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Tips & Tricks for Teaching English Online for Non Native Speakers (2023)

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If you’re interested in teaching English online for non-native speakers, you’ve come to the right place!

Here at The Tutor Resource, we’ve been teaching English online since 2018 and we’ve been helping other online teachers be successful for several years as well!

In our interconnected modern world, there are plenty of opportunities for non-native English teachers to teach English online!

In this comprehensive post, we will delve into the unique challenges faced by non-native English speakers who teach online.

We will highlight the potential benefits and shed light on the significance of obtaining a TEFL certificate and having a fluent command of colloquial English.

And, we’ll provide invaluable insights and practical tips for those venturing into the exciting realm of online English teaching.

Challenges and Opportunities in Teaching English Online

Teaching English online might seem an uphill task for non-native speakers. Let’s identify some challenges and uncover hidden opportunities.


Teaching English as a non-native speaker offers several distinct advantages. By drawing upon your own experience as a language learner, you possess a unique ability to empathize with students, understand the challenges they face.

And, this perspective enables you to explain complex grammar structures in a manner that both native and non-native speakers can grasp effortlessly.

Plus, your proficiency in your native language serves as a valuable bridge, facilitating effective English instruction.

Lastly, your multicultural knowledge injects a rich tapestry of diversity, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of the English language.

Embracing these advantages, you can create a truly immersive and inclusive learning environment for your students, nurturing their language skills and cultural understanding.

David teaching English online while holding a cat and showing it to his student.


Teaching English for non-native speakers, most notably those whose first language is not English, comes with a range of challenges.

These challenges extend beyond achieving native-like fluency to encompass overcoming common language barriers such as accent and pronunciation.

And, there is a delicate balance to be found between balancing formal grammar and encouraging the effective use of colloquial expressions commonly used by English speakers in everyday conversations.

Especially knowing which is appropriate in different circumstances.

Remember, every cloud has a silver lining. Now, let’s move on to how you can turn these challenges into stepping stones to excel in being an English teacher online.

White headphones sitting on top of a teal notepad. Two sticky notes on the pad say Hello and Learn English.

Getting a TEFL Certificate: Your Best First Step

For non-native speakers who want to teach English Online, achieving a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification can be one of the most beneficial paths to follow. Sometimes even more so than having an advanced degree.

Although you may already have a strong grasp of the English language, undergoing the specific training that a TEFL course provides can deliver manifold benefits.

Are you seeking certification for teaching English?

If you are or want to be an online ESL tutor, then certification is required by many companies & desired by many private clients.

👉 We recommend this TEFL course! They even offer post-completion job support and resources.

The Importance of TEFL for Non-Native Speakers

We at The Tutor Resource understand the importance of quality education and how a certificate like TEFL can enhance the teaching experience.

Although he’s a native speaker, it was still instrumental in launching David’s ESL teaching career!

Validation and Credibility

Obtaining a TEFL certificate not only validates and bolsters your credibility as an English language teacher but also serves as a recognized endorsement that establishes your expertise in the field.

It enhances the attractiveness of your teaching profile to prospective online teaching companies and students, as it demonstrates your commitment to professional development and a comprehensive understanding of effective language instruction.

With a TEFL certificate, you can confidently embark on your journey as an English language educator, equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to make a significant impact in the classroom.

Necessary Teaching Tools

Earning a certificate can provide you with a comprehensive set of essential teaching tools that go beyond just enhancing your language abilities.

In addition to honing your linguistic skills, you will also gain valuable pedagogical techniques and strategies.

These will empower you to confidently address the unique needs of diverse learning styles and effectively navigate various classroom scenarios, ensuring a holistic and impactful learning experience for your students.

Cultural Insight

A TEFL certificate also provides valuable cultural insights, as teaching English goes beyond imparting language skills. It involves sharing knowledge about the cultures associated with English as a first language.

By pursuing a TEFL course, individuals can gain an essential understanding of these cultural nuances, thus equipping themselves to be effective and culturally sensitive English teachers.

This deeper appreciation and awareness of cultural diversity enhance the learning experience for both teachers and students, fostering a truly enriching educational environment.

Man smiling and teaching English online with a puppet on his left hand.

Improving Your Employment Prospects with a TEFL Certificate

In a competitive job market, anything that differentiates you from other candidates should be capitalized upon.

Heightened Marketability

Obtaining a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate can highly enhance employment prospects for individuals seeking to teach English.

It increases marketability by demonstrating specialized knowledge and skills in English language instruction.

When recruiting online English teachers, schools and organizations tend to prioritize candidates who possess a TEFL certificate, as it signifies a commitment to professional development and quality teaching.

By acquiring a TEFL certificate, non native teachers of English can broaden their opportunities and stand out in the competitive field of English language education.

Global Opportunities

Obtaining a TEFL certificate can significantly enhance your employment prospects by unlocking a vast array of global opportunities.

This certificate is globally recognized and equips you with the skills to explore job markets worldwide, making a positive impact in English language education.

