Teaching online lessons in the past three years has been a big learning curve for me, like the rest of the world. I've been running Mums' English Circle for nearly 3 years and had members from 11 different countries. Here are five qualities MEC members have brought together in creating our friendly safe place on the internet.
You've got to be brave to speak a foreign language. You have to be brave to join a group of people all speaking a foreign language. You have to be brave to join a new class, and use technology you maybe aren't very familiar with.
MEC members are brave enough to share and try new things with us and it makes the group great!
The world is not fair, so we have to do what we can to make our part of it fair. I believe English should be available for everyone, and I also believe that teachers should be paid fairly for their time and expertise.
MEC is just for mums and you might say that's not very fair. So why only mothers? It's hard being a woman on the internet. You're supposed to look good and not say much (just like real life). Women with opinions get abused, women get comments on their appearance all the time - good or bad, women get marriage proposals from strangers more often than you think. But the internet can connect us, and bring us closer. So MEC is just one corner for women, and for mothers who can share their stories of bringing up kids in very different countries and circumstances.
Every week we have a new topic, and questions to think and talk about. While it's ok to talk in general terms, it's much more interesting to learn about other people's personal experiences and opinions. With members all over the world, it could be easy to get into arguments about who or what is right. But I'm so glad that doesn't happen! It's so exciting to learn about other ways of life and we respect that. Thanks to the members for being open to sharing, and open to hearing about others' lives.
English is confusing. Speaking can be confusing. Speaking online with time delays and unstable connections, whilst speaking to people with unfamiliar accents can be confusing! All of those things happen in Mums' English Circle. So we have to be clear. When you join I have to be clear about the process, that you'll get a weekly email with the topics and Zoom links. When we're speaking I want to speak clearly and not in a confusing way. And when confusion happens, that's ok! We can work it out. In fact it's great to practice your English - after all the aim of learning English is to communicate. And when we communicate we have to overcome confusion.
Always be curious. It'll keep you young. Maybe it's the most important quality here, because without curiosity you'll stop learning. If you're just a tiny bit curious about how English works, how to improve your English, what life is like in other countries, it will fuel your learning for years and years. And maybe take you to places you never imagined!
How about you? Have you been teaching or learning online? What qualities have you discovered from this process? Do leave a comment below.
Must be Logged In to leave comments.
Speak English with other mothers around the world. Uplifting English conversation online for mums. Join us here!
I'm Abbie and I'm an English teacher and English event organiser. I've been teaching English for over 15 years. I'm British and I live in Japan with my husband two daughters and a lot of crafting supplies.