To let you know El Patio's stance on reopening our classrooms to face-to-face learning. 

  • The remainder of Term 2 will take place online using Zoom (including June-start Rápidos and Conversation courses)
  • Term 3 will also take place online using Zoom due to Melbourne's second lockdown from 9 July 2020
  • The decision for Term 4 (Oct 5–Dec 12) will await further advice and organisation
  • Return to face-to-face classes is contingent on various factors as outlined below

We see the future of El Patio in combining online learning and face-to-face classes. Ideally, we'd love to offer students a choice to participate in the same class either online or in person. Getting to this point is easier said than done - we only want to offer a quality experience to both those online and in the classroom.

This means investing resources to not just equip each classroom with the appropriate technology (microphones, cameras, screens etc.) but also training our teachers and staff for such a setup. We'd like to get to this point for Term 4, and don't think we'd be able to do this to the standard we know our students expect from us before then. We want to get this right! 

What's available in Term 3?

Here's a link to the Enrol page for all of our courses that are open for enrolment.

Here's a page with all of our Course types to help you decide how fast you'd like to learn.

Zoom benefits: fabulous backgrounds - fondos maravillosos

Some of our favourite backgrounds!

Return to face-to-face classes

We know that language learning in a classroom with human interaction is the best way. Despite the easing of some restrictions in Victoria from June 1, there are a few factors that we are working on to arrive at a way to open safely:

  • whether or not students / teachers / staff are comfortable catching public transport to come to El Patio
  • the unknown factor of virus transmission by people who have not yet developed symptoms
  • the different levels of vulnerability of our students / teachers / staff
  • the degree of deep cleaning required after a class ends and before the next one starts
  • the feasability to operate with the restriction of 1 person per 4 sq metres (per classroom)

Our wish is to be transparent in order to build trust that we will provide a safe and healthy environment for all who learn, teach and work at El Patio.

Zoom benefits: pets in class - mascotas que estudian

Even pets come to Spanish class!

How have students found Live Online learning?

On May 19 we sent out a survey to all enrolled students asking feedback regarding the use of Zoom, studying online, as well as how students felt about returning to the face-to-face classrooms. We received 243 responses! Below you can read answers to the any further comments question - we have stuck all of them in there, so it's warts and all.

Do you have any further feedback you’d like to share? 

Loving the class so far. Clara is fantastic. Thank you.

You guys have done a great job. 

Thanks for being so innovative these past few months.

Enjoying the classes. I think El Patio does a really good job of creating a friendly, community atmosphere. I'm impressed with how smoothly the classes run on Zoom.

Since Zoom has been set up, it might be nice for students who are sick/isolating to be able to Zoom-in to classroom based classes when we are able to return...

Please get us back to face to face ASAP because I miss being in the classroom with my teacher and peers. Can we please go back in Term 2? Schools are reopening this Term so it would be great as an educational school if we could also. 

Perhaps the option of blended online/face-to-face classes to ensure enough space/distance in classrooms?

Would like to have a say in terms of the class pace - if the teachers could give us an opportunity to comment on that would be much appreciated.

I think Zoom has been going reasonably well. I think it's impressive how the team managed to get it all sorted in a short amount of time and by week 2-3 it was all fairly smooth. I think Isidro has adapted well to the new setting, although I'm not sure it's as productive online.

You’ve all done a great job keeping the excellence of your classes going in difficult times. Well done to Noryan who has adapted brilliantly.

The Zoom classes have been good. It is probably easier in person, but for me it has saved on travel time which has been great. It has also kept the learning going which is good. Thanks for providing this option.

I appreciate you guys working hard to keep us online. I was so  happy to know you were going to continue online :) it can be harder online to speak/engage, but generally the classes online have been excellent. I also think despite f2f or online, it would be good to continue to utilise technology in the classes, as homework exercises for example. I've found these resources fun and useful :)

I would continue using zoom if needed, but it would be nice to be back in the classroom. 

