When people ask about what makes our program unique and different from other online World Language programs I could start with a variety of answers. I could tell you we offer LIVE virtual sessions. I could tell you about our rigorous, teacher built content, or I could expound about how engaging LIVE sessions in combination with our rigorous content renders many relevant ways for learners to succeed.
Yet, I would be wrong to start with the mode of delivery. The reality is – It is our teachers that make the difference. They are our HOW.
When it comes to engaging, rigorous instruction our teachers go a step beyond. We start with providing them with opportunities for continuous learning. And, they take us up on it all the time. Seeing teachers stretch themselves to remain relevant is awesome. In our last faculty meeting, we asked the teachers to try FlipGrid as a way to engage with learners’ from other countries and cultures. While this is a stretch for many, our teachers took the chance to practice with us and each other. One teacher even engaged in a lesson with students from Ecuador. How exciting to see learning happening across continents!
But there is more! Our teachers work with us and each other to continuously add relevant assessments and assignments. When it is time for learners’ to demonstrate their competency they have multiple opportunities to show what they have learned. Sometimes they might create a video, other times it could be a picture or a dialogue! Students can still write or draw descriptions of what they have seen, heard or experienced like they might in a brick and mortar classroom! They even take notes as they watch interesting videos in the target language. They communicate with each other as they work on assignments through text, email, and virtual meetings. It is fun to observe.
They have tried many resources and they share what they learn with us and each other when we meet monthly. We share a team drive that offers support and resources. We meet individually to help them meet their goals with students. They are motivated learners and they set a great example for the young people they teach.
One of the most important differences I find in working with this particular group is that they ask students to reflect on their learning, teaching them to think about their own strengths and not yet moments. I think this works because the teachers also have to reflect on whether or not their instruction accomplished the learning goal they intended. This allows the learners and the teachers to better understand where students are in the learning cycle. In turn, teachers can plan for live instruction that not only engages but is also relevant to the needs of the learners.
I am lucky, blessed, favored, charmed to get to work with these amazing teachers. What makes your teachers your HOW? What makes your teachers the greatest assets in your community?