Paradigm shift to online teaching – few tools and guidelines

Dr Shabana Thayniath

The coronavirus pandemic has directed the teaching community to online teaching mode, and most of us are taking online classes from schools /colleges or   working from home. Here in Hyderabad, we are in lockdown – not stepping outside other than to buy essential items near the places of residence. In this scenario educational institutions like schools and colleges are putting all efforts to adapt, deliver and engage the classes by providing online classes and save the academic year of the learners . For many facilitators like me, this paradigm shift to online teaching brought many challenging issues like integrating power point presentations, facing camera, and speaking to the invisible learners.With this experience I came across few tools and guidelines that can be adopted for online teaching.

Traditional and online classroom

I have been teaching over a decade in the traditional and blended form in the classroom but with the onset of  online classes, I have been exploring resources to adopt new methods that can be integrated in the classroom. Traditional and online teaching has both pros and cons, physical classroom gives ambience, interaction, develops rapport and is active with the learners involvement whereas, online classroom is more teacher centered and the teacher has to understand the learning behaviors of the participants. It took some time to understand the dynamics of online classes which can be made effective, interesting and interactive.

Technological literacy is a prerequisite for both the teacher and the learner and few other aspects like:

Technical-fast internet speed; Uninterrupted power supply; Computer or device with sufficient storage space;

Headphones and microphone clarity; materials and power point presentations to be adapted to online classes; challenge to involve the invisible learners to interact; classroom management with netiquette; teacher fatigue with continuous speaking;

Developing listening; speaking; reading and writing (LSRW ) in learners with various platforms  like:

§  Google Classroom is a free tool helping educators this tool is being used widely as it is user friendly and can accommodate many learners.

§  YouTube videos can be incorporated that have pre-listening, during-listening and post-listening questions/task on it.

§  ESL Video: This site has videos that can be accessed for free,

§  TEDtalks/ are videos from expert speakers on education, business, science, tech and creativity, with subtitles in different languages.

§  Padlet, a free, online ‘wall’ that learners can write on – it’s collaborative, supports learning, and allows for a record of learners answers. Short writing task can also be used on this.

§  Dictogloss is a skill activity that helps the learners to focus and practice discreet parts of spelling, grammar, pronunciation vocabulary, etc.

§  Rewordify can be used to develop reading skills. It is a website that permitsyou to create comprehension tasks based on the language contained within the text

§   Cambridge English Text Inspector, which allows you check the CEFR level of the text and each of the pieces of vocabulary used.

§  Insert learning: is a useful Google Chrome add-on that allows you to turn any internet web page into an interactive lesson.

§ Kahoot is game-based learning platform / British Council links can be shared  to the games, reading activities, etc.

Teaching and learning goes hand in hand and there are a plethora of platforms providing courses for the learner in every teacher like:


§  Coursera

§  ESL online

§  Pearson English Instructional video series

§  The British Council webinars

§  Cambridge Assessment English – Teaching English online: This is a free (if you want a certificate of completion, you need to pay a fee)

§  Cambridge Assessment webinars

§  Cambridge University Press blog:

§  Cambridge Assessment – Tools to support remote teaching and learning.

Finally plan your classes, remember Netiquette. Experiment with different apps, programmes and add-ons before you use for the class always take a step back and see if you are on the right track and  to end with the quote

You can’t teach people everything they need to know. The best you can do is position them where they can find what they need to know when they need to know it.” – Seymour Papert,

Dr Shabana Thayniath is theAssociate professor and Head Department of English at Muffakham Jah College of Engineering and Technology, Hyderabad. An alumnus of Rosary Convent High School she has completed her Ph D in English Language Teaching