Possible Errors: VIPKid Lower Level Certification (Option B)

Congratulations on deciding to certify for VIPKid Lower Level certification!

If you are in a live mock class with a mock class mentor, I promise they WILL make mistakes just to ensure you catch them and are comfortable correcting them. If you are recording a demo, you will want to pretend that your student made a mistake to demonstrate how you could correct an error.

Below are some common mistakes you might anticipate if you are teaching Option B, as well as some ideas for how to correct these. (Check out Option A here.)

To avoid redundancy, there are not items on every slide since the students repeat many of the same words and sentences. As a general rule, I listed the possible error on the slide where it is FIRST likely to appear, but it could happen any time!

Slide 19 (kite/doll)

  • Student does not pronounce the long “i” sound correctly in “kite.” It’s not uncommon for them to say “kit” at first.  To correct:
    • Use a whiteboard or magnetic letters to show “kit” and then add an “e” and say “kite.” You might also have a picture of a “bossy e” that you hold up.
    • Be sure to avoid incidental (extra) language here. Instead of saying “Remember, when you add an “e” then the “i” is a long “i” sound.” all you have to say in words is “kit. kite.”  or at MOST “kit. bossy e. kite.”
  • Student does not pronounce the “l” sound correctly. To correct:
    • Use TPR and exaggerated mouth movement to demonstrate the correct pronunciation, and have the student repeat again.
    • Use a whiteboard to break up the word into onset and rime: d-oll. doll. Have the student repeat each portion, then blend them.
    • Use magnetic letters to break the word into onset and rime. Have the student repeat.
  • Student omits a word. To correct:
    • Underline each word and have the student repeat each word before attempting the whole sentence again.
    • Repeat, emphasizing the word they omitted with a funny voice.
    • Possessive pronouns are often omitted, so it might help to have the word “my” printed out so you could hold it up if they omit it.
    • Use your fingers to count each word when you say the sentence, and then again when they repeat.

Slide 21 (He flies …)

  • Students sometimes omit the “s” when conjugating verbs.  To correct:
    • Have a magnetic letter or printed “s” that you could hold up.
    • Use TPR and exaggerated mouth movement to demonstrate the correct conjugation.
    • Hold up a verb chart and point to “He flies” to emphasize it.
    • Have a pronoun reminder ready for “her.”

Slide 22-23 (verb conjugation)

  • Student has trouble with verb conjugation. To correct:
    • Have a verb conjugation chart ready to hold up to help them if they use the wrong version of the verb. (I/You/We/They fly. He/She/It flies.)

Slide 25-26 (Do you ____?)

  • Student forgets to say “Yes” or “No.” To correct:
    • Have visual reminders for yes/no
    • Use TPR (thumbs up/thumbs down) to remind them to say yes or no.
  • Student does not answer in a complete sentence. They only say “yes” or “no.” To correct:
    • Nod and smile, and then repeat, emphasizing the last part of the sentence.
    • Count the words in your response by holding up your fingers, then count off again as the student repeats.
  • Student does not answer correctly. For example, when there is no one in the empty swing, they say “Yes, I swing on a swing.” To correct:
    • Circle the error. Look with a questioning look and say “yes? or no?”
    • Cross out the error and say the correct target sentence. “No, I don’t swing on a swing.”

Slide 27 (Do they____?)

  • Student uses the incorrect pronoun. To correct:
    • Have a pronoun reminder handy (they/he)

Slide 27 (free talk)

  • Student forgets the target word or sentences learned earlier. To correct:
    • Revert to the original prop used to introduce the sound.
    • Provide a “fill in the blank” option to help trigger their memory.


