Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Is community service learning compatible with communicative languageteaching?

I keep a notebook in my bag at all times, and these are the kinds of notes and reflections I write. I jot down my ideas about teaching. I take notes during meetings. I outline ideas for lesson plans and presentations. When I look back over my notes, I'm often surprised by what I wrote--because I forgot about it! I often find them useful, too, as a basis for blog posts (like this one) or other actions. Do you take notes about your work? Do you look back over them?
by Ann Abbott

Based on two semesters' worth of having Spanish students do social media marketing for a community partner, I am questioning whether certain types of engaged learning in a language class.

I say this because doing social media marketing and protecting the community partners Briand involves necessitates a high level of proficiency and accuracy that funeral language students possess. Let alone the knowledge they need to acquire about marketing and social media marketing.

In fact, I am not sure if I will do that kind of project again. The amount of editing that I need to do to students posts have to be accounted for and built in to the syllabus, either I dedicate more class time to the editing of students posts, or I request a teaching assistant who can do that work. In times of scarce resources, I can't be sure that I would be given a TA.

I remain committed to providing students with engagement activities that enhance their learning, and at the same time filling a community partners needs. However, without more departmental support these two things appear to be at odds especially when talkingabout social media marketing or any other kind of presentational, written work my students that demands high levels of proficiency and accuracy.

I was trained from the very beginning to teach languages with the communicative language teaching approach. The emphasis was indeed on communication, and in accurate statements that could be comprehended by the listener were considered successes. I still believe that. It's only in rare instancesthat we need to hold students to a different level. Or perhaps I need to hold community partners to a different level. Still, if community partners have the capacity within their organization to supervise and edit students Facebook posts for their pages,they probably wouldn't need my students to do the posts in the first place.

This is something that I'm still working through in my mind. In fact, just today I hope to student work on his resume in order to reflect the social media marketing that he did in my course last semester for a community partner. He valued the experience so much that he wanted to reflect it accurately and fully on his resume. So in some ways, what I might have considered a less than optimal results for the course was obviously seen as advantageous by the students. In fact, on their course evaluations students all wrote that the most valuable part of the course was there work for the community partner on social media.

It seems that I have more thinking and reflection to do about these issues of community service learning, community partners, communicative language teaching, engaged teaching, my time, syllabus design, and lesson planning.

What are your thoughts? Do you have insights that you could share with me,

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