Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Disruptive Innovation in the MFL Classroom

I found this link thanks to @Alice Ayel who re-tweeted José Picardo's update on this Teachers TV video. I particularly like the segment where José's students demonstrate how they use ICT to improve their spoken language skills.

What is taking place in Mr. Picardo's class is a prime example of disruptive innovation in teaching. I have just completed reading "Disrupting Class" by Clayton Christensen, Michael Horn, and Curtis Johnson. In this book, the author speaks to the need for public schools to engage in disruptive innovation, whereby they begin using ICT to support personalized learning environments; furthermore, the teacher's role becomes a facilitator and coach, providing more one-on-one assistance to students. Rather than batching students together during instruction, students could work individually at laptops or desktops using software that helps them strengthen their skill level in a subject area whilst utilizing their strongest "intelligence" as Howard Gardner defined. Furthermore, the author suggests that by allowing this way of learning to occur, students may become more intrinsically motivated to learn.

Although I strongly concur with the idea of personalized learning, I also am a strong proponent of collaborative work in the classroom. Perhaps in addition to having students work individually, students could also have time to group together to share and discuss their work, seeking constructive feedback in areas where they could improve. In the case of language learning, for example, students could assist each other on improving their oral and written skills. Collaborative work in the mfl classroom is a great opportunity to converse in the target language, instilling greater confidence in students new to the language.