Skip to main content

Using Technology with Your Private English Students: 5 Ideas!

How can technology help each of us be better English teachers for our private students? Here are 5 ideas!

 1. Laptops for Lessons

As teachers we are used to using paper and pens, and that's in part because as teaching and learning resources, they work. Obviously nowadays people are often more used to reading, writing, and learning via a screen. It's quite remarkable that with technology helping us in every other aspect of life, education is still off the pace. Laptops in particular lend themselves to in-person lessons, and they can useful for searching for interesting topics and vocabulary together, using online study resources, accessing videos and images, or creating documents together.

2. Set Watching Videos and Listening to Podcasts as Homework

In the age of the flipped classroom, it is perfectly normal to set homework which is fun, stimulating, and engaging. If you spend some time looking for good quality podcasts, such as from the BBC, or potentially interesting videos such as TED talks or TEDed, you can set the listening and watching of these as homework, and then use them as the basis for your next lesson. You can adapt the in-lesson task depending on the needs of the student. If for example your student wants to improve their conversational English then you can direct them to a podcast or online video and get the student to tell you what they enjoyed about or learnt from it.

3. Create Group Chat for Your Students 
These days knowledge and information is created, disseminated, and shared. Our roles as teachers, therefore, need to adapt to this. With the advent of the Internet our status as the brightest person in the room regarding English language has been surpassed by the gadget in the pocket of the learner. What we as teachers bring to the table has become less about providing grammar rules and more about facilitating speaking, actively correcting, working on pronunciation, and enabling our students to become independent learners. Part of that can be putting English learners in touch with other English learners. Why not start a Facebook or WhatsApp group to which you can invite your students? It will keep you all connected, will he fun,  and help build loyalty among your students.

4. Set Technological Tasks
Everywhere you turn in the virtual world you can create a personal profile, share, comment, participate, and create content that is unique to you. For better or worse each of us can be writers, singers, and video stars. You can harness this potential and set tasks for your English learners such as getting them to record and upload their voices so they can listen back and improve, or to use presentation tools such as Power Point and Prezi to crate a presentation for when you meet. Setting tasks like this is challenging for students but much more inspiring than grammar worksheets and promotes real-life skills which the learner will benefit from in various aspects of their lives.

5. Apps
There are a multitude of apps out there that you can recommend to your private students which will help them to develop faster and will compliment the lessons they are having with you. It is worth looking at these apps yourself first and then encouraging your student to experiment with different ones to see which suit their needs the best. Some of the more straightforward language-learning and vocabulary apps are Duolingo, Busuu and the British Council grammar app. For chatting the relatively new Hellotalk is great for developing informal chatting and building connections with other language learners. There are many more out there, some for free and some paid; our advice is to keep searching on the app stores, download, play, and share your thoughts with your students in your shared group!

Additionally, there's no reason why your learners shouldn't be chatting with other English learners on Skype, gaming online in English, and of course watching films or TV series in English. All of these will help your students to become more rounded English users and enable them to become more independent in their learning.

If you have any more ideas, or comments on our suggestions, please feel free to comment below!

Contact us:

Sign up as a private English teacher to advertise your lessons on, you can do it here!

Read: 3 Tips For Livening Up Your Lessons 

Read: Being A Professional English Teacher


Popular posts from this blog

Best of The TEFL Blogs

For every path we walk down, someone else has trodden the same route. As teachers we rely on the wisdom of others to guide us and help us develop. In this vein there is an abundance of great blogs out there on teaching English. They range from the academic to the practical, they include lesson plans, tips, insights, cautionary tales, and pearls of wisdom.

Here is our list of some of the best ELT blogs out there!

Chia Suan Chong

Chia is well-known on the conference circuit and she blogs about many different aspects of TEFL. Her blog posts are layered with theory and practical advice, as well a wonderfully personal touch!

Scott Thornbury: An A-Z of ELT
Scott is one of the most dominant authorities in contemporary English-language teaching and his blog charts the world of ELT through the vehicle of the alphabet. A is for accent among other things, and Z for ZPD.. Scott speaks with the the confidence he has earned from his position in the TEFL world. Great go-to resource for new teachers.


3 Tips For Livening Up Your Private Lessons (Part 1)

From the first lesson you give to the thousandth the same question is always: What can I bring to the lesson for it to be effective and engaging? Here are 3 simple tips to liven up your lessons.

1. Use Images! Using images is a great way to reduce your talk time, change the dynamics,and to encourage creativity and fluency. Using photos and image can support learning for all levels of students.
Example activities 1. Descriptive Writing: Set a set time limit and get your student to freely write a story based on the image you have provided. Sure to get creative juices going! 2. Comparatives: Provide two photos of  people, places, or events and get student to verbally compare the content.

2. Get up! A new teacher might be shy about doing this and a more experienced teacher reluctant to. Get your students to move around! It provides variety, gets the blood moving, and is energising!
Example activities 1. Role play: Act out an authentic interaction such as buying ticket, asking someone out, or …

Creating Your Profile: Top 5 Tips

To make your profile stand out and represent you, we offer these 5 top tips:

Write in the Language of Your Students 'Bubbly and articulate newly qualified English facilitator looking to take on board some new English-speaking wannabes, specifically interested in teaching starters and beginners! If you understand a word of this -- get in touch!'
Writing in the language of the students is not essential and might not be possible for you. But, if you write in the language of your students, you will be able to attract lower-level students, and you will be able to create a connection with the student faster.
Be Precise with Your Location'Italy. Top half.' 
Being more precise about where you can teach will enable students to know whether having lessons with you is feasible or not. You will get more appropriate inquiries. Don't give your full address (and it is not necessary to write or give out your phone number), simply give an indication of the area in which you are willi…