WELSH learners in Carmarthenshire are continuing with their lessons and much more during the coronavirus pandemic – thanks to the latest digital technology.
Facebook live is being used to carry out daily 10-minute lessons for beginners, and there are also fortnightly ‘clwb clecs’ sessions and ‘afternoon tea’ get togethers being held over Zoom so that learners can enjoy a chat and practice their Welsh over a cuppa.
Welsh learner Fiona Edwards said: “I am currently working from home and apart from my husband who is self-isolating, I don’t have any other contact with other people at all, so I really look forward to the lesson to see others. Having the Zoom lessons gives me the ability to connect with others whom I have been in classes with since last September.
“I have suffered with poor mental health for most of my adult life and I have found in the last three years since I have been learning Welsh having something to focus on that I really enjoy helps me a great deal and I would greatly miss the support it offers.”
Another learner Amanda Leanne Thomas said: “I find the Zoom Welsh lessons give me a sense of routine and help in establishing a regular practice in not only attending the lesson but also putting some time aside elsewhere in the week to do the Welsh homework. It also is nice to see and speak to my other classmates as I don’t see many people in these times. I also appreciate the mental stimulation that learning a new language gives you.”
With more people at home and working remotely because of lockdown, it is also a good time to learn Welsh. A new online beginners’ course, which is a combination of tutor-led remote learning with online study, starts this month, and it’s completely free.
Executive Board Member for Education and Children’s Services Cllr Glynog Davies said: “Almost all of our tutors have now been trained to teach online – and to date, we have been able to teach every lesson electronically.
“Facebook pages have been specifically set up for learners at Entry, Foundation and Intermediate level so that tutors can keep in touch during these challenging times and bring their attention to television and radio programmes, and other resources and tools to help them with their Welsh language.
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the tutors and learners for all their hard work, and to keep it up, da iawn I chi gyd!”
There are also a number of other community education courses that are continuing online including GCSE maths and English, British Sign Language, English for Speakers of other languages and Essential Skills classes.
Lisa Gales from Brynamman, who attends a GCSE maths course in Ammanford, said: “I want to pass on my thanks for the time and effort that has been made to keep mine and others learning on track during the quarantined shut down.
“I am still attending ‘class’ through the use of Google classroom. I am still watching the videos, being set practice papers and receiving great feedback from the work I am submitting. My tutor Jane is always available for assistance should I and the rest of the class require this, and this set up also allows me and the rest of my class to remain in contact. I am very grateful.”
To find out more about Welsh for Adults courses visit the learnwelsh.cymru website and click on Carmarthenshire https://learnwelsh.cymru/about-us/providers/carmarthenshire-county-council/
For information on all other courses please email Dysgusirgar@carmarthenshire.gov.uk