Online Language Tutoring; Offering A Breath of Fresh Air During the Coronavirus Quarantine
Yasmine Martinet, LanguageBird French Instructor
My 86-year old grandma lives in Paris and has been living with social distancing for over two weeks. Social distancing in France has been extremely strict. I was talking with her a couple of days ago: I was worried about her because her lungs are not in tip-top shape, but I was mostly worried because she lives alone and gets her strength from her long walks in Paris, from getting her newspaper at the stand, and, in April, from visiting the many Spring exhibitions.
When I called she told me, amongst other things, that she had been watching conferences and visiting museums on her computer and that it allowed her to keep doing the activities that make her happy. It felt to her like a window to the world, like a breath of fresh air, and I have been thinking about LanguageBird in the same way lately.
LanguageBird has been conceived, even before the pandemic, as a window into the world and as a rush of fresh air into students’ lives. As a language school, our first goal is to open kids to other ways of talking, thinking, and being. Few things are more refreshing than that! Learning a new language means getting outside of oneself for a bit, where everything is new and open for discovery, it feels adventurous! LanguageBird also operates online and recruits teachers all over the world. As such, the number of windows we open is multiplied by the thousands.
For example, I live in Brazil but I’ve also lived in Germany, France, and California before that. LanguageBird teachers are people with lots of travel, life, and stories in them, and nothing is more valuable than stretching our minds in this strange moment where our lives are physically reduced to the contours of our apartments.
Only yesterday I was in the middle of a class when the tropical rain outside my window turned into a full-blown tropical storm. We were deep in a game in French when a lightning bolt struck in my neighborhood. The thunder was extremely loud, and we got completely startled. It was great fun! My student got to experience a tropical storm from the comfort of her home in Utah: pretty cool, right?
There’s no doubt that all of our teachers have a story like this to share, a story about how where they are, where they’ve been, and who they’ve become, has enabled their students to dream a little, travel a little, and come out of their lesson excited and refreshed.
That goal is also served by LanguageBird’s conversational and inquiry-based approach to teaching, where the personalities, interests, and stories of both students and teachers are at the core of the lessons. In a way, we are breaking down the walls around your apartment, taking you onto our flying carpets, VIP jets, or sturdy sailboats on a trip around the world with some really cool people!
Back to my dear grandma: of course, right after praising the internet and its amazing possibilities, she kept on talking about how she walks around her apartment, really close to the walls, and that it takes 5 minutes to go all around: so, let’s keep that in mind and stretch our bodies as well as our minds, shall we?!