The widespread shutdown of schools has caused a drastic change in the TEFL industry, prompting EFL teachers to adapt rapidly and teach English online.
The worldwide spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 at the start of this year has significantly affected our healthcare systems and, eventually, every aspect of our daily lives in an unprecedented series of events.
After the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global emergency last January, governments have enforced various measures to help “flatten the curve,” such as social distancing measures, travel restrictions, and quarantine.
We have been confined to our homes to prevent the further spread of the virus, and economic activities have also been put to a halt. Travel restrictions were placed in countries, cities were put in lockdown, and activities across industries had experienced a frightening slowdown.
The TEFL industry is among the many industries significantly affected by this pandemic. This article discusses the three major changes the industry has gone through in the past months.
After trips were banned and airports were closed down, English teachers have had to postpone their departures to TEFL destinations across the world.
China, which is one of the countries with the highest demand for TEFL teachers in the world, has also discontinued holding physical classes to avoid the further spread of the virus. As a result, hiring foreign TEFL teachers in the country has been largely halted and brick-and-mortar language schools that depend on these teachers are being hit the hardest.
However, this does not mean to say that the country’s TEFL industry has collapsed and EFL teachers have nowhere left to go. As China has shifted its efforts to support distance learning through virtual education platforms such as Empower Learning and Educloud, online EFL teaching has also been on the rise to fill the void and continue to address the needs of Chinese learners, which leads us to the next point.
More than a hundred countries have shut down educational facilities nationwide as a response to the pandemic. Estimates from UNESCO show that around 900 million learners have been affected by the closure of educational institutions. All levels of the education system from preschool up to tertiary education have been impacted by this massive shutdown.
According to TEFL Academy director Tom Gibbons, with schools being in lockdown, the online teaching industry has expanded rapidly because parents now prefer their children to learn from home. Although children and youth are proven to be less susceptible to the virus, many are concerned that they could be carriers for the disease and put older family members at risk. Because of this, people are looking for safer and more convenient ways to continue their children’s education amidst the health risks and restrictions present today.
Online learning is nothing new; in fact, it has been around since the late 1900s and evolved through the years along with the advancement of technology. However, this modality of learning has received a significant increase in popularity today because more people are discovering it to be an efficient way to mitigate lost time in school. It gives students with an Internet connection easy access to learning resources and also allows them to learn at their own pace.
This trend in the educational sphere has increased the demand for online teachers, particularly for professional online TEFL instructors. Simultaneously, teachers who are accustomed to the physical classroom setting now have the task of finding ways to adapt to new teaching styles and pick up skills that are essential in virtual teaching.
Online courses have always been available even before the necessary transition to online learning. They come in many forms such as single modules and even full online bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In recent years, massive open online courses or MOOCs have also attracted extensive attention because of the flexibility and convenience they provide to learners.
As a result of schools shutting down, the World Economic Forum notes a distinctive rise in e-learning. Moreover, a data report published by Udemy shows a significant spike in the consumption of online courses this year, describing how people are now turning to online learning to stay busy, upskill, and make productive use of their time while in self-isolation or quarantine.
With more time on their hands, people are now finding the opportunity to do the things they’ve always wanted to and to learn the topics they’ve always been interested in.
Despite the new challenges presented by the global health crisis to education in general, people around the world are innovating and thinking of ways to adapt to the new normal. The transition from learning inside physical classrooms to learning through screens may be abrupt and drastic, but educators around the world are leveraging technology to cope and, ultimately, to continue teaching even in these trying times.
Due to the rise in the demand for online instructors, the marketplace is brimming with the best online teaching jobs today. If you want to make productive use of this time and teach English online, you might want to consider applying for 51Talk, one of the largest online teaching platforms in the world. The application process is easy; just click on the Sign Up button, complete the application form, and schedule your interview! There are many stable and sustainable opportunities like this, and it is up to teachers to be as adaptable and creative as they have always been to survive and even thrive in these times.
51Talk is looking for thousands of home-based online teachers to give one-on-one English lessons. You can earn up to Php80K as a full-time teacher and enjoy a wide range of perks –