TEACHERS.NET GAZETTE
Volume 3 Number 2

COVER STORY
Harry & Rosemary Wong say, "...effective teachers do not employ tricks of the trade, the latest fad, or untested opinions..." This month the Wongs feature Liz Breaux, a most effective teacher...
COLUMNS
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
Around the Block by Bridget Scofinsky
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall
The Visually Impaired Child by Dave Melanson
ARTICLES
Seussational Reading Excitement - NEA's Read Across America: Too Much Reading Fun for Just One Day!...
The 100th Day of School
100th Day Activities
Television--Don't Trash It--Control It
Remediation Doesn't Work
Behavior Management Tips
Stress
Children and Stress
Children Do Grieve
Infuse Test Preparation With Life-long Learning
Technology Integration Has No Hope of Succeeding!
Technophobia to Technophilia
Cooperative Learning
Why All Students Need Fine Motor Skills
Teaching Gayle to Read (Part 3)
The Role of EFL learners' Heterogeneity in Terms of Age in Their Use of Communication Strategies
The Importance of the School Administration to Student Achievement
Using Non-Fiction to Motivate Reluctant Readers
Quantity over Quality--The Problem with Writing Instruction in Our Schools
Tips for Substitute Teachers
TEACHER INSPIRATION FEATURE
From "I Don't Care" to "I Did It!"
ON-SITE INSIGHTS
Rules for Secondary Classrooms
Block Scheduling
REGULAR FEATURES
Special Days This Month
The Lighter Side of Teaching
  • YENDOR'S Top Ten
  • Exceptional Normalcy
  • Schoolies
  • Woodhead
  • Handy Teacher Recipes
    Classroom Crafts
    Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
    Featured Lessons from the Lesson Bank
  • Famous Black Americans
  • Valentine Village
  • Upcoming Ed Conferences
    Letters to the Editor
    Chatboard Poll
    FYI
    Arecibo Radar Gets 11th-Hour Reprieve
    Planetary Society Offers New Scholarships
    Gazette Home Delivery:


    About Leslie Bowman...
    Leslie Bowman was a K-3 teacher for 15 years; child abuse/neglect investigator for 2 years; designer/author/instructor Personal Safety and Violence Prevention Workshops (onsite and online) for 7 years; country/western line dance instructor for 2 years; college instructor (freshman comp, business communications, sociology) for 2 years.

    She received a Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning Online from California State University in Dec. 2000 and her M.S.Ed. in June 2001.

    Leslie is currently designing and instructing online professional development and graduate courses or teachers, college instructors and business trainers. Portfolio Website: http://onlineteach.
    homestead.com


    Best Sellers

    E-Learning: Strategies for Delivering Knowledge in the Digital Age
    by Marc J. Rosenberg

    $23.96 from Amazon.com
    More information
     


     
    Online Classrooms
    by Sunnie (Leslie Bowman)
    Online Teaching Strategies Transferred to Traditional Classes
    Teachers who study via distance learning are discovering that many new instructional strategies originally intended for online classes can be put into practice in their traditional classrooms. Teachers find it intriguing and enlightening that online teaching strategies transfer extremely well into the traditional classroom. Often teachers who study or teach online comment that they wished they had known some of these instructional strategies earlier. Not only are teachers incorporating technology more in the classroom curriculum but they are also learning how to facilitate independent learning in their traditional classrooms. And independent learning translates into differentiated learning for many levels of students all in the same class.

    Many people think that "online learning" is for college students or adult learners only. This is definitely not the case. There are many state-supported virtual high schools. The amount of learning that takes place online is growing phenomenally and the opportunities for all age groups and subject topics are wide and varied. High schools, especially though, are taking education online in a big way and as a result, teachers are taking online courses to learn how to teach online. In all cases, virtual high schools require prospective teachers to complete an online teaching course and in most cases these are graduate credit courses. Here are some links to virtual high schools across the country:

    Virtual High Schools
    http://www.vhs.ucsc.edu/vhs/
    casestudies.htm#vhs.nonca

    Virtual High Schools in California
    http://www.vhs.ucsc.edu/vhs/casestudies.htm

    Generally there are two types of online courses in virtual high schools. The least often used is simply a correspondence type course. The students access their reading and assignments online, complete the work, email assignments to the teacher and then move on to the next unit. This is fine for some students but the majority of students need and want the interaction that is an integral part of interactive online courses.

