We can certainly say that Covid has thrown a few spanners into the cogs of the English teaching industry, both in Australia and throughout the whole world.
With no new arrivals of international students into Australia for 582 days (as of 1 st November 2021 but still counting), many English schools have had to close or have least downsize their staffing and salaries.
This dearth of international students, of course, hasn’t only affected ESL classes but also teacher training courses like the Cambridge CELTA that rely on such students for its Teaching Practice sessions.
The overnight transition to online training
The only way to stay afloat during this time was for training centres (and Cambridge) to adapt to the online teaching context. Literally overnight in some instances, centres like MTI had to take all their services online. Trainers with decades of face-to-face classroom experience suddenly became a face in a box in a Zoom room looking at numerous other faces in boxes wondering how they were going to make this work.
For myself and many other CELTA trainers, initial hesitancy and stress about not being technologically good enough turned into curiosity, then, relatively quickly into a new appetite to embrace these new skills and move to a new era of online education and training.
Benefits of online learning and training
1. More inclusive learning for people in rural areas and around the world
When MTI became an online training centre at the start of 2020, we turned our physical doors into virtual doors. Not only has this transition meant that MTI has stayed relevant throughout Covid times, but it means that we are able to open these virtual doors to the world, only adding to MTI’s commitment to helping more people gain new and exciting life and career opportunities.
By December 2021, MTI will have already trained around 130 new English teachers through our online CELTA courses. The map below highlights how we have opened up opportunities for people not only in urban and rural Australia but also in Queenstown, Tokyo, Shanghai, East Timor, Singapore and even Cape Town.
2. Gaining intercultural experience for your resume
Another benefit of these global virtual doors is authentic cultural engagement. This means that trainees not only learn how to teach English (TESOL) but also have a chance to develop their intercultural communicative competence (ICC) with their fellow trainees as well as with international students. ICC is the ability to comprehend and adapt to different cultural situations and perspectives which is a must-have soft skill for resumes and LinkedIn profiles in today’s multicultural world.
3. Online resources at your fingertips
Online learning and training mean you have constant online access to updated, comprehensive resources at your fingertips. No need to carry those heavy reference books or A4 folders around with you anymore. All course resources are also online so you can refer to training handouts, observations and feedback at your own pace, not just while you are in the classroom.
4. Less expense and time spent on commuting
As online learning and training can be done at home, you avoid the additional transportation costs and the potentially long commute during peak hours. This extra time can make all the difference to your typical study day on an intensive course like CELTA as you can be writing an assignment or planning your lessons rather than standing up on a busy train or bus wasting precious time.
5. Double skill set for the learner and the teacher
When learning or teaching online, you have to learn a new skill set, whether that be how to navigate the learning platform or how to access and use the extensive range of online tools that are now available to both learners and teachers.
Before starting an online course, it’s quite common for people to assume that online learning is a lot less personable and interactive than face-to-face learning. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Online lessons can be just as personable if you take time to get to know your students and just as interactive if you have a few flexible online tools up your sleeve.
Many trainees have commented that they now feel that have a double skill set of teaching skills which has helped them feel more confident going forward into the unpredictable future that lies ahead.
If you are interested in finding out more about our online services, click here: