Flipped Learning: Just another teaching template

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Task 1: Before reading this article, search for The Flipped Learning Toolkit on YouTube. Watch the first video entitled Rethinking Space and Time. Answer the following questions:

What is meant by “space”? What is meant by “time”? (Suggested answers are at the end of this entry.)

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In this article, the Flipped Learning pedagogical approach will be clarified and evaluated for its advantages and limitations according to available empirical evidence and through critical reflection upon its underlying assumptions. The author aims to show that Flipped Learning is neither revolutionary nor a universal remedy for under-performance in study environments. It does not constitute a method or approach but merely a template or framework for arranging work before and during face-to-face lessons. However, Flipped Learning does have several strengths and, in combination with more recently available learning technologies and complimentary approaches, represents one of many legitimate options for well-informed educators. This blog entry then goes on to provide examples of good practice and practical suggestions for educators who opt to experiment with Flipped Learning in their school or university.

“school work at home, homework at school”

What is Flipped Learning?   

This has been explained elsewhere so I will be concise. The simple definition provided above is memorable but a more precise one has been provided by the Flipped Learning Network, an online association of Flipped Learning practitioners:

“Flipped learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides [my emphasis] students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.”

In many descriptions of this approach, a caricature contrast is drawn between the ‘Traditional Classroom’ where the teacher acts as a ‘Sage on the Stage’ and the ‘Flipped Classroom’ where the teacher is a ‘Guide on the Side”. The sage is associated with transmission of knowledge, passive learning and content-coverage, in other words direct instruction. The guide is associated with learner collaboration, active learning and learning by discovery. The guide’s teaching style is underpinned by constructivist learning theory.

For such a major role shift to occur, homework tasks, which traditionally have been employed to consolidate knowledge acquired during face-to-face lessons, become the main classroom activity. Conversely, the input of new knowledge, instead of being the major focus of lessons, is designated for pre-class study.

However, students are not left to pre-study in isolation without support. For this pre-class phase, the teacher supplies a package of self-study materials to learners, typically short video presentations of key concepts. Students watch these videos at home and complete self-checking quizzes until they believe they comprehend. This means that valuable face-to-face time with the teacher can be devoted to a variety of activities that allow pupils to apply the ideas and extend their knowledge through, for example, case studies, interactive labs, project work or collaborative problem-solving. The teacher is present to monitor, provide guidance and feedback on tasks that activate higher order thinking skills.

Below are two illustrations of Flipped Learning, the first portraying the process and the second showing how it relates to Bloom’s Taxonomy.

flippedflowmodel

Source: http://blog.wepresentwifi.com/the-flipped-classroom

flippedclassroom

Source: Williams, B. (2013). How I flipped my classroom. NNNC Conference, Norfolk, NE.

Flipped Learning is thus intended to be a sub-category of blended learning, i.e. partially face-to-face and partially online. With the advent of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, learners may complete their pre-class work at a time and location that is convenient for them, and will hopefully begin to adopt a more opportunistic learning habit as a consequence.

Origins of Flipped Learning

Some educators react that Flipped Learning is nothing new. For instance, a literature teacher once commented to this author that he routinely asks his students to prepare for class by reading a chapter of the set text and answering surface level comprehension questions. Preliminary homework is also a feature of the method called ‘Team-based Learning’ (TBL) that was devised by Michaelsen, Knight and Fink (2004). (However, TBL in my view is unethical in that students are tested and graded on their preparatory studies with insufficient input and support from their teachers.)

Perhaps though, Mastery Learning is the true precursor of Flipped Learning.  Diagnostic pre-assessment and high quality group-based instruction are also features of this method devised by Bloom (1971). Mastery Learning was researched more rigorously than many other educational methods and results in terms of impact on learning were impressive. However, in the 1970s and 1980s there were practical hurdles to overcome when it came to implementing Mastery Learning. At the time it was criticized for being labour-intensive for teachers and unworkable with large classes of students.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) took a revolutionary step in 2001 by opening its huge archive of online lecture recordings to the general public. This spurred interest in free online learning and has led to the development of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) which are accessible through gateway websites such as Udacity, Coursera, edX and FutureLearn.

