Online group courses for beginners

This week we did an interview with our teacher Emilie. She gave online group courses for beginners from the first lockdown… We asked her some questions about this new experience.

Emilie, can you tell us about your experience as a KLF teacher with beginner students online ?

At the beginning, I was a bit stressed !  I often have beginner students, but always face-to-face at IFALPES. This was a first for me !  I felt like I was back at the very beginning of my career when I came out of university and found myself in front of students for the first time. I had the impression that it would be difficult to communicate with them, that I would have to use English a lot more, that the absence of a blackboard would complicate things, that I would have to write everything down so that my students would understand me…

In fact, after the stress of the first fifteen minutes, everything went very well. All my fears went away. As in the classroom, I used a little English the first week to reassure some students, but very quickly I used only French during my lessons.

The atmosphere in the class was very relaxed and an atmosphere of trust quickly developed in the group. Students who enrolled for a week or two extended their online course to finish the 5 week A1 programme, which was a goodsign!    

What is the difference between a course for absolute beginners in person and an online course for absolute beginners with KLF ?

There is not much difference. Of course, online and with beginners, you have to prepare your lesson plan and activities well. There is little room for improvisation and there is a lot of preparation before the course. This is always the case when preparing a class, but it is even more true when you are online and the students are beginners.

I also noticed that online I tended to do more group activities. I didn’t ask the students to work alone very much. This way of working collectively generated a lot of exchange in the group, which was very beneficial.

Another difference. With this online course, I realised that I could communicate a lot orally, in French and even with beginners ! Writing a message in writing and waiting for the student’s reply was a bit long and not very dynamic. Favouring oral exchanges proved to be much more efficient !

What can you say about the progress of your students ?

My students have progressed a lot ! At the end of the 5 weeks, all of them have reached A1 level. Some of them even joined the A2 group in the IFALPES classroom in Annecy. They had no difficulty in integrating and continuing their learning normally.   

Do you think that some levels are more suitable for online courses ?

No, I don’t think so. My experience with students proves me wrong. It is perfectly possible to start learning a language online, acquire the first skills and then visit the country and continue learning.  I think that alternating online and face-to-face lessons is a formula with a future !  

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