Having to suspend the remainder of this semester of English classes was a drastic change for everyone – students, volunteer teachers and tutors and the ESL team. As soon MAM closed for the coming weeks and possibly months, the staff
Currently, the ESL staff are working with their volunteers to hold training on platforms like Zoom. While there have been some mixed responses from both volunteers and students regarding confidence in their personal technical abilities, they believe it will work. Being creative with curriculum and lesson plans is needed so students don’t feel like they’ve lost too much time while they’re away from the classroom. Tutoring sessions are also continuing, using both Zoom and WhatsApp.
Maryam Nabhani, AmeriCorps ESL Instructor & Program Assistant, currently has two classes. Earlier this week she sent a survey to get a feel for how many students still want to remain engaged. She was surprised that early responses showed about 50% of her students wanted to take classes, and said “I thought it was only going to be about 20%!”
Maryam and the rest of the ESL team and volunteers plan to be hosting online classes by next week, with a goal of 1 or 2 online classes per week, adjusted for a shortened version of the curriculum. She found that all her students have a smartphone to view classes, and some have a computer with internet connection, so access to technology has not been a major barrier.
“Some students have been more willing to continue with services virtually than others, but also I can imagine a lot of them aren’t able to prioritize this immediately,” she said.