After the five weeks of intensive UVa Startalk 2016 online and on site training, I feel more confident in using authentic material to teach beyond text, making lessons moreinteresting and effective with various technology tools, and designing carefully planned slides to enhance comprehensible input. I will incorporate these skills to engage and motivate my students in Chinese 1A, 3A, 3H, and AP this coming fall. I was especially anxious about teaching the new section of Chinese AP class next year with brand new textbook and 25 students of various proficiency level, now I feel better prepared. I plan to design the Chinese AP curriculum around thematic units, and use the Chinese Link Intermediate Level I text and the corresponding MyChineseLab online exercises to get students to the target proficiency level in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Through this program, I not only acquired practical teaching skills I also connected with numerous talented teachers who teach Chinese at different grade levels, who will be my best resource and support. I learned the importance of prelearning using flipped material in this program. Students came to class prepared to practice through dialogue speaking activities, video listening activities, and text reading activities. The pretask assigned customizes the class and influence the vocabulary taught; instead of learning the textbook vocabulary, students have a selection of
vocabulary relevant to their lives. This creates a very student centered interactive classroom, where students do most of the speaking, writing and thinking. In a flipped classroom, teacher’s main role is to push output through frequent comprehension checks, proper error correction, and frequent invitation of students’ responses.
When a skilled teacher leads discussion, though it may feel like freeflow chatting, it actually is preplanned with specific learning objectives and language functions. While planning activities, as soon as students are able to produce language by meaningful elicitation (i.e. Quizlet), class activities should be transitioned to communicative task (i.e. open discussion). Another of my delight in this program is getting familiar with the newest teaching technology tools wiziq, zoom, flipgrid, padlet, canvas, zaption, quicktime player, and youtube (my youtube account had zero video at the beginning of the program, and now has 34 culturally relevant videos in the target language). I can’t wait to try these technology with my students. Among these, I plan to use youtube to find authentic material, and use quicktime player and zaption to create flipped material. I plan to have students use flipgrid and padlet to post oral and written homework assignments.
In this program, each lesson material is synthesized from the best ideas and best work from our sixteacher lesson planning team. Although this teamwork experience is new and unfamiliar to me, which took sometime for me to work most efficiently in, I find that this collaborative effort is most helpful in creating the best teaching material and slide design. My strength in creating interesting games by using technology creatively helped in team. The team helped me overcome my weakness in creating cognitively overload slides by using limited amount of most essential visual information, keywords, and sequence of appearance of information. In the end, we served our best products to our students. I am grateful to have the opportunity to study under Dr. MiaoFen Tseng again this summer, and learn from Henny Chen Laoshi, the queen of education technology. I’m equally grateful to get the chance to collaborate with eleven other very talented teachers from around the nation to make this pioneering online Chinese teaching program a success in this first year. Before this program, I had my doubts in a true interactive online language learning environment, now I am hopeful for the future of online language teaching and learning based on the success of this model.
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