Cummings, J. & Fayed, I. (2022) Lessons Learned During Covid-19: Towards Blended Learning and Teaching in LINC and ESL. TESL Ontario Contact Magazine, 48 (3)21-29.
This timely article provides a review of the recent, noticeable increase in the adoption of a blended learning model in ESL/LINC teaching and learning. This increase is likely attributable to the requirement for programs to rapidly shift to asynchronous delivery and online classes using video conference software such as Zoom, Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were introduced. ESL/LINC programs quickly adapted and, although often challenged, were able to make the switch to asynchronous and live online teaching to enable students to continue learning.
The authors note that although COVID-19 restrictions have ceased or have been progressively removed, the shift to the incorporation of a blended learning model in ESL/LINC continues. Programs and instructors continue to build on what was learned about the potential of blended learning to effectively support and enhance language learning, and to develop their knowledge of effective online teaching and learning.
The article includes an illustrative discussion of how to blend some sample tasks based on the LINC Level 5 curriculum and provides some priority recommendations to support LINC and ESL instructors in the effective adoption and implementation of blended learning. These are:
- Development of instructor training and resources for blended learning/teaching
- The inclusion of courses and workshops focused on a Development of instructor training and resources for blended learning/teaching approach in TESL teacher and education programs and in ongoing professional development
- Recognition by programs and funders of increasing demands on instructors in terms of professional development and preparation time, so as to enable them to effectively prepare, plan and implement blended learning
- The need for an increased focus on digital literacy skills in concert with language skills, to enable learners to take advantage of the opportunities to explore and learn offered in a online environment