- On 15 December 2020
- Tags TEFL Florence
What 2020 Has Taught Us About Teaching EFL
The year that felt like it would never end is down to two remaining weeks on the calendar. As much as we may want to put 2020 behind us as quickly as possible and look ahead to a fresh new year in 2021, we can’t deny the impact that this year has had on us. For better or for worse, the world is different and we are different than we were one year ago, but probably in ways we couldn’t have imagined or anticipated. Along with forever modified perspectives that come only from experiences like we had this year, it would be fair to say that every corner of our lives has been touched: personally and professionally. Certainly every industry has been forced to adapt and reshape itself over the last twelve months, and the world of EFL is no different. As we have seen and felt first-hand here at Via Lingua in Florence, just as EFL programs all around the world have as well, the reality of teaching and learning English as a foreign language has been noticeably modified as we close this chapter of 2020.
The focus is changing: It seems that the days of studying English simply for pleasure have passed. Our attention has been required to refocus on what is a necessity when we now have to reckon with choosing responsible situations for our health as well as responsible commitments for our finances. Now that English class may not be a priority socially and financially in the same way it was for some people before, the focus has shifted and a strong, new wave of students have come out with a clear purpose to learn: for study or work aspirations. Students this year have been incredibly goal oriented and have a very practical and more specific objective in sight. This year has demonstrated that nothing is certain and reality is capable of changing on a dime, so there is no time like the present to concentrate on concrete steps for our futures, maybe even ones that we were putting off.
The method is changing: 2020 is the year that work and school went online. Now that we have survived the crash course, there are redeeming qualities of remote work and study that will continue to shine even once we are given the go-ahead to return to our original physical environments. At Via Lingua, we have seen the necessity of flexibility in our mode of instruction. Private lessons are in high demand as group classes aren’t looking quite as attractive for many. In terms of instructional platform, we’ve tested it all: face to face lessons, online lessons, or some hybrid of both. Even as we inch back towards the possibility of freedom in terms of what can happen at a physical school, that won’t necessarily mean that students (and teachers) will forget the convenience and flexibility that comes from having the possibility to participate in online lessons. This option may be here to stay.
It’s more important than ever: The work that is being done now at language schools, by EFL students and their teachers, is more significant than we may realize. Now more than ever, a newfound (or rediscovered) commitment to language learning is a representation of hope and investment in the future. It is a tangible optimism for us to latch onto during this period of uncertainty. By choosing to study, and for us teachers to choose to help students on their path, we are reclaiming the future after what may feel like a “lost” year. The new year always represents another chance, but people aren’t waiting around to see what the next surprise is around the corner. Instead, they are taking control of what they can do in the situation now by being proactive with their learning to pave the way for their better future. And Via Lingua will lead the way.