My distance teaching is centered on CORRESPONDENCE METHOD – method of providing education for students who are not on-campus and who receive lessons and exercises through emails or some other device (WeChat) and, upon completion, return homework for assessment.
My distance teaching method is quite simple on the surface, but it is intended as an opportunity for intermediate-level students to develop confidence in speaking. At the same time, it is also geared towards improving listening, reading, and writing skills.
On the day when we are supposed to have a class, I provide my students with a link to a new lesson. The students have one or two weeks to study the material (and get in touch with me via WeChat in case they have questions) and report their homework via email. Homework assignments involve recording mp3 (for pronunciation drills, reading out loud practice), filming video presentations (for speaking tasks), completing grammar and writing tasks.
In one or two week time (depending upon the amount of work the students have to do), they get my feedback on their homework performance.
The sample materials are attached. Besides, the school officials may track my online teaching here:
It can be recorded that the students’ attitude to my distance teaching is positive. All students are pleasantly disciplined: they submit their homework on time, according to the set timeframe. Among other advantages, I would mention the following:
· Students are different: some of them simply learn better when they have much time to peruse the material.
· I am given an opportunity to listen to and assess EVERY student in class which is problematic to do in a traditional classroom with 30-35 students.
· Students have no fear to make a mistake.
· Shy students are willing to express their opinion.
· Presenting content at a distance is usually more time consuming than presenting the same content in a traditional classroom.
· Distance teaching typically does not rely on high-level interaction with students.
· Groupwork cannot be offered.
· Students learn on their own without any encouragement or advice from fellow students.
I am of the opinion that some elements of the course could be used in a traditional classroom with students who are not diligent or well disciplined. These students could be offered the correspondence lessons to compensate for their academic backlog.
Online Teaching Feedback
--- Cranmore Lydd
Personally, I have found that there are two major challenges to online working and online classes.
The first challenge that I have faced giving classes online has been a lack of access to materials. Usually, I refer to my books, notes and other resources that I have built up over the last several years, but without those, I have had toadapt the way I construct courses. I’m fortunate to know the subject of literature very well and also have plenty ofexperience teaching spoken English. In some ways, the new way of working has made the classes fresher, as I don’thave the old materials to hand, so everything is getting updated/re-written. With plenty of time available due to currentcircumstances, the challenge has actually become a positive.
The bigger of the two challenges is the delivery of the classes. Anyone who has attended any of my classes willknow that there is a lot of movement in my class, an element of spontaneity, and a general level of energy and enthusiasmthat is hard to replicate without physically being in class with the students. It is easier to focus wavering attention in areal classroom and I find it easier to motivate students if we are all there together. This problem is not so easy to solve.
Students’ efforts have been good, now that we have got through some minor teething troubles.
? The literature classes I teach are familiar with my expectations and the level of work they need to do. Theirhomework is comparable to that of last semester.
? Spoken English class has been interesting. The spoken reports have been very good. Some are emailed to meothers sent to the WeChat group so that we can all hear each other. Very encouraging.
? The movie course has been a little harder to get going, homework-wise. As an elective, I think a number ofstudents lack the enthusiasm for a compulsory course, I’ve observed this before. I also think many studentsstruggle with the English, and I get a lot of homework assignments either submitted in Chinese or clearlytranslated/copy-pasted from the Internet. This is getting better, and the standard of homework is improving. I’m fairly sure lots of students don’t watch the movies I suggest in their entirety.
? Overall, there is much more trust required, but I believe students are following instructions and making effort.
Despite the trying circumstances and overwhelming feeling of uncertainty and desire to get back to Shaoxingand start working, the situation is going well in my opinion. The global nature of the crisis, family in both the USA andUK [both COVID19 hotspots] causes constant worry, but the challenge is actually quite positive.
I think there is always a risk that as teachers we can become stuck in routines, to rest on our laurels. Any traceof complacency has been shaken by this crisis. As teachers, we need challenges in order for us to progress and develop,in much the same way as students. Lack of materials, dodgy Internet connections, constant worry… these should betaken in a positive way. Hopefully the extended break will also galvanise us and give us the extra shot in the arm toreturn full of enthusiasm and grateful to get back to what we love doing.As you can see, working conditionsaren’t ideal, but not too bad. Luckily,I’ve had a laptop lent to me and I’ve gota lot of materials stored on GoogleDrive, which I’m very glad I did!