Online learning vs Teacher led classes of EFL?
Defining what online learning and teacher led classes are and the positives and negatives of each method.
Submitted by Ben B., Valencia.
There are two main ways of taking classes in EFL which are through online learning and teacher led classes. There are positives and negatives to both methods. Online learning is seen as an independent method whereby a student completes a course through the medium of the internet. It involves the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Plus the student also completes grammar and comprehension exercises and watches videos.
They then complete some exams and then either pass or fail the course. Teacher-led classes are a more sociable option to taking classes in EFL. And again this involves the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. But the students attend classes in classrooms in a school or language institute.
Online learning: advantages and disadvantages.
Online learning has its advantages and disadvantages. The invention of the internet brought changes to communication, teaching and learning. So both teachers and learners should be able to access the internet and experience and familiarise themselves with its uses in education. The internet has a wide range of resources for language learning so by being able to access the internet this can aid EFL learning.
Teachers and students should be trained to use the internet effectively for their language teaching or learning. But online learning does have the issue of not being sufficient by itself to teach and learn English or a second language. So therefore it cannot include all teaching and learning activities so cannot replace the real teaching and learning environment.
In my experience as a language student, I have used the internet to learn grammar through a number of different websites. And I have found it a useful way to be able to memorise the different grammar rules of the Spanish language. I have also watched a number of videos and read various online articles which have helped me gain an extensive range of vocabulary. For me, the main disadvantage of online learning is the inability to interact with a native speaker or other language learners. So for the speaking skill online learning is not a great way to learn a language.
Teacher led classes: advantages and disadvantages
Teacher led classes involve two forms of teaching which are teacher-centred and student-centred education. Both of them have advantages and disadvantages. In teacher centred classes, students put all of their focus on the teacher. And during activities, students work alone, and working with others is discouraged. The advantages of this method are that the classroom is properly ordered and the teacher has full control of the classroom and its activities. The disadvantages of teacher centred classes are that when students work alone. They do not learn to work with other students and it does not allow students to express themselves and ask questions.
A student-centred education is run by students and teachers interacting with each other and group work is supported. The advantages of student centred classes are that students learn collaborative skills. This is achieved through group work and this in turn leads to active participation in classes. The disadvantages of student led classes are that classrooms are often busy and some students prefer to work alone, so group work can cause problems. I have spent a number of years learning the Spanish language and most of my learning has been done through teacher led classes. I find that it is a very good way to learn as you can learn together with other language students. But depending on your level of motivation you can become distracted by the other language students.
The language school in Valencia combines the use of the internet with a one on one classroom environment. This is to create a different learning atmosphere in which students get to experience listening and reading various conversations and texts online. But also practise speaking with a native speaker of English or another language. In my opinion, this is the best way to learn a language. In this way a student gets to experience what it is like to be in the country in which the language is spoken. But it is also supplements their learning through the use of the internet.
To conclude, there are two main ways of taking classes in EFL which are online learning and teacher led classes. The invention of the internet brought changes to communication, teaching and learning. But online learning does have the issue of not being sufficient by itself to teach and learn English or a second language. So therefore it cannot include all teaching and learning activities so cannot replace the real teaching and learning environment.
There are teacher-centred and student-centred classes and both have advantages and disadvantages. In my opinion, the best way to learn a language is through the combination of both teacher led classes. Such as in a language school like the one in Valencia. But also supplementing learning by using resources on the internet.
- Aydin, S. (2007). The Use of the Internet in ESL Learning: Problems, Advantages and Disadvantages. Year 9; Issue 1; January 07. Humanising Language Teaching. Retrieved from: http://www.hltmag.co.uk/jan07/sart02.htm
- Concordia University (January 6 2016). Which is Best: Teacher-Centered or Student-Centered Education? Retrieved from: https://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/classroom-resources/which-is-best-teacher-centered-or-student-centered-education/