But An Kim and Folo Solofa, both very isolated learners, have finally got there! An Kim’s from Cambodia and Folo Solofa is from Samoa. The two are classmates in English Language Partners’ ESOL Intensive class. It’s a class for former refugee and migrant learners with low levels of literacy in their mother language.
Christine Dykstra, our Wellington centre’s teacher for this specialised programme, is delighted the two have made it to class after Covid-19 forced the online move.
“Getting online can be a struggle for some older people with very limited access to data or technical knowhow,” she says. “An Kim and Folo Solofa are in their 70s and had no skills or experience with online technology.”
“But they’ve learned how to access classes and now participate successfully.”
Initially, it seemed neither would be able to join, but both were really keen to learn how. “It’s through sheer perseverance that these dedicated learners were able to join our new virtual classroom space,” Christine says.
They learnt how to get online remotely, using only the technology for communicating they were familiar with: FaceTime and phone calls.
“I think this is quite remarkable,” Christine says. “They are now the most regular attendees, do their homework, know how to annotate worksheets, and Folo has also learned how to email me with his homework,” she says. “It’s the first time he’s ever sent an email!”
Learning how to annotate (mark up) teaching worksheets during online lessons highlights the ingenuity and skill ELP’s learners have developed through online lessons.
English Language Partners is proud of the way both men have made such a huge effort to continue their learning and to stay connected with their ‘class community’.