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Materials and activities for online lessons

Materials and activities for online teaching and how to adapt for teaching online.
What kind of teaching materials might a teacher use online? Well, I still think of the course book works pretty well, even for online teaching. Because it still sets out the syllabus, doesn’t it, and so it gives you a curriculum and it tells you what tenses to follow and what vocabulary to introduce and that sort of thing. And you? Yeah, well you might work for a company who provides teaching materials for you. So they might provide PowerPoint presentations or something like that. And you may be able to adapt them, depending on the company’s policy. Yeah, and there’s authentic materials as well.
Of course, the internet is full of YouTube videos, and Ted Talks, and articles, and newspapers, and that sort of thing. Absolutely, and, also, you might have learners that bring materials to lessons, mightn’t you? If you’re doing a one-to-one class, you might have a business person who comes to you and says, I need to write a letter or, I received this email, can you help me to understand it? The materials I use for online teaching are very similar to what I’d use in a face-to-face classroom. I do try and keep it simple.
So instead of giving lots of different handouts, I might just give one handout so the students can refer to it easily instead of having to navigate between different handouts. They might print it off beforehand. We also try and keep the structure of the tasks as simple as possible, just so it’s easier to manage online. So maybe discussion tasks, such as ranking, or problem solving. Probably the most important thing to remember if you’re taking material or resources that you’ve used in a face-to-face environment, is to think about the time. The fact that it will take longer for you to cover the same amount of material. To think about the appropriacy of the different tasks within that material.
Because, really, if you’re doing language practise tests, I think that that’s probably better done in the learner’s own time. So, perhaps, taking out the tasks where it’s about guidance or giving feedback and using those in the online session and allowing the learners to go and do the learning, the practise, outside the lesson. So you might consider flipping your lesson a little bit or thinking about how a series of lessons will work with online study or independent study in between those classes. I would give activities like reading to do before they meet me. And then during the lesson, then, we can discuss the reading together.

We’ve looked at platforms and talked about digital tools and resources, now let’s start thinking about materials and activities you can use when teaching online.


Watch the video of teachers talking about materials and resources and complete these sentences:

1) Marie Therese says coursebooks work because ……..

2) Lindsay says that if you work for a company that provides you with materials, you may be able to …………..

3) Marie Therese says the internet is a good place for materials, for example, …….

4) Lindsay talks about learners bringing materials to lessons. For example, ……..

5) Jade says it’s important to keep tasks and handouts as ……

6) Helen says teachers need to plan what learners do in the lesson and to decide which activities …….

Check your answers

Reflect and share

Our teachers talked about adapting materials for online teaching. Look at this page from a coursebook. How might you need to adapt the material for a group online lesson? Think about the features of a typical platform and about what you can/can’t do online.

When you have decided how you would adapt the coursebook materials, post your ideas in the comments and read other participants’ answers. Are they the same as yours?

This coursebook activity is from Complete First for Schools by Guy Brook-Hart with Helen Tiliouine ©Cambridge University Press and UCLES.

After you have posted your ideas for adapting the coursebook, you can compare your ideas with Lindsay’s here.

This article is from the free online

Teaching English Online

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