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The Potential of the Pivot

by Elizabeth Hillier for the NW English PEN

Lockdown has certainly posed its fair share of challenges for English teaching in FE. Post-lockdown and with the prospect of social distancing being a practical concern in a classroom that traditionally relies on the distribution of pens, paper, highlighters, texts as well as the close peer and group collaboration that is needed to create a lively learning environment, September seems as uncertain as ever.

However, maybe this ‘pivot’ maybe the opportunity needed to embed hybrid learning in the English classroom? This prospect is also a scary one especially as there are questions such as: how will it look? how can it be facilitated? how can learning be effective in two different teaching environments? The biggest question is that concerning digital poverty and how we can best serve all of our learners to make sure the curriculum we offer is inclusive, creative and engaging.

Whilst Senior Leadership Teams have the uneviable task of trying to accomodate all of these different scenarios, as an English teacher I have decided that whatever the hybrid model at our college looks like, I want to make sure that my learners enjoy a subject that lends itself well to two different environments. Therefore I have set myself 3 key principles to adhere to:

  • The learning drives the technology and not the other way around
  • Keep the digital aspect of a hybrid curriculum simple and straightforward
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel! Draw ideas from colleagues locally and nationally and look at good practice.

The FTE has also provided “Free webinars to support online learning for practitioners and their learners” which I have found to be incredibly useful. 

Over the past few weeks I have heard the following quote from Vladimir Lenin quite a lot:

“There are decades where nothing happens: and there are weeks when decades happen”.

Lenin

Lots of colleagues have fully adhered to this notion and whilst we all feel tired with ‘digital fatigue’, undoubtedly we will power through. 

This sector has the resilience, collaborative working patterns and determination to make whatever comes our way in September, be successful.