The Values of Off2Class – Sensitivity

Off2Class respects that we all hold different perspectives. We act with integrity, humility and dignity. We are kind to ourselves, each other and the people we encounter. 


This is the eighth and penultimate blog in our series reflecting on the company Values of Off2Class. Previous entries have considered Entrepreneurship, Internationalism, Competitiveness, Progressiveness, Compassion, Inclusivity and Diversity. We encourage you to take a look at these too, if you haven’t already done so.

Off2Class is a learning platform used by teachers and students across the world. We are proud of the fact that our team, too, comes from many different backgrounds. With such Diversity among the wider Off2Class community, then, it is perhaps unsurprising that there are times when we have different points of view. Things which may appear trivial and even humorous to some can be of great importance to others. Acting with Sensitivity is at the heart of productive relationships.

Sensitivity is also vital to creating a supportive environment for learning a language. Learning to do anything inevitably involves making mistakes. Without Sensitivity, making mistakes can be a painful and embarrassing experience for the learner, and one that means they decide not to continue their studies. With Sensitivity, however, the same mistakes result in learning, progress and, ultimately, success. In simple terms, effective language learning is not possible without Sensitivity.

To find out more, we asked some members of the Off2Class community what Sensitivity meant to them. In this blog, we present what they had to say.

Sensitivity and Off2Class

In recent times, sensitivity is somewhat conflated with a lack of tolerance. Sensitivity also unfortunately conveys a political tone. Being sensitive does not mean that you avoid offending someone at all costs. I believe that sensitivity is the state of being aware of your audience; that may mean communicating a message in different ways to different people. It doesn’t mean altering the message, but the delivery is more effective if you are sensitive to your audience.

In practice, displaying sensitivity builds trust in your team. A team may have a common goal yet that same team is composed of multiple individuals who have different life experiences and personal values. Being attuned to your audience makes you a much, much better manager. As someone who has often spoken before thinking too much (and sometimes not at all), I have gained a lot from learning to be more sensitive to people in our team.

James Heywood, Co-founder

In my first few days with Off2Class, I was feeling overwhelmed and uncertain of my place in the company, when, out of the blue, James reached out to me to request a brief meeting. I can’t remember what he said, but just the fact that one of the founders made time to welcome me and check if I was OK, really impressed me!

Samantha, Team Member

Sensitivity shines through not merely in the big picture but in the day-to-day at Off2Class. I see it in colleagues who reach out to new members of our team to help out with orientation; I see it in the support and genuine curiosity we show toward each other’s accomplishments we share in our weekly company-wide meetings; I see in the humility we have to ask our colleagues (who each in their own way are subject matter experts!) questions when we don’t understand a concept or idea.

Sensitivity at Off2Class is the respect for, and trust that we have in, each other and ourselves to be crucial parts of our team.

Christine, Team Member

Sensitivity-focused lessons

Our Lesson Library now comprises over 1,200 lessons covering a wide range of topics and issues. For those looking to explore ideas related to Sensitivity in a little more detail with their students, we suggest taking a look at the lessons below:

S427 – Should we ban it? (B2): From child labor to animal testing, there are plenty of things that were once allowed but are now largely prohibited. By the same token, there are also things that used to be banned but are now permitted. But is banning things that we don’t like always the best solution? How can we show Sensitivity to other people and their preferences while also staying true to our own values? This speaking lesson provides plenty of food for thought.

ID14 – Idioms describing personal qualities (B2): The world would be a very dull place if we were all the same. Fortunately, we all have our quirks and idiosyncrasies that add color to our interactions. Yet what some may consider perfectly rational, others might view as somewhat eccentric. This lesson covers useful idioms for describing our characters, our foibles and what makes us tick.

R116 – Unusual hotels around the world (A2): Most would agree that a successful hotel needs to be Sensitive to the needs and expectations of its guests. However, there are plenty of hotels around the world that offer a somewhat different experience for those brave enough to visit. From tree houses to salt palaces, this elementary-level reading lesson looks at some of the more interesting accommodations the world has to offer.

Over to you

We hope that you have enjoyed this look at the Off2Class Value of Sensitivity. As described, Sensitivity is a vital component of what makes Off2Class successful. We also know that Sensitivity is an important element of language classrooms everywhere and we would love to hear from you about this. What does Sensitivity mean to you? And how does Sensitivity inform your teaching? Please share your stories with us in the comments section or our official Off2Class Facebook group!

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