Email in the TEFL/TESOL Classroom

I’m an online English teacher here’s an idea I’m experimenting with.

I’ve got 3 online students I teach. One is in China, the second in Poland‏‎ and the third in Italy.

Until last week they’d never even heard about each other, they’d just dealt with me online (sending emails, having Skype, WeChat chats and so on) and then I read a post on a forum about email communication between students.

That got me thinking.


I wrote to each of the students and checked whether they would be happy having their email sent on to the other students and when they all agreed, I set the following tasks.

  • Find out basic information about the other students.
  • Arrange a time between you all to Skype.
  • Arrange a time between you all to WeChat.
  • Arrange a time between you all to Zoom.
  • Have a chat online!

Every email was CC’d to every student and myself and after about thirty emails had gone between them (without my help) they managed to set up a chat online when we could all get online together. It worked out really well. I didn’t say a word (but listened in) and they got on pretty well – well enough so that they’ve arranged another online chat next week.

This got me thinking even more of course. It helps that these students are from different parts of the world, but the same kind of set up could be worked between students who know each other already and share a classroom. Why not bring in email communication as part of the homework or part of the course structure? Perhaps a course requirement could be to send and respond to 50 emails from other students per term?

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Posted in Technology & TEFL.

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