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Teaching during a pandemic
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Donald Glen Patterson
Jun 12, 2020
Dear Hayley, Simon, and Jonathan, I hope you are all safe and well during this most unusual time. I realize I'm a little bit late to this discussion, but I found it interesting to hear how differently each school has managed this semester, and thought I'd share my school's response. My university postponed classes for two weeks, pushing Weeks 14 and 15 into August. All classes have been delivered synchronously in their regularly scheduled times via Zoom. I've enjoyed teaching on Zoom more than I thought I would. Basically, I've been able to reproduce most everything I would normally do in a face-to-face class, albeit virtually. I've been creating PowerPoints with the main lesson points, new vocabulary, embedded listening audio activities, and various language activities. I use the "Breakout Room" function to create pairs / smaller groups for discussion, paired readings, and role plays. There have been several Zoom functions that I would love to keep using even when the students return. The chat function allows me to ask students quick comprehension questions and get responses from everyone. The virtual whiteboard/screen annotate functions have been useful too for encouraging greater participation. And there is a survey function that enables you to share the results instantly with the class, which is fun. Zoom keeps participant records, which I've been using for attendance. In addition to Zoom, I've been using Google Classroom to post updates, homework assignments, and quizzes created with Google Forms, and Quizlet for sharing vocabulary lists and activities. By way of example, here is my lesson plan for my Nursing English class from last week (Week 7), which was created collaboratively with another teacher: Greeting --> I welcome the students and ask them how they are. Students respond via chat. Today's plan --> I introduce the lesson's activities via PowerPoint. Warm-Up Conversation --> Students are provided discussion questions and put into breakout rooms (2-3 people) for a short conversation (5 mins). Lesson Theme: Assessing Patient's Symptoms Symptoms Vocab Review --> Students are asked to write the names of symptoms (cough, fever, etc) they know in English on a virtual whiteboard. Symptoms Vocab Review --> Students match English symptom names with images and Japanese terms. Teacher checks comprehension by chat, before showing answers. Key Expressions --> Teacher introduces key expressions, students complete a grammar activity in textbook. Listen and repeat to practice pronunciation. Listening --> Students complete a medical interview form about patient's symptoms while listening to audio of a nurse and patient dialogue. Writing --> Students write about a time when they were sick and what symptoms they had. Speaking --> Students role play a medical interview with a partner in a breakout room using the symptoms they wrote about (6 mins). Writing --> Students write a report of their partner's symptoms and post to Google Classroom. Quiz --> Students take a quiz (Google Form) via Google Classroom Homework --> Students are assigned homework from the textbook; discussion questions to answer on Google Classroom; and are provided with word cards to study new vocab on Quizlet. Our university has three different schools (nursing, rehabilitation, and social work) and each is returning to campus on slightly different schedules. For the most part, our students will be back in class from June 15. I'm looking forward to seeing the students in person again. Even after they return though, I think my teaching is going to incorporate more online aspects and become more paperless, aside from the textbook. Best wishes, Donald
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Donald Glen Patterson
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