In 2007, Bergmann and Sams reported on their pedagogical experimentation in a US high school environment and have since become the authors of two popular books about Flipped Learning (see references). They have described their experiences in detail, focusing on the impact on individual learners. Their view of Flipped Learning is interesting in that they regard it as a catalyst for shifting from a teacher-centred to a student-centred pedagogical paradigm. I would argue that there is a time and place when teacher-centredness is advantageous and that the real goal is learning-centredness. (Please see my tongue-in-cheek entry on Learning-Based Learning for more about my perspective.)

At the time of writing, Flipped Learning remains a popular topic in education. There is particularly strong interest in Flipped Learning in the university sector, where educators are more likely to be required to deliver lengthy lectures and feel a sense of dissatisfaction with the format. Instead of making lectures interactive though, which is a perfectly viable option, they have decided to switch to a method that relegates lectures to homework.

Advantages and disadvantages of Flipped Learning

 

Pros Cons
1.       Students are able to watch short preparatory video lectures at their own pace and convenience. 1.       Video presentations lack the fidelity and subtleties of face-to-face lessons. Also, some learners will not watch the videos before lessons. The traditional lecture format and transmission model of learning are likely to be maintained.
2.       Teachers are present when students attempt to apply concepts, and can monitor and intervene as and when necessary to support learners. 2. Teachers are not present when students attempt to understand concepts and they cannot immediately react to students’ misconceptions.
3.       Short video lectures can be accompanied by self-checking quizzes. Students can attempt the quizzes as frequently as they wish. 3. If students give incorrect answers to self-checking quizzes, they may not understand why they are wrong.
4.       Students may work at their own pace through the video lectures and accompanying self-checking exercises. This is differentiation according to learning rates. 4. Students are typically provided with only one path to learning the key concepts, i.e. via the short video lectures. This is not differentiation according to modalities.*
5.       In Flipped Learning, there is a logical progression from the comprehension of concepts and rules to their application. 5. Flipped Learning assumes that learning should be deductive in nature. Sometimes, however, it is valuable for learners to discover concepts and rules by looking for patterns in examples.
6.       In order to create video lectures, there are many simple-to-use applications available nowadays. 6. IT skills and facilities vary considerably according to different learning environments. Teachers must ensure that all students have access to the video lectures outside the classroom.
7.       In this method, there is a strong emphasis on mastering content knowledge. 7. It is not as convincing that this method could help learners to master procedural knowledge, i.e. skills.
8.       Lectures are replaced by self-study so that students come to class armed with pre-requisite knowledge to explore concepts more deeply. 8. The role of seminars, tutorials and lab classes to explore concepts more fully and apply knowledge seems
to have been forgotten.

 

*Of course, teachers do not need to limit the type of pre-lesson study materials to video lectures. They could also indicate relevant pages of textbooks or provide links to pertinent websites.

 

Compensating for the disadvantages of Flipped Learning

The Flipped Learning Network (http://flippedlearning.org/domain/46)  claims that adherence to four principles is conducive to the quality of instruction.

  1. Flexible learning environment
  • Spaces and time frames that permit students to interact and reflect on their learning
  • Continual monitoring of students to make adjustments as appropriate
  • Provision of alternative ways to learn content and demonstrate mastery
  1. Learning culture
  • Opportunities to engage in meaningful, student-centred activities
  • Activities that are accessible to all learners thanks to scaffolding, differentiation and feedback
  1. Intentional content
  • Highlighting of key concepts in direct instruction
  • Creation and/or curation of relevant content, e.g. videos
  • Differentiation to make content accessible to all learners
  1. Professional educator
  • Availability to all students
  • Conductor of formative assessment
  • Collaboration with other educators in the spirit of ongoing development

The author considers these as general principles of good teaching and not specific to Flipped Learning. A more advisable approach would be an eclectic one, utilising methods as and when they are appropriate to the learning situation. There is no need to place Flipped Learning on a pedestal and use it whatever learning situation is encountered.

