Maria Christine Tapayan, Online ESL teacher at Acadsoc.
Depending on whose perspective we’re looking at, free trial classes are designed in order to relay and get vital and beneficial information about the class and what to expect out of it. Here we look at the perspectives of a potential student who wishes to join the class and the teacher who handles the class, and suggest ways in order to make the experience beneficial for both parties involved.
For the student, here are some tips from my experience on how to make the most out of your free trial class:
- Engage yourself in the free conversation.
Most free trial classes begin with self-introductions. Meaning, you’ll be able to describe who you are, your interests, and expectations. Be specific. Don’t be afraid to talk a lot.
- Ask questions.
The most common misconception about asking questions is that it suggests you don’t know anything, which translates to “You’re stupid.” That is totally wrong. Asking questions is an important skill in our everyday decision-making, and part of the deal of asking questions is developing your confidence in handling conversations. So don’t be afraid to ask.
- Decide what you want to learn.
Most students who sign up for free trial classes show up not knowing what to learn. Don’t be like that student. You better know why you signed up, in the first place. Tell your teacher what you expect from that class and the succeeding ones (if you eventually decide to sign up).
- Tell your teacher what you liked and didn’t like about the class.
Let’s face it. If you decide to sign up, you’ll be paying for your classes. So you better get what you’ll be paying for in the future. Telling your teacher what you liked and didn’t like about the class not only helps your teacher improve, but also improves the quality of classes you’ll be getting.
For the teacher conducting a free trial class, you may want to consider these tips in order to ace that class.
First impressions last. Showing up on time for that class gives you a good impression. You don’t want your first line to your student to go with, “I’m so sorry for being late.”
Ask the right questions.
Remember, this is your student’s first class with the company. Prepare good questions that will help you assess and evaluate your student’s needs. Get to know his or her interests. Get to know his/her culture. Asking a simple question such as “How old are you?” might be something culturally offensive to your student. Think before you ask.
Always take down notes.
Most teachers engage the student with a good conversation but eventually lose sight of some goals for the class. Your job is to assess your students’ strengths and weaknesses especially in terms of fluency and comprehension, so always take down notes.
It’s not about you. It’s about your student.
Sometimes, teachers get over-enthused and tend to dominate the conversation. Be conscious about your teacher-talk time. Allow more student-talk time.
Recap what transpired in the class.
Before the class ends, allow some time to review the things you’ve talked about. Highlight those moments when your student was able to talk freely and confidently about a particular subject. Reminding them of what transpired in your class will give them a great impression that you’re a great listener who values what they say.
Nobody wants to talk to a boring person. So maintain a cheerful disposition in class, but don’t overkill it.