Teaching Foreign Language

Halina Ostańkowicz-Bazan blogs from Poland about different approaches used to teach and learn online. She discusses active learning and how to encourage students to become more active rather than passive recipients of lectures. She describes how blended learning can provide opportunities for students to become more engaged and take advantage of new technologies and mentions the importance of learning meaningfully.

My experience tells that I ought to practice active learning principles to progress activities for my students that best mirror my particular communication style and the topics, forms of thinking, and strategies to the problems which are needed to understand and relate to the topics. This is how I work on creating my “active learners”.

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So how do you use technology in a classroom?

E-WOT blog asks

Wouldn’t it be great if we could see how others teach using technology and they could see what we do? How could we showcase this ? How could we share? Seeing someone else use technology in a classroom gives food for thought and ideas for implementation. What they do can really make you think or encourage you to further develop your own ideas

They describes examples with a couple of student teachers and dsescribed the the different styles they used for helping their students learn vocabulary whether it was using the computer first or practising the vocabulary and trying to find it on the screen

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DeGraff awarded $1 million NSF grant to continue linguistics research in Haiti

Peter Dizikes reports on the award of this grant to Michel DeGraff whose research has specialised in use and origins of Creole language.

Along with this research, DeGraff has helped initiate a project, Open Education Resources (OER), intended to develop Creole-language classroom tools. The NSF grant will enable OER to create and disseminate those tools in the so-called STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

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Speaking notes from Special Chiefs Assembly on First Nation Education: National Chief Shawn Atleo

via Working Effectively with Aboriginal Peoples™.com, this speech reflects on First Nation Education, the impact of educational policies over the years, looking forward to the future

When our young people do complete high school – they are twice as likely to get a job. When they graduate from university, their earnings triple. AND more importantly, it is these very students that are returning home, starting families and re-building their entire communities to become places of hope, independence and success.

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Sineva Laupepa describes her experiences from Fiji,  with co-ordinating an online course an how to engage students and encourage interaction.  She wonders about the use of English in online learning amongst Pacific Islands.

Catering for dependent learners will be challenging given that these learners went through an education system where they are ‘spoon-fed’ and dependency on the teacher is high. This type of system breeds passive learners who in their tertiary education are required all of a sudden to be active and independent learners.

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Dansksimulator i 3D fra Vejle

Mads Bo-Kristensen on the Vejke Digital Schools blog reports on the development of Dansksimulatoren which is an online speech recognizer based language learning platform for foreigners to learn Danish. It was tested and evaluated at three language centers over six months.

The final report, prepared by UNI-C, an agency under the Ministry of Children and Education, concludes that Danish simulator is able firstly to create savings, but also being very well received by brugerne

Video and details of the reports

Remembering Somalia

Barbro Kalla remembers teaching Swedish to Somalian refugees and how her understanding of Somalia was increased with the interaction with her pupils, even though it was initially difficult to communicate

There and then I followed the news together with my pupils who had been sitting in the basement of their house hearing and experiencing how their home was destroyed. After that they left their country with their mothers and without any choice of their own, they ended up in a small community in northern Sweden. They were the first pupils in the school from the continent of Africa. All their relatives had been spread by the wind all over the planet. Where their fathers and older brothers were they didn´t know. Not to be able to communicate with written letters made me realize the meaning of the sentence; A non-functional infrastructure.

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