While many schools are out for the summer, Northeast Alabama Community College ESL classes for adult learners are still in full swing — virtually.
Dawn Saint, ESL Bilingual Resource Instructor, says the online format of classes due to coronavirus presents new challenges for some of her students, mainly relating to navigating and accessing the needed technology like Zoom.
“[Some] don’t know how to navigate the app. They don’t have Facebook. Facebook is a good way to communicate with students. Some only text and nothing else. Some have no wifi at home, only data. It’s not only learning how to use the app, but being comfortable using the app,” Saint said.
Despite problems with technology for some students, Saint says teaching ESL classes online has brought unexpected advantages with accommodating students' specific needs.
Saint says that without geographical constraints online, she can work with students of similar levels of English across Marshall, Jackson and Dekalb counties where classes are offered.
“Before, everyone went to the class that was most geographically convenient—where they live is where they attend. But right now, we don’t have these limits. This is a window. Students at an advanced level from Scottsboro and Fort Payne and Albertville can join in the same class very easily,” Saint said.
Students in Saint’s classes range in age from 18-75 years old with a mix of educational backgrounds and learning goals. She says online learning offers more flexibility for students in different ways.
“They can connect virtually for an hour. They can take care of kids while they are in class. There is more flexibility for different times. Some have talked about the possibility of Saturday class and with this type of instruction it will be a possibility,” Saint said.
ESL classes are completely free of charge and new students can join at any time, as classes remain online for the foreseeable future.
Saint wants people to know that herself and other ESL teachers are ready and willing to assist with the individual needs and goals of all students.
“It’s free. Why not take advantage of the opportunity and try the classes, talk with the teachers about your needs and we can help you achieve your dreams.”
To enroll in ESL classes or for more information, call or text: 256-279-7114