Language Emergency Service from Krzyżowa
19.05.2020, Lucyna Boryczko

For two months now, e-learning has been carried out in Polish schools. Much has been said about the increasingly visible social stratification and exclusion affecting a large group of students. Most often, there is talk about families without appropriate equipment and dysfunctional families. Unfortunately, apart from people who are digitally or socio-economically excluded, we also observe other groups that are severely affected by the negative effects of e-learning. Among them there are many students with migration experience.

To understand their difficult situation, it is enough to think about how e-learning looks in families where parents speak Polish. Through the eyes of our imagination (or our own, if we have children) we can see a somewhat comical picture of the family members, who often try to continue their duties - work and study, moved from offices and schools to their homes. The latter already makes us smile. Where did the home environment go? Parents, often uncertain of tomorrow, try to cope with their duties at all costs - they reply to emails, answer phone calls, and almost at the same time cook, resolve conflicts between children and manage the division of computer equipment between the household members. In addition, they often have to act as teachers for their own children. Easy? Now let's imagine that we don't speak Polish or speak poorly, and our children participate in remote learning taking place in this language.

And what does it look like from the perspective of children? The problems faced by their peers are compounded by confusion due to new and different educational requirements. Now, even more than before, they feel the effects of the lack of preparation of Polish schools to teach young migrants.

For this reason, the Krzyżowa Foundation decided to respond to the needs of students and teachers by launching a "language emergency service". We will not save the world, but maybe we will support at least a few persons. Below I present my thoughts on helping a student with a migration experience to learn remotely.

  • Create an atmosphere that allows the student to express their concerns and problems. Listen to what he says! Let him or her "talk"!
  • Give yourself and him/her time. Not immediately Rome zbudowano😉. You have to get used to the new situation, learn to use technological goods and, above all, get to know each other.
  • Think about the actual needs of the student. Diagnose problems and try to get to the cause. 
  • Adjust your methods to your needs. Think about what are the possibilities in the current situation, take into account both psychological aspects, the educational (and home, if possible) situation and technological possibilities. 
  • Use the benefits of technology wherever possible. Use them to add variety to the classroom and keep the student's attention. Thanks to educational applications we can convey different content, develop language skills (writing, reading, speaking and listening), practise language. Show the student how to use Internet dictionaries and translators (critically!) and multilingual encyclopedias.
  • Do not harm - our actions are meant to be a response to a difficult situation, so it is not without a basis that we adopt the principle "first, do no harm". We should remember that a student for some reason has come to us and let us do everything to improve his situation. Do not stress him with unnecessary additional tasks.
  • Let's make sure that the classes are not only pleasant and calm, but also interesting 😊. It is not easy to motivate a student who suffers educational failures to work. Have a few tools that will help you to find this motivation.
  • Nothing by force and nothing too fast.

I hope that e-learning, as it is now, will soon be over. But what's done is done, the effects of this situation will follow students for a long time afterwards. It is good that in this difficult time something positive may arise, and the methods developed now will certainly be useful in the future.

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