Alisa sent this:
I just don’t agree. We in the specific field of language education have the upper hand, but nobody seems to know it. I think that with (1) the 65%/35% grading system used in the Invisibles and (2) small personalized classes, it can work fine.
All we have to do is make sure that there are limited (10-14) kids in the screen (and if we have a big screen then we can handle more (14-24) – anything more than 24 being impossible on Zoom, by my estimate. Those numbers can be tested over time and decisions about class size made.
What the small classes allow us to do is GET TO KNOW EACH KID IN EACH BOX. Then the teacher won’t be teaching “into a vacuum”, but rather to the standard of communication.
So how exactly is the problem of “teaching into a vacuum” solved?
1. We grade using a rubric and quick quizzes according to the interpersonal skill of the Three Modes of Communication, which is far more accurate than homework, tests, etc. and WHICH DO NOT ENGAGE LEARNERS. FINALLY, WE HAVE A CHANCE to award the first true and accurate grades in the history of our profession because they are 100% in alignment with the standard and the research, which classroom sadness simply doesn’t happen in physical classrooms!
2. Each face in the Zoom format is visible, which allows us to interact with the child through eye contact, and again, GRADE ACCORDING TO THE STANDARD.
3. We use Categories A-F to make it all interesting enough so that the kids not only (1) naturally pay attention to our instruction, but also (2) ace the quick quizzes which make up 35% of their grade, since those quizzes require only that the child be present and listening – that’s how easy they are.
It’s no longer business as usual in language education. It’s better. But we have to change what we are doing. This process starts with kissing the entire targeting of high frequency lists, thematic units, semantic sets, backwards planning of lists for the novels (which never worked), etc. goodbye.