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Reflections of Online Teaching, Part 1

Over the past several weeks, I’ve had the great pleasure of leading a project improve the quality of online teaching and learning with a group of language schools in Colombia.

In my consultation sessions, several themes have emerged, and I’m struck by the commonalities of these problems. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Bogota, Boston or Berlin, if you’re an educator, I believe we are all currently dealing with very similar challenges.

One such issue is a ‘wait and see’ mentality that is pervasive among potential students in online classes (and/or their parents), and has negatively affected many school’s enrollments. (And yes, obviously there are other issues negatively impacting enrollment!) There’s an idea that ‘soon enough we’ll go back to normal’ and the ‘way things used to be.’

I believe we will be back in face to face classrooms soon enough. But I doubt we will ever go back to whatever “normal” was before Covid-19 sent so many of us home.

Why do I say this?

Because while it is true that there are some things that can only be done in a face-to-face classroom, there are other brilliant practices that open up ONLY in an online space.

One of my Colombian trainees missed a session because he was attending TESOL North America’s online conference. It would have been impossible for him to attend the originally planned event in Colorado. That is just amazing! Consider the possibilities for learning when the whole world can be your classroom!

And although many students and teachers can’t wait to get back into their classroom, others have actually performed BETTER online.

So why then are so many still so hesitant to take the plunge to online teaching and learning?

We’ll cover that in my next post!

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