Tuesday was my children’s first day back at school. There were barriers laid out and stickers on the ground to manage the flow of pupils and parents, registers, temperature checks, gel points and teamwork between teachers, volunteers and police at the gates: this must have taken some organising, and we’re not even in the classroom yet!
This is a back to school like no other. Besides the logistics mentioned above, from catching up on missed work to moving forward with this year’s curriculum, from preparing a socially-distanced classroom to planning for more remote learning, all the while considering the socio-emotional needs of their learners, teachers truly have their work cut out. In this blog post I’d like to propose ideas for the back to school period that speak to the (rather uncertain) ‘new normal’. In what is a huge topic topic I’ve gone for five sections
- Talking about our COVID experiences
- Analysing our remote teaching experience and planning for the future
- Looking to develop student autonomy
- Preparing socially distanced activities
- Catching up on missed work
Off we go!
This spring, teachers have had to transition to distance learning and have done so admirably, bringing all their considerable adaptability and creativity to bear. Now it’s time for a well-earned rest!
Let’s look back on the last few months. How did teachers find the distance learning context into which they were thrust? What were their challenges? What tools and platforms did they go for and what did they do when live online lessons were impossible?
This infographic shows the results of our survey carried out this May. Many thanks indeed to all teachers who took part!
Distance learning for schoolchildren has become the new norm since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic this spring. Both teachers and pupils have been thrown in at the deep end, adapting to a new way of working from one day to the next. But what about the parents? How has this experience been for them? What teaching medium did their children’s schools adopt? What did they perceive as the greatest challenge?
We thought it made sense to hear what parents had to say on the matter. This infographic represents the results of a survey carried out this May: many thanks to all parents who took part!
‘School’s (nearly) out for summer’ may be a little inappropriate given that many of our students haven’t actually been physically attending school for the last few months. Nonetheless, the term is nearly over and the time is upon us to send our charges on their (virtual) merry way with an English task or two to do over the summer. What’s the best policy here? Attempt to get them to do a lorry load of homework? It’s very ambitious, can create real resentment and students do need a rest. Tell them to forget about English and switch off? 10 weeks is a long time. Perhaps the best approach is to set fewer tasks that motivate students and propose other ideas for them to explore. What sort of tasks and advice can we give them? This blog post has ten ideas:
Teaching English online was already popular, but for some teachers covid-19 suddenly made it the new standard: idioms like ‘being thrown in at the deep end’ or having a ‘baptism of fire’ spring to mind. Some countries, such as France and Britain, are gradually reopening schools; others, like Spain, seem to be largely waiting until September. Nonetheless, more online teaching may well be necessary and even desirable in the future, so getting to grips with the medium seems a pretty good idea. Having been teaching online as part of the international Live Classes project (recently nominated for a British Council ELTons Award for Innovation in Learner Resources) for the past couple of years as well as teaching Big Live Lessons in Spain over the last few months, I’d like to share a few tips in this blog post. Regarding my suggestions for synchronous classes, I’ve mainly used zoom, but most of what I suggest can be applied to any platform.
Do you teach ESO & Bachillerato?
Are you interested in learning ways to manage a mixed ability class, getting to grips with feedback and assessment online, motivating your students, or to spice up your reading and writing lessons?