don’t know what the task is. You have a student in a group class who’s really enthusiastic and loves to talk. He answers a lot of your questions and sometimes talks over the other students in the class. You’re teaching a five-year-old child, who’s finding the lesson a challenge. The anxiety results in him becoming upset and crying.

Before you check your answers, remember that there is no right or wrong way to manage a class of learners, whether it is face-to-face or online. Age, context, culture, etc. all play a role in determining how a teacher might deal with a classroom situation. Our suggested ideas may give you some tips on how to deal with different situations in online lessons.

Check your answers

Reflect and share

What concerns you most about dealing with a one-to-one learner in a digital classroom? Share your thoughts in the comments. Give some advice to other participants about their concerns.

© UCLES 2018
This article is from the free online

Teaching English Online

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