Language Sensei

Thoughts on Teaching Languages and Integrating Technology

April 21, 2014
by leesensei
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Improving Feedback for Students: Colours, Consistency, Corrections

Single Tree in a Green FieldI’ve been working to refine the way that I give feedback on written work. My efforts focus on both easily identifying a student’s issues and increasing their responsibility for their own learning. With that in mind my feedback now focuses on three things – Colours, Consistency and Corrections.

Colours as Codes: I’ve played around with various ways to identify errors or miscues in a piece of writing. Although I like the idea of ‘codes’ – they just don’t seem to be as quickly meaningful. A coded paper has to be ‘read’ to see where mistakes may be. I am a visual person and I want a quick glance at a marked paper to show a student which area requires reworking/improvement. So I’ve settled on two colours – blue and green.

Blue – You have made an error in your choice of/spelling of a word/words
Green – You have made an error in your choice of grammar to use/how you have used it

I highlight/underline the area with a problem. Sometimes I add a sample correction or suggestion if I feel its necessary. Ultimately it’s easy to tell if the student’s main issues are vocabulary or grammar related – or both!

Consistency -On-line/On Paper: I am all for student choice as to ‘how’ work is handed in. Some students are more comfortable composing on their phone, or on a computer than they are writing with a pen/pencil. No matter how a student chooses to hand a piece I want the feedback to be consistent across all of the options.

On-line: brought in to Google docs and marked up using the “Text Study Skills” add-on. I also use a copy of the rubric ‘copied’ and named for each student. At the top of the rubric is a reminder of what the colours stand for. I use header space for any additional comments. Then I use the ‘yellow’ highlighting colour to identify where the student falls on the rubric.
On Paper: I use either highlighters or coloured pens for this. In an attempt to save paper I will also try to photocopy the rubric onto the back of the submitted piece. It makes it more efficient – and no need to attach an extra page.

Corrections or Not?:  It’s my hope that students should want to know where they have gone wrong – but this isn’t necessarily the case. How to build towards that. I am shifting in how I approach this as well – looking to gradually build in a desire to know ‘where I went wrong’.

Year 1- 3: I often ask for corrections on a piece as we build toward summative assessment. The final mark (or completion mark) is not recorded until it is done. I review with a student as needed – but often they work together to find out where they have gone wrong.
Year 4: Typically students are not ‘required’ to do this kind of remedial work – and many come and ‘ask’ when they can’t see where they’ve gone wrong.

Feedback is as useful as it is easy to understand. As I work to streamline my way to give feedback I hope to make it easier for students to see where they need to improve. And, as always, corrections to this system may be needed to make it more relevant.

Colleen

 

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April 15, 2014
by leesensei
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Changing Seating/Changing Teaching – What My Classroom “Set Up” Says…

Teaching ClassI looked out at my room the other day – the same room I started to teach in when it was a new school in in 1997. The blackboard is now a whiteboard, the screen is there for my computer…and wow – is that the same old TV in the corner for video announcements? (Yes!) But even more interesting for me is what has really changed. There is a big difference in ‘how’ my students use the room – how they sit, what they do, and where the focus on learning is. It took me a minute to connect the change in my room setup and my changing educational practice.The journey mirrors the evolution of my teaching…

Single Rows – Focus: Teacher at the front of the room:  Those first few years, with their long nights of prepping material and me trying to wrap my head around what I was ‘teaching’. Note the word ‘teaching’. With my students in rows, facing the front, it was clearly a ‘teacher as the driving force’ kind of space. And in those early years, as I worked to discover who I was as a teacher, and even what kind of things I wanted my students to explore it probably needed to be this way. The first few years can be chaotic, challenging and oh so much fun…and clearly, if you looked at my desk arrangement, I was the one ‘in charge’.

Pairs – in a “U” shape – Focus: Teacher at the  front of the room/another student: Gradually my room saw a change – from single rows to pairs – and, daringly, not even in rows. This coincided with my degree of comfort in the what and how that I was teaching. Notice again though that the focus was on me and the front of the room. Yes, I thought it had to be as that is where the screen for the overhead – replaced by computer/LCD is located. My degree of comfort in ‘letting them go and interact’ was growing – and I injected lots of partner/interactive time into the class. But clearly the setup still said ” ‘Focus on the teacher – and then shift to practicing with your partner’ (but remember who is in charge! )

