Now that we are in the 21st century we need to rethink our teaching practices in order to be relevant. How you and I learned a language may not be the best choice for today’s students. In my last post I discussed my “why” and asked you to define yours. Now we need to think about what we can do to change our teaching in order to achieve the why we want so we can become the teacher we envision.
Most people think in order to reach your why and be successful it will take hours of manpower and endless sleepless nights. But in reality no dramatic change is required. Just a tweak here and there and a slight mindset shift.
In order to evolve as educators and improve how our students learn, we need to create an environment connected to student interest and the ever changing times. We all have the resources, experiences and support of our ASL teacher community to help us brainstorm lessons that are current and relevant to our students so what is holding us back?
For most of us it is a lack of time, fear of the unknown or skewed perception of self. In this article from Mind Shift written by Leah Shaffer it talks about how teachers need to unlearn habits in order to unleash creativity and innovation. And George Couros (@gcouros) tells us that ¨the only constant we can count on in education is change.¨
This world is rapidly changing and as I stated in my first paragraph you have to keep up or take the chance of becoming irrelevant. Our students have so many education options that they can choose from and make a personal choice on how they want to learn a language. They can now take online courses, community college classes, home school, charter schools, private and public education…these are only touching the surface of what is available to them. So how do we keep students coming to our classroom every day willing and wanting to learn this beautiful language?
Many people think computers, iPads, chromebooks and other technology is the definition of change in the classroom. But technology does not equal change. It is my belief that technology is great and can push us towards the change our students need and want. However, if we don’t know what to do with it, what good is it doing us?
Technology is a tool that can offer us, as educators, a way to improve what we do. But use it incorrectly and we are still doing the same thing we have always done using a different platform.
So how do we use the technology tools we have at our disposal to create meaningful lessons and tasks for our students?
Instead of having students write a 5 paragraph essay on the closing of residential schools across the US have them start a blog to educate others and start a meaningful conversation. Students can create a VLOG to invoke change in others and how they perceive deaf people. Or start a movement using Change.org to bring awareness of important events in the deaf community. Students can create a TED style talk discussing their “why” in learning ASL.
Believe it or not our students are capable, independent technology users. Give them
the opportunity to create and design inspiring digital masterpieces. In other words… change your mindset about how we teach and put the learning in the hands of our students. I think we will all be surprised at the powerful outcomes that will follow.