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Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Importance of Keeping the Communication Flowing

After reading an insightful post by Vicky Loras in which she marvellously describes the significance Facebook has for professional development and making a comment on her post, I felt inspired to write about my experience in using facebook as a tool for communication with my students.

Since Vicky asked about how I deal with it, I told her that I had a similar view on Facebook as hers. I felt reluctant to open an account some years ago and just used Twitter.

I always create PBWORKS sites with my different classes as a way of sharing material with my students. My students are notified about these site updates via e-mail but they've complained about it stating they seldom check their e-mail accounts. Apparently teenagers are not using e-mail as a way of communication. Then, their suggestion was to create a Facebook group so as to receive my notifications whenever the PBWORKS sites are updated. So we did and I've got hooked on Facebook ever since.

In the case of my students I label them as 'students' and I restrict their access to my Facebook account. With my students we also use Facebook to write private messages when they can’t attend a class or if they have been absent, I send them a message asking them what happened to them and telling them about what they have missed. It’s a good way of keeping in touch. They can also ask me questions.

I believe keeping a fluent communication with students contributes to creating the necessary teacher-student rapport for the teaching-learning process to be successful.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Online Lesson Feedback

I haven´t had so many online students but I've found out that I like teaching online.

My concern has been how to develop the necessary rapport with the students who choose to learn English via Skype.  As we all know, the teaching-learning process in the classroom implies interaction skills among the students and between the students and the teacher. As we develop professionally, we acquire sensitivity to immediately perceive the way students feel while performing  certain tasks and flexibility to adjust those activities so that they don't become demotivating.

Anyway, as to my online lessons I do my best for them to be highly interactive and motivating. I use PBWORKS to store the material and share it with my online students. While the teaching-learning process takes place, I take down notes so as to prepare a report that I send to my online students for them to have my feedback.

It was a great surprise for me to receive an e-mail from a new online student I have that reads:

Hello Marisa, 
thank you for the report. I´m so happy about the classes and your way of working. 
See you on wednesday!

At that moment I thought, well...that's her feedback. It was highly satisfactory for me, since it's a new challenge in my teaching-learning career.