Developing oral expression during confinement with very young learners
As teachers, we are aware of the fact that hundreds of unexpected things can occur in our day-to-day lives with our students and that being flexible and able to adapt to new situations is one of the most important features of our jobs. But having to deal with a confinement due to the severe COVID-19 pandemic in the whole world was far from expectable. This new and unpredictable situation has obliged us to reconsider our roles as teachers during a long lockdown period and to devise new plans to offer our students effective and motivating distance learning. Needless to say digital technologies take a vital role in this new teaching learning situation, but what happens when the learners are very young and their digital autonomy is not yet developed enough? Moreover, taking into account that the development of oral communication competences is crucial at these young ages when learning a foreign language, how can the teacher foster a distance learning that requires the learners’ oral productions? This article presents two oral activities that were carried out with very young learners during the confinement period and it deals with the strategies and the digital tools used, as well as the procedure followed by the teacher to provide the pupils with the right input and models in order to help them produce good quality outputs in a foreign language. The linguistic demands involved differ substantially from one another, but both activities required a joint effort to create a collective video in which each student’s oral productions were shared with the rest of the group.
Keywordsconfinement, young learners, distance learning, foreign language learning, oral expression, digital tools
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