Covid-19 changed our world in unprecedented ways. Most in-person activities were either canceled or moved online. As a result, most of us have attended school, gone to work, and socialized from home. We’ve thrown parties, attended weddings and funerals, and even participated in extracurricular activities, all from the comfort of home.
As of this writing, the pandemic continues to decrease in severity. People 12 and older are eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine under the Emergency Use Authorization, and trials have started for kids ages six months-11 years.
Whether you loved or hated virtual activities, there’s no denying that they provided structure and stability during such a tumultuous time. These activities might not have been perfect, but they prevented the situation from becoming even worse. It enabled adults to continue working and earning a living, it kept kids from falling even further behind, and it kept feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety under control.
Even as the pandemic eases, ReDefiners World Languages will offer online language learning classes and online test prep classes. We offer classes in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin for children and adults. Because of this, we wanted to give some tips for how to get the most out of online classes:
Show up to all class meetings on time and stay the entire time. Showing up on time and staying the whole time shows respect to your teacher and classmates. It also ensures that you get all of the information out of each lesson. Sometimes, though, life can get in the way despite our best efforts. If you know that you will be late, leave early, or miss a class, let your teacher know and get notes from a classmate. Consider going to your teacher’s office hours to get caught up.
Find a quiet place to participate. Wherever you log in from, make sure it’s a quiet area, such as in your bedroom with the door closed. You can also use headphones to block out background noises. Depending on the size of your home and the number of people you live with, it may take some effort to find a quiet place. If you have pets, consider securing them in another room. If you have children, see if you can have your partner, a relative, or a friend watch your children while you’re in class. Doing so will help you to focus.
Make sure you have a strong internet connection. The stronger the signal, the better your experience. You can access your E-Learning portal from any device; Google Chrome will give you the best experience. For more information about Zoom’s system requirements, click here. You will also need access to the Classe365 app. Click here to download the app from the Google Play store, and click here to download the app from the App store.
Use the study materials between classes. We include free online study materials to reinforce your learning. Make time to study in between classes. By doing so, you’ll memorize old concepts and prepare to learn new ones. The more you use a new language, the more likely you are to become bilingual.
Figure out your studying style. There are many different ways to study, but not all of them will be effective for you. For example, some people need to do so with others. For others, though, this would be too distracting. It might take some time to find the best method for you. If that’s the case, don’t give up.
If you have questions, contact your teacher during their office hours. Our teachers want you to succeed, and they’re eager to help you if you run into trouble. However, they cannot help you if they don’t know that you’re struggling.
Practice in between classes. The only way to become fluent in another language is if you practice. Use your language skills with other people. Worst case, try talking to your pet or your baby in your language.
Young children can be distracted more easily. While we design our classes to be engaging and fun, some kids are more energetic than others. Because of this, you, as their parent, might need to remain nearby to keep your child on task.
People have had different opinions about the effectiveness of online classes. Some have praised online learning for helping us to maintain a sense of normalcy. They argue that more kids would fall behind in school if there wasn’t a remote option. They also believe that online classes are more inclusive for kids with specific disabilities, such as anxiety, ADHD, and mobility challenges.
However, others have condemned online learning. They believe that all kids need to learn in a physical classroom for them to be successful. They argue that kids with severe disabilities need in-person learning to access necessary services, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. They also say that online learning is inaccessible for families without reliable internet access.
People formed their opinions about online classes from their experiences. For some of us, the transition to online activities was smooth and straightforward. Some of us already had experience doing major life activities online. For example, those who had experience working remotely, homeschooling, or taking online classes often had an easier time. For people who did everything in person, it was a hard transition. Those who had multiple children, few devices, and unreliable internet often had a frustrating time.
Online learning amid the pandemic wasn’t easy. Many parents had to balance their work demands while making sure their kids attended school. For single parents and people who lost their jobs, their stress increased. When most of the country entered a lockdown, schools had to put an online schooling program in place at the last minute.
