GSEP Assistant Professor and Chair of TESOL, Dr. Kevin Wong Published “Humanizing Online Language Teaching Through Instructional and Affective Moves: Reflections from an ELD Teacher”
Published by The CATESOL Journal, Dr. Kevin Wong, GSEP Assistant Professor and Chair of TESOL along with Helen Chan Hill and Elizabeth Najera from the Pasadena Unified School District studied a current English Language Development (ELD) teacher, Ms. Anya Mendoza on the challenges faced in the online classroom brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and the pedagogical strategies that effectively addressed those challenges. The research showed how Anya captivated a humanizing experience through online instruction by strategically blending instructional and affective methods to cater to the linguistic needs and socioemotional well-being of her students.
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the education industry globally, moving the traditional classroom setting to a virtual environment in an immediate turnaround. Teachers needed to adapt and determine how best to serve their students quickly. The online classroom brought many challenges for teachers to overcome as the ability to engage with students became a two-dimensional screen. Losing the ability to assess body language, having no control when students walk away from the camera or turn it off, and the lack of community amongst students are some of the obstacles that make the online environment dehumanizing.
An accomplished ELD educator, Ms. Anya Mendoza adeptly utilized instructional and affective techniques to create a meaningful and inclusive online learning environment. She catered to the academic and linguistic needs of her students while bringing in empathy, authenticity, and humanizing the teaching experience. Anya looked for opportunities to increase the use of language among her students. She did this by creating less intimidating spaces using breakout rooms and assignments that motivate participation. Anya allowed for flexibility and accommodated changing circumstances. She provided her students with choices and enabled them to pursue topics that mattered to them.
In addition, Anya prioritized the socioemotional well-being of her students. She consistently incorporated her students’ perspectives into her decision-making and teaching strategies. She stated the value of her students by communicating to them their importance, intelligence, and capabilities. Being empathetic and authentic created a space for her students to engage with her and one another.
As educational institutions shift to a new era post-COVID pandemic, in-person, hybrid, or online instruction is the new norm of learning. The study finds that humanizing instruction is essential in the classroom regardless of format.
The entire publication, “Humanizing Online Language Teaching Through Instructional and Affective Moves: Reflections from an ELD Teacher” is available through The CATESOL Journal.