At Brighter English we know it can feel a bit daunting to move from a real classroom to a virtual one. That’s why we have compiled our list of 6 top tips to help you feel more calm and confident about communicating in your online class.
1. Use the Chat Box
Feeling shy? Need extra support with a task? Use the dedicated chat box to send a private message directly to your teacher. Your teacher can then give you helpful tips and encouragement to boost your confidence and help you to tackle activities more easily. You can also use the chat box to communicate any technical problems you encounter. The good news is that by simply using the chat box, you’re practising your reading and writing skills too!
2. Put your Hand Up!
If you know the answer to a question or have something to say to the class, use the hands up icon to show your teacher that you’d like to speak. That way you won’t interrupt the teacher when they’re talking, and they’ll clearly see that you’re ready to contribute to the lesson. Teachers love to see the hands up icon in a Zoom lesson because it shows you’re actively involved in the class, and they enjoy hearing what you have to say.
3. Make the Most of your Speaking Time
The joy of learning a language is all about communication, so try to use the time you have in class, or in a breakout room with your partner or group, to practise your speaking skills. Don’t worry about making mistakes, your teacher can correct them for you after the activity – privately in the chat box, if you prefer. Practise extending your answers and try to make them a little longer every time you speak. This will help to develop your fluency and confidence.
4. Learn Discussion Phrases
Being able to express your opinion, agree, disagree and make suggestions is very important in a group class. Sometimes even knowing how to start, finish or politely interrupt a conversation can be incredibly useful. Challenge yourself to learn three new phrases before each class and practise them during your lesson. You’ll be surprised how much they can transform the flow of your conversation. You can learn some of these useful discussion phrases on the BBC Learning English site.
5. Get the Right Equipment
If you don’t have a good inbuilt microphone and webcam on your device, you might find it more difficult to see and hear your teacher and your classmates. This can have a negative effect on your communication and your learning. It’s a good idea to invest in a good quality headset and webcam so you can fully participate, understand and enjoy your classes. You can buy this equipment relatively cheaply online, so shop around and compare some prices before you buy.
6. Check your Settings!
Technology sometimes has a habit of going wrong, and it may be that your audio or video feed aren’t working properly when you join your virtual classroom. If this happens, most importantly, don’t panic! Try leaving the class and rejoining it, and if that doesn’t work ask your teacher to check their settings. You can find an option to test your video and audio in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen, which might help you to diagnose any technical problems. Lastly, check that you don’t have your headphone or portable speaker cable plugged into the microphone port on your computer because this will block your sound.
Now that you’ve read our useful tips for communicating on Zoom, we hope you’re feeling more reassured about learning English online. If you’re ready to join a class, why not book a free online consultation with us to find out more about our courses?
Which tip did you find the most helpful? Let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to sign up to our website to get more brilliant Brighter English study advice and special offers straight into your inbox!