Due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, most industries, if not all, have shifted from physical operations to online setups.
Within just a few months, the outbreak has affected at least 185 countries and 10.4 million individuals all around the world. To slow down and contain the spread of the virus, several regions from different nations called for lockdowns and travel bans. Governments around the world prohibited large physical gatherings, physical stores and establishments closed, and public transportation halted. People were forced to stay at home and, as a result, economic activities significantly reduced.
The unforeseen extent and gravity of the COVID-19 crisis have disrupted businesses and our day-to-day functions. This has changed the way we live as we know it for good.
Today, industries are facing the challenge of quickly adapting to the new normal to keep operations afloat and businesses alive. Among the sectors striving to continue their operations online during these challenging times is the TEFL/TESL industry.
Brick-and-mortar English schools greatly affected.
Along with the reduction of travel as part of the international community’s efforts to contain the virus, flights to countries that usually require TEFL/TESL certification are delayed and teachers are postponing their flights.
Overseas opportunities have decreased and language institutions in the top TEFL/TESL destinations in the country are also being shut down. These factors, along with the abrupt drop in the number of English language instructors, have made conducting physical classes impossible.
While English learners are doing their best to continue their education and stay productive, EFL/ESL teachers are also looking for other ways to resume teaching and keep a steady source of income.
Because of all this, the Internet has become the next best platform for English teachers to continue practicing their profession. It is also a way to respond to the sudden upsurge in the demand for online instructors.
Competition in the TEFL/TESL industry shifted online, too.
According to research, teaching English online rapidly grew by 31% during this COVID-19 outbreak. Moreover, it showed an increase in the number of TEFL teachers’ posts. In fact, March of this year garnered job posts that are 55 percent higher than the previous month.
In light of the shift from physical to online TEFL/TESL, teachers and instructors must undergo proper training to adapt to the new modality. Although they both have the same end goal, to teach English to learners all over the world, they’re not the same.
The face-to-face classroom setup has a tremendous difference in online teaching. Firstly, the strategies that are possible and effective in physical classrooms may not be workable at all in online teaching. Moreover, physical learning mainly involves lectures and dialogue-based learning exercises. In contrast, online learning primarily uses various exercises through audiovisual content. Lastly, virtual learning requires a certain level of digital literacy for online English teachers to conduct their lessons effectively.
These are just some of the numerous differences between face-to-face and online lessons. EFL/ESL teachers who are accustomed to the physical setup must recognize this and adapt accordingly to teach English online successfully. Undergoing different training programs and gaining the necessary certification helps both new and long-time teachers to achieve this.
English instruction conducted online continues to uphold its standards
Despite the abrupt shift from a physical to virtual classroom setup, the industry remains resilient in the face of such an overwhelming challenge. Educational institutions and platforms are continuously innovating. In addition, they are finding ways to adapt to the new normal without sacrificing the quality of their service. Along with ramping up their efforts in hiring online ESL teachers, some institutions are also providing free and constructive training programs for their teachers.
As the popular phrase goes, “The show must go on!”
Conducting physical TEFL classes in brick-and-mortar classrooms has become impossible given our current situation. The shift to virtual learning is unavoidable as the pandemic shows no signs of declining soon. Teachers and instructors must adapt to this new way of teaching to continue teaching and to do it effectively.
This unprecedented crisis may have shaken up the TEFL industry. However, it will surely find ways to stand up again by using the available technology and upskilling its teachers. In this way, English learners from different parts of the world will continue to receive the education they need.