Biggest Takeaway from ED358

My biggest takeaway from this class is that technology should have a purpose in the classroom. This sentiment echoes a previous post of mine, which went in depth on the ISTE standards and the SAMR Model. Learning about those two concepts have really helped me understand how and why I shouldn’t just throw technology into my lessons without intention. This may sound like a straightforward concept, but when administrators buy some shiny new technology worth thousands of dollars, teachers are expected to use it whether or not it actually adds to their lessons. So understanding the roles technology should have in the classroom helped me understand how I can try to integrate a wide variety of tools in a way that furthers my students’ learning.


Resources for Language Teachers

Since the beginning of my teacher education program, I have discovered so many great resources on pedagogy, technology integration, and second language acquisition. Because I’m a nerd, I want to share some SLA resources with you. Who doesn’t want to talk pop-up grammar, circling questions, PQAs (Personal Questions and Answers for those of you unfamiliar), and more?

First up, a podcast! Tea with BVP is hosted by Bill VanPatten, Angelika Kraemer, and Walter Hopkins. Bill VanPatten is an SLA researcher at MSU while Angelika Kramer and Walter Hopkins are instructors and directors of language programs at the school. In the podcast, you’ll hear great conversations about teaching foreign languages and the research behind methods like TPRS and Comprehensible Input. I really enjoy their discussions about more traditional teaching methods versus CI. Because I am used to more traditional classrooms as a student, I like to understand what those methods really do for language acquisition in comparison to something like CI, which I am determined to become proficient at. With my background, sometimes it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around ditching traditional methods like explicit grammar. Luckily, there is an episode of Tea with BVP that discusses the role of explicit grammar teaching in acquisition! If you have an SLA-related wondering, there’s probably an episode about it.

You can listen to Tea with BVP live on Mixlr on Thursdays at 3 PM ET. The show is also available on Soundcloud and iTunes. Not only is this podcast informative, it is also really entertaining. All three hosts are funny, friendly, and passionate about the topics they discuss. It is fun to listen in on their conversations. If you don’t just want to listen in, you can join the conversation during their live shows and call in with a question or comment! Overall, Tea with BVP addresses really important topics in the domain of world language teaching and has the backing of current research.

Next, Martina Bex of The Comprehensible Classroom is a great TPRS teacher who shares so many resources, tips, and tricks. I’m still very much in the middle of learning how to implement TPRS in my own classroom, and her blog has been such a great support. She has a whole series of posts to help you understand the very basic strategies of TPRS. If you’re a Spanish teacher, you’re especially in luck because Martina has curriculum maps and lessons for Spanish I and II. She also has some resources in French, and, of course, these can be adapted for any language. If you’ve never seen TPRS in action, she recently posted a clip of her teaching a demo lesson. See below!

If you’re just getting started, The Comprehensible Classroom is an indispensable resource!

Lastly, go follow Alina Filipescu (@FilipescuAlina) on Twitter! I first saw Alina at the Fall COACH Workshop (Bonus shout out to COACH Foreign Language Project, an awesome organization of foreign language educators based in Southern California. If you’re in the area in August, try to make it to their summer Kick-Off. I might be there!). At the workshop, Alina did a live demo lesson with her eighth graders. It was my first exposure to TPRS in action, and I was totally mesmerized! The level of engagement from eighth graders on a Saturday morning was unreal. On Twitter, Alina shares her favorite resources for TPRS/CI instruction. She also contributes to the blog TPRS for Chinese. Follow her to tap into the incredible TPRS/CI community!

Have fun exploring these awesome resources!