Tracy Mehoke

School’s out for Covid: How can the Polyglot Conference community support online schooling?

In the spring of 2020, school systems, parents, teachers, and students had a matter of days or weeks to react and adapt as school systems around the world announced closures due to COVID-19. Due to the sudden and disruptive nature of the COVID response, many teachers and school systems are at a loss for the effective online teaching methods and relevant research to apply to their present situation.Interestingly, many of the challenges currently being faced by school systems are also areas in which communities of independent language learners and teachers, such as those who are part of the Polyglot Conference, seem likely to be familiar with, especially given that this community has historically been an “early adopter” of online learning, teaching, and communication methods. What could the future of public education look like if it were able to make use of methods, motivations, and ideas being tried out in communities like this one? This talk is meant to provide context and inspire discussion around these ideas.

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  • BrianLoo1 says:

    Great talk Tracy, thanks! By the way, is there a way to get directly in touch with you? My company is developing innovative ideas to promote language learning in schools disrupted by COVID. We’d love to share ideas!

  • Tracy Mehoke says:

    @Richard, I’m not really sure what to suggest except to encourage people to meet and speak with others about similar things through their networks. I think a lot of this kind of information will benefit from being shared and discussed in unofficial ways with those who “get it” or who see the need for exploring different ideas. I’m not sure of any existing or “official” forums, but I think that if people encourage themselves to ask about others’ situations and to offer what they’ve learned about online teaching or learning, perhaps it will find the right ears.

    I do think that people can “ignite” motivation in others! I think that is a hallmark of excellent teachers who are able to convey their passion, enthusiasm, or curiosity about a topic with students for whom the topic might have otherwise been unrelatable, unreachable, or confusing. It is not the only thing needed, but it does help. Other students may already have the passion and curiosity but need to encouragement and introductions or “onramps” to learning more.

    Just my unofficial thoughts 🙂 but if they resonate, then I hope that in itself is an example of a forum for sharing.

  • Tracy Mehoke says:

    Thank you all for sharing your experiences! I hope it provides useful context for starting helpful conversations!

  • richardlanguage says:

    Fantastic insights!

    “Intrinsic motivation” raises questions for me. What is “intrinsic”? Can one ignite someone else’s motivation? If so, how? Maybe that becomes more of a focus of teachers.

    Also, do you have some ideas about how this community can contribute their experience? What form or forum might be used?

  • Heidi says:

    Thanks a lot, Tracy, this is exactly what I’m thinking about, and what I’ve been doing the past few years. I’m a teacher in a secondary vocational school in Hungary, trying to make some of my polyglot experiences work in the classroom, but I’m not yet happy with the results.
    I made a talk about motivation, which might be the main difference between my students and polyglots, adding a questionnaire, still hoping to bring some polyglot enthusiasm into the classroom.

  • Really stimulating information, Tracy! Thank you for casting your net and thoughts wide, and starting to draw the conversation in. Some really provoking questions on how and where our communities could develop!

  • Alexander says:

    Great presentation, Tracy. I’m honored to have had a glimpse into where this was heading ahead of time. I really like where it ended up 🙂

  • tracymehoke says:

    Thank you for watching, Claudia65! It’s very validating to hear that this message resonates with you!

    Considering your experience as a high school teacher, it would be interesting to hear if there is anything in particular that you’d like to see more of coming from this community

  • Claudia65 says:

    Thank you, Tracy. As a high school teacher and researcher on multilingualism and polyglottism I fully agree with you. This community has a lot of value to share with educational contexts around the world.

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