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Task 2: Go back The Flipped Learning Toolkit on YouTube. Watch the second video entitled Overcoming Common Hurdles and complete the following task:

List three solutions to problems implementing Flipped Learning. (Answers are at the end of this guide.)

Resources for Flipped Learning

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Task 3: Return to The Flipped Learning Toolkit on YouTube. Watch the fifth video entitled Which Tech Tools Are Right for You? and complete the following task:

List three types of technology that are needed for Flipped Learning. (Answers are at the end of this guide.)

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Learning Management Systems (LMSs) aka Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are secure, help teachers to organise content, provide numerous tools including online quiz creation and have the capability to track student progress. Universities usually subscribe to an LMS but there are also open-source options. Here are three suggestions:

Software applications to produce videos are plentiful but here are three unusual and interesting ones:

Teachers will need somewhere to store videos. Of course, YouTube is an option but here are three alternative free online hosting depositories:

Final thoughts on Flipped Learning

I am going to be so bold as to make an analogy, and I hope it is a close one, between Flipped Learning and a template for writing a cover letter. If I adhered to a recommended cover letter template and were shortlisted for interview, I would not conclude that it was the cover letter template alone that had brought me success. There was also the content, the paragraphing, the skillful use of language, application of accurate and complex grammatical structures, appropriate vocabulary, etc. So, why, in judging the outcomes of Flipped Learning, is it just this “template” that is considered the sole factor. Teaching skills and content, the ability of the instructor to motivate learners, positive interactions with and between learners, these are factors that make the real difference between successful and not-so-successful courses. Flipped Learning is just a template or framework to be used or discarded at the discretion of well-informed and trained teachers.

References

Bergmann, J. & Sams, A. (2012). Flip your classroom: Reach every student in every class every day. International Society for Technology in Education.

Bergmann, J. & Sams, A. (2014). Flipped learning: Gateway to student engagement. International Society for Technology in Education.

Bloom, B. S. (1971). Mastery learning. In J. H. Block (Ed.), Mastery learning: Theory and practice (pp. 47–63). New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Bretzmann, J. (2013). Flipping 2.0: Practical strategies for flipping your class. Bretzmann Group LLC.

Michaelsen, L. K., Knight, A.B., & Fink, L.D. (2004). Team-based-learning: A transformative use of small groups in college teaching. Stylus Publishing.

 

Suggested answers to tasks

Task 1: “Space” = classroom layout that is suitable for interactive group work ; “Time” = best use of face-to-face classroom time if concepts have already been learnt before the lesson.

Task 2: i) Provide flashdrives or DVDs to students who do not have Internet access at home;

  1. ii) Keep videos short so that students can concentrate optimally;

iii) Do not worry about creating perfect videos.

Task 3: i) Video cameras (even a smartphone’s)

  1. ii) Screencasting programmes

iii) Whiteboarding apps for tablets

Apps for self-directed learning

There are several kinds of apps that can assist you with your learning and help you to develop effective learning habits. Below are 21 recommended apps in 7 categories, and suggestions on how to exploit them.

Many are free to download, but for those which are not, e.g. iStudiezPro, there is usually a free version with restricted functionality. You can experiment with the free version to see whether you like the app enough to invest in the full version. Actually, there are hundreds of such apps on iTunes and Google Play, so why not try others, too.

When evaluating an app, one thing to take note of is its integration with other software and hardware. For instance, Evernote and StudyBlue accounts can be connected, making it easy to create revision flashcards based on notes that you have taken. Mindjet files sync from your smartphone or tablet to your desktop computer via Dropbox.

It is also worthwhile exploring the user guides, video tutorials and case studies that makers of the apps often provide. These can help you realize the full potential of the apps and consider alternative ways to use them.

Study planner apps

Using this kind of app can help get you into the habit of managing your time effectively. Besides keeping track of lectures and tutorials, study planner apps allow you to organize study tasks, assignments and projects according to course schedules, and to set your study priorities. These apps can also provide timely reminders to complete tasks and keep a record of your course grades.

