ELT’s next day: Tech, Tradition and the Unexpected

Language teaching is changing, blending old ways with new tricks. I believe that in the years to come, ELT will mix tech wonders, diverse culture lessons, and fresh teaching styles. To my mind, it’s bound to be a dance of screens and books, AI and teachers, creating an exciting future.

Technological Advancements: Technology will continue to be a significant driver in ELT. AI will likely play a more prominent role, facilitating personalized learning experiences through adaptive learning systems and chatbots providing real-time language practice. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual classrooms will further enable immersive language learning, offering simulated environments for practical language application. Imagine students in simulated environments, like ordering food in a virtual café or navigating a simulated marketplace. They'll get to engage with objects, signs, and different scenarios, even step into other cultures, explore the past and future firsthand. This interactive experience will surely spice up the language learning journey, making it more hands-on and applicable in real life. I’m all in for seeing these changes unfold. In my view, teachers who fear these changes should be more concerned about adapting themselves than solely being afraid of the changes technology might bring. It's about being flexible and ready for what's coming rather than fearing the unknown.

Text by: Natassa Manitsa

Cultural Sensitivity and Inclusivity: Cultural sensitivity and inclusivity are going to be the game-changers. Language learning materials will increasingly reflect diverse cultures and perspectives. Teaching approaches will incorporate more interactive and inclusive content, offering students exposure to a wide array of cultures, promoting empathy, understanding, and mutual respect, or at least I hope so!

Pedagogical Shifts: Innovative methods like project-based learning, gamification, collaborative learning, and the resurgence of book usage will gain prominence. Yes, I dare say that books will never die. In fact, we've seen that younger generations often rediscover older things. For instance, after CDs, music lovers returned to vinyl records, and collectors are now seeking such alternatives. The same trend is likely to happen with books. The recent example of Sweden’s pivot to books as a counterbalance to excessive screen time reflects a growing recognition of the need for a more tactile, immersive experience in learning. This approach fosters deep reading, critical thinking, and imagination. Additionally, the integration of arts -be it visual arts, music, theater, music or creative writing- will balance technological advancements. The arts engage different cognitive processes, nurturing emotional intelligence, cultural comprehension, and communication abilities. Who wouldn't benefit from that? And who'd dare to replace such vital skills?

Professional Development: ELT experts and organizations will focus on supporting educators’ continuous professional development and well-being. This might include ongoing training in technology integration, cultural competency, and mental health support. Platforms and communities for sharing best practices and resources will likely expand, fostering a culture of continuous learning.

Global Events and Education: Recent global events have accelerated the shift towards remote learning and global connectivity in education. ELT will adapt by enhancing remote teaching strategies, creating more robust online learning ecosystems, and incorporating elements that foster global collaboration and intercultural communication skills. We've witnessed it in action (consider the rapid and robust shifts seen with eTwinning, Canva, Moodle, Discord, and Zoom platforms). We require quick communication and the ability to be present even when we're physically distant, so it seems the hybrid solution is here to stay and get better as time goes by.

Just as mentioned before, ELT's future seems like a fusion of screens, books, AI, and exceptional, adaptable teachers, coming together to create something pretty cool. This mix could just be the recipe for a language learning experience that's not only effective but also fun, full of unexpected surprises. Here's hoping these ideas don't just stay as predictions. I'm always hopeful for the best. Who knows? Maybe we'll finally get to see the changes we've been waiting for. Fingers crossed!

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