A guide to teaching groups of students online

calendar_todayApril 29, 2022
A guide to teaching groups of students online

We understand that the idea of teaching a group of students online – versus a one-to-one tutoring session – can be daunting. You want to ensure all your students are engaged and that you provide a lesson that is stimulating and immersive. However, this can be challenging, particularly if you’ve never taught groups of students online before.

At LessonWise, we’re all about providing opportunities for tutors to scale their services and earn more through group online teaching. That’s why we’ve put together some useful tips, with some advice from one of our tutors, Divin Kiokio, to help you navigate your first experience teaching a group online.

Be prepared

Being prepared results in being confident. And if you feel confident as a tutor, there’s very little you can’t handle in a group teaching situation.

Being prepared includes planning out your entire lesson before you teach it. If it will help you feel more confident the first few times you tackle group tutoring, run through your lesson aloud beforehand.

Preparedness means having all the resources you need ready and on hand as soon as you need them, such as videos or readings. You don’t want to waste time and lose students’ focus by scrambling to find what you need.

Fully preparing to teach groups online also involves some forward-thinking. For example, it’s helpful to take some time to consider the kinds of scenarios that could take place when teaching groups. There may be one student that is dominating the rest; what strategies will you use to include more learners in your discussion? Perhaps you could put them on the spot and have them illustrate something on your whiteboard, increasing engagement among other students.

Other things to prepare for your lesson are quizzes for your whiteboard and devising questions of varying difficulties to cater to your students’ different abilities and levels.

Use technology to your advantage
When we set out to build our online tutoring platform, we aimed to include as many tools and functionalities as possible to empower our tutors to make lessons more impactful. Using technology, you can create an exciting and immersive lesson for your students. With LessonWise, you can:
  • Make students presenters and have them summarise something you have just explained.
  • Encourage students to participate with the instant messaging feature – perhaps they can drop questions in the chat or give their answers to your questions if they don’t feel confident enough to share them aloud.
  • Post interactive quizzes that allow students to flex their muscles and show off what they’ve learned.
  • Use the whiteboard to embed resources, draw mind maps, and give real-time explanations of the concepts you are teaching.

You can also use other technology to prepare for your lesson and compile your resources. Using a free online design tool like Canva can help you create professional-looking PDF documents for your students to study. Using YouTube, you can source videos that unpack complex ideas and embed them on your whiteboard or include them in lesson notes for students.

Create opportunities for engagement

Making your lessons engaging is crucial to your students’ success and to retain them for longer. However, this can be easier said than done, especially if you have a particularly shy group of students on your hands.

Providing engaging lessons means allowing your students to give input and insight, rather than having you talk for the full duration of the session. Divin recommends that, when you design your lesson plan, be sure to allow for engagement opportunities (but have a backup plan in case no one raises their hand).

Encouraging collaboration and participation

It is a lot easier to encourage students to collaborate and participate in the lesson in a traditional classroom. However, with a group of people behind their screens, that can be far more difficult to achieve.

Collaboration and participation happen naturally if students feel comfortable and included. A great way to help them feel more at ease with collaborating is to start your lesson with an icebreaker. This can be as simple as asking a question and asking each student to provide an answer.

Encouraging students to collaborate with you can be made easier if you use the technologies built into the LessonWise platform. For example, making other students presenters gives them the opportunity to share their ideas and insights with you.

At LessionWise, unlike other online tutoring jobs, we give tutors access to students and allow them to connect directly. We’ve built a cutting-edge virtual classroom that facilitates both one-on-one and group sessions and gives you plenty of options and peace of mind when it comes to teaching groups of students. Learn more about being a tutor at LessonWise on our website.