This study focuses on challenges for students and lecturers adapting to online teaching and learning during the pandemic. The project reports on two international student cohorts from China who had expected to be immersed in an English-speaking country for their undergraduate degree but were forced to study online. In July 2019, the Bachelor of Education Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at the University of Auckland welcomed 17 international students from China. Covid-19 prevented those students to return to New Zealand at the beginning of 2020 and the cohort studied online for the remainder of their degree. A second cohort from China (n=12) started the degree remotely in July 2020 hoping to enter New Zealand before their degree was completed, but who remain in China. The project utilises students’ feedback and a questionnaire to highlight the challenges of both cohorts adjusting to online learning, being confined to their home country while doing an English degree, and the need for different skill sets like self-motivation and self-discipline for studying online. It also shows some of the students’ anxiety and frustration, along with their perseverance and resilience during two years of only studying online and finishing their degree. The study also reports on the author’s challenges of adapting two practical school experience courses for those international cohorts to online teaching. It shows her attempts to design a virtual insight into New Zealand schools, using school websites, filmed teaching sequences and online platforms, and to provide some teaching practice through micro-teaching.
Christine Biebricher, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
Stream: Foreign Languages Education & Applied Linguistics (including ESL/TESL/TEFL)
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