Staying connected in an online class

Today I created another infographics with some helpful tips for online students in a language class. As many of our students consider returning to campus or taking classes remotely, it can be helpful to know that there are effective ways to continue learn a foreign language online. Many of these tips are valid for any online course, but others are specific to language learning: for instance, the suggestion to explore personal interests in that language, or specific ideas on how to handle recording and practicing pronunciation, and the importance of visualization techniques when studying grammar and vocabulary. These strategies are … Continue reading Staying connected in an online class

Tips for Building a Language Rich Environment Online

Sometimes teaching a foreign language online can feel like forcing a round peg in a square hole. Your LMS of choice is likely designed by Anglophone speakers for an English-speaking audience, which creates a constant friction between the two languages. If this is an obstacle in any format of foreign language instruction, it is an especially significant problem in online courses: after all, your course website is no longer just an aid, but the very environment in which the learning process is taking place. However, moving your course online can also provide you with the opportunity to build an immersive … Continue reading Tips for Building a Language Rich Environment Online

How to Select Tools for Online Learning

As many of us prepare to spend the summer adapting old courses for online learning, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. There are so many tools, software and technologies that can expand the learning experience way beyond the classroom, turning our repositories into complex environments that promote interaction and social learning. Here is an infographic I created, with my golden rules: six criteria that I follow when I need to select appropriate tools for an online course. Feel free to use it but do not forget to cite the source! #1. Alignment. It is very easy to fall in love with … Continue reading How to Select Tools for Online Learning

The Occasional Online Student

Since the COVID-19 pandemic upended our world, many of us have found ourselves teaching online—some dragged into it kicking and screaming, and others more enthusiastically so. But instructors are not the only ones forced to adapt: many of our students are in a similar situation. If you work at a traditional college, like I do, chances are that the majority of your students did not choose to enroll into online classes. They are being forced to adapt to a new context they do not necessarily view as an equal replacement. As newly minted online instructors, we need to provide an … Continue reading The Occasional Online Student

Role Plays and Simulations – Part II

In my previous post, I discussed some ideas about how to incorporate role plays and simulations in the foreign language classroom. I will now present a few strategies to use this teaching tool effectively. In your role play activity, you may want to follow these three steps: 1) Preparation or Briefing. The preparatory phase will include modeling activities, such as reading a sample dialogue or other supporting documents. This will equip your student with the language they need—the building blocks for their production—, while also clarifying expectations of the work to be done. The briefing is also a good time … Continue reading Role Plays and Simulations – Part II

Role Plays and Simulations – part I

Foreign language teachers, let’s be honest. At least once in our careers, we’ve all sat through stunted little dialogues with students muttering their order of “un panini with…. uhmmm… Proskiuttoh”, and we’ve all died inside a little. But I also remember how exhilarating it was, as a student, to play one of such activities in one of my French language classes. I had to pretend to have an altercation over a car accident. That day I, a chronically silent student in class, could not stop talking! Indeed, this is one of the main advantages of this kind of activity: sometimes, … Continue reading Role Plays and Simulations – part I

“The Privileged Poor”

I just finished reading this brilliant study by Harvard-based sociologist Anthony A. Jack, and I cannot recommend it enough. In this work, Jack analyzes different segments of population attending an unnamed élite college (which he identifies by the pseudonym Renowned U). He contrasts three different groups: African Americans and Latino students who come from an upper-middle class socio-economic background ; students from a socio-economic underprivileged background, who came to Renowned U after attending underfunded public schools (a group which he calls the “Doubly Disadvantaged“); and students from a similarly socio-economic underprivileged background who attended preparatory public schools thanks to scholarship … Continue reading “The Privileged Poor”