I am saying this because I am a World Languages Advocate. World Language teachers need help in their pedagogical content to help maintain their pedagogical mental wellness. Even without the pressures of a pandemic, incorporating new and innovative teaching strategies or instructional technology is difficult. An instructional technology reporter, Tate (2020) , reports that teachers will need AT LEAST 80 hours of instructional technology staff development for the upcoming 2020-2021 if classes continue online.
Who knows the cloud-based learning platform, Instructure Canvas? When I first started with Canvas I got 30 minutes of professional development! Yes, 30 minutes. Was it my fault that I floundered with Canvas for a school year? No ( I had 180 students & three course preps. It was also my first time being back in the classroom in 8 years). Was it the Tech Coordinator’s fault? No (this person was the main librarian with multiple school jobs). Was it the administrator’s fault? No (this person had an administrative job to do). The intentions for professional development are noble, but the actual implementation is always lacking. I know. I’ve been in education for over 30 years. Every person is always stretched too far to help the teacher. Teachers and World Language Coordinators, I am here to help. Allow teachers to teach, assess, and discipline while I help incorporate their new teaching strategies from Comprehensible Input, Web 2.0 games, Google extensions, collaboration apps, Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVEs), help write a grant, or design a curriculum map. Who ultimately benefits from me helping teachers? You got it, the STUDENTS! The students are our customers. However, the teachers, the masters of World Languages, deserve all the tools they need to guide and bring forth our students onto the global scene.
Teachers, we will commiserate over the pedagogical implementations that do not go so well, correct the problems, and continue onward. We will celebrate the triumphs without being complaisant because we should always be saying about any success, “How can I make this even better?” Contact Haven to discuss fees for consulting so teachers can have a peace of mind regarding their Pedagogical Mental Wellness.
Tate,E. (2020). What Will Schools do in the Fall? https://www.edsurge.com/news/2020-05-27-what-will-schools-do-in-the-fall-here-are-4-possible-scenarios
Question 1 ... 0-100 sliding scale (0 = don't give a flip 100=excited to return)
On the slide scale, how excited are you to be able to engage in face to face World Language/ 2nd Language Learning interaction again in August?
Teacher’s, our students are ready to learn with you and their classmates:
Out of 24 responses, the students averaged an 81 = very impressive. Even we teachers enjoyed our time to sleep in and binge watch our shows during the quarantine. As we prepare for August, keep in mind that no matter what a student may exhibit on the outside, they intrinsically want to learn. I want to share one thing before moving on: The brain craves NOVELTY. Be diverse in your teaching strategies during 2020-2021. Comprehensible Input (CI)/ Acquisition Driven Instruction (ADI) is WIDE OPEN with creativity strategies.
How effective is using 2nd language vocabulary and grammar with Total Physical Response /Storytelling – [acting, pantomiming, dancing, or other bodily-kinesthetic strategies] ?
Out of 24 responses, 12 students thought this strategy to be very effective, 11 students found it somewhat effective, and 1 student found it not effective at all. I, myself, had to teach myself to be effective at TPR. I still have a former colleague who has taught for nearly 30 years, and this person WILL NOT act for their classes. In the long run, it’s the students who miss out. We teachers have to lower our guards and act silly sometimes. I truly enjoy TPR now. As you can see the overwhelming majority of the students find it effective. I can imagine that my former colleague and the 1 person who doesn’t find TPR effective are missing out on some of “the fun” side of learning a 2nd language.
With controlled vocabulary, how engaging is reading authentic 2nd language materials (online articles in your 2nd language, readers, etc.) at YOUR LEVEL then answering personalized questions?
Out of 24 students, 8 students found authentic reading materials at their level to be highly effective while 16 students found this to be somewhat effective. Have you done your math? Do you see the BIG SURPRISE? Zero (0) students thought that authentic readers were not effective at all. BIG WIN for authentic readers. See me, Dr. Caylor-Brown for more information on Fluency Matters readers.
How engaging is creating thematic (seasons, holidays, school/life events) projects with controlled 2nd language vocabulary?
Beloved thematic projects. Not just for teacher pleasure but for student pleasure as well: Seasons, holidays, and school events.
14 students thought thematic projects to be very effective, 8 students thought them to be somewhat effective, and 2 students thought thematic projects to not be effective. I’ve taught for 31 years, and I bet if I could guide those 2 students through a year or semester, they and I could find some common, thematic projects that would make them feel that they are at least somewhat effective 😉
In your next World Language course, would you complete 2 “Flipped Classroom” homework assignments (max of 30 minutes) each week? They would be similar to your Canvas / Google classroom assignments you've been completing since March 16. The idea is to give you more time IN THE CLASSROOM with the strategies from Questions 2-4 above.
This question is geared to help teachers have more effective teaching time in the classroom. That does not equal handing out another worksheet or administering another quiz. It means integrating some TPR, having some quality reading time with some Personalize Questions and Answer (PQAs), and making sure the impactful thematic units-things that affect the lives of our students- are incorporated.
Teachers, don’t be afraid of technology. It can HELP you. Ready… out of 24 students, 21.. yes, 21 students would give up an hour of their coveted after-school time to do some extra (a quick assignment, a formative quiz on Quizlet, a formative quiz on Instructure) so as to have MORE classroom time to learn their 2nd language. As you can deduce 3 students did not want to give up after-school time for more Flipped Classroom learning.
There is a well-hidden gem in the world of 2nd Language Acquisition of Spanish with authentic materials: Newsela. I have used it for 3 years, and it’s a great to 1) Find interesting, engaging, sometimes entertaining, and pertinent news articles to current events. 2) Adjust the reading level (lexile level) to your readers, and 3) Give formative assessments.
This Instructional Content Platform brings together engaging, accessible authentic Spanish content with integrated assessments and insights to supercharge reading engagement in the target language of Spanish. I want to consult and persuade Spanish teachers to cover topics students care about, connect 2nd language reading acquisition in Spanish to core curriculum, and align ACTFL or state standards to to articles found in Newsela. The absolute best part of Newsela is that it the readings and assessments align with the students’ lexile reading level. I know the coveted gains of 2nd language acquisition that is connected to Newsela because I saw my Spanish for Native Speakers benefit greatly from its use. I want all school systems in the United States to incorporate Newsela into their Instructional Technology.
Corona & Tornadoes Couldn't Keep us Down
Because we had to physically leave school on March 13, 2020 due to Corona Virus and a devastating tornado to our area Easter night, our instruction has suffered greatly. However, several things have kept me and my students constant. Because of my training with Instructure Canvas (cloud-based learning) and Instructional Technology, we’ve had a successful time with Virtual School. Because our Canvas has an app for Canvas Conferences, we haven’t missed a beat. It’s better than Zoom because ONLY MY STUDENTS can attend. No other person in the world can “crash” our classes. The students have taken Canvas quizzes, watched my embedded videos, and submitted Google Docs for their grades since March 13.
Because 90% of their grade was as of March 13, and we’ve had to continue to teach and learn, we are “topping” the year off with some wonderful summaries of readings with books from Fluency Matters. No copyright infringements have been committed. I summarize the stories, the students read, then we discuss the stories with PQA (Personalized Questions and Answers). Thanks to the McKee Baking Grant I wrote last August, my students have been exposed to Brandon Brown versus Yucatan, Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro, and Llama en Lima. Both the students and I have thoroughly enjoyed these readers this spring.