In-Person and Online Learning in Communicative Language Teaching Classes: Interaction Levels and Parents’ Perspectives
This study aimed to understand the interaction of students through online classes, provided useful information for curriculum designers, forwarded suggestions on ways in addressing individual student learning needs and generated ideas for the development of training programs for online instructors. The purpose of the present study is two-fold: 1) to explore the interaction levels in CLT in-person classes and online language classes, and 2) to gather more enriching data from parents about their preference to in-person classes, their perspective of what could affect students’ interaction levels during online classes and their recommendations for teaching methods to enhance online lessons. The study sought to answer 4 research questions: How does distance learning versus in-person teaching affect Communicative Language Teaching methods in the interaction levels of ESL elementary students? What are the interaction differences between high level English students and lower-level English students through online learning? What are ESL students' needs in distance learning methods? How can their needs be better met? and What are the parents’ needs to assist their children in ESL online teaching? How can their needs be better met? To answer the research questions data were gathered through interviews and observations in an international private school in Abu Dhabi. Four interviews with parents were administered and analysed using thematic analysis. The following themes emerged from the data: social connectivity increases learning success, online learning provides potential growth for students’ learning due to new methods, parents and students struggle and lack focus in online learning, and parents do not know how to interactively teach their children. Moreover, 10 classroom observations were conducted, 5 of which were in an online setting and 5 in in-person ones. The data from observations were transcribed and analysed. The data from observations led to indepth understanding of students’ interaction levels in both settings, which would hopefully aid in breaking down the wall distance learning has built during the pandemic. The study forwarded a number of recommendations to (the audience: e.g. researchers, practitioners and policy makers).
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