“Tables” 4 desks- all facing each other – Focus: Fellow Students/Teacher when needed: And this year – another change for me – and another ‘leap’ in my style of teaching. I had tried the group of 4 in the past – but hadn’t made the permanent shift. But the changes in my teaching, and a visit to Catherine Ousselin (@catherineKU72) and her ‘table setup’ did it for me. If I was going to let my students, and a communicative/interactive focus be a priority, I needed to put my ‘desks where my teaching philosophy is’. So now they sit – pods of 4 desks – a partner to talk to beside them – and pair across the table for broader consultation/interaction. It’s a challenge at times – but remarkably easy to pull them all together for the ‘coaching’ moments at the screen/board. I don’t even think of it as the ‘front’ of the room any more – the focus is now on the students – and my teaching, okay my language coaching – is improving because of it.

I hope that my room now says to my students “the focus here is on you and using your language skills to communicate.” What does your setup say about what you value in your class?

Colleen

 

 

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April 8, 2014
by leesensei
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The “School Fair” – Interactive Oral

sports schoolI like the concept of school life – in my country and the target TL – as the basis for a unit. It incorporates a cultural learning opportunity – especially for my students who regard the Japanese school system as quite different from their own. It also mirrors what happens in real life in Japan – as Japanese parents and students attend “School Fairs” to decide which middle or high school to try to enter.

On the language side it’s a great way for my students to use particular constructions – especially as they pertain to ‘rules’ and activities. My Year 3 summative oral for the unit is an interactive one. Students create their own themed schools – from sports to anime and even the ‘lazy’ school, then devise some rules (how the school operates), subjects, clubs and even the uniform. On the day of the oral students divide their time between giving information about their school and gathering information from other schools. It’s also a great chance for them to practice the culturally relevant ‘niceties’ that would be involved in this promotional situation.

Prior to the Oral Students Have

- explored school life/rules/expectations in Canada/Japan, uniforms, reading/discussion on a day at a school in Japan, discussion of types of clubs/subjects,
-explored/practiced language including “you may..” “you must..” “you may not..” “we’d prefer that you..” etc built from their knowledge of their own school
-practiced oral interaction including how you communicate when you don’t understand something and strategies to use to help someone to understand
A Prospective Student at the "Reading School"

A Prospective Student at the “Reading School”

What Students Prepare/Practice (in pairs) For the Oral:

- a ‘sign’ for their school (name/pictures only)
-information about their school – they can have notes in English (if they forget something) but not in TL
 including: name, theme, various rules, subjects taught, clubs, the uniform, other interesting facts
-asking questions to get information about a school
-cultural ‘norms’ in this conversation – greetings, gestures, opening/closing phrases
Gathering Info from the 'Awesome Manga/Anime' School

Gathering Info from the ‘Awesome Manga/Anime’ School

How It Works on the Day

-recording sheet with ‘prompts’ (“rules” “uniform” etc) for recording information
- desks in circle – one partner behind/one on the ‘inside’
-sign stand(picture stand)  – I bought mine at the dollar store – I use them for all sorts of orals
-inside partner visits at least 3 other schools while other gives info
-students move on their own from school to school as tables open up (you may have to facilitate the first few times)
-if they are waiting  – they stand in the middle of the circle until a chair opens up
-1/2 way through total time they switch (even if their partner is in mid-explanation – they can slide in)
-all oral language in TL – all written info in English

Evaluations – Students hand in their oral evaluation/recording sheet at the end of the time.

Oral – I ask students to self evaluate for their communicative interaction and support the choices
with a written piece. The evaluation is an “always/often/sometimes/never” choice for:
- perceived ability to get their ideas across
-degree of comfort asking/answering questions
-how much they may/may not have used English
-ability to facilitate communication
 
Written -  The next day students are given their oral sheet for their summative written test. They are asked to:
-identify the school that they would like to go to (not their own)
-tell why using supporting details from their sheet
-relate the details of  the school  to their interests.

 

There is a lot of “buzz in the room” during this – and many opportunities for students to use practice the full range of their interpersonal communication skills. It’s an easy setup and the meaningful use of the information gathered is the reward for me.

Colleen

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April 7, 2014
by leesensei
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Background Music and Avoiding the Awkward “Silence” in MFL Activities

Teenagers - Whispering a SecretLike most MFL teachers I like to use music in class. I source and find a “song of week” from the iTunes Japan chart every 10 days or so. As I’ve written about before – I use the music (legally purchased!) in many ways – and have discovered even more via the summary of the #langchat discussion on music last year.One of the most unlikely uses is something that I stumbled upon. Or rather – noticed while I was busy trying to get other things done.

