YPLS Update

YPLS Update: A spring like no other

With the extended closure of schools and board facilities as a result of the governmental response to COVID-19 which began in March, students and teachers at YPLS, like those everywhere in the province were forced to adapt as programming moved online.

Starting after the Easter long weekend and running through June 26, YPLS’s spring group, consisting of students from China, Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam, successfully navigated its way through two levels of the National Geographic Impact ESL curriculum. “Our partners at National Geographic were great about providing us, at no charge, with all of the online resources we needed to continue to run our program as effectively as possible given the constraints of the lockdown” stated YPLS Director of Studies, Greg Duggan.

Students participated in two one-hour lessons per day, one each with teachers Greg Duggan and Matthew Levesque.  In addition to these classes, daily homework was assigned, scored, and recorded on the National Geographic Impact companion website.  Of the need for daily lessons, Duggan says, “Language learning is foundational for all learning for students coming from countries where English isn’t spoken much and, therefore, needs consistent supervised practice and feedback.

While the switch to a purely online learning environment went well, it was not without its challenges. Although Levesque found the process of teaching online to be rewarding, saying that, “it gives teachers a new way to connect with students as well as helping to build student independence,” Levesque adds, “they come mainly in the form of utilizing technology as effectively as possible and adapting lesson delivery to suit an online medium.”  Duggan adds, “There is something lost in the virtual class experience in terms of building personal connections with each student and being able to adapt to their specific needs at any given moment as effectively as one can in a traditional learning environment.  However, we need to do the best we can given the current circumstances.

By Greg Duggan, Director of Studies, Young People’s Language School

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