I think El Patio has done a great job of handling this, and I've been glad to be able to continue learning online, but I'm looking forward to getting back to the classroom as I find face to face learning much easier. Thanks for all your great work! 

I like the zoom classes however they miss the audio exercises from the book? I always found this useful in class to listen to different native speakers speak. Not sure if this is possible via zoom? 

The transition to zoom has been well managed, it is nice to be in the classroom setting as well when it’s possible but pleased with how the sessions have gone

Teacher has utilized Zoom well. Personally, I find being face to face in the classroom much easier, as I don't live alone, so it's not quiet at home for me (I hear too much external noise at home during my class). I don't have access to an ergonomically friendly space at home either, so I just find it a lot easier being in person. My teacher has taught well though, making use of Zoom while it's been our only option, but I long to be back in the classroom where asking questions & interacting in person is so much easier, I find.

Zoom classes last Term were better because the group was smaller. This Term the group has expanded and I think its now too big to work well. Sorry to say this but others feel similarly.

Class pace at El Patio seems very slow, not sure if that is the zoom or usual style.

I have very much enjoyed the classes over the past two terms. I'm not discontinuing because of any dissatisfaction with the courses. I will just have too much on my plate at the university (UNE), including two units of Spanish. So, I need to put the conversation on hold until I finish in early October. All other things being equal, I'd be hoping to return to classes in October or thereabouts. That's the plan at the moment anyway. 

I have found the Zoom classes challenging in terms of not having the normal flow of converstaion in class but have gradually got used to it. I have loved the bonus class with Ana centered on La Peste. Would love for something like this to continue, maybe shorter courses built around a couple of films. This could work well with Zoom.

I believe the zoom classes should be limited and have people mute when not speaking  as its quite distracting. I would like to see more corrections on pronounciation as when broken out in smaller groups its hard to understand and know what is right from wrong especially when there is no teacher present. It is sometimes difficult and the breakout sessions are not useful 

Thank you for continuing with minimal disruption to our learning. One suggestion is that if there is an activity based around watching a video in class, could we get a link to the video and watch it prior to the lesson. Sometimes the audio and video quality of trying to watch it through zoom is not that great. Another suggestion is that I think there is a whiteboard function that the host can use in Zoom meetings. Sometimes it would be helpful for the teacher to explain a grammatical point using the whiteboard to draw arrows etc.

I'm enjoying the classes on Zoom but am very keen to get back into the classroom if possible!

I do enjoy the classes both in class and in Zoom.

I find Zoom works very well and would like to continue on Zoom. To get to a F2F class I will have to use public transport which I am avoiding until the pandemic is over. 

A bit nervous about going back face to face.

I prefer learning face-to-face. There are a couple of older people in the class so if not possible for them, then better to be online.

I definitely find it a bit harder to keep concentration and follow everything in zoom as opposed to face to face but I much prefer that to no lessons at all

I am at an age were I have to be very careful. I would prefer zoom as the younger students may not be quite as careful about social distancing as those who consider themselves vulnerable.

I can only feasibly attend classes at the moment via zoom (because of distance from Melbourne and quite a bit uncertainty in my own schedule). Hoping that you'll have some ongoing online classes :)

I’m enjoying the Classes on Zoom. And it’s great not to have to drive to Northcote at this colder time of the year.

Just thanks for the great service you're providing.

Yes see above. I really like Zoom classes and breakout groups. I didn’t think I would like them better but I feel like I learn more and it is more focused.

Thanks for the fantastic work you guys do and have done. You've been awesome with preparing everything so the classes could continue when the thing started. Great work and effort. 

I'd prefer continuing with Zoom as it saves me driving time. Once things start get back to normal, there will be an adjustment period for everyone again, so having more time on hand (because of less commuting) would help me personally. Zoom worked well so far, so okay to continue with it for now. Thank you. Thank you for the great work you do.