With a TEFL certificate in your arsenal, you’ll be well-positioned to embark on a fulfilling and exciting professional journey.

Higher Pay Potential

A TEFL certificate can help improve employment prospects by having a potential for higher pay rates. TEFL certified teachers often earn more than their non-certified counterparts.

It’s an investment that pays off in the long run. So getting a TEFL certificate isn’t merely about placing an extra credential on your resume.

It’s a comprehensive process that enhances your understanding of the English language, equips you for teaching roles, and ultimately leads to greater job opportunities.

It’s not an overstatement to say that to teach English online for non native speakers, securing a TEFL certificate is indeed the best first step.

Woman looking at teaching resources on a computer screen. A small yellow potted plant is to the right of the computer monitor.

The Importance of Fluent Colloquial English

Mastering colloquial, or conversational, English is key to effectively teaching English online, particularly for non-native speakers.

It’s not only about understanding grammatical rules or correct pronunciation but also about gaining fluency in the everyday language spoken by native English speakers.

Why is Fluent Colloquial English Important?

Fluent colloquial English is an essential skill for online ESL teachers for several reasons.

Real-world relevance

Knowing how to use colloquial language is a game-changer!

It not only helps you connect academic learning with real-world English usage, but it also equips your students with the necessary skills to dive into genuine conversations and effortlessly grasp English as it’s used in various forms of media, literature, and everyday life.

By immersing themselves in the intricacies of colloquial expressions and idiomatic phrases, they will gain a deeper understanding of language nuances and enhance their overall communication abilities.

Building rapport with students

Utilizing colloquial language, like common expressions and conversational phrases, can significantly enhance enhance the engagement and reliability of your online classes.

By incorporating such language, you can create a more comfortable and interactive learning environment where students feel at ease to actively participate and voice their thoughts.

This promotes a sense of connection and facilitates better comprehension and retention of the course material.

Plus, the use of colloquial language adds an element of familiarity, making the learning experience more relatable and enjoyable for students from various backgrounds.

So, don’t hesitate to infuse your online classes with colloquial language to create an enriching and immersive learning atmosphere that resonates with your students on a deeper level!

Cultural understanding

Colloquialisms, which are informal expressions used in everyday conversation, frequently carry hidden cultural meanings and insights.

By delving deeper into the meaning behind these colloquialisms, we can gain a more profound comprehension of the cultures and societies found within English-speaking countries.

Appreciating the nuances and subtleties of colloquial language allows us to forge a stronger connection with the people and traditions that shape these vibrant communities.

Man and boy, as seen from behind, sitting on a red couch watching a movie on a tv.

Tips on Improving Fluency in Common Colloquialisms

Improving your fluency in colloquial English may seem daunting, but there are practical steps you can take.


To improve your English language skills, immerse yourself native English content. This can be achieved by engaging with movies, TV series, podcasts, or books that are exclusively in English.

The more exposure you have to the language in its natural state, the better your understanding and fluency will become.

By regularly consuming English content, you will have the opportunity to grasp nuanced vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, and cultural references specific to English-speaking regions.

This comprehensive approach will pave the way for significant language acquisition and growth. Keep in mind that consistency is key in this journey towards language mastery.


Incorporating colloquial phrases into daily conversations and online classes can add an extra touch of authenticity and make interactions more engaging.

Embracing this linguistic style allows you to connect with others in a relatable and approachable manner. So, don’t hesitate to practice using these phrases regularly, as the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

Keep honing your skills and you’ll soon find yourself seamlessly integrating colloquial language into your everyday life.

Learning aids

There are countless online resources available, catering to language enthusiasts with interactive language learning apps, user-friendly websites, and bustling online communities.

These platforms present an array of opportunities to not only learn new phrases but also to practice and refine language skills in a diverse and engaging digital environment.

Conversations with native speakers

To your language skills, make it a priority to engage in conversations with native speakers whenever possible.

By doing so, not only will you gain firsthand experience with colloquial language, but you’ll also have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich subtleties and nuances that come with it.

This invaluable practice will contribute significantly to your overall language proficiency and help you become a more confident and fluent communicator.

Fluency in colloquial English is much more than a skill. It’s a key that unlocks deeper communication, cultural comprehension, and a more fulfilling teaching experience.

It’s also an investment into becoming a more capable and confident online English teacher.

Laptop open on a desk, with binders in the background. A coffee mug and pen cup is to the right of the laptop on the desk.

Extra Tips on Teaching Online English for Non-Native Speakers

Beyond TEFL certification and fluency in colloquial English, there are a number of other strategies you can implement in order to make your mark in the field of online English teaching.

Embrace Your Non-Native Speaker Status

Embrace your position as a non-native speaker. It can actually be seen as an advantage!

Shared experience

Having personally experienced the journey of learning the English language, you possess a unique understanding of the challenges your students encounter.

This deep empathetic connection equips you to effectively navigate and support them through the intricacies of the teaching process, fostering a rich and meaningful learning experience.

