Q: How does it feel to be back in class?
A: It’s great! Being able to resume a face-to-face class with my students makes me feel much more in control. I feel that I can handle the class more effectively. I can move around the room, approach each student who may need extra help, and give detailed explanation on the white board. The audio system in the class is more conducive for lessons such as listening exercise. Also, being able to see the students’ body language allows me to adapt the rhythm and pace of my teaching to ensure an optimum learning experience. I think the students also enjoy the class better. The interactions among students are constructive and lively. We have more fun learning together.
Q: What are some of the challenges you face in teaching during a pandemic?
A: There are many challenges in teaching English during a pandemic. During the lockdown, my students and I had regular classes via Line application. Most of my students do not own a desktop or a laptop. Each of them had to access the class via Line application through their mobile phones. We had many problems such as sound quality, unstable network, and battery power running down quickly. The effectiveness of the class was not as good as a face-to-face session. We were not able to carry out many exercises such as role play and listening. Anyway, we knew that it was a temporary situation so everyone put up with the minor inconveniences and joined the class regularly. We stayed connected throughout the lockdown period. When we finally returned to the classroom, we were able to continue our learning without having to start from scratch. I must really thank Pratthanadee Foundation for providing support to my students and I in setting up online English classes during the lockdown period.
Q: Is there something you’re doing differently to better engage your students during a lesson?
A: I think continuous improvement is the key for long-term success. As I gain more experience in conducting English classes at Pratthanadee Foundation, I have learnt to adapt my teaching styles and approach to fit the capabilities and personalities of my students. For example, I have decided to adjust the pace of my teaching. I used to focus very much on strictly following my teaching plan, such as finishing each chapter within a period of time. Now I realise that to help students learn better, I have to be more patient, and adjust the pace of my teaching according to their competencies. The students need time to comprehend the lesson, practise in class, and learn to apply it in real life situations. I think patience, understanding, and flexibility are key for helping these adult learners develop their English competencies.
Q: How would you describe their level of enthusiasm compared with before?
A: My students have always been very enthusiastic before, during, and after the lockdown. Their level of energy has always been very high since the class started. Many of them have to commute long distances to get to the foundation for their class. Yet, I have not heard a single complaint ever from any of them. They participate wholeheartedly and give their full attention during the three-hour class. They also complete all assignments on time. I find this very rewarding.