New skills for new classrooms: training tutors to teach languages online

Hampel, Regine and Stickler, Ursula (2005). New skills for new classrooms: training tutors to teach languages online. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 18(4) pp. 311–326.



While online teaching in post-compulsory education is the focus of much research today, the training of online tutors has been largely neglected. Most papers do not go beyond dealing with the technical skills that are needed to teach in an online environment. This article outlines a framework for tutor training, starting with a brief overview of benefits and challenges for online language tutors. On the basis of several years’ experience with teaching languages using a synchronous online environment and training tutors for online language courses, we suggest a pyramid of skills necessary for successful online teaching. These include the more general skills of dealing with the technology and using its advantages, the social skills of community building, language teaching skills, and the skills to teach creatively and develop a personal teaching style in an online medium. The article then suggests how these skills can be implemented in a training programme, which includes both pre-course training and on-going staff development.

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