Here is Qkids teacher John, holding a PhD in Educational Technology he perfectly combines the two elements of the Qkids business! Read below for his insight into how to elevate teaching in an online classroom.
I placed a small magic wand sticker beside each student's video screen. Then, I proceeded to ask them, "If you had a magic wand, what would you make?" When we got to Lisa's turn, she surprised me by saying, "I will give no eyes people eyes."
This joyful moment came while teaching with Qkids. Our lesson was themed around the story of Cinderella. We were discussing the Fairy Godmother character and learning about the concept of turning one thing into another.
If there's one thing I see more often than anything else in my teaching feedback from parents, it is the term "interactive." To me, interactivity describes a situation where we have people making contributions to and receiving feedback from an activity. This process repeats back and forth many times. As you can imagine, any good conversation is a prime example of interactivity. Hence, the English language classroom is the perfect place to apply interactive teaching and learning methods.
Here are two simple methods that I apply to create the opportunity for interactivity in my classrooms. The first involves taking a step back from the lesson plan, while the second requires taking a step beyond the lesson plan.
First, I often take a step back from the lesson plan to create the opportunity for interactivity. For instance, imagine that we are introducing a new vocabulary word to young students, such as "ball." To begin, we might expect the teacher to say the word first, then have the students repeat it. We can describe this pattern as model-repeat. The teacher models the word and the students repeat it. While this approach is logical, an opportunity for interactivity can be created by taking a step back. Instead of modeling right away, show the vocabulary word and pause briefly. Quite often, even without any expectation that the students have been exposed to the word before, at least one of them will surprise you by saying it out loud. Subsequently, most of the other students hear the word and say it themselves. Afterwards, you can praise the students for their initiative, model the term, and have them repeat it. Our interactive pattern is now do-model-repeat. The students do it themselves first, the teacher models, and the students repeat.
What happens if no one speaks? Simply fall back into your typical model-repeat pattern after a few seconds and no one will have even noticed that you paused. By granting students the opportunity to take initiative first, we create an opportunity for a more interactive learning experience. Most of the time, you can take a step back and your students will surprise you.
Second, I'm always looking for relevant ways to challenge students beyond the boundaries of the lesson plan. Asking Lisa what she would do with a magic wand, and discovering that she would give magical eyes to people who couldn't see, certainly wasn't written into the lesson plan. All it took to create this joyful opportunity was a simple prompt: "What would you make if you had a magic wand?" Fortunately, it is easy to identify relevant prompts when teaching with Qkids, since the lessons are designed to be story-based and highly interactive. Yet, let's suppose we are working with early language students on more basic vocabulary. Perhaps they are learning about the verb "cook." I might ask, "Do you cook?" If they say yes, I can ask what food they cook. Naturally, we expect most young students to say, "No!" A good follow-up is "Who cooks?" Typically, students will say something like, "My mommy cooks." If the prompts are too complicated, gradually simplify them until they can be answered. For example, we could simplify by asking "Does your mother or father cook?" or saying "We cook in the _________." (assuming kitchen is already a familiar word).
By prompting students in this manner, we create opportunities for them to express their thoughts, be imaginative, and apply their language learning in practical ways. Once you open your classroom to this form of interactivity by stepping beyond the lesson plan, you can be certain that your students will surprise you. "I would cook chocolate hamburgers" comes to mind.
Experience the Joy of Interactivity
Do you want to experience the joy of interactivity? The next time you teach, try taking a step back from or a step beyond your lesson plan. Your students may just surprise you.
If you are interested in teaching with Qkids, get in touch with me to learn about the application process, get tips for teaching within their narrative game-based platform, and receive a referral for your application. When you apply online, be sure to use my referral link or the referral code NFEQGH.
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