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5 Communication Skills Every Online English Teacher Must Have

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Communication has to do with exchanging ideas, messages, signals, and information from one person to another. From this definition, it is easy to see that effective communication goes beyond using the correct intonation and diction when speaking or having excellent grammar-writing skills. For anyone to be considered an effective communicator, there are specific skills that they must possess and exhibit.

A fundamental yet challenging part of teaching is creating dialogues with the students successfully and keeping them engaged from the start to the end of the lesson. This is one of the first things that the teacher has to learn to successfully fulfill their goal of teaching the students a new language. However, this becomes even more difficult for online English teachers because of several limitations with teaching online through screens.  

To be successful as an online English teacher, you need to be an effective instructor and communicator; there are several skills that you need to develop and exhibit. Some of these are:

1. Listening skills

While you teach your students, it is essential to note that you can’t be the only one doing the talking all the time. You must give room for the students to express themselves, and you need to listen to them. Listening skills are an essential communication skill that you need to be successful as an online English teacher. It engages the students in the lecture and also allows them to practice what they have been learning. 

It is not enough for you to teach them the language if you don’t take the time to listen to them practice what they have learned and note their improvements. Listening to them makes them feel valued and also hones their English-speaking skills. Furthermore, they are encouraged to continue learning and improve. 

The straightforward way to be an active listener is to listen attentively to the students as they talk. Then you can ask them follow-up questions if the need arises or respond to them accordingly. 

2. Body language

There’s more to communication than the use of words alone. One can also communicate through their body language, and this is a skill you have to learn. Your students will pick up whatever body language you project while teaching them, intentionally or not. 

Knowing this, you have to be fully present and make sure you are intentional about your body language. The gestures, body postures, eye movement all count for something, and they must align with the information you are communicating. 

Additionally, you have to pay attention to your student’s body language to understand them well throughout the session. For instance, keeping a bowed head may signify that the student is still nervous or hasn’t gotten the lesson yet. Insights into their body language help you to be more effective.

3. Facial expressions

This is a primary source of information while communicating. It is one of the most expressive means of displaying emotions. Your students look at your facial expressions every time and not consciously and unconsciously. 

You can convey a message with your facial expressions, but beyond that, you may be able to keep your students engaged and interested with your facial expressions. 

It is also essential that you can read and understand the facial expressions of your students similarly to how you read their body language. For example, the facial expression on a student will help you determine whether to slow down or not and note changes you need to make to your teaching. 

4. Technical know-how

One of the crucial factors that differentiate online teachers from traditional classroom teachers is the reliance on technology to communicate knowledge to the students. If your computer is not functioning correctly or you don’t have a fast internet connection, then you will struggle to perform your role effectively – that’s if you can do it at all. 

This is why you must have a good level of technical know-how to be effective as an online English teacher. The tool used in communicating is almost as important as the message you are communicating. So you need to learn the appropriate skill to handle and use these tools well to aid your cause. While you work as an online teacher, you will use various software applications and particular hardware to succeed. Having the technical know-how and skill to handle these wares is crucial to your effectiveness and success as an online English teacher. 

So, you need to understand some of the basics of troubleshooting problems with a computer. Even if you are not tech-savvy, you must be able to handle specific problems quickly by yourself if they come up. 

5. Time management skills

Most online platforms don’t implement rigid schedules for teachers or have a set time and day to give your lessons. However, some require you to have your lecture during peak hours, but you have to determine the time slots you're opening for booking. Also, you are in control of the lessons you give per day or per week, and you only have to reach a specified number of lecture hours per cutoff. 

With this level of freedom in your teaching schedules, you must be able to manage time effectively. With good time management skills, you will prepare well for each lesson, manage your teaching blocks, be punctual, and ensure that you are on point and on time with all your lessons. If you are not effective at time management, you won’t be able to organize your endeavors wisely, your preparations will be poor, and you will be less effective in teaching. 

Time management during the lectures is also essential. Ensure that you fulfill the objective of each lecture and that the students understand you within the specified time.


Communication skills are essential in teaching, but teaching in the classroom is not the same as teaching online. You need specific skills to be effective and successful as an online English teacher, which you may not need offline. This article recaps those five important skills for online teachers. 

Author Bio

Jessica Chapman is a writing editor from Chicago working at A-writer.com, where she also doubles as a pro essay writer providing the best essay writing services. She is into sport and politics and enjoys traveling. 

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