Isabelle Jones

Lockdown is continuing to be very hectic and intense for teachers. I asked my online teacher network about what lockdown has meant for them and this is what I am told…

Lockdown has highlighted the importance of students’ intrinsic motivation and home support and the large impact these have on students’ achievements. 

It has also shown that teaching needs to facilitate independence. For instance, some of the quietest students have been seen to produce amazing work that they would never have produced in class for fear of drawing attention to themselves.

Lockdown has also sparked creativity in many teachers, parents and pupils and in some case made parents realise what teaching really is about.

It has also created many opportunities for teachers to upskill, learn about blended learning, online learning and to reflect on practice.


Pedagogy and new tools - a few pointers

  • Focusing on fewer aspects of the language and guiding students’ practice to ensure complete mastery and success has come out as the biggest priority
  • Acknowledging the need for more repetition, practice and pace when learning vocabulary.
  • Understanding what it looks like from a learner’s perspective, keeping things simple and along a linear organisation allowing the teacher to reduce undue technical difficulties for pupils. 

Developing a principled approach like the one adopted by @BarriMoc  : retrieval, short video presentation, practice tasks (dictation, translation, gap-fill based on the content), reading task and a writing or speaking task using Flipgrid Everything is then put in one document with any resources hyperlinked to avoid needing to open and flick between multiple tabs including Textivate or Quizziz


Twitter conversations

Lockdown and teaching remotely have highlighted …

The importance of high impact, low stakes testing to inform planning as well as improve student retrieval and retention.

Learners love to be able to “pause” the teacher on Loom so pace of explanations during direct instruction may need to be adapted.

Learners benefit from creating sentences and actively applying vocab and grammar rules along with their own creativity. This gives all they/we are doing a sense of value, purpose and meaning. It creates a bond and link of learning trust between us even though we are remote.

In online lessons, it is a good idea to include a table of language chunks that pupils can use as a writing scaffold. Pupils can add in their own suggestions too. Extension vocabulary and structures need to be labelled explicitly. A simple example of an activity is to get pupils to read out their Target Language phrase. Teacher highlights (on zoom) Another pupil translates. Creative follow up offered for further practice.

Instructions are never clear enough! Remote teaching  has confirmed more than ever the importance of quality instruction, explanations, and modelling with a lot of comprehensible input and chunks instead of single words. Voice record pro is great for making your own listening activities. 


Finally, the CPD…

There have been so many opportunities for all teachers and especially language teachers to upskill themselves to deliver effective language lessons remotely. I have collated many of them in a Wakelet here , with the most prolific sources of CPD being the Association for Language Learning , through ALL’s webinars, Linguascope, Joe Dale’s MFL Twitterati group (#mfltwitterati on Twitter) and the Global Innovative Language Teacher Facebook group created by Gianfranco Conti and Dylan Viñales


Time to join the conversation!

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