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Distance learning in Languages: Secondary

What worked well

Self-paced learning was the dominant method of delivery.

Pen and paper booklets were used in some schools, particularly where not all students had access to a device.

Using platforms that automatically tracked student participation to monitor involvement and learning. One teacher loved the Assignments and Turn In functions in Teams to get students to submit work.

Education Perfect was a real winner!

At one school, students had to wear their uniforms and be online at the start of every lesson to be registered as ‘present’.  They all had to come to a quick short class meeting at the end to show what they had learned.

Using apps such as Forms and Poll Button (SEQTA) to build in accountability. One suggestion was to make students upload responses using the Assessment function in SEQTA to keep an eye on participation and engagement levels.  Teachers expressed joy when discovering these functions which they could see would make their jobs easier in the future.

Activities, such as scavenger hunts, to get the students OFF their laptops! Students seemed to enjoy the change and chance to get physical.

“I wanted to get away from just worksheets through OneNote. The more movement... the more interaction (the better)” French Teacher



Production and uploading of videos was difficult within the parameters of some school Learning Management Systems (LSM).

Some school LSMs didn’t work well, especially older platforms and when trying to integrate with other apps. Teachers had to find and develop other systems of teaching and monitoring learning.

Low level of engagement (across the whole school – not just in Languages).

Forums were not popular.

Lack of support from some parents.

Silver Linings

The notion of personalised learning was really tested out during Covid-19. Most teachers mentioned how great it was to be able to engage in one-on-one with students online. They felt they got to know students better, especially the quiet and shy students, and a lot of mutual respect was generated. In distance learning, teachers are mindful of personalising learning for every single learner, whether they are ‘present’ or not.

“I could message students… and they would all send back “thank you Ibu” and “I hope you had a good Mothers’ Day”. The connection that I had with the kids (during Covid) was more than when I used to go to school with face-to-face teaching. That communication was very fruitful for them and for their families. In fact, parents would also message and say ‘thank you for talking to my children. It just made their day’. It became quite personal. It was so nice.” Indonesian Teacher


Confidence using technologies was dramatically improved. Many felt they mastered a lot functions in Teams and other commercial platforms, and would continue using in the future.

 “It was such an incredible learning curve.  I really enjoyed the upskilling using the technology… so much… so quickly!”