Tag Archives: teacher tips

Teacher Tips- How to Provide Constructive Feedback for your Students

Depending on your teaching situation and the number of students you have, sometimes it can be tough to know how to provide feedback for all of your students. How do you know when to correct your student and when to let things go? Correcting too much in the moment may cause your students to stop speaking, and not enough correction will lead your student down a path of bad speaking habits.

Keep a Notebook

A general rule is to keep a notebook to jot down mistakes that are made often so that you can give your students a chance to learn without singling out their mistakes, constantly interrupting with corrections, and scaring them from speaking out again. Most students will need plenty of encouragement to speak out in class and less interruptions from the teacher. Let your students speak out, jot down the mistakes that are being made in your notebook, and make those teaching points targeted to the class so that your student can learn without feeling criticized.

Record your Students

Recording your students or asking them to record themselves also provides a great way for you to hear your students individually and provide personal feedback to each one. OpenLanguage has made this simple with the ‘Task’ feature. The Task asks students to answer questions or speak about a topic covered in the lesson, and they can record themselves and upload the Task on their mobile device so that the teacher can send feedback. The Task gives the opportunity for the student to speak and receive feedback for every lesson so that the teacher and student together may uncover weaknesses and make improvements in areas that may otherwise go unnoticed.

Try out the Task feature with your students and start giving more personalized feedback.


Teacher Tips- How to Get your Students to Speak More in Class

Getting students to speak in class is one of the biggest challenges for a teacher, and its also the most essential aspect of the student’s learning process. Through my own experience in language learning, speaking always created the most anxiety, as I was being graded on my responses, or I was given open ended questions that I believed were too difficult for me to answer. More often than not, class time was spent listening to the teacher, and most of the class was spoken in my native language.  As you can imagine, results are disastrous in this type of learning enviornment.  As a teacher, there are a couple of ways that you can make students feel more comfortable when speaking in class, and in turn, see real progress from your students.

Create the Right Environment

The first thing that you can do is create a class environment that revolves around having students speak in class. There should be plenty of encouragement, and an understanding that language learning is full of making mistakes. In a classroom full of speaking, and not just the occasional question that puts students on the spot, there will be less fear and anxiety placed on the student.

Build Confidence

After creating a class that welcomes and encourages speaking, students should also be given lots of guidance when asked to speak so that they do not become confused and discouraged. Before asking your students a question, they should have received all of the proper tools to be able to give an answer.  No student likes to be placed on the spot with a question that they aren’t prepared to answer.  It helps to warm up the students with easy questions before moving to more difficult ones.

Using OpenLanguage to Speak More in Class

OpenLanguage provides some useful tools that can help teachers get students speaking more in class. The ‘Practice’ tab in the OpenLanguage lesson lays out 35-40 minutes of focused speaking practice that will help students master each lesson by reviewing the target vocabulary and grammar points. The lessons are simple to follow and easy to implement into any type of classroom.

practice screenshot

The ‘Practice’ lesson plans give students the opportunity to put to use all of the things that they’ve learned from the lesson, and getting your students to speak out more and interact in the target language will create a more enjoyable class experience.  Most importantly, your students will develop more confidence as they are given more opportunities to speak in class.

Teacher Tips- The Tablet Textbook- Teaching with OpenLanguage

The tablet textbook, or digital textbook, is being embraced by many teachers and schools at the forefront of technology. The old days of students lugging around all of their textbooks are quickly being replaced as tablets and mobile devices are becoming cheaper and more accessible for all students. These changes will eventually make it easier for both teachers and students, but some teachers may find it difficult to cross over into unfamiliar territory and move away from using the standard textbook in the classroom.

tablet on books

Last week we wrote about the general use of OpenLanguage in the classroom and the various ways that teachers are using the product. This week I’d like to talk about how to use the OpenLanguage tablet textbook to teach your class.

OpenLanguage has several key features that give teachers the ability to push their language class to the next level. Each lesson contains a dialogue spoken by native speakers, key vocabulary, expansion vocabulary, grammar, exercises, practice, and a task. Some lessons will also have a culture tab to give advice that allows you to more easily interact with the native speakers of your target language.

The practice tab is the most useful for teachers to get as much practice as possible during their class. Each practice lesson provides material for about 35 minutes of speaking practice with students. The practice makes use of the lesson vocabulary and grammar, and will also note other practical language necessary for fluent communication. It gives simple, straightforward, and practical speaking exercises for teachers to practice with their students.

lesson screenshot

In addition to the practice you can do in class, you may also choose to go over the exercises that are provided. The exercise tab tests the students’ comprehension of the material with matching, multiple choice, dictation, and sentence reordering exercises. If the students have difficulty with grammar, there is a grammar tab that allows you to teach and review key grammar points from the lesson.

As you can see, teaching with OpenLanguage makes it easy for the teacher by providing a template to structure your class around, and it also provides flexibility to go even deeper into the material with expansion vocabulary, cultural topics, and real native language expressions that aren’t covered in most standard textbooks.

If you’re a teacher and interested in trying OpenLanguage in your classroom, please come sign up for your free account at www.openlanguage.com/teachers and try it out!

Teacher Tips- How to Use OpenLanguage in Your Classroom

Unfortunately, most language teachers are still teaching in the old, traditional textbook method, spending valuable class time lecturing to students and having them repeat the target language and dialogue.  OpenLanguage gives teachers an arsenal of new tools that  will make teaching easier and more enjoyable.   Here are some of the ways that teachers are incorporating OpenLanguage into their classrooms.


The Flipped Classroom: The flipped classroom is a new approach to teaching and learning where the student studies the material at home and then comes to class to practice with a teacher.  With OpenLanguage, the student is able to listen to native speakers read the target dialogue and vocabulary, and then the student is able to practice using the language with the teacher.  Within the lesson contents are classroom activities for the student to practice with the teacher, as well as exercises for the students to complete.

The Traditional Classroom: While we think the best method of teaching involves flipping the class to allow the student as much speaking practice as possible in class, some teachers may prefer to first try a more traditional approach with OpenLanguage.    Under this method, you may go over the dialogue, vocabulary, and grammar with your student, and assign practice exercises for homework.

Supplementary Material: While there are more than enough lessons within OpenLanguage for complete courses, some teachers have used it as a supplement to fill in the gaps of their current curriculum.  Using OpenLanguage as a supplement allows you to search for topics by keywords or ability level to find lessons relevant to your students.

Class Management: Along with all of the great in-class practice material, there are also built-in class management tools that allow you to assign courses to your students and track their progress. Teachers have the ability to create and assign courses from our large lesson database,  assign and check online practice assignments, monitor student usage, give tests, and receive feedback through surveys.  These tools make it easy for teachers to track student progress, create class lesson plans, and receive feedback about the course.

Feel free to sign up for a complimentary teacher account at www.openlanguage.com/teachers and explore the OpenLanguage platform to learn how to transform your classroom.  Also, check out this video below for more information on using OpenLanguage with your students!