ESOL Literacy learners created short, homemade videos where, as a way of linking one video to the next, each speaker ‘passed a cup’ to the next video maker.
Teacher Maitreyee Banerjee says the idea of the English activity was to share the thing they miss most when not getting together in person. “Everyone says it was not meeting up with classmates face-to-face or sitting together for tea break,” says Maitreyee.
“During the last lockdown, they had a virtual tea-party!” she says. “But this time, they wanted to do something else.”
Maitreyee says someone remembered seeing a video in which people juggled a ball and passed it to others. “That's how the idea of sharing a cup of tea originated!”
She introduced useful vocabulary like 'favourite, activity, during' and “I like to ___,” and then learners selected and practised the phrases they wanted to use and recorded their videos.
The final stage saw everyone sending their videos to Maitreyee through Messenger, with a few calling in ‘family in-house expertise’ for a bit of help! Maitreyee then joined all the videos together.
Maitreyee says the learners really enjoy online learning. “When I asked how the weekend was, someone said it was very boring as there was no English class.”
“People say that when they can't go out of their houses much, online classes provide an opportunity to interact and get acquainted with what’s happening outside their bubble.”
Getting everyone online with Zoom was a challenge. “People in the class have a low level of English,” says Maitreyee, “and some are absolute beginners.”
“We’re lucky to have two Community Language Assistants who can speak the learners’ languages, and some family members who’ve been helpful in explaining things like the unmute and chat functions, very essential for Zoom classes!
Maitreyee says that of 18 learners, 11 were able to join the online class. However, as the centre is currently in Level 2, the seven who found it difficult to join have just been shown how to Zoom in a face-to-face class.
“I am hopeful we’ll have 100 per cent attendance in our next online class!”
Alongside language learning, English Language Partners’ classes play an important role in connecting people up. While learning English, learners meet others in their community, friendships are formed, and newcomers begin to feel more a part of Aotearoa.
Our enormous thanks to Maitreyee Banerjee, ELP’s ESOL Literacy teacher, for contributing this story.