IStudyPlan

istudiez-pro-review

 

My Study Life

Flashcard apps

These apps can be powerful revision aids. After identifying key terminology in your courses, you can create flashcards for important concepts and later be tested on your retention through a variety of quizzes. Progress is tracked and incorrect answers will be retested. Besides your own flashcards, you can browse and use millions of flashcards made by other learners.

  • StudyBlue (iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry)
  • Quizlet (iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows)
  • gFlash+ (iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry)

study_blue

quizlet_logo_large

gflash

Dictionary apps

Dictionary apps contain a wealth of information to assist you with academic reading and writing. Besides checking the meanings of words, you can see example sentences and find out common collocations. The thesaurus component in the apps can help you select precisely the right words for written assignments, and hearing the pronunciation of words can assist you with academic listening and speaking.

dictionary

merriam

wordweb

Mind mapping apps

You can utilize these apps in a number of ways. For instance, mind maps are great tools to capture and organize ideas for assignments and projects. They may also be used to rework lecture notes into a more visual format. Some learners employ mind maps as revision aids. These apps work very well on tablets, and the mind maps may be co-created online.

  • Freemind (iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows)
  • Mindjet (iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows)
  • iMindMapHD (Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows)

Freemind_logo

Mindjet

iMindMap

Bibliography apps

For higher education students, these apps can speed up the process of generating citations and compiling reference lists. With them you can scan or capture metadata and then they will automatically generate references in several styles, e.g. APA, MLA and Chicago. Whereas EasyBib is a free mobile app, Zotero and Mendeley are extensions for web browsers such as Firefox and Chrome.

  • EasyBib (iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows)
  • Zotero (Chrome, Safari, IE, Firefox, iPad/iPhone [Zotpad])
  • Mendeley (Any Web browser, Mac, iPad, iPhone,Windows phone, Kindle Fire)

easybibvectorlogo

zotero

Mendeley

Note-making apps

These powerful apps can do more for you than providing a convenient notepad. They enable you to collect information on an academic topic from anywhere into a single place. This information can be in many forms, e.g. images, text, web pages, audio/video clips.  The information can then be edited, annotated, filed, and even shared with other students.

  • Evernote (Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows, Safari, Chrome)
  • OneNote (Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows, Kindle Fire)
  • GoodReader (Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows, Kindle Fire)

evernote

one-note-logo

GoodReader_Logo

Scanner Apps

This kind of app can boost efficiency when working with text in several ways. Many kinds of text can be scanned as JPEG or PDF files, including handwritten notes and text embedded in images. Once scanned, you have the options to straighten, crop and combine pages. Those with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) enable export of PDFs to Word, Excel or Text files. PDFs may also be shared or printed wirelessly.

  • Genius Scan (iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows)
  • Evernote (Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows, Safari, Chrome)
  • CamScanner (iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 8)

Genius-Scan-icon

evernote

CamScanner

I hope that you have found this list useful. If you discover better apps, or new categories of learning apps, or new ways to use them, I’m all ears…

 

 

Learning-based Learning

LBLDuring the years that I have worked in higher education I have witnessed several passing methodological “bandwagons” onto which educators have jumped, and a little later jumped off (or surreptitiously slipped off ). For example, in recent times Flipped Classroom has become very trendy. A few years ago, there were high hopes for Second Life Virtual Learning.

For your reference, here is an A-Z of methods, or “Learnings”:

Action Active Adventure Applied Case-based Challenge-based Collaborative Community-based Competency-based Computer-assisted Concept-based Content-based Context-based Crossover Digital Discovery E-Enquiry/Inquiry-based Experiential Exploratory Flip (or Flipped Classroom) Game-based Hands-on Holistic Humanistic Incidental M-/Mobile Mastery Online Problem-based Programmed Project-based Second Life Virtual Service Situated Skills-based Student-centered Task-based Team-based Technology-based Web-based Work-based

Have I missed any?

I asked myself why such methods could hold attraction for educators and on what bases they should be selected.

