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Is online language learning better or worse for its learners?
Written by Min June You | Published. 2021.10.31 00:28 | Count : 1110


The emergence of a new education method called online learning is one of the several prominent changes to our lifestyle the Coronavirus outbreak delivered to us. According to Shivangi Dhawan from University of Delhi, the sudden outbreak "challenged the education system across the world and forced educators to shift to an online mode of teaching overnight.” As the education system changed, so did the method of language learning. At the same time, learning foreign languages is continuously becoming more critical for online communications every day. Therefore, it would be important to consider what drawbacks the new method of language learning will have compared to the original one and if it is only an alternative adjustment that will last a short while.  Shin Kihun, an undergraduate of the Complutense University of Madrid, was interviewed for opinions as he also tutors Spanish in Korea. 


[Interview with Shin Kihun. Photo Credit: Min June You]


“When I taught online, I used the internet, and when I taught offline, the places varied from cafes, study rooms and so on.”, said Mr. Shin. “According to my experience, it is indeed much easier to teach language online, as I can teach what I should, and instruct what to do online. Furthermore, since the classes online can be recorded, they can be used for reviewing purposes. However, the downside is that since the student is apart from the teacher, there might be a case when they cannot concentrate.”, he explains. “On the other hand,” he adds, “a 1-on-1 meeting is possible when teaching offline. Therefore, students can conveniently ask what they are curious about straight away. ” Mr. Shin said that “each online and offline education has its benefits. Still, its suitability to the students will depend on their proficiency in the language, age, and jobs.” “For example, the advantage of online learning is that recording the class is possible. However, this will only do good when the student has a certain amount of self-directedness. Also, beginners in a language need to ask lots of questions to improve, so offline would be more effective timewise.”, he informs. He concludes that “with the pros and cons mentioned, I think that learning languages online should be practiced by adults who can better manage themselves, and can use the method to save time if they are office workers.” 


Alongside the teacher, Ki Sungwoo, a student who  recently started learning Spanish, was also interviewed. "Learning a 2nd or 3rd language is different from learning your native one", he informs. "To learn that type of language, an environment to practice that language helps you improve, and I believe that going to special academies and getting educated by teachers creates that kind of environment. It would be if you had an instructor that can specifically teach you to learn a different language,” he explained. “But,” he added, “in online education, it is hard to comprehend readily because the teacher just keeps on progressing the lesson, without knowing if the students are following or not.” According to Ki, even though teachers ask students to turn on their cameras to check on the students, they have no way of knowing if the student is browsing on the web or fiddling with the cursor.  Ki also mentioned that “it is worse as each student’s screens come out small in virtual communications because there are too many people. Because there are no classmates and assistant teachers around but only your comfortable home surroundings, it makes students relaxed and therefore less focused on what’s happening in class.” “I think that online education is an inferior method for the students, so I hope this pandemic  ends quickly,” said Ki.



[Interview with Ki Sungwoo. Photo Credit: Min June You]


The future of language education via online learning could be easily found during the pandemic era. As Mr. Shin had informed, only a range of specific people, especially businessmen will likely continue the untact method. They will try to save time in learning languages against their busy work. Student Ki Sungwoo became an advocate for the original learning method, due to the drawbacks of learning online. It was that teachers can’t track whether students are paying attention to the class or not.  Since the quality of teachers matters highly online, it will be necessary for educating teachers to conduct online classes effectively. 


Min June You

Grade 8

CMIS Canada


Min June You  hsr@dherald.com

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