Open Educational Resources and language teachers’ professional practice Anna Comas-Quinn and Tita Beaven Department of Languages, Faculty of Education and Language Studies, The Open University Eurocall 2011
To explore the changes in teaching practices that working with OER might be having on our teachers
A tool to provide some structure to the narratives
A tool to fit our distributed ways of working, and not impinge on the limited time our ALs have to work with us.
Narrative frames (Barkhuizen and Wette, 2008)
An approach derived from creative writing
Presents the writer with a template containing a starter and connectors, and which provide a ‘‘skeleton to scaffold writing”
To give support with the structure and content of what is to be written
To ensure that the content is focussed around the research questions
To ensure the content is more manageable in terms of how it can be analysed (2008, p 375-6).
Also: use of facilitated reflection might result in “learning that was rooted in the participants’ own experience and workplace contexts”, and therefore “inherently meaningful to them and thus more likely to be acted upon”. Jones and Stubbe (2004, 190)
AL1:“I’ll usually modify the material a bit depending on the needs of my group of students. I find that the material in LORO is very reliable because in principle it has been created by colleagues that teach the same course as me and therefore the material comes from a trusted source.”
AL2: “In relation to my own teaching practice, what I think about LORO is that it is a good idea to work cooperatively and share resources, but the materials do need to be flexible and adaptable for one’s own style.”
AL3: In terms of my own teaching practice, I think that sharing the resources I have created with colleagues has not had much impact. I have uploaded resources to LORO but I don’t know who has used them, what they think about their quality/appropriateness for the level, how they can be improved/ adapted for differentiation purposes. However, on one occasion I put a ppt for a tutorial on the Tutor Forum and I had some acknowledgement for it.
AL2: In terms of my own teaching practice, I think that sharing the resources I have created with colleagues does not make a lot of difference, because I don’t get feedback about whether colleagues have used my resources, how they found them, what I could change etc.
AL4: “In relation to my own teaching practice, what I think about LORO is that it helps me to be more relaxed and confident with my students. I feel less isolated from other tutors since we all use more or less the same materials.”
Impact of OER: staff development opportunities
AL5: more Staff development should be “devoted to encouraging colleagues to share their material and to begin evaluating each others’ work. Tutors are not always good at commenting on each other, while many people, quite understandably, are anxious about being criticised.”
AL6: highlights the need to invite “tutors to create and upload new materials in a more collaborative way, for example, organising material development sessions according to each particular module.”
LORO in your professional practice: a framework for reflection Instructions: (1) Read the whole page BEFORE starting to write. (2) Write a coherent narrative; i.e. link each idea to the next like you would in a story. (the narrative frame is what is in bold)
The way I use LORO in preparation for a tutorial is to check what the module team has uploaded and use it to just see what they have included and what activities they suggest. I usually modify, build on their work and come up with my own version which usually breaks down the various activities into tasks that are more suitable for my students. I often also check what other teachers have done to teach the same topic or a similar structure. To find their materials I enter the topic in the search box. Luckily I can speak Spanish and French so I can understand the materials.
However, I have never downloaded any materials prepared by other teacher. The main reason for this is that I just look for ideas and then I prepare my own whiteboards/ powerpoints in a creative way. For instance, I remember a particular case when I was preparing to teach hotel reservations and I decided to see what others had done. I searched ‘hotel reservations’ and found a German worksheet designed to scaffold a role play by giving prompts in English. This prompted me to prepare a similar worksheet for my lesson. To make these searches easier it would be very helpful if the tags were standardised as I noticed that for each topic the resources have been freely entered under many different headings and I wonder if I might have missed materials classified using a tag I had not thought of.
In terms of my own teaching practice, I think that sharing the resources I have created with colleagues stimulates me to write very good materials, test them and improve them so that they can be used by someone else. Thus LORO really pushes me to produce better materials. It also gives me an opportunity to gain useful feedback on the work I do, although, so far I have only received one comment. However, I do worry about what some of my colleagues say as they don’t approve of me uploading materials for free. They say that if I keep uploading my work, the university will never consider paying for the work I or they do. This criticism, not their arguments, sometimes demotivates me. In relation to my own teaching practice, what I think about LORO is that it is a great opportunity for me to showcase my work, gain feedback and learn from what others do. […] Narrative framework based on : Gary Barkhuizen , Rosemary Wette (2008) ‘Narrative frames for investigating the experiences of language teachers’, System, 36, 372–387
“ LORO is just a means to an end, it’s not about LORO but about promoting a change in working practices to encourage sharing, discussion, collaboration and transparency, leading to improved teaching and learning”