We are very proud of ICA’s English language teachers and students who had to shift gears very quickly in response to COVID-19. It wasn’t easy to go from in-person classes to learning through online platforms, but both teachers and students have adapted to this new reality and many are progressing well with their language skills. More than 70% (340) of ICA’s students are now participating in class online, a remarkable achievement in a very short time!
For Jennifer Taylor, one of ICA’s teachers, this has been a challenging time but also one that has opened up new opportunities for her and her students. “I feel grateful that ICA can offer a sense of continuity for students”, said Jennifer. “Having a consistent program is fantastic, especially during a time when students are disconnected from friends and their normal routines.”
Some students are finding it challenging to focus on classes when there is so much other activity in the house. Others have had to improve their computer skills. All in all, even with the difficulties, students are enjoying classes, learning and staying connected to their friends and classmates which is especially important during this time when we have to be physically distanced from each other.
As one student said, “there’s a big difference to my previous life. Now I just stay home. Fortunately, ICA has a way to provide online class and I have time to practice my English.”
There have been some unanticipated positive outcomes as a result of remote learning. For example, students are saving time because they don’t have to travel as far each day for class, they are becoming more computer savvy, and they are having to understand English without the cues we get from body language.
While both teachers and students miss the classroom, being able to at least see classmates each week has reduced their sense of loneliness and is helping them continue to build relationships and settle here in the Victoria area.
For those students who don’t have access to a computer, or aren’t able to participate online, ICA staff will be following up with those students in an effort to support their learning and may send some of them learning packages by mail so they can continue learning at home.
Todd Kitzler, ICA’s Language Services Manager is very proud of the LINC staff, many of whom are working from home. “This is a stressful time for everyone, but the LINC team has risen to the occasion. They have adapted, learned and supported each other. Without this, we would not have been able to do what we are doing.”
Being able to respond to this crisis and keep our English classes open has meant so much to students. In turn, students have shown how much they are committed to their studies and to each other that will only make Victoria a stronger community in the future.
Like all of us, students are eager to see friends and socialize again but for now, they are committed to staying safe and continuing to learn English online with ICA.