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Why ‘Hybrid learning’ is the future of OET professional training  

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Sara and her students on their first training day in Leicester, UK.

Hi Sara, could you please tell us how you became an OET instructor? What do you like most about the profession? 

I’ve taught English as a second language since 2001. My teaching centers on industry-based exams. However, I trained to become an OET Instructor about ten years ago; it was a completely different experience to teaching ESL. It’s the passion and the interest in the success of my students that matters the most. You have to have the passion and confidence for your subject to make it work. I’m known for having high expectations, high standards and pushing my students to build abilities and produce great test results.

Tell us what changed in the way you work since the pandemic started?

The 2020-2021 pandemic changed my commitment to remaining full-time in class like any other educational establishment. We were obliged to adapt to the unexpected conditions. Despite the overwhelming consequences, I believe the global crisis has been an extraordinary time for learning. How we had to quickly re-imagine and create new teaching ways to facilitate learning.

How has technology changed the study process? Do you enjoy it and does it give new opportunities compared to the old ways?

We took different approaches and developed our own digital platform for autonomous work. We combined high-tech and low-tech approaches to support the student learning. We ensured that students have access to learning programs, materials, resources, and of course mock tests. We created an effective classroom where all candidates were learning and were engaged. I certainly believe that integrating technology has had a positive reinforcement and has kept the majority motivated.

From your perspective, how do your students adapt to these changes? Do they perform better or worse?

Bearing in mind that the majority of our pupils live in remote areas, not all students are able to access the online system and services they need. As a result, we now have moved towards an established model of ‘hybrid learning’. We have had an opportunity to transform the education through technology. Hence, a digitally skilled and well-supported teaching environment has been devised. Currently, we have adapted to an up-to-date training course; comprised of both online and campus-based OET sessions. Implementing such a strategy has enabled the learners to become more agile.

If you could choose how OET teaching will develop in the future what things would you like to improve and what would you keep as it is.

I will definitely move towards ‘Collaborative learning’ that strengthens the values and skills needed for team-based work environment. I would certainly keep implementing the ‘hybrid learning tool’, as shifting to such a formula has truly enhanced our learning environment.

Thank you, Sara!

Sara in her ‘natural’ classroom environment.

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