The Rise of Online English Teaching

Hello everyone,

Learning English has become very important in today’s world. English is the global language that allows people from different countries to communicate and work together.

Many jobs now require at least basic English skills.

That’s why the demand for English classes has increased dramatically in recent years, especially in non-English speaking countries.

In the past, learning English usually meant going to a classroom with a teacher and other students. While classroom learning can be effective, it also has some major downsides.

First, classroom courses can be very expensive, especially if you need to pay for things like course materials, transportation, and childcare on top of the class fees.

Second, in-person classes require a fixed schedule that may not work for people with busy lives or unconventional schedules.

Third, good English teachers may not be available locally, especially in more rural areas.

Thanks to the internet, there is now another option – online English classes.

Instead of meeting in-person, the teacher and students use video conferencing technology to connect virtually from their own computers or mobile devices.

The rise of online teaching has made English instruction much more affordable and accessible to people all around the world.

Let’s take a closer look at how online English teaching works and why it has become so popular.

How Online English Classes Work

In an online English class, the teacher and students log into a virtual classroom through a video conferencing app like Zoom, Google Meet, or Skype.

The teacher can then share their screen, camera, and audio to deliver the lesson content just like they would in a physical classroom.

Students can see the teacher on their screen or device, as well as any materials like slideshows, videos, or online activities that the teacher shares.

The students can also use their camera and microphone to participate by answering questions, practicing conversations, or getting feedback on pronunciation.

Most online English classes are relatively small, with just a handful of students per teacher.

This allows the teacher to give more personalized attention to each student compared to a large in-person class. Some classes are even one-on-one between a single student and teacher.

In addition to the live video lessons, online English courses typically provide students with extra resources like recordings of past classes, PDF materials, practice exercises, and homework assignments that can be accessed online anytime.

Students can use these self-study materials to review and reinforce what they learned during the live lessons.

There are both group classes, where multiple students learn together at the same scheduled time, and self-paced individual courses that allow each student to work through the content independently on their own schedule.

Lessons can cover general English skills like vocabulary, grammar, reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

Or they may focus on specific goals like English for business, travel, academic purposes, or test preparation.

Benefits of Online English Teaching

Online English classes have several major advantages over traditional in-person classes:

1. Convenience and Flexibility

One of the biggest benefits of online teaching is the convenience and flexibility it offers students. They can take classes from anywhere with an internet connection, whether at home, work, or even while traveling.

There’s no need to commute to a physical classroom location. And rather than being locked into a fixed class schedule, students have more options to find time slots that fit their personal routine.

2. Cost Savings

In addition to saving time and hassle, online English courses are generally much less expensive than in-person options. There are no costs for things like classroom rental, commuting, or childcare.

And because the teacher can potentially work from a lower cost-of-living area, their rates may be more affordable. Some online group classes can cost as little as $10-20 per hour.

3. More Teachers to Choose From

With online teaching, students are no longer limited to teachers in their local area. They can choose from a wide range of instructors located anywhere in the world.

This gives them more options to find teachers who are an ideal fit in terms of teaching style, experience level, accent, or specialty.

4. Custom Learning Paths

Online English programs can often be more customized to each individual student’s goals, current level, and pace of learning.

Some offer personalized learning plans where the curriculum is tailored specifically for that student based on their needs and progress.

5. Comfort and Confidence

Many students feel more comfortable and confident practicing their English skills from the privacy of their own home or personal setting. The virtual learning environment may feel less intimidating than a large classroom filled with other students.

Growth of the Industry

As online English teaching has become more mainstream and recognized as an effective learning method, the industry has exploded in recent years.

There are now hundreds if not thousands of companies and online schools offering virtual English classes to students all around the globe.

The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a major catalyst for the online teaching boom.

With lockdowns forcing schools to close their physical locations, many were pushed to rapidly adopt online learning for the first time, including English classes.

Both teachers and students became more familiar and comfortable with virtual instruction during this period.

Even as the pandemic subsided, demand for online English classes remained strong.

Many students who tried it for the first time realized they preferred the convenience, cost savings, and personalized nature of virtual learning.

And teachers found they could earn good income while enjoying the flexibility to work from home or anywhere they choose.

Estimates vary, but the global online language learning market is projected to grow to $8 billion or more by 2025, with English making up the largest segment.

Major companies that have capitalized on this trend include VIPKid, Preply, Cambly, and italki just to name a few.

Who Is Teaching Online?

So who are these online English teachers, and what kind of background do they need?

In general, most companies require teachers to be native English speakers, have a bachelor’s degree of any kind, and obtain some sort of TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification.

Many online English teachers are based in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia or other native English speaking countries.

However, there are also opportunities for teachers living as expats in non-English speaking nations.

For some, online teaching serves as a full-time career, while others do it as a side hustle in addition to another primary job.

Teachers often have flexibility to set their own schedules and hourly rates based on their qualifications and experience level.

Top teachers at the most reputable online schools can make $20-30 per hour or more.

In addition to teaching adults and older students, a major portion of the online English market serves children and youth, including after-school tutoring programs.

As such, online teachers need skills for making lessons engaging, interactive, and tailored for younger learners with shorter attention spans.

The Future of Online English Learning

As internet access and digital literacy continue to spread globally, the online English teaching profession seems poised for continued growth in the coming years.

Classes can make English learning accessible to places with few qualified local teachers. And students can get exposure to a variety of native accents and teaching styles from instructors worldwide.

More schools and employers are accepting and recognizing online learning as valid, removing previous stigma.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning may allow for increased personalization and adaptive learning paths that adjust automatically to each student’s needs and progress.

However, the rise of online education also faces some potential hurdles and criticism. There are ongoing debates around certification requirements, teacher compensation, and student experience compared to traditional classroom settings.

And as the market becomes more saturated, companies will need to differentiate themselves through quality instruction and value provided.

Still, for those who need to learn English but face geographic, time, or financial constraints, the ability to take classes online provides a convenient and viable solution.

As technology improves and the world becomes increasingly connected, virtual English teaching will likely grow as a powerful way to bring language learning to a global audience.

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