The downsides of the Covid-19 crisis are many, from illness to isolation to joblessness. But some have found an upside in having more opportunities for self-improvement and learning – be it for the slowdown in the pace of life or the need for adaptation.
For instance in the UK, two-thirds of those surveyed had come to place more importance on physical exercise during the crisis. More Brits have also been feeding their brains with new languages, with some language-learning apps claiming their usage has tripled.
Meanwhile, as German language learners numbered 15.4 million worldwide, visits to one German course materials website reportedly doubled. Online tutorials for participants in integration courses as well as online courses for those attending Berufsprachkurse have made it possible for many German learners to continue learning despite the pandemic.
Inlingua Leipzig, mostly an offline language school before the crisis, has experienced a similar boost in its virtual classroom attendance.
At first a matter of necessity, as the school had to close its physical location for two months amid lockdown measures, online learning is becoming the first choice for an increasing number of inlingua’s students, both for group and one-on-one classes. This is not only due to the continuing insecurity over in-person contact, but also a question of convenience that became visible in this situation, according to Andréanne Roy, inlingua Leipzig’s Director of Studies:
“The feedback for our online courses has been very good. Students tell us they’ve been able to get the same feeling they had in class. Now, some people and companies have decided to switch entirely from in-person classes to online classes with us. They like that they can save time, save money or effort on transportation, and use multiple tools through Zoom and my.inlingua, our online teaching platform. Zoom has improved its services and usability a lot since getting more users and earnings due to the crisis, so there are now many more interesting possibilities for online teaching.”
Teachers’ buy-in greatly helped with this successful adaptation. Students liked that they were able to have the same teachers in most cases in the online classroom as they did in person, Roy said. Her colleague Franziska Mieke noted that the instructors quickly embraced the online teaching tools, using this as a chance for self-improvement themselves. Roy, who also has a teaching background, learned how to provide IT support remotely.
Tech further enables teachers’ creativity and dynamism, while allowing for learning in any mobility situation.
Students who, unable to travel mid-pandemic, had to cancel their plans to obtain their TESOL teaching certificate through inlingua Leipzig, can now also enroll in an online alternative. Among the younger crowd, learners unable to go spend an exchange semester in the US can take online classes towards a high school completion certificate recognized in both the US and Germany. The program “Dual Diploma,” from an inlingua partner, gives learners the chance to obtain a high school diploma while completing the German Abitur. This, remarks inlingua’s Constanze Gasior, offers them the added bonus of “improving their English and getting in touch with other international students” they wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to meet.
How is that for a silver lining?