Dynamic Nature in Distance Learning Will Make ESL a Success
People all over the country have been adapting to the recent transition to distance learning, and our teachers are no different.
English as a Second Language teacher, Perla Banegas, has had to learn to be fluid with her teaching methods throughout this transition. While not initially easy, Perla has found her experiences enlightening, sharing, “I am a true believer that challenges make us look for other solutions and cause us to make things work.”
Perla describes how the move to online learning was overwhelming at the beginning, as this was new territory for her and a lot of the teachers at the school. She applauds the school for having a learning continuity plan in place to ensure that classes were set up in such a short space of time, which is incredibly integral for language acquisition. Perla had to quickly restructure teaching time across eleven grade levels in a short amount of time. This included the consideration of screen time for different age groups, different levels of English spoken, having appropriate student support and the consideration of main courses. All of these factors presented changes, as Perla reminds us, “ESL is a complex and dynamic program that tailors to each individual’s needs as best as possible, so finding a virtual fit for every student has been adjusting until it feels right for both the students and the teachers.”
This new frontier can be overwhelming for teachers and students alike. Perla states that learning English as a Second Language in an actual class setting creates a real and tangible experience to teach and to learn that is a lot more dynamic than in a virtual classroom. While the virtual classroom is great in that it offers a wide range of tools to allow the teacher to communicate with her class of students: from video chatting, messaging to live lecturing, she has found that there is a need to be a lot more creative when teaching English to a younger student in a distance learning environment. She added that her younger students can only learn if they are really engaged. In spite of this, the amount of support from faculty and families at DIS has been tremendous for Perla, stating, “Parents and teachers are doing an amazing job in working through this together, doing their very best to adjust to this new learning system.”