Language in Motion is Back in Motion

Language in Motion (LiM) student staff member Ho June (Sean) Rhee ’21 writes about LiM’s transition to remote programming.

As the schools in Addison County closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students and teachers, including those in our Middlebury College community, have been adjusting to these unprecedented events. However, after a brief hiatus and swift adjustment, CCE’s Language in Motion (LiM) is back in motion

The LiM team–comprised of student presenters, student staff Michelle Liu ‘22, Francoise Niyigena ‘21, Martin Troska ‘21, and Ho June (Sean) Rhee ‘21 with LiM Coordinator Kristen Mullins–is safe. We are practicing social distancing, and carrying on with new–hopefully temporary–lifestyles in our respective areas–from the Middlebury campus to all around the world.

Social distancing, however, does not mean social isolation. As students are now learning online, the LiM community has also been finding ways to stay connected with the students and teachers in Addison County beyond our usual in-person presentations. Although LiM presenters are not able to visit classrooms physically, they are just one click away from being in the same virtual classroom. 

During the past weeks, we have been building two virtual bridges to the Addison community: letter-writing and prerecorded/recorded video presentations. These platforms discuss not only our repertoire of global awareness, cultural competence, and world language acquisition, but also share the changes that COVID-19 has brought to our lives. For instance, two presenters, Avery Dyer ‘21 and Ho June (Sean) Rhee ‘21, recorded a co-presentation in Spanish to discuss how their Middlebury and quarantine lifestyles differ from each other with language students in Middlebury Union High School and Mount Abraham Union High School.

To date, 22 Language in Motion participants have indicated their interest in engaging with our local schools remotely. Thirteen of these 22 have already begun developing materials for our “virtual library,” and seven have been matched with collaborating teachers.

Martin Troska ’21 prepares a video presentation that will populate a virtual Language in Motion library for collaborating teachers.

We–students, teachers, and presenters alike–are going through these troubling times together and it is only natural to feel overwhelmed in the face of uncertainty every once in a while. Although it is challenging to find a silver lining when we are in the eye of the storm, we hope that these letters and virtual interactions will provide a sense of solidarity and company to the students and teachers in our community.

Even when this pandemic has physically set us six feet apart from each other, we continue to communicate, share, and engage with our communities virtually and emotionally. Please take good care of yourself and those around you.

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