Coming down with a common cold, then immediately being followed with the flu that then turns into a chronic viral chest infection would make any teacher feel rather low, right? Well it has just happened to me, and I have been out of class for almost two weeks. Thankfully, now on the mend, I return tomorrow. The reason for this post, however, is not to garner sympathy, but to tell you about how a flipped classroom can not only help stay-at-home students, but absentee-teachers too.
My colleague Brentson gave grammar instruction this morning on Reported Speech questions. He then called me and asked if I'd like to do a Skype call where I would ask questions to the students, they would record the questions, and then convert them into reported ones. I gladly agreed since I have been really missing the students.
I have to say the inception of Skype to the classroom really works well. The idea the teacher can become part of the class when s/he is stuck at home adds another quality dimension to the service. Not only did I have fun interacting with the students, but it also meant I felt part of the students' learning process, even though I was recovering at home. Is it an authentic activity? Well, not for everyday stuff I suppose, but it felt very authentic to me. I really recommend trying this use of ICT out with your own students.
From the other teacher's perspective (Brentson):On top of what David has written above, I would also like add a few of my own thoughts on this impromptu ICT lesson from the perspective of the teacher, who was physically in the classroom observing this all unfold. That morning, I had been teaching the students the grammar rules for reporting questions, and had gone through some of my own activities to practice it. Then, when David called me in my break lesson to see how the morning was going, I came up with the idea to get him involved via Skype because: one, the students, to be honest, were getting tired of me, and listening to my voice, so a little change-up would be certainly welcomed; and second, I wanted to give the students' a chance to show if they truly understood the grammar point by having David ask them questions in real time.
Once class time began, and I got the students settled down from the excitement of seeing David live on the smartboard, I couldn't believe how the following 20 minutes just flew by. All of the students were totally engaged in the activity, and it was amazing to stand back and watch it all happen, apart from when Skype went out and someone couldn't hear what David had said. It was like having a another teacher, literally, in the classroom. To top it all off, the majority of the students responded to his questions well, showing that they had understood the basics of the grammar point that morning, which made me feel great, of course. Again, as David mentioned above, this is not something that could be done very often, but it is certainly worth a try. It is something that your students will never see again.