On 16th March 2020, the Federal Council declared an ‘extraordinary situation’ in Switzerland. To protect against the coronavirus, all educational institutions were required to close. Since then, lessons have continued online. The 72 language assistants placed by Movetia in upper-secondary-level schools are helping to meet this challenge. We asked the host schools about the new way of doing school – what it looks like and what support the language assistants are able to provide.

In record time, the schools had to adapt the infrastructure and get to grips with the many different digital tools such as Microsoft Teams, Skype or Discord in order to be able to continue their day-to-day school routine in a digital setting. It’s a challenging time that is demanding a lot of flexibility and creativity from everyone.

Stefan Graber faces a special challenge as headmaster of the Alpenquai Cantonal School. The Cantonal School is a host school and employs currently one language assistant. Speaking about the current situation, he says: “Everyone is giving it all they’ve got. We’re all learning. That has its exciting side, but is also challenging with regard to welfare, technology and teaching methods.” The language assistant at Alpenquai Cantonal School is very well embedded in the staff team and, like all the teachers, is continuing with online lessons. The young language assistants’ good IT skills are a bonus here.

The Gymnase intercantonal de la Broye in Payerne is also a host school for language assistants from abroad. Anouk Spicher-Thommen, who heads up the German department at the school, ascertains that the use of language assistants is beneficial even in the current circumstances. She explains: “We are convinced that the language assistants can support us very positively in this crisis. Our two assistants are very committed, and the students are happy to be able to continue their language courses with an assistant,”

The Language Assistants programme gives students and graduates from abroad the opportunity to teach their mother tongue at upper secondary level schools. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. Movetia is pleased that Swiss host schools can count on the support of their language assistants in these difficult times and thanks all those involved for their dedication.

Are you interested in hiring a language assistant? For information about the Language Assistants programme, see here.

Do you need support with distance teaching? We have put together an article for you full of useful tips and tricks. Please click here.