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Makeshift ‘classrooms’ in hotel business centres and in the back of pickup trucks, along with songs and handwritten notes left outside schools and even supermarkets for parents – these are just some of the inspiring Covid-19 teaching stories from around the world. The anecdotes of how teachers have risen above the challenges of Covid-19 were part of a presentation by two English language learning and teaching experts at an online event for the global English teaching community.
Rosalia Valero from Cambridge Assessment English and Jonny Frank from Michigan Language Assessment presented at the Cambridge Live Experience, an event organised to help teachers get ready for the unpredictable months ahead. Rosalia highlighted inspiring stories from Mexico and Peru while Jonny talked about stories from India and Europe and they both described the teachers at the centre of these stories as genuine heroes.
Their talk on Keeping Energy Levels up when Teaching Remotely looked at some of the challenges English language teachers have faced in this turbulent year- such as the digital divide, access to technology and learner engagement. They presented a model of tips for remote teaching that emphasised the importance of four key areas which are technology, teacher planning, teamwork and progress.
‘Teaching remotely can be challenging when you consider the huge digital divide around the world. However, tech shouldn’t be your enemy and it’s important to make the most of what platform you have’, explained Rosalia who is Strategic Development Head, Americas at Cambridge Assessment English. She continued: ‘I’ve heard stories of teachers who do not have access to lots of online resources, so they’ve successfully used platforms such as WhatsApp and other social media in the classroom to engage learners. It’s also important to remember that teachers can recycle and reuse ideas and approaches they’ve used in the past and adapt them for the remote environment.’
Rosalia and Jonny also showcased ideas for the remote classroom such as fun games, resources, online scavenger hunts and other engaging activities to motivate learners. They’re looking forward to hearing from more teachers all around the world to hear how they’ve developed their own ways of keeping education going using the tools and resources they can share with their learners and their learners’ parents. Watch their session here.
The Cambridge Live Experience was organised by Cambridge Assessment English and Cambridge University Press English Language Teaching. It included a packed programme of talks on a range of themes including advice on transitioning back to the physical classroom, online learning, socially distanced teaching, understanding learners’ levels and providing emotional support. The event proved popular with registrations of 50,000 teachers from 162 countries around the world. It generated 105,000 live views of the sessions during the event and 370,000 views after the event.