Teaching Languages in Blended Synchronous Learning Classrooms

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60 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781626168060 (1626168067)

ISBN: 9781626168077

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April 2020


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Teaching Languages in Blended Synchronous Learning Classrooms
A Practical Guide
Alba Girons and Nicholas Swinehart

Blended synchronous learning (BSL), where some students are present in a physical classroom while others participate online in real time, has been gaining momentum and shows great potential for teaching less commonly taught languages (LCTLs). In Teaching Languages in Blended Synchronous Learning Classrooms, Alba Girons and Nicholas Swinehart provide a concise overview of BSL as it pertains to language instruction. Topics include a number of key factors in the BSL classroom:

• types of BSL environments
• pedagogical considerations
• group dynamics
• creating and adapting activities
• common logistical challenges
• optimal space design
• technology selection, training, and support

This practical guide will be of use to teachers, technology staff, and program administrators, all working together to implement successful BSL programs and ensure quality learning opportunities for every student.

Alba Girons earned her PhD in translation and intercultural studies from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She is the director of the Catalan Language Program and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago. She has been offering her Catalan courses in blended synchronous environments since 2015.

Nicholas Swinehart is an instructional technologist and researcher at the University of Chicago, specializing in language pedagogy, assessment, and coordinating technological and administrative aspects of blended synchronous language courses. His previous publications include chapters in the Handbook of Research on Mobile Technology, Constructivism, and Meaningful Learning and the Handbook of Research on Learner-Centered Pedagogy in Teacher Education and Professional Development.

"A terrifically useful and comprehensive overview of the issues, well-referenced, with a rich array of examples. Great as an introduction, a course handbook, or a reference, appropriate for those new to course sharing in blended environments or those looking to expand their expertise."—Catherine Baumann, director of the German language program and director of the University of Chicago Language Center, University of Chicago

"This book offers readers valuable content, and gives relevant and important advice, tips, and suggestions. This guidebook is very easy to read and digest and is concise yet technical. It provides instructors, admins, and staff with very valuable material. The context of BSL is thoroughly reviewed and defined."—Camille Meritan, Linguist List

"Teaching Languages in Blended Synchronous Learning Classrooms: A Practical Guide, is a concrete tutorial for the neophyte interested in synchronously teaching both face-to-face and online learners. As such, it is a noteworthy contribution that fulfills a need for a sector of the profession that has yet to take on the challenge of doing this type of teaching in the learning space."—Hispania

Table of Contents

1. Contextualizing Blended Synchronous Learning
Benefits and Challenges
Example Contexts
BSL and Less Commonly Taught Languages

2. Preparing Environments
Key Components of BSL Environments
Choosing Technology
Designing BSL Spaces
Models of BSL
Training and Support
Cross-institutional Challenges

3. Pedagogical Challenges
Group Dynamics
Interaction outside of the Classroom
Interaction inside of the Classroom
Delivery Method


About the Authors