The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

The Future of Foreign Language Teaching: The Challenges of Returning to In-Person Classes

Josefa Lindquist, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (United States)

Valérie Pruvost, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina (United States)


When teaching online became a necessity across the world in spring 2020 due to the global pandemic, instructors were forced to rethink their course content, format, learning outcomes and use of technology to best teach and disseminate information. “Crisis-prompted online teaching” created successful models, but also led to new pedagogical questions. Complex pedagogical issues manifested themselves with the return to face-to-face instruction in the foreign language classroom. Instructors had to reconsider how to best manage the “new normal” as students reacclimated to in-person classes with new pedagogical or personal struggles. There was a clear increase in student difficulties, creating additional challenges for instructors. Preparation and expectations for in-person classes had changed, therefore there was a need to adapt the training of instructors. Even though students had additional access to technology and authentic materials, the ability to communicate in the target language regularly with their peers in-person impacted students’ oral proficiency as they returned to the classroom. The return to face-to-face instruction also altered the classroom community with additional challenges, such as physical and mental illnesses, an increase in learning differences, and changes in students’ expectation of attendance. The repercussions of a year and a half to two years of online learning was felt amongst all disciplines, and will affect teaching and learning for years to come. This presentation will explore how the return to in-person instruction of foreign language, specifically French and Spanish, has been impacted by two years of online learning. We will discuss the challenges we faced, as well as the solutions we adopted.




Foreign Languages, pandemic teaching, pedagogical challenges



[1] Gacs, Adam, et al. “Planned Online Language Education Versus Crisis‐Prompted Online Language Teaching: Lessons for the Future.” Foreign Language Annals, vol. 53, 2020, pp.380–392.">

[2] Guppy, Neil, et al. “The Post-COVID-19 Future of Digital Learning in Higher Education: Views from Educators, Students, and Other Professionals in Six Countries.” British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 53, 2022, pp.1750–1765.">

[3] Wehlburg, Catherine M. “The Impact of Community on Teaching and Learning: Lessons from Before and After COVID.” New Directions for Teaching and Learning, vol. 2022, issue 170, 2022, pp.7-8.">


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