The pandemic ushers in a new normal in language education, in which virtual classes have become the routine. Moving from physical face-to-face presence to virtual contact has greatly impacted both our teaching and learning. With the unavoidable drawbacks in virtual learning environment such as lack of personal interaction and screen fatigue, we find ourselves constantly battling with this question: how can incentivize our students and increase their engagement and participation so as to achieve and maximize the learning outcomes? This presentation intends to provide some practical answers to this question by sharing three instructional practices: virtual debate, Roles and Tasks, and digital breakout games. It will demonstrate how they are incorporated into virtual learning to gamify and expand students’ content learning while at the same time facilitating their problem-solving and critical thinking abilities. Participants will learn practical ways to optimize student engagement with the purpose of maximizing student learning, and gain insights to apply them in their own virtual classes.
Juan Villaflor, Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, United States