teaching english online

How to Teach English Online

Teaching English Online to Children: A Comprehensive Guide for Au Pairs, Tutors, and Nannies

In today’s educational evolution, digital teaching isn’t merely an alternative but often the primary channel of imparting knowledge.

For au pairs, nannies, and tutors, teaching English online promises vast opportunities. This detailed guide will delve into the nuances of online pedagogy and how to deliver effective English lessons.

Tips for Teaching English Online:

  1. Engage with Visuals: Use interactive presentations, images, videos, and online whiteboards to illustrate points and make lessons more engaging.
  2. Personalise Lessons: Understand the needs and interests of the child. For instance, if they enjoy sports, integrate sports-themed vocabulary and reading materials.
  3. Use Online Tools: Websites like Kahoot, Quizlet, and BBC Learning English offer games and exercises that can make learning fun and interactive.
  4. Feedback is Golden: Provide regular constructive feedback. This not only guides the student but also shows them their progress, motivating them further.
  5. Stay Updated: English language teaching methodologies are always evolving. Join online forums, attend webinars, and stay connected with other tutors to stay updated.

Let’s explore this topic a bit more… πŸ‘‡

teaching english online

1. Grasping the Online Landscape

A. Choosing the Right Platform:

Each platform has its unique offerings:

  • Zoom: Features like interactive whiteboards, breakout rooms, and session recording.
  • Skype: Offers real-time translations, screen sharing, and call recording.
  • VIPKid: Tailored for ESL lessons, offering gamified lessons and reward systems.

B. Connection and Equipment:

  • Stable Internet Connection: Ensure a speed of at least 10 Mbps for uploads.
  • HD Webcam: Clear video is paramount for visual cues.
  • Noise-Cancelling Headphones: This ensures clarity in conversation.

2. Crafting an Engaging Virtual Environment

A. Interactive Slides and Presentations:

  • PowerPoint: ‘Morph’ transition for seamless animations.
  • Google Slides: Collaborative and cloud-based.

B. Digital Resources:

  • Quizlet: Craft personalised flashcards.
  • Kahoot: Design interactive quizzes.

3. Personalising the Online Experience

A. Tangible Visual Aids:

To teach vocabulary, showing a physical apple can be more effective than its digital counterpart.

B. Adaptive Learning Paths:

Use tools like DreamBox or Smart Sparrow to modify lessons based on a child’s progress.

teaching english online

4. Incorporating Multimedia in Online Lessons

A. Animated Series:

  • PBS Kids: Various educational cartoons.
  • BBC Learning English: Lessons that include animations.

B. Audio Tools:

  • Audible: Vast collection of children’s books.
  • Epic!: A children-centric digital library.

5. Real-world Simulations and Role Play

A. Virtual Backgrounds:

Change settings like a restaurant or airport using Zoom’s feature.

B. Role-playing Apps:

Apps such as Roblox allow English practice in a game setting.

6. Teaching Strategies for Online ESL Learners

A. Digital Translanguaging:

Toggle between the native language and English using tools like Duolingo.

B. Cultural Context:

Infuse cultural touch-points in English lessons using National Geographic Kids.

7. Encouraging Peer Interactions in the Virtual Domain

A. Group Sessions:

Promote activities like group story-building.

B. English Clubs:

Assign a day for English-only discussions on chosen topics.

8. Monitoring and Feedback

A. Digital Portfolios:

Platforms like Seesaw facilitate feedback by allowing children to upload work.

B. Regular Check-ins:

Employ Google Forms for feedback collection from kids and parents.

9. Continuous Professional Development

A. Online Courses:

Coursera provides specialised courses in TESOL.

B. Webinars and Workshops:

TESOL International Association hosts frequent online events.


  1. Do Have a Backup Plan: Technical glitches can happen. Have backup materials or activities ready.
  2. Do Set Boundaries: Schedule regular breaks during lessons and make sure to communicate your availability to parents and students.
  3. Do Encourage Speaking: The more a student speaks, the faster they’ll become fluent. Ensure ample opportunities for them to practice speaking.
  4. Do Keep Parents in the Loop: Especially if you’re tutoring young children, keep parents informed about progress, challenges, and any additional resources that might be beneficial.
  5. Do Use a Good Quality Headset and Webcam: Sound and video quality can make a significant difference in online teaching.


  1. Don’t Overload with Information: It’s easy to want to cover a lot in one lesson. Instead, focus on a few key points each session, ensuring they’re understood before moving on.
  2. Don’t Stick to Just One Teaching Method: Every child is different. Be flexible and willing to adapt your teaching style.
  3. Don’t Neglect Cultural Sensitivities: Remember that students might come from diverse backgrounds. Be respectful and open to learning about their cultures.
  4. Don’t Be Too Rigid: While it’s essential to have a plan, be prepared to deviate if the child shows interest in a particular topic.
  5. Don’t Forget to Enjoy: Teaching English online can be rewarding. Celebrate the small wins and enjoy the process.

10. Embracing and Overcoming Digital Challenges

Online teaching demands resilience. Have a contingency plan for unforeseen technical or activity challenges. Also, compile a list of offline tasks for children during tech glitches.

Online English teaching for children is an enriching journey.

For au pairs, tutors, and nannies, mastering these strategies not only bolsters teaching prowess but elevates the child’s learning experience. Remember, flexibility and patience are of the essence as every child learns at their pace.

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