Have you ever set up an activity, a great chance to practice or use a concept orally and then had the dull ‘thud’ of silence. “Let’s get on with it” you think. “Why is everyone sort of muttering? Don’t they get it? Why aren’t they using it?” After careful observing, and some asking, I realized that, yes, my students were getting it – they were just a bit hesitant using a new concept. Maybe they wanted a second chance to clarify with their partner? For whatever reason it takes them a little bit to settle in and get comfortable with what they are doing.

And they needed a chance to do that. Enter the role of the ‘song of the week’. I have it on a loop in the iTunes of my computer. It plays at the start of class but suddenly I started to play it as they students were beginning their activity. And something interesting happened. Under the cover of the music (not loudly played but audible) my students had a chance to take a breath, check in with their partner, collect their thoughts and begin. The music – the lack of ‘silence’ in the room – actually seemed to help them get underway. Several of my students have commented on the use of the music this way – and they say it’s easier to get into talking when it isn’t so quiet. They stop being worried or embarrassed that others can hear them and get into the activity more easily.

You know that sound that tells you that “it” – whatever it is – is working? I love that sound. It’s hard to force. But for me the ‘bridge’ that the background music creates is useful in getting my students to dig in and connect orally. It’s a use for the song of the week I never would have thought of – but am grateful for what it brings!

Colleen

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April 1, 2014
by leesensei
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Self-Created Riff on “The Story Game”

Child's Drawing of FamilyOne of the best things about the #langchat PLN is the almost ‘freakish’ timeliness of the ideas generously shared by it’s members. This happened to me a while back courtesy of “The Story Game” post from Martina Bex on her blog “The Comprehensible Classroom“. It referred to an idea originally posted on Bryan Kandel TPRS. The posts came right at the time my Yr 4′s were revisiting Daily Routine items – prior to their Murder Mystery oral activity.  It allowed me to combine one of my favourite homework options – the Sketch and Share – with partner work and oral interactive skills. The activity was done over 2 class periods  – and only for part of each period.

Here’s what I had them do.

Prior to Day 1

- Create/generate 8 pictures of what you do in your day – clip art, sketch whatever – and ensure that you can describe to someone what the pictures show

Day 1

- Meet with at least 3 other students in class. Work through their pictures with them – using them to describe what goes on in your day. My focus at this time is also linking/transitional work as they move from activity to activity.

-Then the students meet with 2 other students and just show their pictures. It is then their partners who must generate the language that matches what is going on. This is also a great way for students to expand their vocabulary – as students will not all express things the same way.

Day 2

- Partners each bring out their “My Day” 8 cards. Using those cards – in any combination – they are given 20 minutes to create a story based on the pictures. The story can be any type they wish.

-The only requirements are my usual  – that both partners participate equally in the telling and that they aren’t to dive into the dictionary (if they do – they can’t use a word(s) unless they can explain the meaning). The story has to be repeatable – as they will be telling it to 3 other pairs.

-Once the 20 minutes is up  – it’s story time. Each group meets with 3 other pairs – and tells their story as well as hear the other pairs’ tale. They are encouraged to use their transitional words and to ask questions to clarify what they don’t understand.

At the end of the activity students used one of my simple oral activity assessments - and added their own comments on how they felt about the activity before they actually did it, as well as after (“I thought it would be…” “After doing this I learned that/was surprised that…”) The students all talked about how much easier it became in round 2 and 3. Several students remarked that they began to ad-lib in more details as they retold their story or were asked about certain parts. Many also said it was a great ‘stretcher’ for their personal language as they heard other groups stories – that included different vocabulary and ways of constructing the stories themselves.

As for me I saw engaged/interested students who were focused on using a topic area to creatively tell a story. Students were using all of their skills in communicating their story – clarifying, questioning, rephrasing as needed.

I will be using the “story game” idea again with my other classes when it suits – and quite frankly it suits just about any topic area!  Thanks Martina for highlighting this post and Bryan for the original idea.

Colleen

 

 

 

 

 

 

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March 28, 2014
by leesensei
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Dear Edtech “Nervous”: You don’t have to understand “how” it works…just be able to work with it.

