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LIS News – 1st of May, 2020 - ¨You would not believe how distance learning was…¨

LIS News – 1st of May, 2020 - ¨You would not believe how distance learning was…¨

Artículo en español aquí


Looking for something to read? Here an article published on May 1st in our school´s digital newsletter, adding my 2¢ on Distance Learning.  




We are in the fourth week of virtual learning and both students, parents and teachers have learned and experienced things that just a couple of months ago were unthinkable.


Technology is playing a crucial role in this time and thinking about it, it is amazing how our students, in certain ways, have become workmates: meetings are organized using Google Calendar, videoconferences through Google Meet, discussions in Google Classroom, Screencastify tutorials are uploaded, projects are downloaded and the email is on fire. It seems that our students after just a month are ready to enter the working market in which is related to tech tools.


On the other side it is interesting to think that right now we are in the prehistory of distance learning, this has just started. Let us give you an example, in reverse chronological order –if you are familiar with the last example you are older than Methuselah-: now it is possible to buy a 1TB (1,000GB) external hard drive for about 50 dollars. Before we used flash drives, 3 1⁄2-inch floppy disks, the flat 5 1⁄4-inch one, punched cards until the first hard drive, that was a IBM closet that could store 5MB. The capacity was 200,000 times less than the 50$ one and you couldn’t afford the prize. With this we want to say that in some decades, when the classes are with holograms in a room or with systems in place that just minds like Jule Verne´s could imagine, our students will tell to their kids: ¨you would not believe how distance learning was when I was your age.¨ We are at the beginning of distance learning, but we are paving the way.


One of the things less likely to change - unless we derive in a dystopian society in the style of the 1984 novel- is education as a tool to understand better the world and to develop our critical thinking. We don’t study Maths to be tested on exponential functions, but to understand what represents the curve of coronavirus and how it could be flattened. We don’t study History to memorize that the –wrongly called- Spanish Flu started in 1918, but because ¨those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.¨


Related to the teaching of Foreign Languages the approaches and methods continue evolving as new research studies are presented and it would be interesting to see how the language classes will be in 20 years. One thing is evident: the way the Language Acquisition teachers learned it is not the same in which they teach now, because teaching has evolved. But in any age and with any methodology the goal continues being the same: to communicate with each other. It is because of that that in our classes, physical or virtual, we need to recreate an environment as real as possible in which these interactions happen.


To finish here you are an example of what our students have been doing during these days of home confinement. In the unit ¨Food¨ it doesn’t make any sense to learn how to say ¨tomate¨, ¨postre¨ o ¨tenedor¨ if you are not going to use those words in a real context. And to put in practice the grammar and vocabulary acquired, what better than showing how to prepare your favorite recipe in the language that you are learning. In this video you can see the Saucey Siblings –Aeryn, Year 12 and Jaydan, Year 7- preparing together some delicious pancakes, in Spanish, in a great effort of collaboration. The goal was to prepare a dish, Spanish just became a communication tool.


Javier Castro

MYP & DP Spanish Teacher | Language Acquisition Department

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