Online teaching and learning have increased during the last decade and enjoyed a boom since the start of 2020 during the global lockdowns. However, there is still a certain lack of awareness surrounding online education and a common view that teaching online is still second-best.
Let’s look at the common myths surrounding teaching online and how we can debunk these.
“Isn’t that just video messaging?”
Thankfully post-2020, the idea of only using one simple platform to interact online has faded into a distant memory. With so many apps and programs accessible at our fingertips most people have a much better understanding of what is available now. During 2020 and beyond, increasing numbers of people, from school children learning online to my own grandparents hosting virtual meetings with their singing group, have become more comfortable with communicating online. We have been able to experience the joys of seeing long lost friends from our sofas and attend classes in our track bottoms. This is now not just a luxury but a part of our daily lives that we are becoming accustomed to and are not willing to give up.
“Online education can be good, but it doesn’t replace face to face education.”
There are benefits to both ways of delivering classes and it’s true that teaching and learning online is not for everyone and vice versa. It depends though on different factors, for example, personality, or personal circumstances among others. In our 21st-century world it is important to have diversity of choice and opportunities that can suit everyone. Having the option to teach from the comfort of your home is an opportunity that many people relish and, as we have seen over the last few years, have taken up in droves. A good lesson is not just about the location but about the experience and therefore an online classroom is just as real as a physical classroom.
“I’m not tech savvy, I could never do that”
While it is true that you need to be able to manage some features whilst in a virtual classroom, you certainly do not have to be a tech whizz or have a degree in ICT. Many of our teachers have never taught online before they start with EF and are sometimes anxious, which is of course normal. Nevertheless, confidence comes with time, and they are now some of the biggest advocates for teaching online and have never looked back! Some of them are even sharing their suggestions with us of what they would like the future of online education to look like.
“You must be lonely teaching online”
This is something that is completely dependent on who you are talking to. Lacking physical interactions, you would experience in an office may make some people feel secluded; however, online teachers are able to travel the globe and meet people from diverse backgrounds and walks of life from their own homes. Likewise, only because you are based within a physical office does not mean you cannot feel isolated. Many people do not speak to their co-workers as often as they would wish or may even find it difficult working in larger groups. Teaching online can help you eliminate many of the distractions you might find in an office, to focus on genuine conversations. Finally, overall productivity has been shown to increase in remote workers.
“It must be difficult to find a work/life balance when teaching from home”
On the contrary, many teachers choose to teach online because they find a great work/life balance working from home. Many of the online teachers I talk to have additional jobs, study on the side, are juggling childcare or have an elderly relative to care for. These are all things that they can balance alongside teaching online and it can in fact, make it easier having the flexibility to choose their schedules and manage their own time. From my own experience balancing childcare with work, I could say teaching online has been a lifeline. It has been nothing but positive for me and now my son even takes his language classes online demonstrating that the next generation sees online education as a valuable and exciting part of their lives.
Sharing our own positive experiences with others is one simple way that we can change mindsets related to online education. There is still a long way to go but we are certain that the future of online teaching is extremely bright and exciting.