The challenges we face everyday when teaching remotely are easily changed into valuable opportunities if one is willing to devote energy, skill and determination to the endless projects we can create with fellow colleagues. As I see it, remote teaching is much more than what we are able to describe nowadays, it goes beyond teaching a second language and it is certainly transforming the way we access knowledge in general.
Remote teaching is teaching a lot to the teacher in us, and it is also allowing us to build new perspectives in our ELT experience. It is undeniable that the more we can teach through videoconferencing in rural areas for example, the wider we make the paths towards a more democratic access to English language learning. Moreover, as we stimulate the everyday use of Virtual Learning Environments, we foster life-long learning skills which, again, go beyond learning a second language. Consequently, the ideas of teaching for citizenship, education for all and equal opportunities are certainly finding in remote teaching routes to become tangible and real.
The success of remote teaching lies partly providing the learner with the tools and resources to continue learning after the remote lesson, thus learner autonomy is developed on a day-to-day basis. It also depends on how flexibly the teacher and the students approach the remote teaching experience, i.e. both of them necessarily have to put their traditional teaching and learning methods to the test and re-invent them in order to attain the programme aims and keep on learning.
Dealing with isolation, physical distance and technological challenges all the time is also teaching us new ways of networking and relating to one another. In my view, remote teaching is not about longing for the traditional break time meetings with colleagues in the school playground or in the staff room, but about creating new ways of rapport and energy feedback between us and the learners. What is more, I believe that our learning pulse as an inherent feature of us humans is one of our best allies, which poses our eagerness to learn on top of any difficulty we find on the way. Therefore, each challenge becomes an opportunity for everyone, paving the way of a never-ending learning experience.
Remote teaching is teaching a lot to us, about our strengths and our needs, about how to adapt and re-shape our teaching practice to fit the needs of our learners, but above all, remote teaching is providing us with an invaluable opportunity to leave the comfort zone where “we know how to do it” and embark in new journeys where we can only expect the unexpected, and where we can display the art of our professional practice.