We’ve started our Action Language groups on Zoom and are in the process of organising self study resources online, on paper and via phone calls. We started with 20 people, last week we had 59 people in zoom sessions, and have been in touch with over 100 people now.

It’s still a fraction of our usual numbers, but it’s growing rapidly. Action Language volunteers Hilary and Michael are some of the teachers who are leading the Zoom lessons and have kindly agreed to write a diary of how everyone gets on with this new approach to teaching.

We’ll handover to Hilary for the latest update…

We’re now into Week Three of online teaching, and are beginning to get to grips with what works well, but also the limitations imposed by technology.

The majority of students we’re teaching are accessing the lesson from their phones, and therefore don’t have the luxury of a wider screen.

Learning limitations

In order to experience this for ourselves, Michael and I set up a Zoom meeting between the two of us using his iPhone and my android. This proved to be a valuable exercise in understanding the conditions under which our students are having to learn.

The first lesson we learnt was the simple practical problem of having to find a support for your phone so that you don’t have to hold it up in front of your face for half an hour. No wonder we’re viewing so many students from under their chins.

Short, sharp and simple

Secondly, we now understand the need to use a large font size for everything we share with students – 44 pt at least. Having to follow a Powerpoint or view some written text on a whiteboard through the prism of a phone screen is difficult and makes reading a longish text almost impossible.

Thirdly, the sound quality on some phones is poor, and when you add unstable internet connections to the mix, it makes listening to an audio tape well-nigh impossible.

Finally, it requires a huge amount of energy to focus on a lesson conducted on a phone, and students get tired quickly. Keeping it short, sharp and simple is the way forward. A lesson well learnt.

Seaside adventures

But it wasn’t all difficulties. We took the students on a (virtual) outing to the beach (always observing virtual social distancing). We swam, paddled, played football and flew a kite (all good practice in using regular and irregular past tense forms).

Sadly the ball was lost in the waves, and a virtual seagull came and stole some of our imaginary sandwiches, but a good time was had by all!

This week we are going to do some gardening…

Catch up with previous diary entries

1. Hilary – Let’s get ready to Zoom!
2. Michael – Zoom Classes Have Begun!

English Classes

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