One can see the apparent attractions of employing a method for teaching and learning. Both teachers and students should become comfortable with the routines and processes involved. Teachers should feel happy and confident because they know their chosen method was carefully designed to be consistent with à la mode learning theory. Institutions should feel happy because they can advertise their use of modern, scientifically proven, methods. The creators of the methods should be delighted with their influence on the quality of learning (and the royalties from sales of their methodology books).

The problem though is that so far no single method that has been proposed is able to suit all learning environments. Particularly with those methods that are based on something, e.g. problems, cases or skills, by adopting one method the educator is immediately restricting options.

Here however, with my tongue firmly in my cheek, I make the bold claim that my own method – Learning-based Learning or LBL™ * overcomes this difficulty by encompassing all of the other “Learnings”. LBL is amazing because it eliminates the need to think of the other methods as mutually exclusive, rival solutions.

In LBL, teachers are aware of all the above “Learnings” and select elements of them according to their judgment of the needs in particular learning circumstances, and for particular learners.

LBL is complemented by another method – Teaching-based Teaching or TBT™ – in which the capability to adopt LBL by untrained teachers, for example the majority of university professors, is enhanced through the requirement that, besides attending workshops about learning and teaching, they also progress through a substantial and rigorous teaching practicum. Thus, the connection between pedagogical theory and practice is strengthened in their minds through the inculcation of career-long reflective practice. Those teachers gradually become more sensitive to what is going on in their classrooms and better able to teach reactively, to teach in response to learning environments that are in constant flux. Armed also with an encyclopedic knowledge of all the methods, they can pick and choose from them in an informed and effective manner.

*LBL and TBT are not really trademarked

Life after CELTA and CertTESOL: Effective online professional development for novice ESOL teachers

Comments like the one below from Dave’s ESL Cafe’s Teacher Training forum prompted me, back in 2002, to investigate the instructional design and content of an online course or resource to help novice ESOL teachers continue their professional development. By ‘novice’ I mean teachers in the first two years of full-time work following completion of a pre-service certificate such as the Trinity Cert TESOL or Cambridge ESOL CELTA.

CELTA course inadequate

Posted By: Teaching in Korea
Date: Monday, 29 October 2001, at 3:36 p.m.

I finished my CELTA course in Australia this year and am now working in Korea. While the course was useful for a general overview, it was too fast-paced and it overlooked a lot of the practical realities of teaching e.g. level testing, how to teach exam classes, how to cope with discipline problems, how to set tests etc etc.

A four week course is not long enough to learn about teaching ESOL!!! I still have a lot of questions that need to be answered. I think the course should be at least 3 months full time to adequately cover what we will need in the profession.

I was aware from my own experience as a teacher and trainer that, after earning their certificates, newly-qualified ESOL teachers typically receive no additional professional guidance from training centres (except perhaps when these teachers immediately get a job at the language centre where they trained). Instead, it’s up to the first employers and the teachers themselves to continue professional development. This leads to disparity in the amount and quality of professional development opportunities in which new teachers may participate.

For novice teachers who have not yet had a chance to become practised at being reflective practitioners, or who work for an institution that provides few or no opportunities for professional growth, the result can be the sense of isolation described by Holmes (2000), ‘Teaching can seem a lonely career, with many new teachers feeling that they must cope with the job alone.’ Holmes wrote this about newly qualified state school teachers in the UK. The problem of professional isolation, I suspected, is likely to be more chronic in the world of TESOL because of greater distances and the lack of a statutory induction period and support overseen by bodies such as the UK’s Teacher Training Agency (TTA).

ESOL teacher trainers on pre-service certificate programmes, however great their efforts, are not really able to prepare new teachers for the tremendous diversity of TESOL contexts that can be encountered. Teaching situations may range from one-to-one business English, to playing educational games in English with pre-schoolers, to lecturing to over a hundred university students, and more. ESOL teachers encounter a broad range of cultural and educational heritages, learner expectations and motivations for learning English. Work ethics vary considerably from place to place as well as between public and private sectors.

