My name is Slavka Lakčević and I was born in 1983, in Bijelo Polje, Montenegro. I studied at and graduated from the Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade, Department of English Language and Literature. I also have a Master’s degree in Communication from the Higher School of Communications in Belgrade. My thesis was entitled the ‘Use of anglicisms in online editions of daily newspapers in Montenegro’. I have worked as an English teacher at various foreign language schools in Belgrade and Bijelo Polje. I have spent the past 12 years working at Electro-economic High School, Grammar School and Comprehensive Secondary School in Bijelo Polje. I am a qualified adult educator.
My first experience with EPALE was two years ago. My point of contact was Ms Gordana Bošković from the Centre for Vocational Education and Training. I have recently signed up to and started interacting on the platform. It has been very useful for me because there is a wide range of activities and topics. It is a very good source of motivation and being a part of it makes me feel innovative and professionally developed.
I decided to make the most of the COVID-19 situation and to try to pass this attitude on to my learners. I only let COVID - 19 affect my professional life in a positive way. I also decided to take a risk and not to talk about it with my learners because I was conscious that they had already been exposed to a lot of information from all over the world, mainly depressing.
It was a new challenge for me and I did my best to adapt to the new circumstances. My working environment changed. I no longer taught in a physical classroom, but I was still a teacher with a lot of students waiting to continue their learning process. I created a virtual world full of support, love and interesting lessons so that my students would still feel eager to learn. COVID-19 sent me home to my family and gave me additional energy to work from there. I am still teaching, and I gradually got used to it. I use a variety of IT tools, including Zoom, Google Classroom, Google Drive. I am constantly discovering the benefits they offer. I never had the time or chance to experience online teaching to such an extent. I have realised that there is a wealth of options waiting to be implemented.
E-learning is becoming a vital element of education. It enables learners to become self-learners and encourages them to initiate the learning process. Learners organise their time more effectively, they learn at their own pace.
They are braver because they are not limited in any way in their virtual space. Online teaching has become even more about face-to-face teaching than traditional teaching; I spend more time teaching one-to-one.The response from learners is rather surprising because I feel that some of them have found their way of expressing themselves; they realise that online learning allows them to do anything. The only problem is that not all the learners have access to technology on a regular basis. Furthermore, online learning increases screen time.
The main differences between distance learning and classroom-style lessons are flexibility and continuity. Learners can access learning material at the times that work best for them. Even in events like the COVID-19 pandemic, distance learning continues without disruption. My experience will definitely change my provision of adult learning because I will continue using all the possibilities that e-learning has to offer.
Apprehension is a normal response to COVID-19 and it is a fact that we have all experienced significant changes in our daily lives. However, more importantly, we have discovered that we are capable of overcoming any obstacle that gets in our way to teaching and learning. We have discovered another strength within ourselves.
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