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LEARNING AND TEACHING ONLINE

There are numerous definitions of online learning in the literature, definitions that reflect the diversity of practice and associated technologies. Carliner (1999) defines online learning as educational material that is presented on a computer. Khan (1997) defines online instruction as an innovative approach to delivering instruction to a remote audience, using the Web as the medium.

 

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However, online learning involves more than just the presentation and distribution of the materials using the Web: the learner and the learning process should be the focus of online learning.
Teaching face-to-face and teaching online are both teaching, but they are qualitatively different. Online education starts when faculty moves from the traditional classroom to the online classroom. There are some things that the two have in common, but there are also plenty of differences.
1. The online teacher plays the role of guiding students through one or more online learning experiences. These experiences are every so often designed and
planned long before the course starts so that the teacher can devote more time to guiding the students and less time preparing lessons. Within this role, the teacher directs and redirects the attention of learners toward fundamental concepts and ideas.
2. Learning is hard work and studying online can sometimes feel isolated, confusing, or discouraging without the guide.
As a result, the effective online teacher makes intentional efforts to communicate precise encouraging messages to individual learners and the group as a whole. Moreover, even when providing constructive feedback, the teacher as supporter finds a way to promote positive messages alongside the critiques.
Encouragement and welcoming support are an important approach to maintaining an overall positive morale in the class. At times, learners may fall into negative comments about themselves, the class, or their classmates (even the instructor, on occasion). The coach makes every effort to find ways to listen, respect the learner’s frustrations, but also to help them reframe the situation in a manner that students are more active and creative.
3. Many people focus on the role of the teacher as a role model, and that is valuable. However, the role of the coach is just as important, even more, important if we want learners to develop high levels of competence and confidence. The online teacher must move beyond just modeling a depth motivation for the subject and personal skill with the content. The mentor needs to find ways to hand the matter over to the students to do something with it. Applied projects and papers work well for this, and it gives the teacher an opportunity to be a coach and advisor.
4. Learners need some feedback about their work. How are they doing? Are they getting closer to meeting the learning objectives or not? The effective online teacher finds ways to give thoughtful feedback to individual learners and, when appropriate, groups of students.
5. Without intentional efforts to build a positive social environment, online learning can feel lonely and impersonal. As a result, the online teacher must serve as an encouraging host, facilitating introductions, using discussion starters to enable conversations among students, and taking the time to get to know students and referencing that knowledge in interactions with them.
6. The whole thing is documented in an online course. The teacher can tell when and how many times student logs in the course, what pages were viewed or not, how many discussions posts the student contributed, and much more. This data can be abused, but it can also be used to make adjustments and informed decisions by an online teacher. If a student is not logged in or failing to visit the pages in the course with the direct instructions, the coach points that out to the learners or reorganizes the content so that it is easier to find.
7. Online courses are rich with content and sometimes students can get lost in all that content. The teacher as a regulator intentionally releases content in chunks that are appropriate for educated people. Sometimes this comes in the course of only publishing content one week at a time. Other times, the teacher releases it all at once but directs students only to focus on individual parts at a time. Another key is to break content into smaller segments. Rather than a twenty-page document of instructions, it is better to consider breaking it into ten two-page documents.
8. Good teachers are lifelong learners, and they can model that learning for their students in a variety of ways in the online classroom. The teacher can be active (but not too active or it will silence students) participant in online discussions, sharing what they are learning about the subject, and even complete all or fragments of some assignments, sharing their work with the students. The process goes a long way to making an exciting and dynamic online learning community where one and all in the community commits to exemplifying the qualities of a lifelong learner.

