TTOL: happy brain


Wish I’d known more of what I know now for these great kids.

What is it about good education that makes brains happy? My current StarTalk course (Transitioning to Teaching Online) is just amazing. For one thing, I wish I’d had the information years ago. The best practices that we are looking at, the course preparation materials, the syllabus re-writing and especially the forums where we post our responses and comment are inspiring and thought provoking.

The first big surprise, other than uncovering my weaknesses and some concepts I never considered, is the idea that successful online teaching is not “flip the switch and sit back.” Our three main instructors are incredibly involved with us in the day-to-day comments and responsiveness. And one of the best practice suggestions is to cap online classes at 20, because online classes done right take so much time for the instructor. It doesn’t seem to me that a whole lot of administrations know this aspect of best practices!

I’m openly sharing my journey as you can see from the top menu line. The Personal Learning Log is supposed to be just a list of resources we’d like to come back to later. I’m ending up planning my responses to questions and putting ideas there too, so it’s stream-of-consciousness mess. If my instructors request a more compact list, I will make that change, but for now, that’s what I’m doing.

Two requests: first, if there are other Russian teachers out there who have dabbled or taught online, please connect! This course has teachers of Hindi, Mandarin, Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese, and Turkish, and their perspectives are very helpful; but I’m the only Russian participant. Luckily one of the fabulous instructors is a Russian professor, or I’d feel more alone.

Second, my TPRS/CI community: please share ideas for online teaching using our methods. I am going to use a beautiful new online textbook that one of our instructors pointed out ( for the purposes of starting an online course, but would like to be able to do my own thing with it too.


2 responses to “TTOL: happy brain

  1. Hola!
    It’s great following your journey!
    I taught one-to-one online last summer. We connected for 40 to 50 minutes almost everyday. I used silent videos and my own drawings and did traditional TPRS steps and story-asking techniques. My student homework was to write her own stories using the vocab, She is a talented artist so very soon we used her beautiful drawings to make up stories.
    Do you know Pat Verano? She teaches English on line from Argentina.


    • Oh Piedad! That would be the best way to do it, using what I know and love. (Maybe I can take Spanish from you sometime soon.) I have a disadvantage in that no one can recognize what I am drawing unless we clarify in advance. My students are appalled and amused by my abilities.

      I am setting up the course so it’s mostly asynchronous, so that there would be a chance for students to take it from different schools and at different times around our city/state (if that comes about), so there is a wrench in the mix. I will try to connect with Pat! Thank you. And thanks for being so wonderfully supportive. I still want to visit you one day. Every time I’m in your area, I remember that the first reason I’m there is my daughter…and it’s a fast trip…maybe when I retire!!


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