How to ask your online teacher for help

Read Original Version (CLB5+) You are reading the Simple Version (CLB3-4)

Skip to:

You are not alone when you study online. You can connect and talk to your teacher and classmates. You can do it during an online class or through other means. Support is always there for you.

When you are in an online class:

  1. Read the course description and follow instructions:

    • Look for the FAQs – Read Frequently Asked Questions. Most of your questions will be answered here.
    • Introduce yourself – Tell your facilitator your learning goals and expectations. It will help her teach you better.
    • Know your e-facilitator – Read your instructor’s bio to know her field of expertise. Know her schedule and contact details.
  2. Know the ways to connect with your e-facilitator

    • Email – Use this for questions or requests that do not need an urgent answer. Send an email for longer questions or discussions.
    • Skype (or other VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol tools) – Use this for discussions or if you need a quick answer to a question. Set an appointment if you want to meet with your teacher beyond the class time.
    • Social media – Use this to share resources (e.g. links to websites or relevant articles).
    • Blog – Your instructor may have a regular blog. Read it. Leave comments or questions below the write-up.
    • Discussion board – Use this to ask questions or share your learnings. Read your classmates’ views, exchange resources with them, comment and build friendships.
    • Phone – Use this for very urgent matters.
  3. Ask for help the right way

    Use the active approach when asking for help. Understand the problem and try to find a solution before asking for help. Use the following phrases:

    • “I have read the assigned reading and understand pages __. But I need help in understanding the part about ____.”
    • “I’m not sure why ______.”
    • “Something isn’t making sense, but I’ve tried and I can’t figure out what I’m missing.”
    • “In the notes for our lesson on _____ I read that ______. However, I found in my research that ______. These ideas are not compatible. May I know your views on this?”

    Your teacher will not solve all your problems and think for you. Passive learners usually say:

    • “I don’t know what to do.”
    • “My teacher can’t teach, so I’m lost.”
    • “I can’t do this. I just need to get this done.”
    • “This subject makes no sense.”

    (Active and passive approach definition and samples adapted from The right way to ask your teacher for help, Jay B.).

  4. Ask for help in making a personal learning plan

    Share your learning goals with your instructor. She can help you make a plan to learn better. A personal learning plan will make it clear to you which areas you should focus on first and the type of learning activities you should do.

 
Sources: 7 tips to form relationships in online learning, Judi Muhammad, Ashford University; The right way to ask your teachers for help, Jay B., Signet Education; How to reach out to your instructor for online courses, Abree Murch, Study.com. All accessed September 20, 2017.

Back to top

Community Resources

Read Setting English learning goals the SMART way. Learn how set goals to help you learn better and faster.

Attend the Become an Autonomous Language Learner (B-ALL) course.

Back to top

We'd love to hear from you!

Please login to tell us what you think.

Related Learning Activities

Become an Autonomous Language Learner (B-ALL)

2 chat bubbles with maple leaves in them

Course description Abbreviated as B-ALL, Become an Autonomous Language Learner is a five-unit course with English Online Inc. The course… Read more »

iEnglish Activities

Article thumbnail fallback

iEnglish is a set of resources and videos to give learners the tools they need to take more ownership for… Read more »

Back to top

CC BY-NC-SAText of this page is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA, unless otherwise marked. Please attribute to English Online Inc. and link back to this page where possible. For images and videos, check the source for licensing information.