My distracting laptop

What challenges are involved in learning online?
Perhaps one of the greatest challenges for teachers is to deliver a consistent experience to a large and varied general populations.
Instructors and scholars should not carry through device management. Their priorities should be placed on learning.
Technology is not the creator. Strong belief in innovation is less significant than the demands of scholars and instructors.
Instructors deliver a well-defined responsibility with implementing, and identifying, the best combination of digital learning tools for each scholar.
Different approaches to learning, such as project-based learning, progressive education, game-based learning, and more, is a part of the personalized, blended learning model. Accordingly, such innovations will call for demonstration how their package improves learning outcomes.
Most challenges have to do with the procedures, but they have nothing to do with the teaching itself. To make it simple, if you know how to teach, all you need to do is learn about the elementary online tools available for online teaching, and begin using them.
As cited earlier, teaching an online class can be time-consuming. As well, building up an online course can be overpowering. Finding out and becoming proficient using an LMS takes time, and uploading materials to the online environment is also demanding and needs much time. Once you know how to use the LMS, you require getting to teach students through it.
The time necessary to generate a new class can be a problem with developing online classes.
The instructor should be able to take care of the subject matter rather than spend Countless times is managing difficulties connected with the technology.
One of the most recommended ways to cope with the additional time required for teaching online classes is to decrease the class size.
Students also regularly run into technological problems and they need support with technology issues.
Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/undergrad/ptacc/online-teaching.pdf
Also, from my perspective, a successful teaching and learning online involve
• Understanding and easiness in the use of technology.
• Rethinking, and reexamining course objectives, activities, and assessments.
• Creating a community of learners.
• Supporting discussions.

Improving good skills in the use of technology.
• Understanding that the learning management system and other Web technologies function enable coaches to create and provide detailed instruction.
• Planning and creating course goals, activities, and assessments can take substantial time and free energy. Such redesign can be especially successful when started well in advance of the course start date.

Building a community of learners is a challenge.
• The necessity to keep in regular contact with students and comprehend various kinds of dialogue as well as different goals.
• Setting up content-specific discussions to provide problem-solving and establish growing proficiency in course outcomes.
• Designating areas for practical questions that reduce frustration, and gives an opportunity to help each other
• Arranging discussions that deliver a social channel for students increases a learning community by creating interconnection among learners.
It is also important to note that sending private and frequent initial e-mails that encourage/praise the stellar work or express concern in an online student absenteeism shows students that you are online and monitoring all activity. Such deliberate attempts at contact are especially important in demonstrating active instructor presence in the online environment.
Facilitating discussions online is not as easy as it may seem. Posting a question and expecting learners to generate responses that resemble an integrated, face-to-face dialogue rarely happens. Setting expectations for how discussions should proceed is the first step in creating in-depth, integrated responses and meaningful exchanges. In any setting, content-specific dialogue can cause disagreements or require clarifications. In a face-to-face class, instructors interject if a discussion is heading in the wrong direction or praise and emphasize well-thought out responses. The online facilitator should expect to do the same. Students need to feel comfortable in challenging each other’s discussion contributions in tactful, constructive ways or asking the peers to support their claims with research. As facilitators, instructors need to demonstrate how this can happen in the online environment.

 

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References
Boettcher, J.V. & Conrad, R. M. (2010) E-Coaching Success Tips http://www.designingforlearning.info/services/writing/ecoach/index.htm

Accessed May 30, 2011. A library of over 80 tips developed over 2006 – 2010.
Boettcher, J. V. (2007). Ten Core Principles for Designing Effective Learning Environments: Insights from Brain Research and Pedagogical Theory. http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=54. (February 16, 2009).
Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. M. (2010).

The Online Teaching Survival Guide: Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips (1 ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Conrad, R. M., and Donaldson, J. A. (2004). Engaging the online learner: Activities and resources for creative instruction, Jossey-Bass <www.josseybass.com> Pp. 123.
Fischer, K. Reiss, D. and Young, A. (2005). Ten tips for generating engaged online discussion. Austin, TX, University of Texas. http://wordsworth2.net/activelearning/ecacdiscustips.htm (Accessed August 27, 2007) A helpful set of concise tips that offer ideas and suggestions for being effective at facilitating discussions in electronic environments. More tips on getting started in active online learning are at <wordsworth2.net/activelearning/ecacteachtips.htm>.
Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., and Archer, W. (2000). Critical Inquiry in a Text-Based Environment: Computer Conferencing in Higher Education. The Internet and Higher Education 2(2/3): 87 – 105.
Goodyear, P. (2002) Psychological foundations for networked learning. Networked learning: perspectives and issues. Pp. 49-75 2002. Springer-Verlag. New York, Inc.
Grogan, G. (2005). The Design of Online Discussions to Achieve Good Learning
Results. Retrieved August 27, 2007, from http://www.elearningeuropa.info/index.php?page=doc&doc_id=6713&doclng=6&menuzone=1
Mabrito, M. 2004. Guidelines for establishing interactivity in online courses. Innovate 1
(2). Retrieved August 27, 2007, from http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=12
Painter, C., Coffin C. & Hewings, A. (2003) Impacts of directed tutorial activities in computer conferencing: a case study. Distance Education 24(2): 159-174.
Pelz, B. (2004). (My) Three principles of effective online pedagogy. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 8(3). Retrieved May 31, 2011from http://sloanconsortium.org/sites/default/files/v8n3_pelz_1.pdf. Requires login.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1962) Thought and language. (E. Hanfmann and G. Vakar, Trans.) Cambridge, MIT Press. pp. 344.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 159.