Hand ReachingDear “Nervous To Try Something New (Edtech-wise)”:

You know when you spoke with me the other day and told me that that introducing more tech into my class was fine for me because I was ‘into it’ and ‘understood’ it? That you were not going to try a new way of doing things (edtech-wise) because your students would see that you weren’t an expert. Well I need to let you in on a secret. Neither am I. It would probably shock you that me, a proponent of choice/more edtech started exactly where you are now in terms of knowledge and confidence. It took, it takes, some courage, and a big leap of faith to step out and try something new in class – in front of 30 teenagers?  How do I do it? I remember 3 key things:

I am Not the First to Do This – “Search Engine” It – Take the simple voice recorded phone conversation. As I’ve said before – we in Canada have no access to Google Voice – so my default is the ‘voice memo’ utility on student’s phones. I use this quite a bit and when I naively did it the first time I received files that my computer couldn’t work with. Disaster or challenge? When you get a file your computer can’t open – “search engine it”. Seriously – when the .amr and .mp3 file extensions come in from your student’s mobile-phone recorded conversations don’t panic. Just type in your problem into your favourite search engine and hit ‘enter’. Amazingly you will probably find out what you need.

I Have Help Available in Every Program/App – Prior to teaching I worked for a developer in the area of school administrative software. My job, in the early 1990′s, was to provide demonstrations of the possibilities of the program to rooms full of educators who had limited exposure to computerized administration tools. One of the biggest selling points for me was the “help” menu item. I knew the people who wrote the documentation for us and the detail that they went into to assist people to understand how something worked. I know to look at the menu items for a software program and locate the ‘help’ one. And if I can’t find my answer there – see tip 1.

My Peers in My School Are a Great Resource – In a school of  over 120 staff members the chances are that someone out there has faced a similar challenge/implemented a similar tech tool. And if they haven’t they probably know someone who has. So prior to trying the new tool/trick – send out an email and ask. Before my first on-line discussion I sent a blanket email to all the teachers on my staff with the subject “Have you done any ‘on-line’ discussions?”. Amazingly a teacher in the Social Studies department had. He was invaluable in giving me tips on how to structure and conduct the discussion. All I had to do was put it out there. If you aren’t a fan of the blanket email then ask your school librarian. They see so many classes, and work with so many teachers, that they probably have an idea of who does. And if that doesn’t work – see tip 1.

So go ahead and try something new. It could be as simple as using a wordcloud instead of a worksheet. Or perhaps allowing students to send in files that you will mark/comment on in Google Drive. In any case be sure that someone out there has an answer when you confront a challenge. And if you happen to find success – let your department, your staff, and even perhaps your online PLN know what you have done. After all the way we really know we’ve learned is to help out someone else.

Colleen

 

 

 

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March 24, 2014
by leesensei
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A Language Facilitator, Not a “Teacher” (or Learning to Give Up Control)

SeedlingI used to tell people that I was a language teacher. But I no longer think of myself that way. My shift started in earnest this year when I was challenged, via the #langchat PLN, to let go of my vocabulary list. Let go of the list? It’s safe to say that while I still have a set of vocabulary to use as a basis for common interaction, I have opened up my mind to the idea that it is now just a “start” for students. It is, however, in no way what will be key for each student, and what they will know, at the end of the unit. That I now know is up to what they, as individuals, need.

What it also means is opening up to the idea that students should have what they need now — to use now. You may know what I’m talking about if you get the following scenario. Student: “How do I say___?”. Teacher thinks – “ah, that uses the (fill in grammatical concept) but I usually don’t cover that until grade X.” and says “well you could say it like this __(using either incomplete or more basic language)”. Sound familiar? I’ll admit it does for me. Or it did.

When I loosened up on the”list” I also had to loosen up on the idea that there was an order to “teach” the language. Rather the idea of leaving the list is, for me, also making the realization that we don’t “teach” a language, but rather that we “facilitate the use of” one. Yes we may cover something more in depth later on but now I also give the information, gasp, when it’s needed by the student not when I deem it appropriate. Big leap of faith needed on my part. I had to trust that a student is asking for it because they want/need to use it now (not next semester). Believe that the world won’t end because I hadn’t fully ‘taught’ the concept yet. Be surprised when they actually use what you gave, and correctly, in interacting.

A perfect example for me is my Yr2 class. 30 enthusiastic students keen to interact. Believe it or not but it takes a whole second form of the verb in Japanese to say “I like to do something.” Traditionally then students don’t learn to express this until Yr3. But my grade 10s were asking for it now, and suddenly I thought it weird that I would not provide it. So I gave them the words they needed, in the form they needed. No great big explanations, no “be careful not to’s”, just gave it. And what happened? Shockingly they used it appropriately, in their spoken interaction and written work. If a classmate didn’t understand they used their communication skills to get the meaning across. Yes, we will revisit the concept in Yr3 but then it will be more of a case of “ah, that’s why we say it like that.” and less of a case of “why are we learning this?”