When correcting errors, it’s important to remember a few things:

  1. This is VERY important to VIPKid parents. They are paying for their children to learn proper English, so they do not want to see us reinforcing bad habits.
  2. Correction should always be upbeat and positive. Negative reinforcement will cause a student to participate less and be afraid to try. Always keep corrections very upbeat.  To do this, you can:
    • SMILE!
    • Keep a happy tone of voice.
    • Give lots of positive reinforcement once they get it right.
    • Don’t correct more than a couple of times on the same slide. If they make a mistake, correct it two times, and then move on (but try to focus on it in subsequent slides.
  3. Error correction is the perfect time to use your TPR and your props. If a student is doing excellent on a topic, they won’t need as much extra help, but if they are struggling, these additional tools can really help in the learning process.

I hope you found this helpful.  If you have questions, please let me know in the comments. If you would like feedback on your own error correction, I would love to be your mentor and help you through the process.  Feel free to sign up using my referral link. You can also add my referral code (AMELI0055) to get started.

Good luck!

VIPKid Express Demo (Retired April 2019)

Important: Effective May 2019, the Express Demo is no longer available.

Please see VIPKid Application and Interview Process (Updated May 2019) for the current hiring process!


Effective February 27, 2019, all VIPKid applicants who pass the initial screening will be able to immediately complete the Express Demo Lesson instead of the traditional demo lesson.

For those of you who are new – this is GREAT NEWS!

What’s required:

  1. Shoot a three-minute video
  2. Send the video to VIPKid
    • Email it to teachvip@vipkid.com.cn as an attachment or
    • Upload it to YouTube/Google Cloud/Dropbox and send the link of the video to the email above

What needs to be included in the 3-minute demo?

  • A brief introduction. This should include:
    • Who are you?
    • What is your educational background?
    • What is your teaching experience?
    • When do you plan to begin teaching?

A few tips:

  1. Be consistent. If you applied and said you had three years of experience, be sure to talk about those three years here.
  2. Don’t overthink it. Consider your introduction like your “elevator speech” about yourself.
  3. Practice on camera a few times and play it back.
    • Are you smiling? Does it sound like you are happy to be applying?
    • Are you speaking clearly and enunciating?
    • Did you review all the required introduction points?

My introduction would be something like this:

Hi! My name is Amelia Barker. I have a bachelor’s degree in Communication from Missouri State University, and I have three years of experience as a corporate trainer plus five years of experience volunteering with children. I am excited to get started with VIPKid and would love to start teaching right after Spring Break!

  • Teaching Samples – VIPKid will send you the material you need to review, as well as tips and examples to help you prepare.
    • Target Words and Target Sentence – You will want to spend 30 seconds demonstrating how to teach a word and a target sentence to an ESL learner.  The current example being used is “Bicycle.” You will want to say (and have them repeat) the word two times. Then you will want to say (and have them repeat) the target sentence “I see a bicycle.” Be sure to use a slow and clear speaking voice, TPR, and props to do this. For more details, check out these helpful resources:
    • ESL Concept – You will want to spend one to one and a half minutes teaching a more complex ESL concept. The current example being used is the letter “m” sound. There are different ways you can do this, but there are a few key concepts you need to remember:
      • Be sure you understand the objective. Using the example slide currently in the express demo, we are not teaching the LETTER “m.” We are teaching the SOUND “mmmmm.”  You need to know how to correctly pronounce the sound (mmmmmmm, not muh.)
      • Think about what type of TPR can be used.
        • You should, of course, use the standard TPR of touching under your mouth when you are saying a new word, letter, or sound and cupping your ear when you want the student to respond.
        • There is standard TPR associated with each letter sound. “M” is rubbing in front of your tummy like you just ate something tasty.
        • You can use instructional TPR to demonstrate how the student should circle the answers.
        • You could use TPR when introducing the different animals on the slide.
      • Think about what types of props can be used. Here, the possibilities are endless.  A few ideas include:
        • Whiteboard
        • Stuffed animals
        • Puppets
        • Printed pictures
        • Digital images
        • Magnetic letters

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need special software to shoot the express demo video?

