Uncertainty to Creativity: How CLE Shifts to Teaching Online


From Uncertainty to Creativity: How SE2 Teaching Team Shifts to Teaching Online

2020 Spring Semester started in an online teaching mode unexpectedly due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It makes the semester very challenging for the CLE foreign language courses, known for their strong interactive nature and feature. Teachers at SUSTech Center for Language Education take the initiative and switch the challange into an opportunity for a more reflective and creative teaching. 

With 1648 students and over 130 classes, every teacher in the CLE demonstrates their intelligence, creativity and excellence in teaching and makes foreign language learning a fun and rewarding experience for SUSTech students. 

CLE would love to share the effective teaching practices identified with SUSTech members and teachers beyond.



As the intermediate course in the CLE’s SE series, SUSTech English 2 focuses on the training reading, writing, speaking and listening skills for fluent English communication, and develops students’ cross cultural skills and language study skills for their subject learning with English as the instruction medium. 

Effective language learning requires active learning and high interactivity. However, interactivity is a great challenge for online classes. Teaching in an online environment, teachers need to bear in mind that interactivity is the thought process interchange through which student’s engagement and active learning takes place. Besides, teachers must spend more time on the preparation of each class, to think through everything in order to make sure the class design and content is clear and logical. Teachers in the SE 2 group have blended different ways for better engagement and interactivity in their online teaching, including various in-class and after-class activities, and multiple learning tools and platforms. 

This time we’ll share SE2 teachers’ experiences, practices, difficulties, and stories about the online English teaching during the COVID-19 outbreak.



1. Uncertainty about online teaching

At the beginning, few teachers had experience in teaching online, and we were uncertain about the effectiveness of online teaching, and the ways of online teaching as well. 

2. Struggling with online tools

For the first few weeks, esp. the first two, we struggled with different platforms such as BB, ZOOM, Tencent live conferencing, Rain classroom, and different apps for recording our PPT narration and screen. It was overwhelming, at the same time, we had to think through everything carefully to ensure smooth online class teaching and learning. 

3. Adjusting for learning

We adjusted our ways of teaching, and of course our attitude towards online teaching. It is in fact a good opportunity for us to explore online teaching materials and methods, etc.

4. Creativity in teaching

We accepted online teaching, we have tried out ways for better interactivity and engagement, and we are still learning how to improve our online teaching and make it better, also to make a possible use of it for future physical classroom teaching.


Despite all the difficulties, CLE teachers have successfully and creatively converted the difficult self-isolation time during the pandemic into an active learning arena via planning ahead, adjusting teaching plans and designs, working in teams, experimenting with various online tools and platforms, guiding students to have an effective learning pace and progress, and encouraging them to be the owner of their learning. 

Stay calm and keep learning to be great in the time of pandemic!