Students in the Archway Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada program, with teacher Jas Randhawa (left), have adapted to online learning during the pandemic. (Submitted photo)

Archway English classes for newscomers go online during pandemic

70 per cent of students joined remote and virtual classrooms in Abbotsford

English language learners in the Archway Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program have completed their school year amid COVID-19 through remote learning and online classes.

LINC classes follow the Abbotsford School District calendar and, during their spring break, students and teachers nervously watched the COVID situation unfold.

During LINC’s 28 years in operation, classes had always been held in person with childcare provided for some students with young children.

Archway Community Services staff and teachers weren’t sure how an online format would work for their students, who range in age from 17 to over 80. The students an face barriers of low English language skills, access to technology and low levels of digital literacy.

In spite of all the barriers, 70 per cent of the students joined remote and virtual classrooms.

RELATED: Adult ESL students honoured at Celebration of Learning Awards

“My students’ commitment to learning and building a vibrant and supportive online community far exceeded my expectations,” said Sara Marazzi, a LINC teacher.

Together they learned “pandemic language” with terms like “social distancing” and shared information about benefits and social assistance available if needed. LINC students also learn about Canadian history, citizenship and employment opportunities.

Paula Mannington, the English language services manager at Archway, said students supported each other over issues such as job losses and parenting, while teachers found digital devices and arranged the delivery of educational materials for those without access to technology.

Childcare workers stayed connected with parents and offered extra support. As well, 13, preschoolers were given packages with materials to help their transition to kindergarten this fall.

“This experience has really highlighted the importance of community-based education for the learners and families we serve,” Mannington said.

LINC offers nine levels in the Canadian Language Benchmarks standards from literacy to CLB 8. In the past year, close to 500 students participated in 20 classes.

LINC staff hope they can get back to some adapted format of in-person classes in September but will take the lessons they learned in the last few months going forward.

“In-person works well, especially for those who have special needs or require childcare, but enhancing digital skills for virtual options will continue to be critical for our entire student population in the coming year,” Mannington said.

For more information about services for newcomers, visit

RELATED: Celebration of Learning honours English language learners


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Guilty verdict for one of two men in large illegal marijuana grow-operation in Chilliwack

Charges dismissed against property owner where 3,200 plants, 32 kgs of dried weed found in 2017

Search continues for person seen floating in Coquihalla River in Hope

Rescuers halted the search Thursday night as darkness fell

Rescuers halt Coquihalla River search due to darkness, after reports of person in river

No information to indicate a child is involved, RCMP state, after this information surfaced on social media

Arrest at Abbotsford shopping centre

Man detained Thursday afternoon

Two Chilliwack women make weekly Crime Stoppers most wanted list

Ashley Felix and Raina McDonald wanted on unrelated issues

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

White-throated sparrows have changed their tune, B.C. study unveils

Study marks an unprecedented development scientists say has caused them to sit up and take note

Greater Vancouver home sales start to tick up, with prices holding steady

Residential sales last month reached 2,443, a 64.5 per cent jump from May

Langley Lodge’s deadly outbreak declared over

Fraser Health and long-term care home administrator confirm Friday declaration

PHOTOS: South Surrey tractor project evokes ‘$1-million smile,’ helps connect neighbours

Retired Surrey firefighter Ron Henze began project for friend’s dad to fill time during pandemic

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

Most Read