I have been teaching English face to face for the past 30 years and I rarely gave online teaching a second thought. Five years ago, when I started coaching Pearson test of English Academic in Australia, a lot of students asked me if I could coach their friends and family members back in their home country and the first thing that came to my mind was using a video conferencing app such as Skype for teaching online. The experience was good, but it was not as good as face to face teaching.
However, with the advent of online teaching apps and the outbreak of COVID 19, most of us had to resort to an online teaching platform. For me it was the Zoom app.
The advantages of online PTE coaching
1. A smaller carbon footprint for everyone. Students and teachers don’t have to spend hours driving or riding public transport to their classes.
2. From the comfort of their homes anywhere in the world students and teachers can attend classes using a variety of digital devices (I’ve got PTE students from the four corners of the world).
3. The PTE Academic test is a computerized test, so for those students who are not familiar with using a computer, these online classes prime students for the test.
4. Unlike a face2face PTE class, the teacher’s voice can be heard by all students regardless of how far they are from the teacher.
5. Teachers can also use different teaching materials (audio or visual) to get their message. For instance, they can annotate onto a page while the students are reading.
6. Unlike a face to face class, all students can simultaneously ask their questions by typing them in the chat box.
7. Teachers can zoom and pan on important parts to highlight a particular point. In a face to face PTE classroom, this is only possible using a projection screen.
8. An online PTE coaching class can be held at any time, any day so long as students agree. But in a face to face PTE class in a university the building is only available at certain times.
9. Being hospitalized does not mean that you are going to miss your classes because you are bed-bound. The class comes to you wherever you are.
10. Students are not distracted by other students coming and going or mobile phones ringing in the classroom.
The disadvantages of online PTE coaching:
1. Internet availability and speed can be a serious issue.
2. Power outages can also limit access.
3. Most of us met our best friends for the first time in a classroom setting. In a virtual online PTE classroom this is unlikely to happen, unless the coach decides to divide the learners into breakout rooms.