Have you explored the possibility of having virtual students and face to face students at the same time? I would love to have the option of utilising zoom or face to face.. Clara es una maestra fantástica :-)

Having classes on Zoom actually suits me better for a couple of reasons.  

Zoom works for me and especially coming into winter, it is preferable.  

Option to join via zoom as well as in class

I feel that on zoom I get to copy all teacher notes on my computer. I am getting much more talking time with different students (one on one). I am saving traveling time. I am currently taking 2 courses. I probably will not always be able to do that but I definitely would not take 2 courses face to face.

I want to be super careful because I have elderly parents. The small classrooms make me nervous about returning to in-person classes.

The facebook group should do a games night or something on zoom in spanish. 

Firstly, well done El Patio and teachers for the very good transition to online classes during this stressful time. In Term 3 I think that you could possibly run classes using both zoom and in person, and those that dial in would need to be paired with other online attendees for activities. If there are face to face classes running in term 3 I would like the opportunity to still participate via Zoom if I choose. 

I have full confidence the El Patio team will provide a safe environment for everyone!

Zoom is good however smaller classes may offer more time for conversing and progressing through activities.

I have been very impressed with El Patio's handling of the lockdown and the skill in managing classes.

Happy to continue, and planning to keep on with learning Spanish, but I think that we need to anticipate that there will be further clusters appearing, and social distancing is here to stay for a while.

I think there’ll be a second wave of the virus so feel it’s important that if you go ahead with face to face you’ll provide all necessary controls. I won’t really feel confident about being around folks I don’t know well - which includes fellow students - until at least October.

I would really like a choice of either face-to-face or Zoom options for classes going forward. For example, Zoom will always be welcome in winter when going to evening classes in the cold and dark is no fun. Also Zoom could be a less expensive option, which will suit many in the months ahead.

I enjoy learning on Zoom as it gives me more flexibilities and I can fit Spanish lessons into my busy life. I went back to work after 9 weeks of working from home and I felt I wasn’t ready - if I have to share a small space with many others, then I feel very uneasy and wouldn’t be able to focus on things I want to do. Isidro has been a fantastic teacher implementing lessons in the virtual classroom and my learning is as effective as the real classroom setting.

I hope some online options can be provided in the day on Thursday or Friday morning

Need to congratulate you on developing this survey: well done!

I would really love the face-to-face classes to recommence! Valeria is an awesome teacher and has been great online with the zoom classes but I just find I personally absorb more during the face-to-face classes and continued classes this term to stay with the same teacher and classmates hoping that normal classes would resume as soon as they could! 

I'm grateful that they've been able to continue through Zoom. It is draining, but 3 hours is draining face to face too so it's just part of doing a three hour class. Thank you for all you've been able to do and for the teachers to get through this. I really appreciate it. 

Linda is awesome :) 

Zoom classes are great.  We are still learning which I appreciate. Personally I would prefer some live interaction with the students and excuse to leave the house if restrictions allow. 

As good a zoom is, I still feel it is a little clunky and seem to learn easier in a classroom environment.

Would prefer the classroom over zoom, but not sure about wanting to travel and be in a enclosed space with people just yet!

I’d love to start back face to face before July. I work in education and we’re permitted to bring the students back in for face to face teaching on 22 June and the class sizes are much larger. If possible I’d love to finish this semester face to face. I’m struggling with zoom, it’s not the same, we don’t get many opportunities to speak in Spanish now. 

Zoom has been good, but there's nothing like face to face human interaction where you get body language cues about who is asking the next question etc.

Linda has done a great job in continuing with our learning. Still love her classes!

I’ve actually really enjoyed the zoom classes. When I’m away it would be great to still have the opportunity to state. Without missing class.

My major concern is about using public transport to and from class - if face to face classes are held from July, this is the major factor that will determine if I attend or not.

I'd prefer to return f2f, but will continue either way. Feel like online is not quite as effective a language learning environment, but I'd be very open to a mix of online/in class learning. Overall, it's been so great to be able to continue classes, and of course help keep the teachers in work! Thanks so much for all your efforts to move online, I'm sure it hasn't been easy, but please know that it's much appreciated. 

