Teacher and student interaction is crucial to the success of a dual language immersion program, and the teachers at ICAG have been hard at work making sure that every student at ICAG is just as engaged and learns just as much at home as they would in the classroom. Virtual learning at ICAG takes place Monday through Friday from 8:15 – 11:45 am, followed by homework. Each class is 30 minutes long, and there are 5 classes per day. Students study Japanese, English, social studies, math, science, music, and art, and even PE is taught virtually! Students use a variety of digital platforms, from Google Classroom and Zoom to Japanese specific platforms like Mirai Seed.
Curious to know what goes into planning a typical virtual day? Let’s take a look!
Teachers spend a lot of time re-constructing traditional teaching methods for a virtual setting. This means rethinking how materials, coursework, and daily assignments are presented.
Teachers hold meeting after meeting to discuss the Learning Management System, online tools, schedules, and safety. This is in addition to meetings teachers normally have throughout the school year. On average, a teacher has 2 to 3 meetings a week, some outside of school hours.
Teachers train on how to use video conferencing, the Learning Management System, and best practices for teaching online. They watch lots of videos and ask lots of questions.
Teachers constantly consult educational standards and work on creating virtual lessons and activities.
Recording lessons takes several hours each week.
Everything needs to be uploaded to the Learning Management System.
Believe it or not, teaching is the easy part! And when the long day is done, teachers log back on at 8:00 PM to finalize attendance.
And there are other things teachers need to do!
Teachers work on things like the school newsletter, committees, and have parent teacher conferences.
Teachers often work 6 days a week, 10-12 hours/day to make virtual learning a success!
What does a typical day look like for an ICAG student since virtual learning began?
One parent explained, “Having a consistent schedule has helped my son transition into the new school year. He wakes up at 7:30 in the morning, brushes his teeth, washes his face, and puts on his uniform. The school doesn’t require uniforms for online learning, but wearing it helps him understand that it’s time to focus on school.”
One student commented that his favorite subject is Japanese language because he loves to write and draw. He enjoys handwriting practice, and the teacher encourages the children to be creative and draw pictures of the new vocabulary words they’re learning.
What are some of the benefits of virtual learning?
One parent said, “I like being able to watch my son as he learns, and I get to spend more time with him especially in this difficult time. My son is 5 years old and sitting for long periods of time can be boring to him. I am so glad that ICAG teachers do dancing and singing in every class because they really help liven up my son’s mood.”
Another parent commented, “I take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, and I feel reassured that the school does too. Health and safety is of primary importance. Distance learning has given me an opportunity to learn Japanese along with my son.” However, that doesn’t mean that virtual learning is without challenges. She goes on to say, “When the children have in-person class, they are able to be more fully immersed and interact more. Distance learning puts an added responsibility on the parent to learn and study the language to reinforce it with the child.”