Educational institutions all over the world have shut their doors. From nurseries to universities, business schools to language academies, the closures have had an impact on more than 91% of the global student population.

Now more than ever, people need the human connection and mental stimulation that language learning brings – which is where our online courses come in!

It can be difficult to imagine learning online, especially when you’re used to a physical classroom. So we’re going to give you the inside scoop on what our online language classes are really like.

 

The platforms we use

 
The platforms we use | What's it like to study online with Oxford House? | Oxford House Barcelona

In our online classes, we use three platforms; Telegram/WhatsApp, Zoom and OH Connect.

Telegram

Telegram is an instant text messaging service, a bit like WhatsApp, which our teachers use to send voice recordings, documents, photographs, and text messages. It’s very easy to use and can be downloaded onto a phone or laptop.

Zoom

This video-conferencing app is very intuitive and user-friendly, and is used to create a virtual classroom. One of the benefits of Zoom is that it offers an option for breakout rooms – virtual rooms separate from the main classroom – so you can still work in pairs or small groups. And when using Zoom, it’s easy to share screens and documents. PowerPoint presentations, for example, can be shared and modified in real time to mimic the use of the whiteboard, and students can be invited to edit or annotate documents ‘live’, too.

OH Connect

We use OH Connect, our own webpage, to keep a record of lessons. Each class has their own group where students can log in and look over what you covered in your lesson. It’s also the place where teachers post homework and share useful links.

 

The activities we do

The activities we do | What's it like to study online with Oxford House? | Oxford House Barcelona

Our classes usually begin with a few minutes of informal discussion, just like in a normal class, to give everyone a chance to arrive. This discussion happens in the class group on Telegram, and provides a great opportunity for students to practice texting in their new language.
Then, it’s on to the usual class activities. Through the virtual classroom on Zoom, the teacher can send reading material, worksheets and exercises – everything that you would normally work on in a face-to-face lesson. We’ve used songs and watched videos to practise listening, and our teachers have utilised online tools like Kahoot! to set interactive grammar and vocabulary quizzes to be completed in groups.
Many students are curious about how they’ll be able to practise their speaking skills when learning online. Well, our teachers have found that there are just as many opportunities for speaking practice as in a normal classroom.
Just like in a physical classroom, students work on speaking tasks in pairs or small groups. The teacher then visits each Zoom breakout room to monitor and take notes. Students can ask for help at any time, so the teacher can respond to their doubts and questions just as effectively as usual.

 

The benefits of learning online

The Benefits of Learning Online | What's it like to study online with Oxford House? | Oxford House Barcelona

After moving all of our classes online, we’re actually surprised about how little has changed. We still have lots of fun in our classes, with quizzes, games and group activities; and with online tools, there is still a lot of speaking practise and great class discussions.

One big positive of using Zoom for group work is that shy students often feel more emboldened when practising their speaking skills. One of our English teachers, Luke, noticed a similar effect, finding that working in smaller, more private groups has really encouraged some of the less confident students to participate more.

So if you’re someone who feels awkward or embarrassed when you’re speaking a foreign language, an online course could be the perfect way to break through that barrier!

Another benefit of online classes is that they provide lots of opportunities for more autonomous learning. Teachers are able to share a lot of material, which means that you can use your extra time outside class to review new topics and study independently. With the right motivation, you’re sure to see your language skills quickly improve.

Discover six more benefits of learning English online.

 

Learn English or Spanish online at Oxford House

 

If you’d like to put your free time to good use during the lockdown and improve your language skills, sign up to our third term intensive courses or to any of our Spanish courses. You can:

 

Contact us to find out more

Glossary for Language Learners

 

Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

Shut their doors (exp): to close (usually refers to a business).

The inside scoop (exp): inside information.

Intuitive (adj): (in the context of technology) easy to use and understand .

Modified (adj): slightly changed.

Look over (pv): to review.

Emboldened (adj): confident.

Autonomous (adj): independent.

Key

exp = expression

adj = adjective

pv = phrasal verb

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