#ONLINE LEARNING

4 weeks since our lives have drastically changed.

We are just like everybody. We are puzzled, confused and unbalanced in these challenging times.

We are very lucky to be working in a field where the shift to online facilities were obvious and made easy by platform such as Zoom, skype, facetime, WhatsApp…

4 weeks in the shift and the change is not so harmless as one could expect, and this led to much consideration about our professional practice as well as to the concept of time and space.

Like everybody, I miss people. And I miss the tube (it is now written for posterity). I miss this type of vestibule into another thinking mode. I miss the physical activity of walking mindlessly to the station but mostly to get some time to think and project. These moments were the opportunity to listen to podcasts, to sit back and let the mind wander, to provoke some ideas.

Above all, this ensured my body and my mind got the message that something was about to happen, and they’d better get ready for it: A MEETING WITH A REAL PERSON.

A brisk walk when running slightly late, my heart rate up, rosy cheeks when receiving a compliment. The change of frame meant my mind and concentration were on their guards and contributed to make this time special.

All my classes are now online, and I am in awe of the endless possibilities this can offer. I will definitely consider keeping these doors open. These challenging times are an opportunity to open different doors in our daily life. However I had to reflect about my practice as a language teacher. Many of my colleagues had made the move to the online world while I had decidedly launched Eclectic Minds 5 years ago. The idea of practicing a language in a small group to ease exchanges and ice breaking experiences in local carefully chosen cafes and pubs to enhance the experience is the WHOLE point of learning a language in my opinion. Meeting and greeting (la bise!), getting outdoors and out of your comfort zone (in the comfiest way) is what travelling is all about. What us, human beings, are all about. As much as I see the opportunities teaching online brings, as much as I am grateful to still be in touch with my eclectic bunch of students, I am so very much looking forward to seeing them, you, all again.

It is puzzling to rethink your practice when the obvious objective is out of the question at the moment. We get to think more, to reflect, to philosophise… time stretches, our space is limited… things do not have the same taste at the moment. I did not realise how much I enjoyed travelling from Fulham to Canary Wharf to Wembley on Wednesdays. How much this time in the tube meant I could make notes, send emails, call a friend. All this time I have lost now and had to reinvent at different moments of the day.

Let us not get hit by dark ideas, let’s be grateful of technologies. The screen sharing, the zooming, the skyping, mean I can teach. I cannot use my usual games, dice and cards? Be that as it may, I shall PowerPoint it until dawn.

I will make the most of this time to improve and innovate. Meet us in the virtual world.

We shall all be together soon. FOR REAL.


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