Conducting a demo lesson for an interview can put candidates under stress. You should not only make a good impression but also demonstrate your teaching skills to an experienced teacher trainer, which can be even harder than having a lesson with real students.
Anyway, as a rule, interviewees prepare for a lesson in advance. What points should you bear in mind for a successful outcome? It goes without saying that you need to look professional, especially the upper part of your body which is seen in the camera. Demonstrating favourable conditions for distant work such as the absence of noises, a qualitative headset, a neat background, a fast Internet connection will be a big advantage. Other tips are the following:
Make a good plan with solutions to anticipated online problems
Although making a lesson plan sounds trite, it can really help, especially if you aren’t experienced enough or get confused very easily under pressure. It should be clear and concise. Add one column for notes about online tools which are used during the tasks. In the section ‘Anticipated problems’ note how technical problems will be solved. Have one exciting activity up your sleeve if you finish early or feel the need to substitute a task.
Teach somebody using this plan and get feedback to improve it. Practice using online tools. Read about lesson planning here.
Prepare proper materials using online tools
Gather all information in one Google document which you can share without sending or at least one pdf file where all activities go one by one (use screenshots to cut out the necessary tasks and paste them in a file). If you want to look skilled in technologies, use online tools: a whiteboard, screen sharing, an online dictionary, an online stopwatch, quizmakers etc. Read about useful tools here. Do a test run before you start a lesson.
Follow frameworks for main skills
One of the first things that catch teacher trainers’ eyes is how well a candidate can follow lesson stages and frameworks for the main skills. Even if a lesson is 25-30 minutes long it should have the warm-up, the main part aimed at practicing 1-3 main skills, and the conclusion. Read about lesson frameworks here. If you have a choice which skills to teach in the demo lesson, choose reading and/or speaking and vocabulary which are the safest option. Grammar tends to be the most challenging to demonstrate because you need to clarify the rules using different techniques. During listening, you might face some technical problems.
Another important factor that can spoil a demo lesson is poor time management. Better to demonstrate just one activity properly with all necessary stages than to hit the peaks and skip the valleys. Anyway, don’t spend too much time on one stage. A demo lesson should be dynamic.
Liven up an online lesson
Building a rapport online can cause more effort than in a face-to-face lesson. Try to be even more energetic when you usually are. Use gestures to capture students’ attention and speak emotionally. Use some realia, for example, stationery, some souvenirs or gadgets to explain the word or set an example for speaking. For kids, puppets or other toys work really well.
Make you classroom management effective
Keep TTT to a minimum and maximize STT. Give learners more autonomy by using a guided discovery approach, concept checking questions, enough opportunities to guess etc.
Many online teachers worry if learners can hear them properly and start repeating the same things. Use online classroom language, give clear instructions and avoid repeating them. Check their understanding using ISQs. Bear in mind that in distant lessons sometimes there’s a delay between when you speak and when the other person hears it. So giving responses might take some time.