Dear Friends of the English Language Institute:
With this last newsletter of the year, I’d like to take a few moments to reflect on the twists and turns of 2020 and what the future looks like as a result. Many of us have said we are eager to say goodbye to 2020, but we must also consider the positive things we’ve learned and the amazing accomplishments we’ve made. Yes, a global pandemic disrupted the plans of thousands of students, brought transnational travel to a halt, closed embassies across the world, and brought a sense of uncertainty as to what the future would hold in international education. As serious as these issues have been, however, they have also led to innovative approaches to instruction, cultural exchange, and student services—always with the students’ best interests in mind.
For those of us who long maintained that languages should be taught in person, adapting to a new mode of virtual instruction has opened a whole realm of possibilities that we hadn’t considered before. We now offer online synchronous classes, enabling students to experience “face-to-face” interaction with classmates and instructors. With the cost savings of learning from home, programs at the ELI have become affordable for students who might otherwise not be able to join our classes.
Teacher Training Programs has also transitioned to a fully online CELTA certificate program and is offering virtual short courses and workshops for teachers, and Special Programs is delivering a variety of virtual short courses and customized programs. With all of these offerings, the curriculum designers have incorporated creative activities and innovative approaches in the virtual classroom to continue the high standards of excellence for which the ELI is known.
Looking ahead to 2021, I anticipate for all our programs a steady increase in the number of students on site. However, with the lessons we have learned and the skills we have developed to deliver virtual instruction, we will continue to offer synchronous courses and workshops, as well, to meet the needs of English language learners and teachers of English—wherever they may be.
It has been a challenging year, but I know I speak for all of us here at the ELI when I say that we’re putting the troubles of 2020 behind us, celebrating the positive accomplishments of the year, and preparing for an amazing year ahead of us!
Dr. Jane E. Robison
English Language Institute