There are factors that, traditionally, have limited the provision of continuing professional development in TESOL. Teacher educators are not expected to remain involved after the conclusion of certificate courses. In fact it states explicitly on the back of my own certificate that:

Successful candidates at this level will continue to need guidance from their employers to help them develop their potential and broaden their range of skills as teachers.

It is, however, not the intention that this guidance should be provided by the original training centre. Training centres are commercial, and have fulfilled their obligations by the end of the pre-service course. Another restricting factor has been that newly qualified teachers disperse all over the world and are often physically distant from their training centres. So, the amount and quality of guidance that these teachers receive is normally dependant upon their choice of first job, the willingness of senior colleagues to act as informal mentors, and their own ability and enthusiasm to reflect on and learn from experience.

My suspicion was that ESOL teachers need greater provision of professional development opportunities after a pre-service certificate. In particular, such opportunities began to seem necessary as preparation for the challenge of an in-service diploma course or MA a few years later. Moreover, improved continuity in professional development may benefit students and schools and promote the credibility of TESOL as a profession. Reducing disparities in professional development would also make it easier for potential employers to compare ESOL teachers who have the same number of years of experience. Such professional development opportunities could be provided online and made globally accessible.

I decided to verify my suspicions and to investigate how online professional development might fill the perceived gap. I conducted research on suitable professional development content for ESOL teachers in the first few years of their careers, on a suitable synthesis of online learning models and on the technical means to deliver professional development online. The research process involved both direct investigation and a review of relevant literature.

My direct investigations began with a pilot questionnaire of a small group of recently qualified ESOL teachers (who were my ex-trainees). Feedback on this questionnaire informed the design of a wider anonymous Web survey of 109 novice ESOL practitioners around the world. In addition, I conducted interviews with 11 ESOL teacher educators. Surveyed novice ESOL teachers’ suggestions for professional development topics were coded according to Cambridge ESOL DTEFLA syllabus divisions. Some valuable insight was also gained from feedback on the trial version of a Web site. I designed this resource, called the Certified English Language Teachers’ Improvement Centre or CELT-IC for short, in accordance with the preferences of those ESOL teachers who answered the pilot questionnaire.

I came to several conclusions as a result of the literature review*:

  • The evidence for a genuine need for online professional development opportunities for novice ESOL teachers is indirect.
  • There are many, many possibilities for the content of an online resource for ESOL teachers at an early stage of their career.
  • Models of online learning most recommended currently are inspired by cognitive or social constructivism.
  • Adult learning theory and reflective practice may be integrated without conflict into an overall constructivist approach.
  • There is a wealth of data and advice regards online course design, but relatively little for online resource design.
  • A voluntary online resource presents challenges for the successful use of online discussion forums because a healthy level of participation on such forums is only ensured when their use is a compulsory part of a course. The implication to me is that either the topics for discussion must be so interesting that users cannot resist contributing or online discussion forums should not be made a central feature of a voluntary resource.

The literature review revealed that direct investigation was required of the following:

  • an indication of the size, scope and extent of novice ESOL teachers’ professional development needs;
  • novice ESOL teachers’ preferences for professional development content;
  • whether the stated professional development preferences of teachers are what they really need;
  • suitable methods of instruction/learning;
  • the degree of direction required from the teacher educator who manages the online resource;
  • novice ESOL teachers’ preference for either an online course or online resource.

I analysed the survey and interview results and compared my findings with the literature review. Keeping in mind the modest sample sizes as a basis for making generalisations, I reached the following conclusions:

