Sharon Ramsay works at the Dandenong Community and Learning Centre. She is a chef and teaches the Introduction to Commercial Cookery program. This program is now delivered online in response to COVID19 restrictions.
Tell us how you are responding to the needs of your learners due to the COVID19 restrictions?
The cooking, ESL baking, ESL art and ESL sewing classes are all being done via Zoom. We are also posting and emailing information to learners that are not online so we can ensure they all get the same information.
I set up a Facebook group so we can share what we do in classes and also share with others what the learners do as well – with their permission.
Sewing kits and art kits (e.g. card making kits) are posted to the learners every two weeks. I also include adult colouring-in pages and suggest that 10 minutes a day of colouring is good for you.
Some of our learners need to give their devices to their children who are schooling online, so I had to work out with each learner what their needs were. Some had no internet; some had no devices, so I found a way for each individual learner to still be able to attend their online classes with me.
Did you find that your learners were happy to use the technology?
My learners all use different technology. Some use WhatsApp, some use Messenger, others use Facebook, or emails, text messaging, etc.
With WhatsApp, I found some learners answered messages quicker than if I sent an email. They preferred the recipes and documents to be sent via WhatsApp rather than being emailed to them.
WhatsApp has been a way to communicate not only in class but if the learner has things to discuss. They have also set up little group chats as well. Group video chats are easy to use with WhatsApp. It's very user friendly.
They love sending pictures of things they have made. They cook and share photos with everyone.
How do you think the way you have adapted your learning during this period will impact the way you teach into the future?
I think in the future keeping these lines of communication available to learners will be a great option. Taking into consideration that the individual learner's needs are very important; especially in these times. Things are always changing and its adapting to those changes any way you can.