Teaching in Covid-19 Times: Challenges, innovations, solutions, and opportunities

Cummings,J., Sturm,M., Lawrence,G., Avram, A. & McBride, R. (2021).
Teaching in Covid-19 Times: Challenges, innovations, solutions, and opportunities. TESL Contact, 47,1(2021):21-35

This article from TESL Ontario’s Contact Magazine discusses the issues language teachers have faced globally and in Canada because of school closures and lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than presenting only challenges, the authors report on innovations, solutions and opportunities that have arisen during this time. A case study of a LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) educator showcases their principled approach to enhance student engagement in an online environment. The article ends with recommendations to leverage the benefits of teaching and learning online, including effective technology-mediated teacher education.

Retrievable from:

http://contact.teslontario.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Cummings-et-al.-2021.pdf

The What, Why, Who and How of Blended Learning for Adult Basic Skills Learners

Rosen, D., Vanek, J. The What, Why, Who and How of Blended Learning for Adult Basic Skills Learners. New York, New Readers Press, 2020.

This publication offers a practical and Clear Language guide to the implementation of a Blended Learning model in adult education programs. The guide is addressed to educators, program coordinators and curriculum developers. The guide was developed in the United States where adult basic education programs include language programs for immigrants, e.g., ESL, ESOL and ELL.  There are specific examples for blended language learning throughout the guide.

This useful guide is divided into 9 sections: 

Introduction – a general description of the contents. 

What is blended learning? –  a definition and explanation of blended learning in the context of adult learning. 

Why use a blended learning approach? – a comprehensive discussion and explanation of the features and benefits of blended learning. 

Getting Started – a clear explanation of the issues to be considered when planning the implementation of a blended learning approach. 

What does blended learning look like – a set of case studies from a range of programs in the U.S., describing the experiences of instructors and learning in working with blended learning. 

What online resources work with blended learning? –  strategies to locate and use online resources in a blended learning environment. 

What are some common challenges in implementing blended learning? – a discussion, based on interactions with instructors and observation of blended learning in adult learning settings, of the challenges faced by instructors, coordinators and learners in implementing blended learning. 

Conclusion – a short summary of the contents of the guide. 

Appendices – lists of online resources for further reading and exploration. 

Retrievable from: https://www.newreaderspress.com/filebin/pdf/ProLiteracy_BlendedLearningGuide_2020-11.pdf

Becoming Blended: A case study in teacher identity

Renteria Navarro, Victoria. Becoming Blended: A case study in teacher identity. Plymouth St Mark and St John University. British Council ELT Master’s Dissertation Awards: Commendation. (2015-16).

This case study is set in an English Blended Program in Mexico. The author’s aim was to discover how a teacher’s educational and cultural background as well as their experience and knowledge play a role to promote or hinder agency, their capacity to critically shape their responses to problematic situations, such as those they would encounter teaching in a blended language learning program.

The study takes as a given that the internet and web applications have provided options and responsibilities that have seriously influenced teachers’ outlooks, encouraging them to change their practice. This will impact the institutions that provide professional development for teachers. One of the elements the author suggests will help to guide them is teacher identity.

The author provides evidence that experiences in one’s own educational past will have an impact on one’s approach to teaching, e.g., how to be successful teaching in a new blended language learning program with little technological support, how to cope with constantly changing technology, how to work with dependent students, whether to take on a formal or informal guise in the online component, etc.  The author also describes the teachers’ professional development and examines how it has helped each of them to evolve or change their preferred practices in the blended environment. The examples of each teacher’s Moodle pages provide further insight about this dynamic relationship.

Retrievable from: http://englishagenda.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/attachments/dissertation_for_publication_2016_st_mark_and_st_john_plymouth.pdf

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Blended Learning Project Report

National Adult Literacy Agency.(2014). English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Blended Learning Project Report.

The report describes the findings from a research project carried out in Ireland in 2013 over a ten-week period with 41 learners. Learners in the ESOL program used a web site www.writeon.ie in conjunction with face to face classes. The study documents how they used this blended approach. The report provides a description of the two learning methods, a profile of the learners involved, and highlights the benefits to the various stakeholders of a blended approach for adult ESOL learners. The Write On site is open and accessible to users.

NALA acknowledges that there is not one agreed-upon definition of blended learning and sets out the one they have adopted: “Blended learning is about facilitating learning using a variety of approaches, best determined by the needs of the learner and the capability of the provider. It may or may not involve computers. It is simply a way of creatively matching different approaches to learners, content and contexts.”

Retrievable from: https://www.nala.ie/resources/english-speakers-other-languages-esol-blended-learning-project-report