Telecollaboration 3

We are done of the telecollaboration project it only lasted for 2 months. The actual Skype chats took like 5 times or 6.

My reflections of this project:

Distance Education:

Coordinating distance education is a difficult and tedious task. It has its rewards; however, it needs lots of preparation and organization. Time difference was a real obstacle in the process of Skype conversations in addition to students’ enthusiasm. Some students kept this enthusiasm from the beginning till the end. Others drifted towards their busy lives, especially that they are not promised anything, such as a certificate.

Recordings:

We asked students to record their Skype conversations to follow up with their progress. Some of them have not recorded the conversations because they did not know how, although we gave them the names of websites to use to record conversations.  Some of them recorded the conversations on their mobile phones. Still, there’s the problem of uploading these conversations on a platform or sending them. Some of these conversations take long time in downloading.

Blogs:

Many students did not continue blogging; they depended on Skype conversations. Also, they talked about different things other than what they wrote their blogs about. So, they felt that writing the blogs has no use.
I have not figured this out as to solve this problem; how to connect blogging with Skyping.

Commitment:

Despite the fact I have chosen my participants skillfully based on their performance in previous courses with me, some of them were not that committed to the course and they slipped into their busy schedules. The good news is that only two of them were like that out of eight.  Not bad, isn’t it!

Not bad, isn’t it!

Results:

I need to sit with an expert to see how to benefit from such a project because I feel that it was a good pool for future studies;however, much needs to be done to have an accurate study and benefit from such projects.

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Tellocollaboration 2

I am in the middle of the project with the American university. There have been many challenges. For example, the lack of face-to-face contact with my students was one. I only communicated with them via social media or telephones because they were former students I have known through different contexts. I chose those whom I feel have the commitment to do such a project.

The first task for them to start the collaboration was to create a blog, then they should introduce themselves saying some interesting things about their lives. The American Teacher and I put groups together of 3s and 2s to comment on each other’s blogs and write 3 language mistakes in their blogs.

The second task was to describe your hometown through taking your American/Egyptian to your favorite place in your city saying why? We had them prepare 5 questions before they start talking with each other.

Challenges in this phase:

1- Technology; as students needed some time to use Skype and exchange Skype IDs.

2-Some students are lazy to do the tasks; they just put it off.

3- I had some challenges related to my context because I do not see my students, so I call them and email them regularly. I felt that if I have a face-to-face contact with them, I would have different and better communication!

4-Assigning tasks; the partner teacher I have is very helpful and understanding, but we as a team should have more cooperation as this could have alleviated many tasks that both of us at the same time, each for her group!

Telecollaboration Project

I will write a series of posts to record what happens in the tele project I am doing with a university in the U.S. The students are undergrads studying Arabic. They have different ages as some of them are over 30 studying at the university.

Finding The Partner University:

I was introduced to a website called Unicollaboration. This website is created for telecollaboration exchange programs.

I contacted a teacher and she willingly agreed to collaborate with me in this project sacrificing many hours of sleep.

After I agreed with her, I had to make sure of my students I have selected for this project that they are ready for the tasks of it. I kept contacting and emailing them. I contacted them by telephone making sure they know the commitment they are tying themselves into. The tasks, the nature of the project, etc…

The first steps:

1- It is to be research affiliated with the American university I am doing the project with. I have to take a refresh training on the ethics of research because this is a research done with human beings. I did this to be able to publish the results according to the IRB (Institutional Review Board).

2- It was to get students’ consent to use the results for research purposes. That part was difficult, especially many students ignore such emails.  A third party had to contact students other than me and the teacher who works with me in the project to get students’ consent.

3- It was doing a survey for students asking them about many things they would like to talk about, their preferences regarding gender of their partners, their knowledge regarding some websites, etc..

 

Will continue in a later post…. 🙂

Demos

Well, I have been working for quite some time at the American university in Cairo. I am a part-timer and it suits me well for the work conditions, hours, and many things. Lately, I started to apply for other full-time jobs though I haven’t worked for as a full-timer before seeing stability and all the benefits a full-time job offers.

Anyhow, I was requested to do 2 demos at two good private schools in Egypt.

The first one is about filling in a lesson plan and talking about it, then the panel asks questions about the LP. In this interview the task is set to teach upper-intermediate students for one hour how to write comparative and contrast essay.

The other is a demo and admin questions. In this one, the task is not set and you may choose whatever lesson you want to teach.

