Can students really learn online?
Very few students do reach an A (Advanced) English level. Many reach an I (Intermediate) level and most never pass the M (Messy) English level. By using a combination of realt-ime classes and prerecorded videos, students can practice and strengthen points that would challenge the patience of any teacher, but that requires discipline. Most students are not gifted with “self-study” skills, therefore, the presence of a teacher motivator is key to their development and progress.
I teach students both online and face-to-face. Those who started online via FaceTime or Skype enjoy the classes and have no complaints about the flexibility and activities. Those students whom I teach face-to-face are rather resistant to online classes, finding it hard to focus. Psychologically it seems it’s not a real class to them if they can’t smell the teacher’s “sweet perfume”. I do notice that online classes do seem to demand more concentration from students than traditional F2F classes which last 90 minutes and had to be shortened to 60 minutes for online usage. Students get tired more quickly while looking at a screen. One of the great benefits of online teaching is flexibility. Since I have to travel quite often, my journeys won’t affect my students’ learning process. Now, prerecorded online classes do seem a reinforcement of a regular class, not really replacing the presence – either physically or virtually, of a teacher.