Young learners

Challenges in teaching young learners online

Challenge one: Giving instructions in an online lesson


  • You may not be able to see your students’ reactions as clearly as in a face-to-face classroom to see if they can understand what you’re saying.
  • Problems with connectivity might mean students miss parts of the instruction too. Without a friend sitting next to them to check what you’ve said, students could get lost quite quickly.


Think about how you give your instructions:

  • Ask questions to check that your students have understood what they have to do, and always do an example of an activity before starting it.
  • Can you write the instructions on your presentation so students can read what they have to do as well as listen to you?
  • Check that students understand in their first language, particularly if they are quite young or a low level.

Activities take longer to prepare and longer to teach

Activities tend to take longer when teaching online as you have to allow time for any technical problems, and for checking all your students can see and hear you.


Don’t try to fit too much into each lesson. Have one clear aim and keep your lesson simple! Think about short activities that vary in pace to help you reach that aim.

Use time-efficient feedback methods. Plan how you will give feedback and check answers during the lesson.

Rather than nominating individual students to give their answers which can be time consuming and also make students anxious, show the answers on the screen for students to check themselves.

Teachers talks too much or students don’t talk enough

Pair work and group work can seem more challenging to set up in an online lesson, meaning the teacher can end up talking a lot more than in a face to face lesson. However pair work and group work is still possible, you just need to think more carefully about how it can work.



If you can safely monitor breakout rooms, these are a good way of giving students time away from the whole class to do speaking activities with one another.

Alternatively, students can still be put in open pairs to talk to each other while the rest of the students are listening. For students to feel confident enough to do this give them some thinking and planning time first.

Try using a spot the difference activity, a task students have to do in A1 Movers Speaking Part 1 and A2 Flyers Speaking Part 1. This can be done as a whole class activity or in pairs.

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