‘The Native factor’ Silvana’s plenary – IATEFL 2016 Day 2

‘The Native factor’ Silvana’s plenary – IATEFL 2016 Day 2

IATEFL 2016 Plenary Day 2

Silvana  Richardson

Silvana introduced herself: she is not tall, she is not male, not single, not an atheist, not a sport, not fantasy buff, not a native speaker. She was stressing that she is a non-native English speaker?

Why do we still refer to an aspect of the professional identity of over 80% of the teachers of English as a ‘non’?

IMG_20160414_091359

This is the reasoning;

  • The native speaker is the best model, the ideal teacher.
  • I am not the perfect model and not the ideal teacher.

Because;

  • I am a non-native speaker.
  • I can’t be a good English teacher.

Silvana gave us results  of some studies and asked to decide what the findings show.

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Silvana summarised by saying that students generally value professional and personal qualities over nativeness.

Both NEST and NNEST are perceived to be competence each with unique strengths. Preference is inconclusive. Some indicate both, some one, some the other.

 

Next, she discussed Discrimination and Recruitment.

A majority of the advertisements favoured NESTs and rejected NNESTs. This could be seen as a severe discrimination.

The presenter also talked about the issues of confidence and self-esteem.

It is about all teachers whose first language is other than English.

Silvana’s session was for me very special as well as significant.

In my view, this discussion is very educational and should be wildly continued.
I have been questioning all kinds of debates around ” who is a better teacher, native speaker or non-native language teacher?”
I have been teaching Polish as well as English for over 40 years.
As a Native Polish speaker, I have been a lot more stressed out teaching English because I always have felt a bit behind new expressions, phrases, vocabulary, and so on
I agree with James Alvis Carpenter’s thinking:
“ What does it mean to be an English, teaching professional? Is it the ability to speak English? Capacity to teach English? The professional credentials attendant to both? Or a combination of tangible and intangible elements—like the ability to speak English coupled with the ability to think creatively and connect with people from different cultures? ”
I believe that generally speaking, it does not matter if you are a native or not – native speaker.
The most important is to be a good creative teacher, with competence to motivate students to learn a language.
Passion for teaching, friendly attitude towards learners, love of the subject, a readiness to alter, a willingness to give, support and reflect are vital education skills.
Above all, it is essential to be a lifetime learner, so to continually look for the best ways of improving teaching methods. We should take courses to master teaching techniques.

Kiczkowiak, M. (2016). Current supporters. Available: http://teflequityadvocates.com/get-involved/support-us/. Last accessed 7th April 2016.

Here is the slide from presentation;

TEACHERS and SUPPORTERS

Picture1Silvana encourages to remember about;

  • Equal Opportunities policy

–Have one!

–Implement it

–Promote it (Be an EOE- and proud!)

–Use it to challenge customers’ prejudices and to explain your recruitment strategy

  • Recruit staff based on their qualifications, experience, the merits of their teaching abilities and their language proficiency
  • Create opportunities for collaboration
  • Create a working environment that values and promotes equality and diversityA screenshot from our kickoff event at the iTDi Summer School MOOC with Jason Levine and Chuck Sandy (by Leo JC)

IATEFL 2016 I’m a non-native English speaker teacher – hear me roar! (Dita Phillips)

Thank you for this post.
As a non- native English teacher, I am going to join this meaningful discussion.

