In March 2020, the Covid pandemic made it necessary for educational institutions worldwide to transfer teaching online from one week to the next with minimal planning or preparation.
This study, conducted by Cambridge English six months into the first lockdown, analyses English language teachers’ experiences during this initial period, to find out whether teaching online had effects on classroom dynamics, lesson objectives, and learning activities, compared with teaching face-to-face (F2F).
The inquiry focuses in particular on the teaching criteria of the Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA). If significant differences between the two modes of delivery were found, the criteria would need to be revised in order to maintain the validity of the CELTA training course for an online teaching context. A mixed methods research approach (Cresswell and Plano Clark 2011) was used to build a detailed picture of teachers’ perceptions and experiences of teaching online.
Data gathering took place in August 2020, by which time the initial crisis period had begun to settle and teachers had consolidated some online teaching practices. Both quantitative and qualitative data were gathered from a survey publicised on a Cambridge English Teaching social media platform. The respondents (N=203) completed 28 questions to elicit their perceptions of whether the online medium enabled them to achieve similar teaching and learning aims to those of a face-to-face classroom.
Respondents were also asked to report their levels of confidence in the effectiveness of teaching online, and identify any strengths or weaknesses it presents compared with F2F teaching. Follow-up focus groups were conducted remotely in October 2020 to probe more deeply into their experiences of teaching online.
Siân Morgan Research and Thought Leadership, Cambridge Assessment English Carmen Ebner Research and Thought Leadership, Cambridge Assessment English Safi Lopes Research and Thought Leadership, Cambridge Assessment English Sally Moore Teaching and Curriculum, Cambridge Assessment English Anoushka Uzum Teaching and Curriculum, Cambridge Assessment English
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