If technology was already seen as an ally in education and language teaching before the pandemic, during the health crisis it became essential and from now on, its role as learning potentiating should gain even more strength. To give you an idea, 82 percent of Brazilian internet users aged 16 and over who attend school or university attended classes or remote activities during the pandemic, according to the 3rd edition of the Covid-19 ICT Panel survey, by The Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br).
‘Technologies have a lot to contribute to language teaching. Several tools can help the teacher to propose tasks related to reading, writing, listening and speaking skills’, says Joyce Fettermann, consultant in English teaching at Troika, in São Paulo.
Luciana Coutinho Daniel Vicente, regional pedagogical director of Rio de Janeiro’s Northwest, from the State Secretariat of Education of Rio de Janeiro, follows the same line. ‘Language teaching can become much more efficient and innovative with the use of instant chat websites and applications to support teaching materials. Such resources, in addition to attracting more students, facilitate the work of the teacher, especially in the development of orality’.
‘The new technologies make it possible to follow what is said in English in the world, through texts, videos and interviews, including in real time, and the changes that the language suffers’, adds Marilda Macedo Souto Franco, pedagogical supervisor and English teacher at the Center Language School in Ceilândia, Federal District.
Lucilelia Lemes de Castro Silva Nascimento, an English language teacher and pedagogical advisor for the Goiás Tec Technological Mediation Project, of the Goiás State Department of Education, notes that the good use of digital tools, possibly in a hybrid system, will require a new look at language teaching.
‘The teacher has to reinvent the English class for it to be an interactive virtual class. This means making the best platform and application choices to engage students and make them feel free to communicate, participate, exchange experiences and answer questions. It is a job to be created, to be developed ‘, she reflects.
In this sense, training teachers will also be essential. ‘We will need to reassess behaviors and take courses and training. And yet share experiences, reflect on everything we have lived so far and how to best teach English to students without being in the classroom’, says Lucileila.
For Joyce, the pandemic has taught a lot and all the difficulties experienced in education point to a direction in relation to the creation of new public policies that serve to facilitate the process of teaching and learning. Among them, quality internet access and the inclusion of people who live in rural areas and in less privileged communities, so that they are not out of reach of education as a whole.
Luciana Vicente adds: ‘The universalization of internet access is even more necessary in times like these. Linked to it is the guarantee of access to information and knowledge. Providing quality internet for all families involves thinking about macro policies, such as reducing the tax burden for broadband internet and mobile telephony and improving telecommunications infrastructure’.
According to the ICT Covid-19 Panel, 36 percent of respondents in the study had difficulty keeping up with classes during the pandemic due to the lack or poor quality of the internet connection. The cell phone was the main device used to monitor classes and remote activities, especially in classes D and E (54 percent).