Loving the classes! <3  Looking forward to coming back to face to face, if and when it is safe to do so. Either way, count me in! :)

It’s been really good continuing online but harder to get assistance from Valeria when in breakout rooms on zoom then when in person. 

I only have an iPad so Zoom isn’t fully functional for me but it still is good.

Right now I'm feeling that until there is a vaccination for Covid I wouldn't be safe returning to the classroom situation. There are too many unknowns with the virus and nasty consequences coming to light.

The initiative that Ana created to hold a conversation class around the SBS Series is excellent. The concept of discussing a mini series is great. The additional reading that Ana sends is challenging but very worthwhile. As a result of this experience I will also be enrolling in the Saturday morning conversation class in June.

Thank you! 

Yes see above. I really like Zoom classes and breakout groups. I didn’t think I would like them better but I feel like I learn more and it is more focused.

I live in Ballarat so have only been able to join in because it is on Zoom! I think this would be great to continue, even if only some classes can continue online, because I expect for other people coming in person is also a barrier. However I understand that you have to make a decision for the majority!

Phil has really been amazing. He puts so much into his lessons.  

I think Zoom is useful for an emergency situation but it lacks the interaction that is possible with face to face. 

Please can Paula do the 7.15pm Monday class next term too? 

I am an older student so will probably prefer online classes as a bit nervous about spending 3 hours in close contact to younger people who might be physically back at Uni/offices....

Valeria is great! She's so competent at using zoom and I honestly haven't noticed any decrease in class quality since going online.

I really like zoom. And I love the fact that I can join from my home so I don’t have a one hour commute each way. But if we go back to the classrooms I’ll still continue.

I have been using Zoom since December but Isidro is the best Zoom-handler I have seen! Not a wasted or slow moment in the class. Great use of shared screen and work in pairs, and much easier for us: got books; got dictionary; got iPad; got cup of tea! Lo mejor!

Thanks for being able to quickly adjust you modus operandi.

I am a little unsure right now as not sure whether I will be back in the office (in the city) on Thursday's in the 'new normal' so zoom provides more flexibility until the 'new normal' is clearer

Zoom has been good to continue classes but it can't replace the face-to-face experience of the classroom e.g. conversation time.

I would love to return to face to face learning as soon as it is safe to do so, with the appropriate social distancing of course.

Zoom has worked so well and we have even had students from England and Alice Spring in our class. Maybe this might be something for the future of being able to Zoom into classroom if not able to attend or if you live overseas or interstate as your Spanish school has a great reputation internationally.

I'd prefer in class, but happy to continue via zoom.

Thank you for providing the classes online and to the teachers who do such a fabulous job. I enjoy the classes very much also online.

I'm super impressed with how the teachers are handling the changes - I've had 2 teachers this term (Noryan & Paula) and both have done a great job of using the resources made available to them: Zoom, Padlet, etc. and making sure everyone feels included and has an opportunity to participate. Thanks so much both of you, as well as to the whole admin team for making it all possible!

I think the zoom classes have been fantastic, and the speed in which they were implemented successfully has been astounding. They do not suit my learning style particularly well, but they are better than not learning at all, that’s is for sure.

Thank you for keeping the classes going during this time. For me I am grateful to have online classes that are as effective and well planned as being in class in person. Thanks Isidro! :)

I enjoy class work but need some one on one time to step up my conversation skills. I may take 6  months off classes and return next year after some one one tuition. 

I really like zoom. And I love the fact that I can join from my home so I don’t have a one hour commute each way. But if we go back to the classrooms I’ll still continue .

I understand moving to online was essential - I am glad I'm doing it to continue learning but I can't wait to be back to IRL classes!

I prefer face to face but if this is not practical or hard to arrange with social distancing I can continue with the zoom.

