Distant Support

What is distant support ? How does EIA contribute distant support to the teachers ? What are the advantages and challenges of this approach ? Elaborate with logic and references.

Distance learning is a way of learning remotely without being in regular face-to-face contact with a teacher in the classroom .

In the past decades, distance education has become an increasingly popular way for Universities to provide access to their programs .

Distance learning occurs when there is a separation between the instructor and the student, usually due to geographical or time concerns that prevent the student from attending an on-campus course . Often, electronic means are used to bridge this gap . Distant support is designed to help needs and requirements that arise when learning is taking place outside of a traditional classroom setting .

The majority of distance education today takes place using the Internet. Electronic means are used to distribute the learning material, keep students in touch with teachers and students themselves. Of course, distance learning can use other technological formats as well including television, DVD, teleconferencing and printable material.

Distance learning makes it much easier for some students to complete a degree or get additional job-training while balancing work and family commitments. Because the hours when class work can be completed are flexible, as most distance learning programs allow students to work at their own pace and on their own time. Many students can complete their work during times when they are free.

With more flexibility comes more responsibility on the part of the learner. Students must learn to work well independently and without the constant guidance and monitoring of an instructor, making distance learning a challenge for those who are not easily self-motivated. Distance learning is also a great tool to help reach students who are in geographically remote areas and may not have readily available access to educational facilities. Of course, schools are not the only people who are taking advantage of distance learning, as many businesses have found it a valuable tool in making employee education and training quicker and more cost efficient.

Distance learning, sometimes called e-learning, is a formalized teaching and learning system specifically designed to be carried out remotely by using electronic communication.

Distance learning is less expensive to support and is not constrained by geographic considerations. Students with scheduling or distance problems can benefit, as can employees, because distance education can be more flexible in terms of time and can be delivered virtually anywhere.

Popular distance learning technologies include:

1.     Voice-centered technology, such as CD or MP3 recordings.

2.     Video technology, such as instructional videos. DVD and interactive video conferencing.

3.     Internet.

Studies indicate that distance learning can be as effective as the traditional format when the methods are appropriate to the teaching tasks, there is student-teacher interaction and the teachers provide students with appropriate and timely feedback.

EIA distant support to the teachers : EIA provides various types of distant support to the teachers. Let us see the ways and techniques of EIA to give distant support to the teachers.

1.     Trainer in the pocket : EIA provides EIA teachers with a mobile phone with a SD card inside it . There are three folders in the SD card in the name of,

a.     Teacher

b.     EL4T

c.      Classroom

Teacher folder is divided into eight module with some video and audio. These audio and video are very much helpful for the teachers to develop their professional skill.

In the EL4T folder audio material is given for the teachers to practice English to develop their English language skill.

In the classroom folder there are some audio related to EFT to practice in the classroom with the students.

EIA teachers are getting distant support from Audio and Video of EIA mobile phone. It helps them a lot to develop their own English, to learn some techniques to apply in the classroom, to conduct a class by using EIA mobile phone and speaker etc. This mobile phone is called “Trainer in the Pocket”, because this mobile phone helps and trains up a teacher like a trainer. It’s an excellent distant support for the teachers.

2.     Module: EIA has eight modules for teachers’ professional development. For each and every module a cluster meeting is held. Two TFs facilitate the meeting. They give idea about the next module and discuss about the previous module. EIA is a continuous professional development program. Teachers go through the module and try to apply different techniques in the classroom they have learnt from the module.

At the beginning of each and every module there is introduction part. And then there is instruction to watch some video clips in mobile phone supplied by EIA. By watching the videos teachers will be familiar with the CLT techniques of EIA. It’s a great distant support for the teachers.

3.     English Language For Teachers (EL4T): EIA has developed English Language Course for teachers to develop their English language skill. It is available in the EIA mobile phone in the name of EL4T.

4.     Classroom Materials: EIA has audio and poster to use in the classroom. Teacher can connect speaker with the mobile phone to play audio. In the audio there are some lessons, dialogues, songs and rhymes. By using audio teacher can make the classroom effective and interesting.

5.     SMS: At times EIA sends short message to the teachers over phone with particular instruction. For example, please practice EL4T.

6.     Website: EIA website address is www.eiabd.com . By visiting this website teachers can get different sorts of information related to their profession. To some extent this is also distant support.

7.     Facebook: EnglishInActionBangladesh is the Facebook page of EIA. By liking this page teachers can get connected with EIA. They can post their query and get answer from our communication officers. This is a nice distant support.

8.     Phone: EIA teachers can phone the Coordinator Teacher Development to get the answer of any query related to their professional development, EIA materials etc.

Advantages and Challenges of EIA distant support: To implement teaching strategy and techniques always there are some advantages and challenges. Regarding EIA approach obviously there are also some advantages and challenges.

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