Teaching and learning languages online

By - Luciana Canonico Cruz

My name is Luciana Canonico Cruz and I am a French teacher.

I started learning French and Italian when I was a teenager, and that is when I discovered my passion for languages.

I have been teaching French since 1998. I work at different schools, including Alliance Française.

In 2008, I started to give online classes and I felt in love with Distance Education.

Since 2008, my professional life has been only online. I started to learn English and Spanish online and I did a graduation course (Digital Multimidia) and a post-graduation course (Portuguese language and Brazilian literature). In 2015, I started a Languages graduation online course as well. Therefore, I have been involved with distance learning, both as a student and as a teacher.

Of course, I realised I could not become accurate in all the languages I’ve been learning, so I decided to choose to work with French and maybe English in the future. Spanish and Italian I decided would be my hobby and I can use them to communicate and for travel.

All these experiences allowed me to accumulate knowledge in distance learning and online classes.

During all these years of teaching online, I realised that all my students became more independent and autonomous. They learnt how to research and how to use the internet to learn every day. For that reason, I can say that my best classes were online.

There are, of course, advantages and disadvantages in everything, so online classes would be no different. It is difficult for me to see disadvantages in a practice that I like and have been using for years, even so, I will try to point out some.

I believe that some of the disadvantages may be the internet signal, which is not always very good, also the lack of tools and the mistrust that some students have in relation to online classes. However, the new generation accepts distance education very well, with naturalness and without question, because the digital world is part of everything they know.

We also see that new tools and softwares are coming up every day and the trend is for there to be a significant increase in the future.

Still speaking of the disadvantages, one of them can be without a doubt, the lack of socialization of the students, because in the majority of cases the classes are individual. To solve the problem and promote contact with classmates, the teacher can create closed groups on social medias,

Because of this interest in online classes, I have been reading many books and taking courses related to the topic.

For this reason, I created a teacher’s training video to share with other teachers my experience and knowledge related to this topic.

In my course, I tried to address the topics most requested by teachers for distance learning and online classes. I realized there are still doubts about such things, for example: the tools that can be used, the teacher's posture, the duration of each class, how to adapt materials, how to prepare each lesson, among others.

During the course, I also try to keep the teachers always in contact in a closed group on social media, where we can always discuss topics related to distance learning.

The discussions and constant training are important, because it is a relatively new modality that is constantly evolving and is increasingly sought by those who study languages, especially those who study English as a second language.

It is important to understand that online classes do not work exactly like the classroom lesson, since it is a different kind of teaching.

New technologies allow us to carry out different practices during the classes.

The challenge of the 21st century teaching is to adapt the content to the new teaching formats, more fitting to the world today.

Modern day students are, generally, good at multi-tasking, more autonomous and independent than we were in the past.

So, teachers need to change their own role in the class. They need to guide them in the right direction.

Nowadays, as there is so much information on the internet, especially on youtube, it is extremely important for the teachers and students to classify the content and choose those which are relevant.

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