Why Writing Great Comments is Important
One of the great ways you can help gain recurring students in online teaching as an online ESL teacher is to provide really effective, direct and helpful feedback through your comments.
How do you give good feedback and make your comments standout from other teachers?
- Tailor them to each student
- Give them examples and explanations based on what you discussed in class.
- Take thorough notes during your class so you can give detailed feedback.
- Offer them supplementary links and materials to allow them to practice some mistakes
- Give them relevant and creative homework options
- Write the feedback soon after the class so it is still fresh in your mind.
- Give them homework that helps them practice the feedback you’ve given them.
Quick Tip: To help you save time: Save old comments as templates so for students with similar issues you can just use that as a basis for them. Don’t just copy and paste! You should still make changes based on the individual students.
To make sure I give my best feedback based on these points I have created a student feedback sheet that I use for my own online teaching with all the relevant categories. I take notes during my classes and then use the sheet to give detailed feedback based on what we covered in class.
How to Organise your Feedback:
Feedback can usually be broken down into sections (please note: these sections relate solely to speaking): Pronunciation, Vocabulary, Grammar and fluency and coherence.
For each section start with a positive comment, detailing what they did well. Next, move on to what they need to improve. Provide them with ways to help them improve. Finally, give examples from the class that they can review and practice.
Here is an example of a comment for pronunciation:
Wendy, you worked really hard in our class today. You’re pronunciation for the most part is clear and understandable and doesn’t interfere with your ability to be understood. Moving forward you need to focus on your “th” sounds as you tend to pronounce them as more of an “s” sound. Take your time to practice this sound with the following sentence from our class today: They took the time to develop a unique theme. (Make sure your tongue is between your teeth).
Some words to review from class:
- Passion / ˈpæʃ ən /
Some Examples of Homework
For pronunciation offer some tongue twisters for them to practice with the sound you were working on in class.
For listening: offer them a listening exercise based on the theme of the class that they can self-study
For summarizing main points: Have students listen to a youtube video and summarize the main idea.
For simple vocabulary practice and retention have student write out sentences using the vocabulary words.
These are just a few examples, but giving them concrete homework that helps them work on things that they may be struggling with in class helps them see that you’re focussed on their progression. It also gives them ways to develop their English on their own.