Being at home on maternity leave, I had to reflect a great deal on what educational media or software I use in the classroom. At first I thought, nothing fancy. Nothing I could write a post on and get excited about. As I began to think deeper, I realized that I use a lot more educational media than I give myself credit for. Although, I recognize I do need to expand what I am currently doing.
Today, I will evaluate You Tube.
Perception vs reality and impacts on education:
Ten years into my teaching career, I continue to fear the misunderstandings others may assume about my teaching. How many educators feel that if somebody is walking past their classroom while You Tube is playing, that they need to justify the educational objectives behind the clip? For me, it is an ongoing trepidation that parents or colleagues might have the perception that I am not ‘really’ teaching, that I am just ‘putting a video on.’ This perception, that educational media is not ‘good teaching practice’ still exists in many of our schools and is a hard stereotype to fight. How can I educate others about the benefits of educational media, the needs of the French immersion program and the needs of my early learners?
To those individuals passing by my classroom, I invision myself saying “my students are not ‘just watching a video’ they are hearing rich French spoken language, they are tunning their ear to a different French accent and they are connecting images with spoken words. They are making predictions about what might come next in the clip, they are learning sequencing; beginning, middle and end -among many, many others things.”
This video is one of my favorites. I get excited showing my students it at different points in the year. I enjoy seeing their deeper understanding of what is occuring in the video as they become more proficent with their French language skills as the year progresses.
My perception is that students watching ‘Lundi matin’ are learning. In reality, I can not say with certainty what is going on in all of my students brains and how much information is being absorbed. Children learn at different rates and in different ways. I know from experience that repetition is very important in kindergarten and especially with additional language learners. What I can see when I play this You Tube video is that the majority of the class is trying to orally participate by singing along. This is a huge milestone in French immersion kindergarten as students must first feel comfortable hearing an additional language. Once students accept hearing the new language, they are then better positioned to start to take risks speaking the new language. With the assistance of You Tube’s wonderful French songs, my student seem eager to take risks and appear truly engaged in their learning.
Pedagogical advantages and disadvantages
One of my favourite pedagogical advantages of You Tube is that it is free! With the click of a button unilingual parents have the opportunity to learn many the basic French immersion kindergarten concepts with their children.
You Tube also has the ability to connect students and their families to ‘la culture francophone’. I want my students to feel part of a greater French community. I have accomplished this by showing them parts of video clips on Festival du voyageur, Carnaval de Quebec as well as many other national and international French cultural celebrations.
Some of the big disadvantages using You Tube are the pop up adds, links that go down or the internet speed being slow or not working at all. In French, I also have to pay particular attention to the vocabulary that is being taught in class and what my students are hearing in the video. For example, the You Tube video might say ‘marron’ for brown when I prefer to say ‘brun’. It is a teachable moment, however, in kindergarten it can be very confusing when some of the children do not yet know all their colours in English.
Despite the disadvantages, I will continue to use You Tube videos as teaching opportunities in my classroom as the advantages far out weight the disadvantages. As stated in the article The Importance of Media in the Classroom,”(t)echnology is so much a part of the real world that to limit its use in the classroom is to limit our students’ ability to compete in the world”. I hope that I remain open to learning about current educational media and software in my classroom throughout my profession. As I have previously stated, I am a late adopter of technology and can sometimes resist change. Knowing the kind of teacher I want to be in the future, I pushed myself to learning about Seesaw today. Thanks to Erin Benjamin and Heidi Warren for their knowledge and convincing posts! My new learnings today and in the future will further open doors to endless possibilities for my students.