Live Online Teaching of ELT, Challenges And Remedies

Any action when planned and structured accordingly is always manageable if not a cake walk in execution. Teaching in live online mode with small groups of students has been proven to be one of the most effective means of the 21 century educational endeavor. It allows for convenience, comfort, ease of work along with reliability, dependability and credibility of the task. However, every coin has two sides; it requires optimistic perspective that makes educators to look through the challenges to find the silver lining (the hidden opportunities) in this arena.

Elliot Massie, an educational technology expert, who is credited of coining the phrase “E-Learning” appropriately describes that “We need to bring learning to people instead of people to learning.” For the convenience of mass education and productive utility, the progressive idea of E-learning requires proper attention from all spheres of academic field.
Teaching in live online mode using Eclectic approach in ELT classrooms for a decade across curriculum (IB, CIE, AP, Canadian) Curriculums, it is no inhibition to claim that E-learning possesses immense potential and credibility to improve the language learning skills of the learners globally. the observations have been robust to assure that live online means of teaching is an effective method to improve the ELT specific skills among students at K-12 level. This however, calls for thorough academic planning, good knowledge of technology implementation, keeping abreast with the changing updates of technology and of course a positive frame of mind of all the stakeholders. 
 Nevertheless, whether in history or in the current, there is nothing that human’s endeavour to triumph upon has been devoid of challenges, online mode of teaching is no exception. The well accepted saying challenges are stepping stone to success can be proven true, if following points are considered seriously in affirmation in the live online mode of teaching ELT.

 First let us list through the challenges to propose remedies to it.

Technical Issues and Technical Literacy

  • The first among these challenges are the internet speed in the broad range of context and the heterogenous devices used by the students & teachers.
  • Although the world is amazed with AI presence in human life, ironically there are many people in the remote areas without proper access to quality internet connection. Hence, equal accessibility is another issue.
  • Similarly, the juxtaposing condition where few students & teachers are privileged to use tab, iPhone, iPad, smart phone with advanced features, while many lack the same.
  • Also, the challenge of training teachers and students to specialize in using technology in teaching is immense and cost generative. And

Diverse Settings

  • The range of place and time of the learners and the teachers are wide and diverse in live online mode. The complexity of the diverse settings, context, culture, range, approachability, accessibility in the live online means of education complicates the situation further.
  • Students are required to develop tolerance and understanding of varied culture and their relevance before joining the classes to help develop empathy for each other.

Distractions & Lack of Physical Presence

  • The attention span of the students is affected due to distractions. Nil or partial view of the people or things at the other side of the video call make them feel lonely which discourages real learning. The informal surroundings of the house acts as an add-on to it.
  • The sounds distractions in an around the settings deviates the concentration of the students from real learning.
  • The blurring line between personal and professional learning environment creates a damaging chaos in cognitive abilities.

Tweaking the Teaching Methods

  • Discovering new methods or tweaking the old methods in online live mode of teaching and studying its feasibility and effectiveness is time consuming because it requires coordinated effort of the academic community.
  • Teachers and students adapting to the new methods requires training and hands on practice which demands time, money and motivation to accept the changes.

Assessment and Feedback

  • Assessment and feedback with the availability of apps  seems easy, however, it requires proper planning and execution to set a standardized assessment method and regular feedback policies in live online mode to assess the learning outcome regularly.
  • Recently AI and specifically ChatGPT can act as both a boon and a bane in maintaining authentic assessment guidelines.
  • In this scenario, the ways to protect plagiarism for authentic, reliable assessment and feedback  needs re-thinking and re-designing. 

Privacy Issues

  • The issue of maintaining privacy and protect the young learners from easy vulnerability is a humongous challenge. The frequent update and advancement taking place in technology is a both boon as well as a bane to deal with privacy challenges.
  • Online environ is fluid and easily malleable which may be both positive and negative for the teacher and the students. Both finds difficulty in balancing time the in the way user intends to use it.

Quick Solutions-

Re-vamping! Re-thinking! Re-designing!

  • Therefore, to manage these challenges and triumph over it, one need to draft relevant and feasible policies and rules that mandates.
  • Uniform device technology usage for academic purposes.
  • Follow constant timing in the class planning & execution (probably in shifts).
  • Equal access of internet facility with proper speed for all.
  • In-House hands-on training to teachers and students.
  • Formal environment in every house or community to take up live online classes.
  • Encourages research on new assessment methods and approaches that is relevant to the context of discussion.
  • It may sound surreal, however, the demands for reduction of carbon footprint, sustainable environmental methods, traffic ease in urban areas, and above all the convenience expected by Zen Z & Y calls for instant action to make live online teaching for larger groups to the most feasible option.
  • Re-vamping, re-thinking and re-designing every plan and policy, albeit retaining the traditional core policies, in the education sector is the need of the hour.  
Author- Pratima Roy 
Head & Chief Educator, YESMINDZ ACADEMY

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