Bilingual advantage

If your students share the same first language as you, you can use it to explain complex concepts or idioms much more effectively than a native English speaker.

After all, native speakers may not possess the intimate understanding of the cultural context and nuances that come with speaking the language from birth, would typically be able to do.

This deeper grasp of the language enables you to bridge any gaps in comprehension, ensuring a more thorough understanding for your students.

Man in a sweater and glasses looking at a worksheet in his hands that he is showing to an online student.

Regularly Improve and Update Your Knowledge

Keep upgrading your knowledge of English language and pedagogical techniques. Continuous learning is key to a successful teaching career.

Take advanced courses

Take your English mastery to the next level with advanced courses that delve into the intricacies and nuances of the language.

Consider enrolling in certifications like online TEFL courses, TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) to broaden your language teaching skills and expand your career opportunities in English education.

These certifications will equip you with the necessary expertise and knowledge to effectively communicate with speakers of other languages, making you a sought-after professional in the field.

Are you seeking certification for teaching English?

If you are or want to be an online ESL tutor, then certification is required by many companies & desired by many private clients.

👉 We recommend this TEFL course! They even offer post-completion job support and resources.

Continuous learning

To enhance your English language skills, it is advisable to continue reading, watching, and consuming a diverse range of English content.

Explore the vast world of literature through novels and newspapers, delve into the captivating world of audio with podcasts, and immerse yourself in the artistry of storytelling through films.

By broadening your learning sources, you will not only expand your vocabulary and comprehension but also develop a deeper appreciation for the beauty of the English language.

Little girl sitting in front of a laptop with a large workbook.

Use Technology to Enhance Teaching

Leverage technology to enhance teaching by using online tools, video lectures, and interactive activities. It’ll boost your efficiency and student engagement in the classroom.

Digital tools

When it comes to exploring the world of online teaching, there are numerous platforms and digital tools at your disposal.

These tools not only help with efficient lesson planning but also provide assistance in student assessment and facilitate engaging interactive learning experiences.

Take advantage of the diverse range of online resources that can enhance your teaching journey and enable you to create an engaging and efficient virtual classroom environment.

Technical skills

Develop and enhance technical skills that are crucial in today’s digital learning landscape.

These skills include effectively managing virtual classrooms, addressing basic tech issues with ease, and utilizing a wide array of digital tools to create engaging and interactive lessons that captivate and inspire students.

Embrace these abilities to create an immersive and impactful learning experience for your learners.

Remember, effective online teaching goes beyond knowing the language. It’s about how you, as a teacher, use your skills, resources, and tech tools to create an effective and engaging learning experience for your students.

It’s a continuous journey of learning and evolving, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

FAQs: Teaching English Online for Non Native Speakers

Do you still have questions about teaching English online for non native speakers? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

Can non-native speakers successfully teach English online?

Absolutely. With the right preparation, like receiving a TEFL certificate and understanding English colloquialisms, non-native speakers can make great online English teachers.

Why is a TEFL certificate important for non-native English speakers?

A TEFL certificate can benefit non-native English teachers by bolstering their credibility and improving their teaching ability. It also serves as a significant factor that increases their chances of landing online teaching jobs.

How can non-native English speakers gain fluency in English colloquialisms?

Gaining fluency in English colloquialisms requires immersion in the language, often through movies, music, books, and conversation with native English speakers.

Regular practice is one of the primary requirements for mastering this aspect of language teaching.

Are there additional resources non-native speakers can use for effective online English teaching?

Yes, there are various online resources available such as lesson plan databases, tutoring forums, and even YouTube tutorials that can potentially aid non-native speakers in their online English teaching journey. They may also join peer groups for shared experiences and learning.

Is teaching English online lucrative for non-native speakers?

Yes, teaching English online can be profitable, especially with a completed online TEFL course as it increases employability.

However, like any job, the income can greatly vary depending on various factors such as years of experience, minimum hours per week, and the platform used.

Pro Tip: Try to ensure your internet mbps speed isminimum hours per week high enough and stable enough before you apply. Certain companies may require speed tests.

Even teaching English abroad vs online English teaching jobs can impact pay per hour, as can specialties like teaching business English.

Are you seeking certification for teaching English?

If you are or want to be an online ESL tutor, then certification is required by many companies & desired by many private clients.

👉 We recommend this TEFL course! They even offer post-completion job support and resources.

Final Thoughts on Teaching English Online for Non Native Speakers

This article offers invaluable tips and insights for non-native speakers teaching English online.

We delved into recognizing the challenges and opportunities in online English teaching and the significance of the TEFL certificate for non-native speakers in securing online teaching jobs.

And we discussed the pivotal role of English colloquialisms and techniques to enhance them as well as additional valuable tips for teaching English online for non native English speakers that go beyond TEFL certification and colloquial English.

We hope that as a non-native English speaker you’ve gotten some helpful tips for taking your English online teaching to the next level!

With dedication, the right tools, and a mindset for continuous learning, non-native speakers can and do excel as online English teachers. Even if they want to try teaching English abroad.

We hope you’re one of them!

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