I want to reiterate that I still have a “list”. But now it is a starting point for learning and not the only words a student is confined to. More importantly my students have a teacher who now is more focused on my students using the language -all of language when and how they need it – rather than learning it. More to come!
Colleen

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March 19, 2014
by leesensei
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An Exercise for Building Circumlocution Skills -The Group Reading Recap

soothing ripplesI’ve always approached “another way to say the same thing/get your meaning across” as an essential skill for the vocabulary-limited second language learner. But how to start – how to have kids begin to think of other ways to express an idea without the immediate lunge for the dictionary?

One way for me is the “Group Reading Recap”. In my classes we  use this as we do specific readings and some sort of summary/discussion based upon it. Students work their way through a reading – first as a group and then again as pairs. During the pair time I ask them to do “Two and Talk” – meaning that they are to each read a sentence then stop and talk about what they have read – and work out the meaning together. After that it is my custom – with the Yr1 and Yr2 groups – to do what I call a whole class ‘reading re-cap’. What it is  – I realize – is my first collective exercise in circumlocution skills. Here’s how it works for me:

The setup:

7-10 comprehension questions about what they have read – dialogue, short story piece, chapter of a book, song etc
In order to facilitate talking about an answer, and not just reading it, they are asked to provide answers to the questions in ‘key word’ or ‘point’ form (I will run a quick eye over the page to see if there are sentences).
A goal of  6 oral responses over the course of the exercise
They know that they have to have more than the direct answer available to get a contribution point and I ‘ll take anything that ‘works’ to indicate an answer. So if the answer to “Where is Ben from?” is “Australia” – they work on other ways to communicate that – “a hot country” “a country near New Zealand” “a country with lots of kangaroos” “a country that loves to eat vegemite” etc.  Another might be “How does he get to school?” and for “on foot” it may extend to “he walks” “he walks quickly” or even “He doesn’t go by car”.

The recap day:

- Time to prepare
- students get initial time to go over what they have with their partner – it’s a chance to check for errors or alter what they have in a non-public and supportive way
- Remind them of the “rules” & ideas to rework an answer someone just gave
-prior to beginning I remind students that I want them to get their full 6 points – so I am looking for answers from everyone possible
- this isn’t a competition – it’s a time to encourage participation so I remind them that I will not always take the hand that goes up first but I promise to take all possible answers before I move on to the next question
-we also review how to rework an answer adding in other adjectives/adverbs to make it “original”
- Ask the first questions & correct as needed
-ask the first question and up go the hands. In order to encourage them I often call on students who I know are less reluctant to participate when I see their hand up before those that love to give answers. As they give an answer I note it down on a class list
-if an answer comes in a not totally correct way – I provide it and ask the student to repeat it
- stay with one question until all hands are down…before moving on to the next
-Watch for those who are slower to participate
-as we near the end I also start looking for kids who have less than their 6 answers and encourage them – a silent look/or ’1 more!’ – to ensure that they get full marks.

Results that I see/hear:

 - students become more aware that not having the ‘right’ word is not a block to communicating
- they are more willing to try to explain than just whip out the dictionary
- they tend to use these skills naturally when a conversation partner does not understand them
- their writing shows evidence of the work – with more descriptive and detailed expression

The Reading Recap exercise is just one way that students practice circumlocution. It directly prompts them to think of other ways to communicate meaning and gives them skills to use when a roadblock occurs.  As students leave Yr2 and enter Yr3 I move them away from always doing the ‘group’ reading recap and into doing something similar in their conversation circles.  If you have any questions about the exercise – just let me know. It’s a great start in building their skills in ‘another way to say…’

Colleen

 

 

 

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March 17, 2014
by leesensei
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Thinking about ‘Paperless’ – The Kids Weigh In

MP900341458Some of us in our school are looking to try going ‘paperless’. There are many reasons, and programs/apps to support this. (Did I mention the huge deficit in our district that means slashed budgets for supplies?) However, my high school, in a middle-class suburb of Vancouver, is not a 1:1 for devices, has limited wireless capability, no BYOD policy and doesn’t even have an LCD in all classrooms. And keep in mind that privacy concerns/laws in Canada mean that requiring the use of any cloud-based program based outside of Canada (Evernote, Google Docs, Edmodo, Prezi etc) requires signed parent permission.

