“How are you?” will not be enough in this fall semester
“How are you?” will not be enough in this fall semester
  • 경남타임즈(경남대학교)
  • 승인 2020.09.04 09:36
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By Sohn Byung-yong, Professor of the Department of English Education

Students as well as professors probably had an unprecedented experience this spring. Schools and universities have temporarily closed in huge numbers not just in Korea, but worldwide, because of COVID-19, which has been announced as a global pandemic. There were no orientation and entrance ceremony for freshmen, no commencement ceremony for graduates, and no MT(Membership Training) for students owing to the risk of infection. Only the silence occupied the campus previously crowded with bustling and lively students. Fortunately, after confronting the worst, elementary, middle, and high schools opened again and started classes albeit step by step. However, most universities could not open their school gates and welcome students. Face-to-face lectures in classrooms were replaced with online classes. Many students could not meet their friends, participate in club activities, and share their ideas freely on campus as before. It must have been a terrible situation for freshmen who looked forward to enjoying their campus life. The 2020 spring semester has been finished without any meeting with friends and professors in that way. Although there was some degree of accomplishment, many students and professors might not have been satisfied. We may get the lesson that remote learning can not completely replace the important personal connection between students and teachers.

With this knowledge, half-filled with anticipation and half-filled with uneasiness, the 2020 fall semester will begin as the way of blended learning. Blended learning means the use of both classroom teaching and on-line learning in education. Classes can not be the same as before, but professors and students can meet in the classroom giving and taking lessons and discussing more freely than in an online space. In the first class of the fall semester, we may have many things to ask and talk about. Among them, greetings will be the first. And “How are you?” will not be enough because we have a lot to talk about and ask. How about starting your new semester by asking your friends, teachers, and parents some questions about coping and continuing to learn during the spring semester? The questions are to share your learning experience in the aftermath of the spread of COVID-19. Do you find it difficult to make questions? Please, don’t feel pressure to do that. Here are some of the questions provided by UNESCO(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to share students’, teachers’, and parents’ experiences of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Take a close look at the questions below and try some of them.

Questions for students.

• How do you feel about not being at school?

• What do you miss the most about school?

• How are you keeping up with your lessons?


Questions for teachers.

• How do you feel about not being at school?

• What do you miss the most about your students?

• How are you helping your students keep up with their lessons?

Questions for parents.

• How do you feel about your child/children not being able to go to school?

• How are you helping your child keep up with lessons?

And here is more for you to ask and answer in order to have a meaningful and safe fall semester. Presumably, after the summer vacation, you may ask your friend “How have you been doing during summer vacation?” as usual. However, it is a matter of common knowledge that schools reopen and the classes are taught in blended learning as the next best way in the time of COVID-19. Take a close look at the questions below and try some of them.

Questions for students.

• What will a return to school during the COVID-19 pandemic look like?

• What would be the hardest part about blended learning?

• What are your biggest concerns about blended learning?

• What will be the biggest challenge to attend and take classes and why?

Questions for teachers.

• What is required for students to take lectures in classroom and online?

• What precautions should we be taking not to infected with Coronavirus?

• What will be the biggest changes compared with the previous semester?

• What are the benefits of blended learning?

These questions can be put simply. The answers to these questions will be helpful for you to cope with changes resulting from COVID-19 and enjoy campus life again. Furthermore, you can get to know your classmates and professors better and feel that you are connected with them by asking and answering the questions. You can realize that you are not alone and gain the wisdom needed to live together in these difficult times. Let me just say one more word. Please don’t forget to wear a mask to protect yourself and others from the virus while asking and answering questions.

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