Thursday, 12 February 2015

Week 4 - Evaluate, Moderate, Train

                            Coffee vector designed by Freepik

Week 4 in EVO is over and we are well into Week 5 by now. It was, in many ways, an exciting week for me professionally.

First of all, it was the week I moderated #ebookevo. It was my first time as a moderator. I was nervous to start with. I shouldn't have been, because I was moderating a group of enthusiastic, creative teachers.  I had the privilege to look at some chapters in making. I learnt a lot about new tools and resources. We discussed ways to engage learners and have them contribute to our ebooks, as well as technology elements that support learners. I will be forever grateful for this learning opportunity. I am officially an EVO moderator now.

                           Heart vector designed by Freepik

In the meantime, my trainer development course started on Saturday. I am really excited about it and, hopefully, it marks a new beginning in my professional career. Of course, I will have to work very hard to get the certificate.

In Teaching Pronunciation Differently, we explored sounds. What left the strongest impression on me this week, however, was this short video. In the video Roslyn Young teaches French sounds to a group of English-speaking teachers. Around 2' 37" she starts talking about "the subordination of teaching to learning" and something she calls "post-paration" (as opposed to preparation). Great stuff, don't miss it.

In Blended Learning we did Moodle workshops and the pedagogical focus was on peer-reviewing. We were asked to pretend we were B2 students, marking our peers' essays. The rubric we were given focused on the content and on how well the student completed the task. The first thing I noticed as I was "peer-reviewing" the papers was how difficult is was for me to ignore the language problems of one of the students and to focus only on the rubric. The student had done the task quite well, but there were numerous language mistakes. I believe it is important for us to teach our students to focus only on that one thing that we want them to review and leave everything else to the teacher. As teachers, we too can learn a lesson here. There are several different categories for grading writing, the student might do quite well in one, while having problems in another. We focus on the language too much sometimes, to the point that we ignore everything else.

Peer evaluation was something we did in EVO Fipped Learning as well. Our task this week was to view and comment on at least 1 or 2 other participants’ lesson plans, referring to these 11 indicators of flipped learning. I looked at the lesson plans of Jose Antonio Silva    and Yu Jung Han   and I was impressed by both. Then I went back and reflected on my own lesson plan. I started thinking about what we all have in common and, instead of analysing all activities one by one, I believe I started seeing the bigger picture. What our lesson plans had in common was that, once the students came back to class after watching the videos, they went straight to complex tasks where they were independent of the teacher. I know it is probably obvious to seasoned flippers, but to me this is a revelation. No scaffolding in class from easy reproductive tasks to the complex creative ones. That part happens at home. If you are not sure what I mean, you can watch classroom videos of a seasoned flipper and a truly great teacher, Khalid Fethi. Here's the first one, and then you can proceed to Part 2 and Part 3.

I would like to finish this weekly journey by saying a couple of words about ICT4ELT. This was my favourite week, because I got to play with various interactive quizzes and exercises. I discovered new ones, such as Learning Apps and Educaplay and rediscovered some old friends, such as Hot Potatoes, Quandary and Survey Monkey. You can see the quizzes and polls I created this week in this wiki page and, who knows, maybe you can find some use for them in your teaching.

OK, I'll sign off now. Next week, you can expect one more "official" EVO update from me. After that, I am planning to go back to the session wikis and explore some tasks I missed. I'll keep you posted.

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