I like a challenge. Came across te@chThought on Twitter’s reflective teaching 30 day blog challenge, and I accepted it. It’s the start of a new school year, and I have some goals in mind for what I’d like to accomplish with my learners this year. Also, this challenge involves less ice.
The 30 Day reflective teaching challenge is a good jumpstart for me because I sincerely want to keep blogging on my experiences with technology in the ESL classroom with adult learners. Started my blog over a year ago with the intention of just blogging the summer of 2013, i.e. my blended learning initiation. Then I was asked to speak to my professional organization about the benefits of blogging as a reflective writing tool. I highlighted some of the best and most inspiring teacher/instructor blogs in the blogosphere. Then stopped blogging. Or, at least, regularly.
It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish. I’ve had lengthy lapses in writing because sometimes I stare at the screen and think that there’s no way I can compare to a Larry Ferlazzo or other great language teacher-bloggers out there. Whatever I have to say, s’been said, tweeted, retweeted, or otherwise blogged about.
If there’s anything I dislike, it’s being unoriginal. Also, never been a fan of peas.
Thus, day #1 Challenge – Write your goals – be as specific or as abstract as you’d like to be.
My plan is to develop as an instructor and to absorb as much as I can at conferences, share and collaborate with colleagues, and shine a light in the maze of techno mumbo-jumbo that’s out there, scaring non-techie ESL teachers/instructors back into their caves.
Sometimes I can feel a little like Alice in Wonderland – take a bite of this and see what happens, take a drink of that (LMS/blog/Socratic/Smartboard?Emondon/Moodle/D2L) and see whether we shrink or swell. What I’ve discovered is that learners are not frightened away by technology; they want to learn and use it, become literate in it, grow and develop with it, but they need a steady hand, guidance, and someone to walk them through the weird, wily world of the www. Educators who are on board with technology as a tool in the classroom and convey enthusiasm and passion often find this contagious. As is the reverse scenario.
Goal #2: Set up my first night school multi-level LMS using Moodle. Set up easy to use, basic computer competency tasks for beginning learners. Find a way to include constructive feedback or assessment at least once per week with the night school class.
Goal #3: Haunted House or Flip the House? Do I want my major project for my ESL SLT Home Depot class to be creation of a Haunted House or will I have them find an old house here in the city, and then present a flipping plan? Haven’t decided yet and may actually do both, but need to figure out a more complete plan, what my objectives are (developing projects and plans, using steps, tools, materials, instructing others etc). My goal is to have this figured out by the end of the week.
Goal #3 (corollary): Keep a task-based lesson plan journal on one specific task. Include reflective writing on what went well, what didn’t work out, lesson objectives, assessment rubrics, etc. Take pictures of the process and compose a “How I Did Task-Based…” eBook. Include online components of the task. Publish. Become famous. Get a shady agent who makes me adapt a pseudonym.
Those will be my goals, some abstract, some specific.
Fist bump. Signing Out.
– J. Eleanor Wolverhampton
(I thought my pseudonym ought to sound British.)