A fresh approach that takes homework from a crying mess to the debonair man about town!
When you think about homework, which of the two Haikus below resonate more with your feelings about it?
Endless tasks, they pile,
Weary minds, a ceaseless weight,
Homework's heavy toll
Books and thoughts align,
Tasks before the midnight chime,
Learning in each line.
Well, the truth is homework works! Assigned projects and tasks to be competed outside of classroom hours are the norm in most legitimate schools. There are clear benefits that result from thoughtfully planned homework that is monitored by teachers and diligently completed by their students. The challenge lies in making sure that the content of the homework complements and supports the goals and content of the classroom sessions. One innovative approach that has gained popularity is the blending of three emerging teaching styles: synchronous and asynchronous teaching and the flipped classroom. This approach has already proven to be a versatile and effective way to engage language students. When used properly, it can create a dynamic classroom experience virtually or in person. In this blog post we will unpack this approach and introduce a new homework option. Additionally, we will explain a new service to help you find work. Lets get started!
What is Synchronous Teaching?
Synchronous teaching refers to education in which the interaction between instructors and students, as well as among students themselves, occur in real-time, simultaneously, and at scheduled times. This means that participants are required to be present simultaneously, typically through live sessions, webinars, video confrences, or traditional in-person classes
Synchronous teaching is often used in traditional classroom settings, live webinars, virtual classrooms, and video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams.
Our TESOL/Language Instructor Modular course has been taught in this manner for four years now. However, we have recently introduced the first phase of a new blended teaching model by integrating asynchronous training into our certification course. More later on how we intend to incorporate a flipped classroom into our renowned program. First though, we need to answer the question:
What is Asynchronous Teaching?
Asynchronous teaching is an approach to education where students have the flexibility to engage with course materials, assignments, and discussions at their own pace and according to their own schedules. Key features of asynchronous teaching include:
Self-Paced Learning: Students have the freedom to access course materials, pre-recorded lectures, readings, and assignments at any time that suits them.
Flexible Scheduling: There are no fixed class times, allowing students to adapt their learning to their individual needs and time constraints.
To recap, synchronous teaching is like a live classroom where everyone learns and interacts at the same time, usually through video calls or in-person classes. Asynchronous teaching is more flexible, where you learn on your own schedule by watching videos or reading materials, without the need to be present at a specific time. Ok, but what does all this have to do with homework?
The Flipped Classroom: Making Homework Cool
Traditionally, homework is something assigned to do after class as a review of what was taught. Some teachers may pile the homework on in the hope that at least some of it will be done and that some of the main points of the curriculum will sink in. This is similar to how some countries impose unreasonably high taxes on the populous because they calculate that many, if not the majority, of taxpayers, underreport their earnings. This approach, when applied to homework, has several drawbacks. One example is that when students are required to to a lot of homework but their efforts are not practically reviewed and/or rewarded in subsequent classes. Consequently, many tend to lose motivation and the will to study. For effective learning, we must employ the principle of self-referencing, or in other words, the students should see and experience tangible benefits to themselves in any efforts they make. So how can we make homework work? We can use the flipped classroom model.
A flipped classroom is an instructional approach that reverses the traditional structure of teaching and learning. We will apply this model to teaching a language. In a traditional classroom setting, students typically receive instruction (i.e., a lecture) from the teacher during class time and then complete assignments or homework independently at home. In a flipped classroom, this model is flipped or reversed. Here's how it works:
Pre-Class Learning: Before coming to the physical or virtual classroom, students are provided with access to instructional materials such as pre-recorded video lectures, readings, or other resources. These materials cover the core content of the lesson or topic. Resources like videos that explain grammar rules (Youtube is a great source), articles or audio lessons are abundantly available online. So the “homework” is assigned not as a review after a class but rather as the introduction of an upcoming class. The students start off as the teachers-teachers of themselves. There will undoubtedly be gaps in understanding but they come to class ready to have these gaps filled in part two of this model which is…
In-Class Activities: When students attend the classroom session, instead of listening to a lecture, they engage in active learning activities. This is where our Language Instructor course shines as the means to empower the students with confidence to speak the target language. With over 30 dynamic methods to employ our graduates fill their classrooms with the sound of conversations in the target language.
Using the flipped classroom model, how could this look in a sample lesson plan for teaching three of the most common uses of the present simple tense of English? Of course, we will suggest of few of our great methods in there!
Try this on for size:
Lesson Plan: Introduction to Present Simple Tense Using the Flipped Classroom Model
Grade Level: Intermediate English Learners (A2-B1)
Objective: By the end of this lesson, students will be able to use the present simple tense to describe routines, facts, and habits correctly.
Pre-recorded video lecture on the present simple tense
Printable or online based handouts with exercises.
Before Class (Asynchronous Learning-Flipped Classroom Part):
This should only take about 10-15 minutes total.
Assign students a pre-recorded video lecture, or a well done YouTube video. (around 4-8 minutes in length) explaining the present simple tense, its uses, and some examples. The video should be uploaded to a platform accessible to all students or a link can be sent to them.
Using Google forms or some other platform, having the student complete and submit exercises related to the video.
During Class (Synchronous Learning):
Engagement Activity - 5-10 minutes:
Start the class with a quick review of the video content. Ask students if they have any questions or need clarification on the concepts discussed in the video.
Possible Methods to use at this stage: (Click the link to read more about these methods)
Dual Text Translation
Interactive Practice - 25 minutes:
Divide the rest of the time into 10-15 segments and use a different method learned from our course in each segment. Remember, same material using different methods. For example, with this content I could use these methods:
Neural Gym Workout #1 Balloons
The important thing is that you reinforce their pre-asynchronous learning with plenty of student- centered activities.
Important Things to keep in mind when using a flipped classroom model
Naturally, for the flipped classroom to be effective, students must complete the asynchronous pre-study. Some schools will not permit a student to attend a synchronous lesson unless they have completed the asynchronous pre-study material. However, if teachers keep the asynchronous homework part short, succinct and relevant to all activities in the synchronous part of the lesson, the students will see immediate benefits when they produce the lesson in the classroom.
Find Online Work Kickstarter Program
It looks like the slump in demand for language teachers that occurred just after the pandemic ended is over. There is an abundance of online and in-person jobs available now. However, you might still be nervous about where to begin to even look for work; how to tackle the extensive to-do list necessary to complete even before you apply for a job; the frustratingly complex mountain of paperwork that needs to be done in the right order once your application is accepted; the possibly overwhelming project of making a demo or profile video and the list goes on and on. Well we completely understand your pain because we have gone through it all! And, more importantly, we have succeeded! To that end, we are proud to announce a new service to help you accomplish all of these tasks and get you working as soon as possible. It is called our: Find Online Work Kickstarter Program
With our expert and patient help we can help you navigate through the hoops you need to jump through to land your teaching job. This 5 hour program includes the following services
Help you to prepare or finetune your Resume/CV
Help you to set up your Linkedin account, if you don't have one already.
Having a professional-looking Linkedin account is a great way to attend free webinars and connect with online teaching platforms. Sometimes recruiters will contact you directly to offer you work.
Help you to record, edit and finalize your 1-3 minute teacher introduction video and a demo video showcasing your amazing abilities and dynamic brain friendly methods
(Most online platforms require you to submit an introduction video).
In your last session with us, we help you to apply to work with at least three online teaching platforms that are currently hiring.
After purchasing this program, you will receive a welcome email, and a list of things you need to get together for your first session. We will contact you directly to set up your first appointment.