Best Practices for Virtual Training and Instruction

With a lot of training and learning moving online, as an instructor, who was used to in-person sessions, you may be wondering how to improve your virtual training sessions. If you feel like your virtual learning is simply not working or could be improved upon, here are a few tips:

• Ensure you are using the right platform. Ideally, you want a platform that will allow for polling, group break-out, screen-sharing, hand raising etc.

• Use the features mentioned above to increase interaction and engagement

• Decrease session length to no longer than 45 minutes and increase session frequency

• Ensure your audio and visual devices are optimal, so everyone can hear and see you well

• Have clear session procedures laid out

• Break info-heavy slides into smaller chunks for easier mental digestion

If you are finding your virtual training sessions need improvement, here are a few best practices tips to help you increase engagement, session optimisation and focus for your students.

Tips for Gaining and Maintaining Attention in Children

No matter how well you know your stuff, sometimes the hardest part is just getting kids to pay attention long enough to learn something. A few helpful tips to maintaining your students’ attention are:

Reach out

Instead of calling out to a child across the room, try going to them, positioning your body at their level and requesting in a firm but friendly voice to look at you before beginning your discussion.

Use attention grabbers

Use sensory motivational devices with varied colours, textures, shapes, movements, smells or sounds to help them focus. Warm, soft colours and an orderly environment can help with kids who may get over-stimulated.

Be playful

You can use a dramatic voice, sensational hat, clapping, a secret hand sign for them to duplicate or rolling a ball to each child to keep them alert.

Describe what you see

Refocus their attention by labelling activities or objects and talking or asking about the similarities and differences.

Be clear and specific

Keep directions short, direct and simple. Avoid saying ‘don’t’ statements, instead clearly say what they need to do.

What Are Your Options with a TEFL and No Degree?

Even without having a university degree, currently, you still have a few teaching options available to you if you have a good quality TEFL Certification:

1. You will first need to gain as much experience as you can before applying for many teaching jobs, such as ones available abroad. One great way is to volunteer teach so that you have proof of your experience with real students and gain great references which are very important.

2. Teaching online can be a great option for teachers who may need more freedom. You can do this by teaching for an online school to gain experience first then set up as a Freelance teacher later, if you prefer.

3. If you like children, it is a lot easier to get a job teaching kids English without a degree. Au paring is one fantastic way to do this. You could even do this in an after-school care or tutoring capacity.

4. Copy Editing is another great angle to take if you have a passion for reading and writing. This offers a lot of flexibility as you can do this from anywhere.

Take your passion for coaching further

If you help out at a club or group assisting a coach, you might want to take things further by getting some qualifications. There’s a whole spectrum of qualifications you could go for, with specialisations in a broad range of sports available. A basic level qualification will improve your skills when assisting a lead coach but beyond that, you can qualify to coach on your own.
Some course providers offer one-day coaching workshops for a range of levels. These are great as a taster and may give you an idea of which route you want to go down, as well as giving your skills a boost and having the opportunity to meet and chat with other coaches. These day courses are easy to fit in around work making them great for volunteer coaches.
If you’re really serious about coaching there are great college and degree level courses available. Consider whether you want to specialise in coaching for certain groups (eg. disabled sports) If you want to work with children you’ll need to pass an enhanced disclosure check.

Become a Teaching Assistant

Teaching assistants (usually referred to as TA’s) work in the classroom in a subordinate role to the class teacher. Your primary role is to help pupils in their learning, either as groups or individually, and sometimes supervising the class when the teacher is out of the classroom.

In secondary schools, you may primarily work in learning support, helping those pupils with special needs. Primary school TA’s will work mostly in the classroom and will also work making resources and putting up displays.

While there are no set qualifications, there can be strong competition for TA roles. A good route can be to volunteer at a local school and then train up. There is the potential to become a Higher Level Teaching Assistant with more responsibilities. TA jobs are often suitable for part time workers.

Being a teaching assistant is a rewarding job. If you are well organised and enjoy working with children it may be the job for you.