For our first blog entry, I would like to share the story of how, in reaction to the Italian government Covid 19 decree, our team managed to transfer all our courses online in the space of 24 hours – basically overnight. I hope that this blog entry will remain as a memory of this historical and life-changing moment which we all experienced together. The crisis created a lot of pressure for everyone, and like any emergency, it can bring out the best and the worst in all of us. It brought out the best in our team at Bennett Languages and I can be nothing but grateful for that. They focused, worked in close synergy, supporting one another and our students and were understanding of each other’s differences. They were creative, enterprising and strong. So it is thanks to every one of them that our students missed only one afternoon of lessons. Here are some of our entries from our facebook post timeline which report the events.
5th March Italian Government Lockdown Decree & ZOOM Training
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. It’s been a long day’s journey into the night, dealing with the impact of yesterday’s government decree. Our day started with some morning team building and then we dived into a day of problem solving and decision making. By the end of a day of intensive training we are pleased to say that we are ready to offer lessons online as from tomorrow until 14th March.
It was a challenge but we have turned it into an opportunity and we have all learned a new skill and are looking forward to sharing this new learning adventure with our students. We can continue to offer individual lessons face to face but not group lessons, so all our teens and adults will be informed so they can join us online.
9th March Decree confirms extension of lockdown
We are pleased to confirm that Bennett Languages is continuing all our courses online. Our students can connect to their teacher following the instructions we send you. Our team has trained to be able to offer you engaging lessons in the comfort of your homes and are embracing the opportunity to enjoy a new, learning experience together.
We will be integrating specially designed resources and our learning platform which was developed four years ago with its vast range of activities to increase vocabulary, practise grammar, improve reading and writing skills and do exam practice. It also includes YouTubers, Podcasts, English radio and British TV as well as fun games. Our Front Office staff are available from 9.00 to 13.00 and 15.00-19.00 with an SOS service
On the Front line – Front Office give technical support
Let’s give a round of applause to our front office staff Daria and Giulia, who transformed overnight into operations control experts, giving technical support to all our students
14th March Decree – The lockdown continues
Our new normal
At this stage the posts reporting our online activity cease because the zoom realty which was unusual ten days ago has become our new normal.
We and our students have got used to seeing each other in our homes, got used to technical hitches, turn-taking, screen sharing, break-out rooms, chat, waiting rooms, stretching in the middle of lessons. We have got used to talking about how we pass the time, how we deal with our emotions and ups and downs. How time passes. How we notice the bird song and the wildlife, how the air is fresher outside and how our world inside and outside is changing.
How the world has become silent. Every lesson we discuss numbers and statistics with our adults. Every lesson we try to motivate our teenagers who miss their friends, their school, their sport – their life.
Every lesson we try to engage and motivate our young learners alone at their screens, sometimes in their bedroom, sometimes at the kitchen table. We have got used to witnessing family life going on in the background and this new intimacy we have been thrust into.
Birthdays and celebrations come and go – zoom parties, graduations, births, a variety of virtual celebrations and an avalanche of virtual greetings are exchanged from people online who have become our new community.
Children’s Gallery – Alice, aged 10
Manual, aged 12 – Corona Virus Storyboard
Lockdown extended to May 4th
Looking to the future
We live with constant hope and expectation of the final opening. Gradually some shops are starting to open – stationer’s, bookshops, shops that sell essential items.
Every little improvement gives us optimism. We are glued to our computer screens and TVs, hungry for news that will tell us when all this will finally come to an end and we will enter into ‘Phase 2’, which will bring us all news ways of living.
For us at Bennett Languages it will mean a blended future of face-to-face and online lessons. Technology is here to stay and we can only embrace the advantages that it offers us as a boundary free tool which can enhance and expand teaching and learning in and beyond the four walls of a classroom.