The alive and the online

communityThis evening, I went out to the local symphony’s Christmas Concert.  A wonderful gathering of many in this small city.  They played the score for the Christmas film – The Snowman by Peter Briggs.  Plus lots of carols and they had the whole audience singing joyously.

As I enjoyed the orchestra and the “event” – it got me thinking about education and how we (yes, me too), do oversell the online teaching thing. Meaning in a nutshell – we tend to paint in black and white and don’t for a moment stop and consider that there will always be people meeting face to face. No matter how powerful the technology.  We need to gather “live” and in the flesh and blood – there is something in this, that can’t be substituted for.

Yes, you can learn a language or almost anything, alone. But there are valuable reasons to learn “together”.  Like the very valuable reason I went to the concert and braved the cold rather than sit at home and listen to it (and probably much better quality, acoustically speaking).  It will always be necessary to be “alive”.  There is something special about people meeting – the smells, the eye contact, the looks, the tingle in the air. This can’t be copied.  And by my mere attendance, the orchestra too – “lived” and would never walk through that same door again.  The mere fact that we were together – created a moral force that stretches out into tomorrow….

So too us teachers whether in a class or meeting our students. We will always need that face to face, that humanity and a meeting place that is “alive” rather than just online…. Let’s remember this.

Here is the video – The Snowman. A Classic. Enjoy! Lots of materials for teaching this (worksheets/ppts) on EFL Classroom 2.0

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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2 Responses

  1. What you say is so true, David. The whole idea of being with other people can be what makes learning something, whether it is a language or a cookery class, enjoyable. I’m not saying that online or distance learning doesn’t have a place – it certainly does in this day and age with our busy lives – but more often than not a class becomes a social event. I have had many groups of students who have become great friends and socialise outside of classtime. We have fun in class, together. Next week we are going to be singing Christmas carols (their request!) and I really can’t imagine anybody doing that over Skype!

  2. ddeubel says:

    Yes, these are things that make teaching special!

    I remember fondly so many “events” with students. My first years teaching, every spring I organized a school hiking trip. We’d hike all day, stopping for beer and food along the way. It became a big event and I really got to know my students as people, true and blue…

    Enjoy the caroling.

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