Tracking the Process of Learning a Foreign Language
Process is important for students learning a world language; there are steps involved along the way to proficiency - some visible, some not. As a high school French teacher, it is very important for me to be able to watch my students carry out some of those processes so that I can quickly put them back on track if they derail, or give them positive reinforcement when they’re headed in the right direction. I was thrilled to discover Classkick on my search for a tool that would let me peek into my students’ work without literally hanging over their shoulders to see their processes in action.
Seeing my students’ work in real time and having the ability to interact with them on an activity within Classkick is my favorite feature. On one particular day, I created a simple activity where the students were given a short story and needed to provide the verb in the appropriate past tense in French. Their first task was to use the text tool to write their verbs into the paragraph. After this, they needed to click to raise their hand and ask to be checked within Classkick, and find another person to help. I used color coding (stoplight colors) to make peer correction easier and more visible on my end:
Giving the students the ability to help and correct each other within the app proved to be game changing that day. Students who are typically shy to provide feedback out loud in the target language were given a new sense of confidence when they corrected a classmate’s work. I soon realized that I wasn’t the only one in the room excited about Classkick; as I walked around the room answering questions and monitoring their work from my tablet, I could hear them asking questions and arguing points all while staying in the target language.
While the students were peer correcting, I scrolled up and down my screen and just looked for their yellow circles (their signal to me that they needed help). It was effortless to be able to jump in on the app and help, and I created stickers to help me quickly tell them which tense should have been used or to draw their attention to any conjugation mistakes as I was walking around the classroom:
This particular lesson was meant to be a quick review on the day before a formal assessment, but we ended up spending more time with it as the students’ discussions - both in and outside of the app - were shoring up loose ends. I look forward in the future to expanding my use of Classkick in all levels that I teach and getting a greater insight into how they are applying the knowledge they’re gaining in my classroom.
Kylene Stroud is a high school French teacher at her alma mater, North Allegheny School District, in Pittsburgh, PA, and is a mother of three children. She has a B.A. in French from John Carroll University (2004) and an M.A. in French Literature from the University of Notre Dame (2006). Kylene is an active member of the Western PA chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French and the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association. She has been teaching in a 1:1 classroom for 3 years, and enjoys incorporating new technology into her world language classroom to encourage communication and creativity in French.