How HLSE programs are coping during the Corona Crisis
April 18, 2020
This month, a brief survey was sent to twenty heritage language programs in the HLSE network regarding teaching solutions during the Corona Crisis. Half of the programs responded. This is what we learned:
Currently, the Romanian School, Italian School La Lampadina, Alliance Francaise (secondary), Bulgarian School, Eindhoven Chinese School, and Chinese program "Where East Meets West" have migrated to some form of regular online contact with their students.
At least two schools have opted not to shift to online teaching: the German school and the French primary school Francofilous. In the case of Francofilous, the organizers indicated that parents were not in favor of the additional work for the children on top of Dutch homeschooling.
The Eindhoven Chinese School noted that they are issuing assignments to students almost every day, making use of materials from the Chinese Language and Culture Education Foundation. By doing so, they are trying to prevent students from falling too far behind to be able to follow their normal class next school year.
The number of lessons that have to be cancelled through the end of the school year did not seem to affect the decision of whether or not to migrate to online lessons: some programs with less than 5 remaining/cancelled lessons have decided to offer an online alternative, and some programs with between 10 and 15 remaining/cancelled lessons have decided not to offer an online alternative.
Most of the respondents who have migrated to online lessons report that they are giving live lessons between students and teachers, that they are issuing homework that will be corrected, that they are posting videos for children to watch, and that parents have been supportive of the distance learning. Some of these programs manage to offer as much work as they otherwise would; some report that they are offering less work than the children would get with face-to-face lessons.
The tech applications that were most frequently mentioned by respondents were Skype and Zoom. The following are also being used: Google Classroom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Jamboard, Wakelet, WhatsApp, WebEx, WeChat, public Facebook videos, and Big Blue Bottom.
Some advice from the head of Italian School La Lampadina:
We would suggest keeping all digital channels as an alternative didactic option. Kids are nowadays pretty keen on using a computer to learn. Advising e-book, platforms where history novels or geography games can be found in the heritage language can represent a learning solution. Sending regular homework based on the planned didactic syllabus once a week and asking them to send them back to the teacher can be motivating. Proposing to share crafting works and pictures of their paintings as well as a letter written to the teacher and their friends keep the students active, engaged, and happy to keep on learning the language. --Laura Pirani
Thanks to those of you who provided feedback!
Working and learning from home is the current norm for many families. If your heritage language program is exploring options for how to create an online classroom, check out this helpful site from the Stanford Online High School, with advice, instructional videos, and resources for teachers so that you do not have to reinvent the wheel.
If you support multilingual families, the tips on this list of free online libraries from the Ambulante taalondersteuning website of Amstelveen cannot be missed! Many websites are listed, including for each an indication of which languages are available. Particularly nice is Unite for Literacy, which has books that are narrated in over 40 languages.