Chris Roland

Making Online Lessons for YLs and Teens Really Good

In this fast-paced session, I shall take you on a whistle-stop tour of my key principles for teaching groups of primary and teenage students online. There will be a fifty-fifty split between the two different age ranges. We will think about what makes quality lessons and, as always, there will be plenty of practical activities and ideas along the way.


As mentioned in the abstract, I shall be looking at both YL and teenage online teaching in this session and will either split the session into two parts or look at them side by side. Either way, the balance will be even.

This session will operate on a number of levels. On a practical level, we will consider some aspects of online classroom management - for both age ranges. We will look at a number of my favourite activities so that at the very least, every teacher attending will have something new to try in their next online lesson.

On a more analytical level, we shall look behind the activities to identify a number of useful takeaway principles. In some cases these will differ between YL teaching and teenage teaching and in some cases they will coincide.

Finally, we shall consider the key question of what makes a really good online lesson. Here we will go beyond the perspective of a teacher trying to get by online towards a reflective, auto-critical paradigm. This dimension of the talk will be useful for teachers trying to self-evaluate their own performance, or for those who are about to commence teacher qualifications where they will be evaluated by others. It will also be useful for trainers, heads of departments or school owners.

Throughout, there will be examples of activities, photographs, anecdotes and analysis that I have carried out in and on my own online lessons.

Given the above, I believe the session will be useful for beginner teachers at one end of the spectrum right over to experienced trainers on the other.

We will cover reasonable ground in the session but my intention is to make it light and delivery relaxed. I shall do this by keeping my commentary streamlined whilst choosing points carefully.


Chris is an 'ideas man' based at ELI in Seville. He considers himself a 4x4 (all terrain teacher) and has regular weekly groups of YL's, teenagers and adults. He has authored several methodology handbooks which are available from Pavilion Publishing and is also a tutor on the Trinity Diploma course for OxfordTEFL.