From offline to online, Centre for Skills Development ESL/LINC programs have continued to stay connected while keeping their distance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Once delivering classes strictly through in-person instruction, staff were remarkably able to move their classes online in a matter of days.
Since March, 2020 ESL/LINC classes at Centre for Skills Development have been offered through the video-conferencing software Zoom. Used to providing interactive in-person teachings, the instructors were quick to develop new methods to keep their content engaging while informative.
"The online classes are synchronous three days a week, where students do teacher led activities such as conversation practice, pair interviews and discussions. They also watch videos together, talk about current events, play vocabulary games and the teacher explains grammar concepts," says Ana Perez, LINC & ESL Coordinator, Centre for Skills Development. "The other two days are asynchronous. The teachers assign reading, listening and writing activities as well as online grammar exercises."
Since March, nearly 1200 newcomers have enrolled in the online language programs.
"Online learning is quite convenient; there is no time spent commuting, the student can review the lesson as many times as they need to and also do the exercises at their own pace," says Ana. "Online learning also fosters self-directed learning, students learn skills that will help them improve English on their own."
For some, it can mean the difference between taking the classes at all due to conflicting schedules or responsibilities.
"The online classes are better for me because sometimes I have to stay home to take care of my children and I can not participate in school classes. So time management becomes easier for me," says a previous student.
Should students have any difficulty in their learning or in need of additional settlement assistance, they can also schedule for one-on-one appointments with their instructor, one of Centre for Skills' Settlement Information Specialists or Newcomer Support Coach by online methods, phone or e-mail.
For additional information about Centre for Skills programs, visit centreforskills.ca. To connect with a Settlement Information Specialist or Newcomer Support Coach, please call 1-888-315-5521 and select '5' when prompted or email firstname.lastname@example.org.