By Marek Kiczkowiak

There are perceptions that native speakers of English make better English language teachers. Marek Kiczkowiak Opens in a new tab or window., winner of the British Council’s Teaching English blog award, argues that those perceptions need to change.Have you looked for an English teaching job recently? If you’re a Native English Speaker Teacher (NEST) then you’ll have seen an abundance of teaching opportunities out there. But for a non-native English Speaker Teacher (NNEST), it’s a different story.

Up to 70 per cent of all jobs advertised on tefl.com – the biggest job search engine for English teachers – are for NESTs (yes, I have counted). And in some countries such as Korea it’s even worse – almost all recruiters will reject any application Opens in a new tab or window. that doesn’t say English native speaker on it.

If you start questioning these practices, you are likely to hear one or all of the following excuses:

1. Students prefer NESTs
2. Students need NESTs to learn ‘good’ English
3. Students need NESTs to understand ‘the culture’
4. NESTs are better for public relations

While it is beyond the scope of this short article to fully debunk all the above, I would like to briefly outline here why these arguments are flawed.

1: The first argument gets repeated like a mantra and has become so deeply ingrained that few attempt to question its validity. Yet, I have never seen a single study that would give it even the slightest backing. On the other hand, I have seen many which confirm that students value traits Opens in a new tab or window. which have nothing to do with ‘nativeness’, such as being respectful, a good communicator, helpful, well prepared, organised, clear-voiced, and hard working. Other studies Opens in a new tab or window. show that students do not have a clear preference for either group. It seems then that it is the recruiters, not the students, who want native speakers.

2: On the second point, I believe it’s a myth Opens in a new tab or window. that only NESTs can provide a good language model. What I find troubling is that many in the profession assume language proficiency to be tantamount to being a good teacher, trivialising many other important factors such as experience, qualifications and personality. While proficiency might be a necessity – and schools should ensure that both the prospective native and non–native teachers can provide a clear and intelligible language model – proficiency by itself should not be treated as the deciding factor that makes or breaks a teacher. Successful teaching is so much more! As David Crystal put it in an interview for TEFL Equity Advocates Opens in a new tab or window.: ‘All sorts of people are fluent, but only a tiny proportion of them are sufficiently aware of the structure of the language that they know how to teach it.’ So if recruiters care about students’ progress, I suggest taking an objective and balanced view when hiring teachers, and rejecting the notion that nativeness is equal to teaching ability.

3: As for the third argument, most people will agree that language and culture are inextricably connected. But does a ‘native English speaker culture’ exist? I dare say it doesn’t. After all, English is an official language in more than 60 sovereign states. English is not owned by the English or the Americans, even if it’s convenient to think so. But as Hugh Dellar notes Opens in a new tab or window., even if we look at one country in particular, ‘there is very clearly no such thing as “British culture” in any monolithic sense’. As native speakers, we should have the humility to acknowledge that ‘no native speakers have experience, or understand all aspects of the culture to which they belong’ (David Crystal Opens in a new tab or window.).

4: Finally, the almighty and ‘untouchable’ market demand. Show me the evidence, I say. Until then, I maintain that a much better marketing strategy is to hire the best teachers, chosen carefully based on qualifications, experience and demonstrable language proficiency, rather than on their mother tongue. We are not slaves of the market. We can influence and shape it. As Henry Ford once said: ‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have told me: faster horses’.

Perhaps most significant of all, being a NNEST might actually give you certain advantages as a teacher. For example, you can better anticipate students’ problems, serve as a successful learning model or understand how the learners feel. Actually, in a recent post James Taylor went as far as wishing he were a non–native speaker Opens in a new tab or window..

However, I feel that the question Peter Medgyes asks is his article Opens in a new tab or window.: ‘Native or non–native: who’s worth more?’ misses the point slightly. As Michael Griffin has shown Opens in a new tab or window., the answer is neither. Both groups can make equally good or bad teachers. It’s all down to the factors I’ve been talking about here: personal traits, qualifications, experience and demonstrable language proficiency. Your mother tongue, place of birth, sexual orientation, height, gender or skin colour are all equally irrelevant.

