Hugh Dellar

Better Online Outcomes

During lockdown, the vast majority of us will have switched to online teaching, an experience that often proved to be both terrifying and liberating in equal measure. In this practical session, I’ll explore the impact online teaching has had on my own teaching, and look at where I feel both the opportunities and the obstacles lie.


"Like many other teachers, the onset of the coronavirus crisis forced me to pivot from face-to-face teaching to the online classroom. This experience proved to be both stressful and liberating, often at the same time! In this talk, I aim to explore the impact that working online had on my own practice and to lay out both the opportunities and the drawbacks of the online classroom, as I see them.

I’ll begin by outlining my own (very limited) experience of working online prior to 2020, and how I saw the role of tech in the classroom. I’ll then discuss the traumatic transition period, and look at what made this move so difficult. At this stage, I’ll touch briefly upon the glut of tech tools that are often touted as ‘ed-tech solutions’ and how they can actually cause more problems that they solve. I’ll also discuss the ways in which even the best online classrooms fail to replicate certain key aspects of face-to-face learning, before moving on to look ways I found to get round these obstacles. Finally, I’ll consider the ways in which online learning offers affordances that are far harder to explore and exploit in the traditional classroom.

Included in the different aspects of (online) classroom practice I’ll be touching on are attitudes to pronunciation and drilling, boardwork and how it can best be handled in the absence of a traditional board, the role and relevance of flipping classroom input, the need for a greater focus on speaking to ensure engagement, and how tech can be used to foster both pre- and post-class development.


Hugh Dellar has over twenty-five years’ experience in the field and is the co-founder of the online school Lexical Lab. He co-authored two General English series, ‘Outcomes’ and ‘Innovations’, and one level of the high-school series ‘Perspectives' (National Geographic Learning). His methodology book, ‘Teaching Lexically’, came out in 2016. He has given seminars and workshops in over 30 countries worldwide.