People’s experiences of online schooling varied widely. Wealthier school districts had the infrastructure in place to create an effective online program. Students in middle or upper-class families also had a personal computer, a private area to attend classes, and reliable internet access, all of which made online learning less frustrating. On the other hand, students from lower-class families likely only had one or two computers to share amongst their children. The children likely had to share study spaces, and many didn’t have reliable internet access. School districts tried to make things easier by lending computers and mobile hotspots, but these interventions weren’t enough for some. For many, online classes were incredibly frustrating, and they were ready to resume in-person learning as soon as schools reopened.
As a result of their experiences, some people loved online school, and they wanted more virtual learning opportunities. Others have had the exact opposite reaction. Some have been quick to demonize online classes. They claim that “virtual learning is not healthy” and “kids need to return to in-person school.”
Because of the mixed opinions about online classes, it might surprise you to learn that most of our courses are online. In fact, almost all of our students are online students.
In our work, we’ve seen the benefits of online classes.
We’ve been able to reach more students across the state of Florida and even across the country. If we hadn’t offered online classes, many of our students wouldn’t have had the opportunity to take a class with us.
During the pandemic, we continued our classes without interruptions, despite increasing case counts, hospitalizations, restrictions, and closures. Doing so made it easier for our students to continue learning uninterrupted, which is crucial when learning a foreign language. It also provided a sense of normalcy, a distraction from stress, and the opportunity to exercise their brains.
Students with unreliable transportation often have an easier time attending consistently and showing up on time. They don’t have to depend on others to drive them or wait for busses or trains.
For students with disabilities, online classes can be more manageable than in-person ones. Online learning reduces distractions for students with ADHD. Online classes reduced the challenges of trying to get around for students with mobility struggles. In addition, online courses can be less stressful than in-person ones for students with anxiety disorders. For some students with disabilities, online classes can level the playing field and provide a chance for success.
Online classes can be beneficial for many people because they make learning more accessible. However, it’s a different experience than taking an in-person one. Before you sign up for an online course, here are some questions to ask yourself to ensure that it’ll be a good fit for you or your child:
Do you have a device that you can use for class meetings and studying? Does it meet the system requirements?
Do you have the discipline to show up on time to class meetings, regardless of how busy or tired you are? Taking any class is a commitment. The only way you’ll learn is if you show up for every class meeting.
Do you prefer working in groups or individually? Online classes typically require some outside study, which you often do by yourself. However, you might have to work with a group, especially if you’re taking a group class. The ones who are most successful are the ones who can work well independently and in groups.
How well do you concentrate? Can you stay focused, or do you get distracted easily? Our classes are engaging for all learners, and we divide our classes by age. Doing so ensures that we meet our students’ needs. Although our programs are engaging, it’s still possible to become distracted due to pets, children, or your to-do list. Are you willing to resist distractions and focus?
Do you feel comfortable navigating the online telecommunication system and troubleshooting if necessary? All of our classes use online platforms, such as Zoom. While there can be a learning curve with all technology, it will be easier to participate if you have experience using video conferencing software. However, even if you don’t have much experience using such programs, you can still be successful.
How well do you navigate challenges? Do you give up and quit? Or do you keep trying? Language learning is often challenging, and online classes come with their own set of challenges. You might get confused with a new topic, or you might have to deal with technology that’s not working. If you face a challenge, it’s important to keep trying and find different solutions. Are you willing to commit to the language-learning process, regardless of the challenges you face?
By now, you should have an idea of what to expect when you take one of our online classes. Regardless of your background, you can be successful. At ReDefiners, we’ll provide you with the support you need.
It’s easy to be skeptical about online learning. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, most of us had little experience with remote learning. In the early days of the pandemic, school districts had to put online classes together at the last minute. This resulted in varying levels of quality. It was also a stressful time for everyone, which made online learning even harder. Because of this, it’s easy to dismiss the idea of online learning.
However, virtual learning doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Yes, it’s a different experience than an in-person class, but that doesn’t mean that it’s bad. Students of all ages can be successful with online learning. With the right strategies, you can thrive in our virtual classes, learn a foreign language, and become a global citizen.
If you’re ready to pursue online learning, consider taking a class with ReDefiners! We offer online classes in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin Chinese. In our courses, you will be immersed in the language and culture, and you will have plenty of opportunities to practice with other students and teachers. For more information, please visit our website or email us at email@example.com.