The challenge in the second was that I should come out with something that can be taught within 15 minutes. The two interviews went OK. Here are my reflections on both of them, the first One:

1- It shows evidently the panel the English proficiency of the applicant.

2- How skillful the applicant is in organizing their LPs

3- Their way of thinking in integrating the activities of a class.

4-A new method for me, instead of the usual demo, to show the skills of the teacher.

5- Takes more time and questions, which gives the applicant the chance to show their potentials.

The second interview was a usual one, just less than a 10-min presentation and the panel intrrupted me and asked me some admin questions.

Which one did I like better?

I liked the first one better, it displays the professionality of a teacher and his/her ability to write a lesson plan and justify their decisions in choosing the activities and the timing written in the LP.

How to choose sth for a 10-min demo?

1- Choose sth you’ve taught before(if not and they gave you the situation,google it starting with ‘how to teach…..’

2- Look for YouTube videos for any explanations.

3- Ask your personal learning network(Facebook, Twitter, etc…

4- There’s a good #Eltchat every Wendesday to chatch and you can hash tag them in many questions, sometimes members reply. Try!

5- Try to cool down, and be yourself… I know it’s not a tip, but I totally believe in destiny… if you’re destined to work at this place you would do and best of luck, enjoy the experince. It’s experince at the end of the day, so it goes both ways…. 😀

What Went Wrong?!

Well, I like teaching difficult courses, such as legal English. I have been teaching legal English for almost three years and I have been successful in such a demading course. Anyhow, I am blogging based on a friend’s advice to reflect on what went wrong in one of my legal classes. I had a session about Tort Law and I divided the session into explanatory session and then what I call it “open the book class”. I explain the difficult terms and then we do the exercises from the book. Last session for me as a teacher was a disasterous session. I had a text about Tort Law full of difficult terms and  I have to explain them. So, I was pointing at the word and explain it by writing it on the board or orally. The students were silent and one can feel that they cauldn’t understand anything. Then, we went on a break and came back trying to answer the questions on the passage. It was OK…

However, what was really devastating when we tried to answer a case brief about a famous case and we had some questions. Then, the class started to collapus. People went into debate about what’s in the case, the difference between the Egyptian and the American laws in this case. And I started to ask them what’s wrong? Or what is the difficulty in the passage, some of them said they were not concentrating or they can’t understand…

I have taught the first level in legal English more than bezilion times, but this is the first time I have difficulty at this level.

 

The demographics of the Class:

Lawyers, students, fresh graduates, English department graduates. The language level of students in the course is varied.

What went wrong:

1- I believe the amount of words given

2- Difficult terms in the case brief

ًًًًWhat I can remediate is that I will give them slips of paper to match the difficult words with their definitions. I will not go into explaining the meaning of words one more time.

 

This is the text that I taught last time

20140504_213018

 

Last Note:

The most difficult aspect in teaching legal English to Egyptian lawyers is when explaining the the English legal concepts, Egyptian lawyers try to find equivalant to the Arabic words they know and the Egyptian law concepts they studied. As a person who do not have the legal background I struggle in this.  So, any advice would help…

Yesterday I had a session with my elementary students on some/any… and should. I had two consecutive classes teaching the same level. I did not do any communicative activities with them. Only paper excercises and mechnical practices to just ‘make them understand’ 

I even wrote the rules on the board and read it from the book with minimal elicitation from students. That with the first group. But with the second, which I actually prefer, I improvised some activities on the spot. For example, to practice ‘should’, I told them to write a problem they have and then write their names. Then, I asked them to write these on slips of paper and then I collected them and redistributed them. I asked them to reponsd to those slips of paper by writing advice to each other. The original plan was to exchange them back, but then I saw that they have mistakes in the pieces of advice they gave. So, I asked them to read the problem, the name and the advice. 

It was a nice activity. But, I am still searching for interactive ways to teach grammar. 

I think one nice communicative activity would be a conversation between two students; one student goes to the grocery store and tells the sales person of the items that s/he needs to make for example macarony with white sauce. The sales person replies using any and some. 

The conversation will be something like this:

Customer: Hey, good morning. I need some marony, where can I find it?
Salesperson: it’s over there madam. Do you need anything else?
Customer: yes, what about tomato paste? Do you have some?
Salesperson: No, we don’t have any…

And the conversation continues according to the ingredients the two students are talking about. This activity will take sometime. So, it might be a good idea to brief students on ths activity and ask them to work it out as homework. Then, ask them to go over what they have written in class and perform the conversation in front of students.

salesperson

Salesperson

Hope you like it!