  • The professional development needs of novice ESOL teachers are sufficient reason for the development of online resources.
  • The surveyed ESOL teachers were strongly in favour of acquiring skills of self-management that are relevant to the workplace.
  • The highest priority for professional development topics was for resources and materials, followed by classroom management, TESOL theory and language awareness.
  • The teacher educators most frequently suggested language awareness and ICT skills as topics for professional development.
  • There appeared to be a preference amongst survey respondents for learning independently of other learners, but a design fault in a survey question put this conclusion into doubt.
  • Training modules consistent with a transmission model of learning (such as those at ICT4LT) and guided discovery tasks were the most favoured ways to learn online.
  • There was evidence of novice ESOL teachers preferring to learn from and through communication with authorities on TESOL rather than from and through communication with their peers.
  • The discussion of cultural issues and workplace difficulties could be beneficial in two ways – to promote reflective practice and to provide opportunities to develop skills to adapt to new work environments.
  • A majority of the teacher educators recommended strong direction for novice ESOL teachers in their professional development.
  • An online resource was much more popular than an online course, which has implications for the successful use of online discussion forums.
  • Guided discovery tasks appeared suitable to meet the demand for both clear direction and the preference for an online resource.
  • Download times should be kept to a minimum to reach as many novice ESOL teachers around the world as possible.
  • Some teachers suggested the use of video in online learning but this was brought into question by long download times in some parts of the world.
  • Web site navigation must be of a high standard to promote maximum usability and accessibility and to avoid user misinterpretation of the learning philosophy of the site.

Recommendations

To sum up,

  • Teacher educators deciding to design and manage an online resource for novice ESOL teachers should consult the particular      group about their security and privacy preferences. It is possible to have different levels of openness in different areas (pages) of the online resource. For example, on CELT-IC the training modules are completely open but joining the mailing list is subject to approval by its owner.
  • ESOL teacher educators embarking on the design, implementation and running of an online resource or course should assess      their own skills and develop new Web design, materials design and online moderating skills as necessary.
  • The content priorities are just that – priorities. If the online resource grows sufficiently, then a greater range of professional development topics can be included.

Additionally, I recommend the following research in order to determine:

  • the proportion of ESOL teachers preferring either solitary learning or learning with others, together with an investigation of the reasons for such preferences;
  • why novice ESOL teacher survey respondents favoured training modules and guided discovery tasks as ways to learn online;
  • how to accommodate the use of digital video and visual learners on an online resource when download times are a      constraining factor in certain locations;
  • effective ways to introduce users to online educational resources.

Large TESOL organisations interested in providing online professional support or ESOL teacher educators with financial support could investigate:

  • the logistics and financial considerations of larger scale provision of online professional development for novice ESOL      teachers;
  • the issue of course/resource recognition in providing online professional support in TESOL;
  • the attributes of various Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) such as WebCT or Moodle in order to choose one suitable to facilitate the promotion of novice ESOL teacher development and to simplify the authoring process for teacher educators.

Note

*This review included journal articles (e.g. Burt and Keenan 1998, Hawk 2000, Lloyd and Draper 1998, and Skinner 2002: 271) and books (see especially Holmes 2000, McVay Lynch 2002 and Salmon 2000).

References

Burt, M. and Keenan, F. (1998) Trends in Staff Development for Adult ESL Instructors. Eric Digest. URL: http://www.cal.org/caela/digests/TrendQA.htm

Cambridge ESOL DTEFLA Syllabus. URL: http://www.cambridgeesol.org/teaching/dTESOLa0104.pdf  

Dave’s ESL Cafe’s Teacher Training Forum. URL: http://eslcafe.com/discussion/dz1/

Hawk, W.B. (2000) Online Professional Development for Adult ESL Educators. Eric Digest. URL: http://www.cal.org/caela/digests/pdQA.htm

Holmes, E. (2000) Newly Qualified Teachers. The Stationery Office Books.

ICT4LT. URL: http://www.ict4lt.org/

(A Web site devoted to training language teachers in relevant ICT skills)

Lloyd, C. and Draper, M. (1998) Learning interactively at a distance: supporting learning, teaching and continuing professional development using information and communication technology. Journal of In-Service Education, Vol. 24, No. 1, p.87-97.

McVay Lynch, M. (2002) The Online Educator: A Guide to Creating the Virtual Classroom. Routledge Falmer.

Salmon, G. (2000) E-Moderating: The Key to Teaching and Learning Online. Kogan Page.

Skinner, B. (2002) Moving on: from training course to workplace. TESOL Journal, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp. 267-272.

Questions for teachers and teacher educators

Do you agree with my findings? Has the situation changed since this research was conducted?