TELT: Teacher Education for Languages with Technology

Teacher Education for Languages with Technology (TELT) is a curated site for teachers using technology to teach a foreign or second language using the online platform Scoop.it.  It provides a magazine-style format to present posts – newest first – linking to external online content which I select and usually comment on for language teachers.

Who is TELT for?

The teachers I have in mind may be generalists (e.g., primary teachers who teach a variety of subjects including a foreign language) or specialists who work with a particular language in secondary, vocational or higher education.  They may be pre-service teachers, such as students in MFL or TEFL/TESOL masters’ programs, newly qualified instructors or experienced practitioners in all these contexts.  They may be working in low-tech traditional classrooms, in online environments or more likely in some combination of those extremes.  The language may be English or another modern European language (I tend to work with French teachers of EFL, and German, Italian and Spanish, so I post in English and French), but some content will be relevant to the teaching of other languages and indeed to teaching with ICT more generally.

What kind of content is there?

At first sight, the content on TELT may appear eclectic to the point of incoherence: you will find links to online dictionaries and corpora, teacher blogs, research articles and conference presentations on language learning, as well as posts on digital tools and reflections on educational technology in general.  Visitors can filter this content: use the Filter tab to search for posts with a particular tag (e.g., research, listening, tools), but bear in mind that other Scoop.it curators tag content too, so the list can be somewhat daunting.

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 The reason for the variety of content areas is that, in my experience, using technology to teach foreign languages involves quite a range of knowledge and competences.  Here’s a list of what I think language teachers need to know and do, with the relevant TELT tags for each in parenthesis:

  • understand how people learn foreign or second languages, and what learners need to know and do in order to make progress (second language acquisition – SLA, theory, research, learning)
  • know teaching techniques and learning activities for the second language classroom, how to implement them, and how to evaluate their effectiveness (teaching, methods, activities)
  • have access to appropriate teaching materials and resources for different language teaching objectives (resources, listening, speaking, podcasts, video, writing, reading, audio, grammar, dictionaries, corpora)
  • develop and maintain a good level of teacher proficiency in the target language to facilitate classroom communication and interaction (same tags as above)
  • learn to select and use digital tools for teaching and learning languages (tools, audio editors, wikis, blogs, social media, mobile learning)
  • keep up to date on all the foregoing areas as part of continuing professional development (CPD, teacher development, teacher)

 What are the objectives of TELT?

My goal with TELT is to organize and share online content which is relevant to teaching languages with technology to help me keep pace with developments in the field and optimize my own teaching and research efforts.  Curation allows me to share resources I find while developing a new language course, designing training materials, collaborating on a project, writing a paper, or simply clearing my professional inbox, and the feedback I receive both maintains my motivation and leads to new sources of information.  These are essentially egocentric objectives, but I feel the ongoing enterprise has wider benefits. TELT may constitute a filter for online resources for language teachers, a window on the language teaching community online, and perhaps even a model for continuing teacher development via personal learning networks.

Who curates TELT?

I’m Shona Whyte, I have an MA in TESOL (1990) and a PhD in Linguistics (Second language acquisition, 1994) from Indiana University Bloomington, and I’ve been teaching as associate professor (maître de conférences) in the English Department at the University of Nice (France) since 1995.  I have a lot of experience training language teachers: 10 years working with temporary native-speaking language assistants on undergraduate oral English, and now TEFL for pre-service primary and secondary teachers in France.  I’m particularly involved in ICT training for language teachers, both new and experienced practitioners with primary and secondary classes, and with English and other European target languages.  I’m collaborating on a European project on interactive Technologies in Language Teaching (iTILT) and my research also concerns teacher education for languages with technology.

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