Lockdown is continuing to be very hectic and intense for teachers. I have asked my online teacher network about what lockdown has meant for them and this is what I was told…
Lockdown has highlighted the importance of students’ intrinsic motivation and home support and the large impact they have on students’ achievements. It has also shown that teaching needs to facilitate independence. For instance, some of the quietest students have been seen to produce amazing work that they would never have produced in class for fear of drawing attention to themselves.
However, lockdown has also sparked creativity in many teachers, parents and pupils and in some case made parents realise what teaching really is about.
It has also created many opportunities for teachers to upskill, learn about blended learning, online learning and reflect on our practice.
Pedagogy and new tools-A few pointers
Focusing on fewer aspects of the language and guiding students’ practice to ensure complete mastery and success has come out as the biggest priority
Acknowledging the need for more repetition, practice and pace when learning vocabulary.
Understanding what it looks like from a learner’s perspective, keeping things simple and along a linear organisation allowing the teacher to reduce undue technical difficulties for pupils.
Developing a principled approach like the one adopted by @BarriMoc : retrieval, short video presentation, practice tasks (dictation, translation, gap-fill based on the content), reading task and a writing or speaking task using Flipgrid . Everything is then put in one document with any resources hyperlinked to avoid needing to open and flick between multiple tabs including Textivate or Quizziz .
Exploring the use of Bitmojis and sharing on the Bitmoji Craze for Educator FaceBook group
Taking time to test new tools, like Genial.ly
Turning a book-based IGCSE SoW into a skill-driven one so that learning objectives and assessment align
Lockdown and teaching remotely have highlighted …
The importance of high impact, low stakes testing for informing planning as well as improving student retrieval and retention.
That the children love to be able to “pause” the teacher on Loom so pace of explanations during direct instruction may need to be adapted.
That learners benefit from creating sentences and actively applying vocab and grammar rules along with their own creativity. This gives all they/we are doing a sense of value, purpose and meaning. It creates a bond and link of learning trust between us even though we are remote.
That in online lessons, it is a good idea to include table of language chunks that pupils can use as a writing scaffold. Pupils can add in suggestions too. Extension vocabulary and structures need to be labelled explicitly. A simple example of an activity is to get pupils to read out their Target Language phrase. Teacher highlights (on zoom) . Another pupil translates. Creative follow-up is then offered for further practice.
That your instructions are never clear enough! It has confirmed more than ever the importance of quality instruction, explanations, and modelling with a lot of comprehensible input and chunks instead of single words. Voice record pro is great for making own listening.
Finally, the CPD…
There have been so many opportunities for all teachers and especially language teachers to upskill themselves to deliver effective language lessons remotely. I have collated many of them in a Wakelet here, with the most prolific sources of CPD being ALL, the Association for Language Learning , Linguascope, Joe Dale’s MFL Twitterati group (#mfltwitterati on Twitter) and the Global Innovative Language TeacherFacebook group created by Gianfranco Conti and Dylan Viñales.
Time to join the conversation!