This year will be changes, experiments, planning and waiting, and hoping that everything goes well. Everything. This starts a project that will probably take at least ten years to begin to understand how well it worked. This post is one small collection of thoughts before it all kicks off. Let’s see how it goes.
Starting next year, I will be responsible for a full year required course taught in English called “Self-regulated Learning.” This course will build on teaching and learning experiences over the past several years teaching small groups of learners in elective classes about setting language learning goals; selecting tools, practices, or resources; recording and monitoring progress; and trying to understand their own progress as language learners. Big task, but one that can be fun while it grabs and holds my interest.
The next iteration of my wrestling with this starts tomorrow. The faculty I will be teaching in does not yet exist, so I have a few classes to teach in a foreign language center. One is first-year communicative English for French majors. They will be my guinea pigs collaborators this year as I have one last chance to try out ideas and sharpen my skills before I have to roll this out for 200 learners and several teachers in 2016.
This time I’m really going to walk the walk with my students. As I present them with prompts, tasks, and choices to make in their English learning, I will do all of the same tasks. After some thinking and input online, I rejected Japanese, French, or Spanish and chose to study Bahasa Indonesia side-by-side with my learners. It will be a big experiment. And, this space will be part of it.
I may have overestimated the language proficiency of these learners. I hope not. But it’s that uncertainty that nags. On the other hand, it shouldn’t matter. I chose this class in particular as ready for an English course where the content is the experience and practice of learning languages partly because of this comment by someone who knows this set of students better than I do.
French majors tend to be quite switched on regarding language, and on the odd occasion I’ve taught them I’ve found them delightful.
But, it all depends upon each class of students–and on how I can connect with them. The ride starts tomorrow and it will last all year. And, just one more to add to the mix; what happens this year will inform how I introduce this course to new adjunct faculty and new students. No pressure.