In Part 1 of this post about preparation strategies for synchronous sessions, I wrote about setting up your physical space. But once you’ve set up your rockstar teaching space, it’s time to turn to prepping your virtual environment.
Since March of 2020, when much of the world was forced into the world of online education kicking and screaming due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there have been hundreds, probably thousands of articles and blog posts written on the topic of how to survive when teaching online. But what language instructors tell me they long for as they scour the internet, is nuanced advice on how to teach languages online—advice that is bolstered by strong pedagogy and grounded in experience.
In the face-to-face part of my beginning hybrid Russian classes, I sometimes use games that involve game pieces that I have created using index cards. When our courses switched to fully online, I wanted a way to incorporate similar games in our synchronous online classroom.
During this pandemic, Zoom is being widely used for online teaching. As an instructor who teaches Chinese as a second language (L2), I have found Zoom’s Annotate function very useful in terms of promoting active learning and providing instructors with timely feedback on students’ learning outcomes.
Handwriting practice is arguably one of the easiest learning goals to shift to an asynchronous delivery mode, both in terms of demonstrating techniques and giving feedback to student work. Save your precious meeting time for student interaction and demonstrate handwriting techniques via pre-recorded videos.
There are a number of strategies you can use to demonstrate handwriting techniques online as well as give feedback on and evaluate student work. Choosing the best strategy for you will depend on your specific goals as well as what tools are available to you.