I’ve always believed in asking, and not assuming, so recently surveyed students in language classes (mostly mine) about access to, and attitudes toward working only online. Their responses indicate that there is still an issue for access to, and varying degrees of comfort with, using computers in classes.

- The majority of kids bring phones to school (54%) – but not everyone is able to bring a computer/tablet (28%)
- 80% of students report being ‘quite to very’ comfortable reading online – but fully 20% were ‘fairly – not’
- 50% report using their mobile devices ‘almost daily – daily’ but 50% don’t
- 44% used their devices to obtain information (dictionary/research) and a small number use it for note-taking (11%) or outside of class work/homework (12%)

 What is the most interesting – and worth heeding – are the comments of kids when asked “Is there anything more we should be asking about using mobile devices at school?” Clearly not all students would find a complete move to technology to be a benefit. In fact, many of their comments mirror the hesitation that some educators express when moving to more technology use in school.

 - If I was going to use mobile technology at school I’d like there to be a simple, easy to read standard program for viewing – as often it is hard to read scanned documents put online
- I would only be comfortable reading online from a computer/tablet – not a hand-held phone
-I don’t think students should be allowed to use on-line dictionaries – use a book-based one
- I’d like more e-texts so I don’t have to carry books around
- I don’t have the internet at home, and my device can’t access it at school
- I’m excited that teachers want to integrate technology into my learning
- My phone is a Windows phone so I can’t use most apps that are recommended
- I am not as comfortable sending work on-line as it may get deleted or not be received
- If the school wants us to use the internet – they should stop changing the WiFi password!

  What does it mean as I consider paperless? Until there is a supported solution, or push in my school, it will have to remain what it is right now, an option. So my focus will be on expanding options for students to demonstrate learning, Some will continue to do work the traditional way (paper). Others will move/have moved to create and compose on their phones and computers and then submit online. If I do consider ‘all – paperless’ it will be an option for those who find that it works for them. Perhaps, as budgets, priorities in the building, and degree of comfort allow – we may all get there one day.

Colleen

 

 

 

 

 

 

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March 13, 2014
by leesensei
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It’s Not Where You’re At – It’s Where You’re Headed

MP900438811It was a great #langchat tonight. A really lively talk about advocating for the communicative approach in your teaching area. Teachers were great in sharing common objections, ways to lead and why they believe so passionately in how they teach. Sometimes the ideas, the teacher leaders, the things we’re not doing (and everyone else seems to be) can be overwhelming.

I remember when I first started teaching – almost 20 years ago – and a comment made to an administrator. “If I could just get this textbook program…I’d be set.” Wow – it kind of goes along with one of my tweets tonight – “I thought if I got good binders all organized by unit…I’d be done.”. It’s how I used to look at language teaching. It’s how many still do. I was fine in my classroom – it was going great – but then..something happened.

I joined Twitter, found the #langchat PLN – and holy cow – that ruined it for me. Well, not ‘ruined’ like disaster but ‘ruined’ as in “Nope – having a binder for Gr 11 Japanese full of worksheets and lesson plans so that you never have to revisit it again  and you’re finished – not going to be like that” kind of ruined. Suddenly I was the one not satisfied with how my program was running and, more importantly, how and what my students were learning. To me it seemed like there needed to be a different way – a way beyond a textbook and workbook. But how…

At times the #langchat PLN is intimidating and I think “Whoa – these people are so ahead of where I am I’ll never get there.” Sarah Bolaños (@mrsbolanos) really said it well tonight:I love/hate the fact that I’ve been teaching 10 years and it sometimes still feels like my 1st #langchat so many new ideas!” It speaks to that sinking feeling that it isn’t ‘done’, our tinkering, revamping and just plain throwing out what doesn’t work will never be done.  And that can be as exhilarating as it is exhausting at times.

So if you are feeling like that…as if the place you are now is so not where everyone else contributing to #langchat is I say – wrong! #langchat is teachers – from every area of the continent (and beyond), in every kind of classroom and situation, each facing their own struggles, challenges and circumstances. Good teaching is like travelling down a road…we’re all on it and all at different places. No one person is ever at the end and I, for one, am grateful to those just ahead of me – they shine the light, blaze the trail and motion me to keep going. #langchat is what it is because we all, all contributors, lurkers, posters and leaders, play a role in this amazingly organic and rich PLN. Keep on…and know that there are as many ahead lighting the way as walking in step with where you are right now!

Colleen

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