No! You can shoot the video using your computer, tablet, or smartphone. If you prefer to use software, you certainly can. VIPKid suggests trying https://webcamera.io/ or https://manycam.com, but these are not necessary.

What happens next?

Once you pass the Express Demo lesson, you will be sent information about the certification center and how to become certified for a particular level of student.

What if I don’t pass the Express Demo lesson?

If you don’t pass, you’ll be given specific feedback as to why, and you can re-apply using the two traditional methods of completing the demo lesson.

VIPKid will send you all of the information that you need to be able to prepare for, submit, and ACE this express demo.  If you still have questions and would like some help as you prepare, please let me know. I would be happy to serve as your mentor through the process.

Happy teaching!

What’s a VIPKid referral anyway?

By now, if you’ve read any of my blog posts or watched any of my videos, you’ve seen me talking about my referral link. So what is it, and why should you use it?

In short, by using a referral link, you are connecting one on one with a VIPKid mentor. This is not an employee; it’s a fellow teacher.  It’s someone who has been through the process and is willing to show you the ropes.

When I went through the process in September 2018, I didn’t have a mentor. This was especially unfortunate, because the process was changing AS I WAS INTERVIEWING (!) and so many of the videos didn’t really align with my experience. In hindsight, it would have been great to have someone I could lean on for questions and feedback through the process.

So – what can you expect from me, if you decide you would like me to be your mentor?

A. I will support you via email.

We all love email! It’s quick and easy and available all the time. If you have questions, shoot them over to me, and I’ll be happy to respond!  Just contact me here.  I’ll shoot you my email address. (Or it’s also in the photo and video at the end of this post.) I’ll do my best to respond within 24 hours!

B. I will review your demo class/mock class.

I was so nervous to present to the interviewer! I would have loved to be able to do a dry run and get some pre-feedback before the actual interview.

C. I will set up a 1:1 video call with you.

If you’re local, let’s just get together! If not, let’s zoom! There’s nothing that puts your mind quite at ease like just having a conversation with someone who has successfully completed what you are doing. It’s a great chance to set aside 30 minutes to get any questions answered and talk through the process.

D. I will add you to my brand new private Facebook group, Amelia VIPKID – Teacher Central!

What’s so special about a Facebook group? I’m glad you asked! This is basically a newcomer’s guide to VIPKid. It’s organized in such a way that it’s a roadmap. It’s quick and easy to refer to. I’ve structured the content into 16 units (and counting.) Some of the posts are a five-minute read, while others link to a longer blog post or video. (Speaking of videos, check this one out, where you can get a tour!

This page is very much a work in progress, and it will continue to grow with new information, so stay tuned!

There are plenty of good mentors out there to help you along your VIPKid journey. I hope this is helpful in understanding the process a little bit more and learning how I (or another) mentor can assist!

Happy teaching!

mentor support

VIPKid Class Preparation

You might notice that I talk a lot about class preparation. That’s probably because being prepared is very important to me. My mom loves to tell the story about when I was a little girl, still crawling. One afternoon she noticed that it was unusually quiet in the house, so she tiptoed back to my bedroom and peeked through a crack in the door. I was practicing walking, holding onto a small table for balance. The minute I saw her watching me, I burst into tears and started crying, because apparently, I wanted to be perfect before anyone saw me walking!

To help you feel more prepared, I thought I’d spend a few minutes sharing my typical process for class prep. If you have about 10 minutes, I created a video called VIPKid Class Preparation, and it goes through two specific examples – one where I walk through my prep folder for teaching a mock class on the letter “X” and one where I walk through my (recent) preparation for teaching my demo class for level 4 certification.