So why does this obsession with ‘nativeness’ refuse to go away? Because for years the English language teaching (ELT) industry told students that only NESTs could teach them ‘good’ English, that NESTs were the panacea for all their language ills. But let’s be blunt and have the courage to acknowledge that the industry encouraged a falsehood which many of us chose to turn a blind eye to while others assumed they could do nothing. I feel this needs to change.

The good news is that positive changes are already taking place. TESOL France has issued a public letter condemning the discrimination of NNESTs. Some of the most renowned ELT professionals such as Jeremy Harmer and Scott Thornbury, as well as organisations such as the British Council Teaching English team have already expressed their strong support for the TEFL Equity Advocates Opens in a new tab or window. campaign I started, which fights for equal professional opportunities for native and non–native teachers.

And you can help bring about the change too in numerous ways that were outlined here. So stand up, speak out and join the movement.

IATEFL 2016 I’m a non-native English speaker teacher – hear me roar! (Dita Phillips)

Lizzie Pinard

Dita starts by telling us what her talk is NOT about – statistics, definitions, discrimination etc.

Then she tells us about Martina who was incredulous that it was possible to be Czech and teach English in Oxford.

Dita started learning English when she was 6 years old. She did her CELTA in Czech Republic, with British and Polish tutors. It was great for the NNS to have Polish tutors but it was never discussed, which was a real missed opportunity. Would have been good to talk about teachers as role models. She was one of the first NNS teachers in the first school that hired her, as it was new for them to recruit NNS. When she got to Oxford, applying for jobs, a number of schools told her yes your qualifications and experiences are good but we don’t hire NNS but finally she did get a job at a…

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This house believes that teacher training is a waste of time – See more at: https://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2016/session/eltj-signature-event-house-believes-teacher-training-waste-time#sthash.DR82hJrr.dpuf

This session was just excellent. WHY?

Do we teachers need to improve our teaching?

How about taking different online courses, learning new skills, trying new technologies…

Let’s think and talk about it.

Presenter(s): Graham Hall, Penny Ur

Session details:

Many people assume that a training course is an important – even essential – preparation for professional English language teaching. But does training really help … or is it just a waste of time and money? Should we call a halt to teacher training? Our two speakers will debate the issues. Please come along, have your say, ask questions – and join in the vote.

Speakers: Peter Grundy & Penny Ur
Chair: Graham Hall
– See more at:

https://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2016/session/eltj-signature-event-house-believes-teacher-training-waste-time#sthash.DR82hJrr.dpuf

How digital technology is changing our lives… and our language

Are we going to be able to predict the skills that people will need in 20 years?
Are traditional skills, for instance, reading, writing and arithmetic out of date?
Digital literacy, creativity, problem-solving, team-working and effective communication are essential in a list of 21st-century skills.
Technology is changing teaching, but education systems are keeping up with the transformation rather than leading it.

Oxford University Press

DeathtoStock_Medium5Diana Lea taught English in Czechoslovakia and Poland before joining Oxford University Press as a dictionary editor in 1994. She has worked on a number of dictionaries for learners of English, including the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and the Oxford Collocations Dictionary. She is the editor of the Oxford Learner’s Thesaurus – a dictionary of synonyms and of the ELTon award-winning Oxford Learner’s Dictionary of Academic English.

New words that enter the language are a reflection of the way people’s lives are changing. If we look at what is trending, we can see that new technology can bring with it new capabilities. There are wearables – computing devices that you can wear, such as a smartwatch – which are touch-sensitive and may be voice-activated. Superfast broadband and in-app purchase offer new opportunities, but there’s a new distraction in the form of clickbait – that’s a link or headline…

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Wideo, WeVideo, and Magisto – Three Good Tools for Creating Videos Online

Wideo, WeVideo, and Magisto – Three Good Tools for Creating Videos Online.

Wideo is a neat video creation service that allows anyone to create animated videos and Common Craft-style videos online through a simple drag-and-drop process. A couple of months ago Wideo started offering templates to help users start their video projects. Wideo templates provide a basic framework for a video’s theme. A couple of the templates that might be of interest to teachers are the slideshow template and the curriculum template.

Welcome to ELT Straight Talk

Straight talking from teachers and learners, where teachers and students will share their experiences about the ways they teach and learn.

via Welcome to ELT Straight Talk.

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