Virtual School Meanderings

March 22, 2016

SITE 2016 – World Language Teachers’ Transition From Face-To-Face To Online Teaching

As I mentioned in the entry entitled SITE 2016 And K-12 Online Learning, the the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) 2016 annual conference is occurring in Savannah, Georgia this week, and SITE is home to the K-12 Online Learning SIG.  That means that I will be blogging many of the sessions throughout the week.  The second session I am blogging is:

World language teachers’ transition from face-to-face to online teaching

  1. Binbin Zheng, Michigan State University, United States
  2. Chin-Hsi Lin, Michigan State University, United States

Tuesday, March 22 10:15-10:45 AM in Sloane View on map

Scholars and practitioners are increasingly coming to recognize that, practices that have been successful in traditional teaching do not always translate well when used online. This is especially the case in online second-language teaching. This study examines how CSL (Chinese as a second language) teachers perceive their transition from face-to-face to online teaching. The current study was conducted in a virtual high school in the Midwestern United States. Twelve online CSL teachers from a virtual high school in the Midwestern United States participated in individual 40- to 60-minute interviews about their adjustment from face-to-face to online teaching. All the interview transcripts were coded and analyzed using a bottom-up scheme, and a total of five themes generated, which reflected teachers adjustments in the managerial, social, and pedagogical roles that teachers play when moving into online teaching.

Full Paper
K-12 Online Learning

Binbin began the session with some background on K-12 online learning (e.g., Keeping Pace, Sloan-C reports, etc. from 2008-14).  With the growth of K-12 online learning, there is a need for teachers to be prepared to design and teach online.  This study was designed to focus on the teacher experience of world language teachers who transition from face-to-face to online, and what were the PD needs of these students.

The study was conducted with a supplemental virtual school in the mid-West.  The online world language teachers taught at the middle and high school level, using courses that were designed by the virtual school or leased from a third party provider.  As these were language courses – specifically 12 teachers who taught an online Chinese courses, the classes had a synchronous component that used Adobe Connect.

The Chinese teachers were well educated (i.e., 1 doctoral degree, 8 Master’s degrees, 2 enrolled in Master’s programs, and 1 with a Bachelor’s).  Most did not have online teaching experience prior to this current experience.

There were six themes:

  1. Classroom management
    • easier in online environment
    • higher motivation toward and more interest in learning a foreign language
  2. Course preparation
    • more time consuming
    • need to carefully select appropriate technologies
  3. Multimodal presentation
    • lack of body language and eye contact
    • multimodal instructional presentations
  4. Online flipped classroom
    • 2+1+2 teaching mode: 2 assignments for preview, 1 synchronous lan session,. and 2 assignments for review
    • students were required to learn the materials on their own prior to the synchronous session
    • the purpose of the lab session was to provide opportunities for students to practice and communication with each other using the target language
  5. Teachers’ role change
    • “knowledge giver” to “knowledge guide”
  6. Timely response
    • students could feel more isolated than in face-to-face classroom
    • importance of timely response to students’ questions and e-mails

Binbin spent a bit of time on the third point, with some screenshots to illustrate some examples of the multimodel presentation styles.

Binbin then transitioned to the results related to professional development.  She again began with some background – primarily from the Going Virtual! study that was conducted by Rice and Dawley.

The teachers reporting to receiving professional development on:

  1. effective communication
  2. technology-based skills
  3. language-based technology integration
  4. organizing and structuring instructional content
  5. online classroom management
  6. content-language sepecific knowledge
  7. finding and evaluation high quality resources
  8. accommodating different learning styles

They also asked what kind of PD they wanted in the future, and the teachers indicated:

  1. accommodating different learning styles
  2. finding and evaluation high quality resources
  3. language-based technology integration

Binbin noted that most of the top three requests from teachers were at the bottom of the list of how much PD they had received on each topic.

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