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Online English Vs In Person English learning 

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Welcome to our blog, where we explore the art of optimising educational interactions and how EC English is successfully adapting to online English learning

In a standard educational setting, the instructor continually oversees all classroom activities. Rather than focusing on full-class discussions, students often collaborate in pairs, small groups, or even work alone, all under the watchful eye of the teacher. The time allocated for whole-class interactions is restricted to activities like setting the course agenda, delivering instructional content, providing exercise feedback, and summarising lessons. The aim is to optimise the time students can interact with each other and the teacher. 

During group or paired activities, the teacher stays alert to the dynamics of each group, continuously listening in to catch common mistakes or specific areas where individual intervention might be needed. In scenarios where students work independently, the teacher circulates the room, offering personalised guidance or correcting errors. Periods of silence can occur, especially in English classes, allowing students time for reflection. 

Different types of activities are strategically used to manage the class’s energy levels. Extended periods of sitting are avoided to prevent fatigue, and students are often encouraged to physically relocate or engage in more dynamic exercises, which helps to elevate the class’s overall energy and focus. 

Transitioning to Online Learning 

Online educational platforms offer tools that emulate some in-person classroom interactions, but these tools come with their own limitations. For example, breakout rooms facilitate group work, but a teacher can only observe one group at a time, making it difficult to monitor the whole class effectively. 

Online settings often make silence uncomfortable, prompting both teachers and students to hastily fill these quiet moments, which can deprive students of valuable thinking time. Online quizzes can stimulate engagement but may also allow students to disengage or avoid participation. Screen sharing capabilities mimic a physical whiteboard but limit the teacher’s ability to read the room and gauge student understanding. 

Monitoring a class through a digital screen of faces is less effective than observing students in a physical classroom. Picking up on subtle cues from body language becomes more challenging in an online environment. 

EC English’s Approach to Online Learning 

At EC English, we’ve divided our instructional time into two categories. Our online, face-to-face English lessons with our EC Live offering, features smaller class sizes, allowing for more direct teacher-student interactions, precise monitoring of speech and listening skills, and individualised feedback. 

Students can still collaborate as they would in a physical classroom through Microsoft Teams, which enables text messaging, video calls, and document sharing. This not only mimics real-world collaborative efforts but adds extra value to the tasks. 

While your teacher may not be physically present to watch over you, they can still monitor your activities online. 

A student testimonial from Takashi in EC London highlights the benefits: “The advantage is that we have ample time for reflection post-lesson.” 

For more information on our online English courses, feel free to reach out to us! 

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