    Interactive online courses, by necessity, involve communication through discussion and group work. Teachers do not "lecture" but rather must find other means by which to convey the content to the students. Students take responsibility for their learning by communicating with each other and with the teacher. Teachers who teach online learn to use specific strategies to facilitate communication and interaction among students in an online learning environment (OLE). These strategies, in turn, enhance their traditiona teaching as well. Many teachers find that these strategies are extremely effective in both learning environments.

    So what are some of the strategies used in the OLE that transfer well into the traditional classroom? First and foremost is interactive communication, often called "teaching by discussion." Online, a teacher cannot "command" the attention of students while lecturing or presenting lessons to the entire class. Instead, content is presented by several alternative means, all of which require a certain degree of responsibility on the part of the student.

    One alternative is simply using the textbook in a variety of different ways. When teachers lecture and assign text readings, too often students don't bother to read. However, if the teacher does NOT lecture but instead requires students to discuss text readings, then students have no choice but to read the text. Readings can be assigned to individuals or groups and then presented to the rest of the class. Designing discussion questions that require summarizing assigned readings is another strategy for ensuring that students read the text. Teachers should always assign an activity that requires students to synthesize and apply information from assigned readings. In this manner, students often must research further information on the text content in order to discuss issues.

    Another alternative is to assign readings from the web. A list of readings can be provided from which individuals or groups choose. From that point, they share the information in discussions and "teach" each other the new material. The teacher's role is that of a guide rather than a lecturer. There are also videos relating to curriculum content that can supplement assigned readings. Again, individuals or groups can summarize the information and all students learn more from discussing issues related to the content topics than they would ever learn from simply reading the text.

    Another strategy that is used in online teaching that can be transferred to traditional teaching is the use of learning contracts. Each student is different and brings into the classroom (OLE or traditional) varied experiences and prior knowledge. When have you ever taught a group of students anything that at least one student didn't already know all of what you were teaching, several students already knew something about what you were teaching and at least one other student knew something about what you were teaching that YOU didn't know? I don't know about you -- but it happens to me all the time.

    One way to differentiate instruction (and there are many ways) is to use learning contracts. The students take some time previewing the lesson or unit content and then decide what they already know, what they need to learn, and what further information is required beyond the text material. Once this has been clarified, then the student writes a learning contract detailing exactly what s/he will do during the course unit. The learning contract states what will be learned, how this will be accomplished, the time period required, and the assessment criteria and method. This allows students to take responsibility for and ownership of their learning. It should not surprising that students are far more motivated to learn when they have designed their own learning process.

    Among other strategies are group work, collaborative learning, mentorships, peer teaching, project based learning, case studies, guest speakers, forums, interviews, debates, and discussions. All of these are currently used to some extent in traditional classes, but teaching online brings a new element to the design of these learning activities. In all cases, the students are the ones who are responsible for choosing and completing the learning activities. Obviously, when one has a direct involvement in the learning process, one will be more motivated to successfully complete the learning activities.

    In online classes, students, by necessity, take far more responsibility for the learning process than they are allowed in traditional classes. This changes the roles of both students and teachers (see "The Role of the Student and Teacher in the Online Classroom," Teachers.net Gazette, May 2001, http://teachers.net/gazette/MAY01/bowman.html). As teachers take part in their own classes learning how to teach online, they invariably transfer some of these techniques into their traditional classes as well. The end result is a wealth of instructional strategies that enhance students' learning through increased student responsibility and motivation in the learning process.

     

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