If you don’t have time for the full video now, here are the most important elements:

  1. Read the objectives. It’s very important that you are clear about the vocabulary, sentence patterns, and phonics that your student should learn. In a mock class or interview, they will be watching for these. In a real class, this is a pillar of your student’s success.
  2. Review your student’s background. Follow up on problem areas and encourage them on their strengths. This will also help you with timing, because if you know a student is a strong reader, you know the reading will go quickly. If there is a particular concept they struggle with, you can allow more time for this.
  3. Review all slides. This is pretty easy to do now using the teacher app, though I have gone old school before and printed them.
  4. Gather all props. This is the fun part. I know there are prop minimalists out there, but I LOVE bringing fun things into the classroom. (I now use Feedback Panda to help track my props, so it makes it even faster!)

If you have questions, please let me know in the comments! If you would like to use me as a mentor to help you through the process as you get your feet wet, please feel free to use my referral link.

person writing on white book
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Class Prep: VIPKid Courses & Mock Class

I am a planner. I like nothing more than a color coded calendar with every hour neatly catalogued. So for me, it was important that I understand early how to prepare for a class.

Whether you are preparing for your interview, a mock class, or a regular class, the steps are basically the same.

  1. Review the objectives.
  2. Review the slides.
  3. Review key skills.
  4. Learn about your student.
  5. Prepare a list of props or realia.
  6. Practice.

To help get you started, let’s look at each of these individually.

  • Review the objectives. If you do nothing else in preparing for a lesson, be sure you review the objectives. These will tell you what your child needs to learn. If you are teaching the letter “a” there might be a picture of an apple on the page, but that could be just to demonstrate the letter sound. It’s not important that the student remember the word apple, nor is it important they know that an apple is red. If you are doing a lesson on food, learning about the apple might be an important part of the lesson. So read your objectives. Your interviewer and mock class mentor will be watching for this, and it will directly affect the results of your real students later.
  • Review the slides. You will want to scroll through the slides enough that you are comfortable with them. For new teachers, this could take several times. If you’ve taught for a while or done this lesson before, a quick once-over might be sufficient. You will not be effective in class if you are trying to squint and read instructions on each page during your interview or class.
  • Review key skills. This is extremely important, especially if you are not a current ESL or lower elementary teacher. If you are teaching a letter, be sure you know the correct sound the letter makes. Be sure you know the standard letter motion movements. You need to be sure you know how your mouth (and your student’s) should look when they make the letter sound. You might think that “Everyone knows how to say ‘R'” but if you aren’t prepared to correct a “ruh” to an “rrrrr” you will be in trouble. If you are interviewing, your mentor is sure to mispronounce something to test you. With real students, missing timely error correction can build bad habits and result in poor feedback from parents.
  • Learn about your student. In a mock class, VIPKid will provide some basic information about your student. They will provide their age and some prior vocabulary. Score bonus points if you can work some of these into your lesson, since it shows you are prepared! In a real class, there is a “Student Details” section. There you can learn the name and age of your student, the number of classes they have taken with VIPKid, their ratings on the last lesson, and feedback from prior teachers. This can help you adjust to their personal style in the classroom, so pay attention!
  • Prepare a list of props or realia. I love props! When you are interviewing, you will need to make sure to use at least two different types of props or realia. For example, if you are teaching the letter “P” you could choose two or more of any of the following types of props: a magnetic letter, a whiteboard, printed/laminated letters or pictures, blocks with letters, stuffed animals or toys that start with “p” (panda, puppy, pig.) I’m sure you could come up with many other ideas, but be sure you have and use at least two different types.
  • Practice. As you are getting started and preparing for your interview, practice is the most important thing you can do. Practice your TPR in the shower. Practice with your family. Practice on video on your computer. Practice with your dog. You cannot practice too much. Once you are hired and have taught several classes, practice becomes less important than the rest of the preparation since much of the TPR and slide work will be familiar to you.

The more classes you teach, the faster you can move through these steps. Today, I spend between 5-15 minutes preparing for each class, whereas I spent several hours preparing for my initial interview and mock class.

If you have questions about how I prepare or have tips of your own you would like to share, let me know in the comments below! If you are ready to join VIPKid and apply, feel free to use me as a referral and I will help in any way I can!