I am preferring the zoom classes and many other students have shared this on the call. So I think if you can keep offering this as well, many of us will take it as an option, COVID regardless! 

More visual aid with words/writing on zoom- prompts on sentence structure.

Love the classes on zoom! Would love to continue studying online if it continues to be available. Only complaint (and it's a small one) is that sometimes if the audio is poor quality, it can be hard to understand the teacher - but this is potentially just my internet connection.

Zoom is working well but sometimes the feedback and other noise e.g. dogs barking, make it quite hard to hear.
The Zoom classes have been working really well! Really enjoyable and grateful that I am able to continue studying with my class despite the distance and limitations, thank you so much!

You’ve done a great job keeping up the lessons via Zoom - thank you! 

Thank-you for the wonderful efforts putting our classes online


With 12 students the class is FAR too big. This problem is accentuated with zoom classes. The pace is VERY slow and there is little opportunity to participate actively with so many students.  Class numbers should be capped at about half this number.

I have full confidence the El Patio team will provide a safe environment for everyone!

I think the zoom classes are great. Valeria is doing a wonderful job. Well done el patio.

All good

I'd prefer face to face. I'm adjusting to Zoom only because I have already invested so much time and energy to get to level C1 and I feel I have to continue.

Valeria has done a great job at running Zoom classes and is enthusiastic and supportive in her approach - but I would like to get back to face to face classes if restrictions ease.

We live in Western Australia and have loved being able to join the classes with the ability of zoom and hope we still have this opportunity going forward to allow us to continue learning the discuss language.

The transition to zoom has been well managed, it is nice to be in the classroom setting as well when it’s possible but pleased with how the sessions have gone.

Our teacher has adapted really well to online learning. The one thing I think would be beneficial would be to be able to communicate with other class members, normally you could pass your details after class or something so that you can communicate if you have any questions, but on zoom, that is tricky.

Zoom has been good for Term 2 but would prefer it to go back to classroom sooner rather than later

I think the Zoom classes have generally worked very well and Martina has adapted very quickly. However one comment - in  the Zoom classroom (but also the physical one), it would be good for the teacher to ensure that all students say something during their class. Especially with Zoom is it very easy for a student not to speak at all during the class. 

Loving the convenience of Zoom at home.

Thank you for all the hard work to transition to online learning during the isolation. A great effort from everyone to continue teaching seamlessly, I've really enjoyed the online classes!

Zoom is filling a gap and El Patio is doing a great job but long term is not as effective as classroom learning. The physical classrooms (at Northcote) are too small for one big table - I think smaller tables seating 2 or 3 people may work better in a more traditional setting. But this is going to be an issue with social distancing. Our class only has 5 participants so this could easily be rearranged with individual desks or small tables. 

I am really enjoying the classes through Zoom. Linda is doing an excellent job of preparing materials for our class which are really helpful- the PowerPoints that she makes really help with my understanding and the breakout rooms are utilised well for us to have speaking and listening practice still :)

Would love if there was at least one online class per level as an option.

Zoom benefits: couples and study-buddies - parejas y compañeros de estudios

Here are some couples who are in class!

How do Zoom classes work?

Once you enrol and your class is confirmed to proceed, you will be able to access a link to the Zoom meeting (class). 

Go to the blog article Hints and Guidelines for Zoom Classes. It contains complete information for students regarding:

  • Setting up Zoom on Laptops / Desktop Computers
  • Setting up Zoom on Mobiles: Tablets / Phones
  • Zoom Class Etiquette!
  • Troubleshooting

Valeria's class - which had to design a T-shirt!

What about textbooks?

As there is no option to pick up texts from our centres, we have managed to reduce postage costs slightly to be able to send the texts to you.

When enrolling online, if you add a textbook to the cart, at checkout you will have the shipping cost added to the total. We will then get the text posted within 2 days.

Not sure which course is right for your Spanish level? Test your Spanish level now!

Ready to start learning? Find a class and enrol now!

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