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by Erica Fischer on Jan 12, 2013

Foreign Language Teaching Resolutions for 2013

"Teacher Appreciation" featured photo. Place unknown. A foreign language teaching instructor with a student.

#Langchat participants discuss communication, technology and prioritizing in the new year.

After a very restful winter break, #langchat was back on Thursday night, chock full of plans for updating and invigorating the language classroom. Even though each participant had a different goal for their foreign language teaching, we have the common goal of having more interactive, engaging classrooms where students feel free to communicate and teachers feel less stressed

Focus on Student Communication

Almost immediately, it became clear that #langchat participants want to focus more on engaging students in their foreign language teaching classroom. @CoLeeSensei said, “I resolve to find more ways to give listening and speaking practice.” Some teachers mentioned finding that there is a distinct lack of communication after a lesson is completed. @Esantacruz13 lamented, “I want to hear more talking from students.”

This communication shouldn’t be one way, either. @SECottrell hit upon a very important point: feedback. “I want to give better and more prompt feedback to students and colleagues, but [I’m] not sure how to sustain that.” @Msfrenchteach suggested using Twitter to give feedback, such as classroom announcements.

More Engaging Lesson Plans

A number of #langchat-ers decided that 2013 is going to be the year of better lesson plans. @Shannon_Lorenzo said, “I feel like my whole curriculum needs to be overhauled and I’d love to use #authres as the inspiration.” @AudreyMisiano said she would be having students interact with native speakers in the classroom, and @MSKBordner brought up the idea of getting authentic audio through live videoconferencing.

Student engagement was also talked about at last night’s #langchat. @Marishawkins mentioned embedded readings as a plan for engaging her students more. @Esantacruz13 talked about her plan to have her students do active presentations each Friday. @Sonrisadelcampo made a comment that she was interested in student engagement outside of class as well. This year, she is developing an after-school language program that is taught by her high school students.

"Teacher Appreciation" featured photo. Place unknown. A foreign language teaching instructor with a student.

Technology keeps students interested and motivated, and also provides learning opportunities for the teacher.

Incorporating Technology Into Foreign Language Teaching

One of the most talked about subjects of the evening was technology in the foreign language teaching classroom. Many teachers are focusing on using social media, like Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter in the classroom and personally. @MartinaBex mentioned her goal to expand her personal learning network through using Pinterest. @Msfrenchteach jokingly replied that her goal was to, “force other teachers who are not on Twitter to join!”

There were a number of other technological elements that were a part of teachers’ New Years foreign language teaching resolutions. Using QR codes, Ipads and classroom management software were just a few of the technologies covered. Many teachers talked about the benefits of foreign language teaching management systems, like EdModo and Moodle. @SraHoopes shared her resolution to begin blogging, and many shared their favorite foreign language teaching blogs. The most talked about of the night? Lori Langer de Ramirez’s blog, Mis Cositas.

Slow Down and Have Fun!

Some of the best foreign language teaching resolutions shared were those from teachers who recognized that they were putting too much energy, stress and time into their classrooms. @Placido said, “I resolve to stop rushing through the curriculum and just enjoy teaching kids at their pace.” @SECottrell agreed, stating that she has recently opted to reinforce content that her students needed help with instead of moving to a new unit.

Additional Resources

Song Activities (Martina Bex)
French Writing Sample Essays for SMARTBoard (Task Magic)
Embedded Reading Blog
Edmodo is 24/7 Education (Audrey Misiano)
QR Codes in the Language Classroom (Ellen Cordiero)
Spanish Songs with Online Worksheets
50 Speaking Activities for the Language Classroom (Steve Smith)
The Language Educator (ACTFL Publication)

#LangChat is an independent group of world-language education professionals who come together every Thursday night at 8pm EST (via Twitter) to share ideas and discuss pressing issues in the world of education.  Check out the #LangChat wiki for more information about our goals and the team behind it all.

These weekly discussion summaries are sponsored by Calico Spanish as a service to the world-language community.

Erica Fischer
Erica is the founder and CEO of Calico Spanish. Her passion for teaching her own children to speak Spanish led her to create Calico Spanish. Our mission is to give all children the opportunity to learn to speak real Spanish for life.

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