Reflective Teaching Day 24: Learning Trends

Which learning trend captures your attention the most, and why? (Mobile learning, project-based learning, game-based learning, etc.)

This is such an interesting one for me because right now my teaching is undergoing such a huge change that it’s hard to say what captures my attention! Increasingly in the world of world language teaching, classrooms are moving from being grammar/vocab based to a more proficiency based system. Some awesome teachers have been doing this for a long, long time with great success, but I would think that they are in the minority. At least in my experience in the classroom, whether as a language student, a student of education, or as a teacher meeting my peers from other districts, I’ve never seen anyone who does quite what I’m doing now. Of course, the Internet is full of people who have made what I think of as “the switch” and some of those “traditionalists” are very successful in their own way.

I’m still figuring out exactly how all this is supposed to work. How much Spanish should I really speak in the various levels? When should the students be allowed to speak English? How do I get the students to understand grammatical concepts without actually “teaching” them in the traditional manner? These are all questions for other posts on other days and for langchat discussions.

But all that to say this: I don’t know what over-arching trend in teaching appeals to me the most. The idea of a “flipped classroom” is pretty neat, but if I’m not overtly teaching grammar, then do I really even need to bother with that? Or should I incorporate some aspects of it for those kids who really want to know the rules and patterns, and make traditional notes and explanations available online?

Project-based learning is definitely something that I think I could get behind. In the world language classroom, it seems like a great way for kids to learn through their own exposure to and need for the language. This is something that, if I get brave one day, I’d like to try for a unit or maybe a week. But I’m going to have to learn a lot more about best practices for project based learning before I get to that point. Game-based learning appeals to me for a similar reason, and because I’ve always heavily incorporated games into my class. But honestly, I’ve never heard of it before now, so I’ll have to do some research.

The biggest trend that I’m interested in right now is definitely a world language trend. I guess the best name for it that I know is the “comprehensible input classroom”. Using the language & authentic resources to teach the language in a more natural way than the traditional drill & kill, grammar & vocab that I’ve used in the past. Sure, I may not get through as much material, but the goal is that the students will have internalized it, rather than just memorized for a few days in order to get a mediocre score on a test. I’ll let you know how it goes when I get a little further along.


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