A few days ago a sent an email to my COETAIL cohort leader asking for an extension on my course 5 project. I honestly felt that there was no way for me to ‘do’ my project with so much happening in my professional and personal life. I kept coming to work, meeting with my students, supporting them in their language learning… and all the while, in the back of my head thinking “Tomorrow! I’ll roll out my project tomorrow!”
But in the last 72hrs I’ve had some special moments with my students that have made me reflect on my practice and the effect COETAIL has had on me. I’ve been seeing these huge steps (leaps!) being taken in their language development. I’ve had conversations with their teachers about ‘how they’re doing’ and their expressions of pride and relief have been more than evidence of the real impact this transformation and redefinition of my teaching has had. And then I realized that I’ve been doing my C5 project all along… And it didn’t start when course 5 started, it started when I became a learner again. It started back in course 1.
My C5P is essentially about flipping support for ELLs. I have a strong belief that “by flipping ELL support, students take charge of their own learning. They become engaged and make a symbiotic connection between what they learn at school in their L2 and how they reinforce it at home in their L1, resulting in the equal development of both”. My project was originally based around an iTunesU Course that my students could access at home to support what they had been learning in class. This was the part that didn’t take off as I had hoped or expected. My students are not very familiar with iTunesU and I realized I would have to guide them in how to use this platform as a way to get support when I wasn’t physically there.
As I struggled these past few weeks to add material on the the iTunesU course, went through all my resources and strategies that I wanted to make sure they were on there and accessible to my students, I realized that while I was trying so hard to ‘get my act together’, I was giving my students the resources anyway! Via email, Dropbox, and even some old-school printouts. Apps that I had planned to add to the course, students were already using (last week a student showed me the shortcut to a synonyms app I had showed him months ago!) to enhance their learning, both in class and at home.
And the parent support? Our team led a Parent Information Session which centered on how we support their children’s language development and school and how they can support them at home.
The most amazing thing about this parent session was also how we transformed it. Not just our presentation style but also in our delivery and content. Our main objective for this information session was not to regurgitate what our Parent Handbook (!) said about our EAL program. We wanted parents to walk away with a toolbox, an empowering toolbox. When their child asks for support at home, they would know exactly how to help.
Yes, flipping was happening and continues to happen in so many ways.
So without further ado, here is my project video. I apologize for the hoarse voice (I’m getting over a cold) and for some mispronunciations, I’m an ELL myself after all 😉