5 tips for your online teaching demo for young learners

5 tips for your online teaching demo for young learners

Teach English online with a major company by acing your young learner demo lesson 

Teaching English online to children in Asia is BIG business, and especially in China. It is estimated that just one company, VIPkids, teachers over half a million Chinese children, employing over 65,000 teachers. Demand for teachers is certainly high - but so are standards, and, increasingly, pay rates. As a result, prospective teachers have to meet certain recruitment criteria and give a crucial demo lesson as part of the interview process. 

But what are these huge kid-focused online English companies looking for in this demo lesson? If you really want to be a part of this industry, it is vital you get your demo right. So, how can you be sure you ace yours and get hired? Read on and watch our short video below for the answers.

What do employers want?

Firstly, let’s consider what these kid-focused companies are looking for in your demo lesson.

They’ll be testing your accent, your manner and whether you are engaging and kid-friendly.
They will likely give you a steer about what they expect from your online demo lesson beforehand, so you won’t be going in cold. Be sure to read everything they send you and practise before your interview.  Expectations from demo lessons vary a little (depending on the company) but there are some things that a demo lesson will have in common.

What are demo lessons like? 

Typically demo lessons: 

  • are 2-5 minutes long
  • may have a prompt or slide with something for you to teach, such as I like vs she likes, for example
  • are either live with the interviewer adopting the position of a five year old, for example, or you may be able to record your segment and upload it for them to view (this is preferable as you can have a few goes at it before uploading the version you are happiest with).

How should I come across to be successful?

Remember, the idea is to be engaging, friendly and enthusiastic. Adopt the mindset of a kids presenter on TV and you won’t go far wrong. You can still be you, just an exaggerated, more confident version of you. Be sure, also, to incorporate these important ideas and techniques in your demo lesson.

The 5 key techniques to help you ace your demo lesson are:

1. Total physical response (TPR)
This means using your body and gesture in teaching. You need to do this A LOT.
So, don’t just say: Good. Do a big thumbs up while saying: Good
Don’t just say: Hello.  Smile broadly and wave while saying: Hello
Want them to repeat? Incline towards the camera and cup your ear to encourage this.

2. Short, direct sentences and lots of repetition
My name is Louisa. My name is Louisa.
What’s your name?

This is a ball.
This is a ball.
(Now cup hand to ear to get them to repeat.)

3. Props
Use lots of them. These may include a physical whiteboard behind your head, your name coloured in on card, puppets, flashcards, a ball, for example. If you can have a kid-friendly  background when teaching, even better. It sets the tone and tells the company you are serious about teaching kids.

4. Rewards
Many companies love this. Reward correct sentences by putting a star sticker on the whiteboard or bring up an image of a trophy on screen, for example.

5. Be prepared to be a bit silly
Yes, you might have to lose your inhibitions. I’ve sung Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes getting faster and faster. I’ve done chants, mimed swimming, riding and eating, as well as the adjective smelly.  I’ve been attacked by my own puppet to get a laugh. I’ve even changed the virtual background on zoom to show a bear which I’ve had to run away from. Bring energy, personality and enter into the spirit of it; it can be a lot of fun.

Good luck and enjoy the experience.


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  • Author: Louisa Walsh
  • Date: 24/08/2020

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5 tips for your online teaching demo for young learners