New Year, New Beginnings: Embracing Change, Appreciating Diversity and Making Sense of EdTech Trends in Jan 2024
Greetings on the LEA Newsletter Jan 2024!
Dear LEA followers,
How has the first month of 2024 been for you? For me, it has been a refreshed start after a month-long break from most things professional. The month-long break was not just simply another vacation; it was an extended period of reflection and planning for me, while I also experimented with some new functions on Language Educators Assemble (LEA). I have earlier shared on LEA’s social media on the importance of short breaks – but I guess extended breaks do provide opportunities for profound rejuvenation.
In fact, in the midst of experimentation, I found myself motivated to go deeper with programming. I have shared bits of this during my last newsletter, and I have taken concrete steps to make sure I get this done: by amassing resources including subscribing to a couple of platforms to learn specific programming languages and skills. I am sure looking forward to see how this may open up new areas of content on LEA for all of us!
Also, since you have signed up for LEA’s newsletter, I do feel obliged to provide something exclusive at every issue. Other than just bringing content and updates directly into your inbox, I do want to provide exclusive content (albeit in nuggets first) for you that would not be re-produced on the website. Let me work on this, but I would love to have your suggestions too. Just drop me an email (by simply replying this email), or use the contact form on LEA here.
Moving on, looking at the highlights for Jan 2024, I must highlight the celebration of the International Education Day at UNESCO on 24 Jan. This year focused on “the crucial role education and teachers play in countering hate speech”, reminding us that the world is continuing its confrontation with an increase in violent conflicts, accompanied by a disturbing surge in discrimination, racism, xenophobia, and hate speech. The consequences of such violence are far-reaching, transcending any borders based on geography, gender, race, religion, politics, or platform, be it online or offline. As such, education play a pertinent role.
WE, as language educators, also play an indispensable role. We can start in our classrooms, by paying more attention to the attitudes in embracing diversity. Such is the heart of intercultural competence, where language education is well-positioned to develop.
For many of us, we may also be working with a very special group of learners in our class: the heritage language learners. Depending on our specialisation, we may be teaching a specific heritage language, or that we may be teaching heritage language learners another target language (usually the dominant societal language). Our capacity in appreciating the diversity within this group of learners is an important step to fostering a culture of sensitivity and awareness towards the diverse needs of various social groups. At the very core of it, we want to recognise that humanity is the connection between everyone of us. This can rub off on our learners as a whole, which is an important step towards “countering hate speech” – by using wisdom and compassion.
On a different note, I also like us to be inspired by the various EdTech trends that are happening in language education now. Other than the various global conflicts that have shaken us in 2023, we can also safely say that 2023 is the year of generative AI. BUT (a real large BUT), GenAI is not the only EdTech trend that has made an impact on language education. Let us keep our eyes on other trends – albeit influenced by AI (too difficult not to these days) – that may inspire us to think differently about how we design and implement our language learning experiences.
That being said, for some of us who might be getting fatigue from all those talk about EdTech, especially with the growth spurt of tools induced by GenAI, I would recommend us to revisit this article on the fundamentals of EdTech which I updated in Dec. I hope all of us can consolidate a principled framework in the adoption of EdTech and clarity in addressing passing EdTech fads or real transformative EdTech opportunities. That being said, do share with us (by replying this email) on any interesting EdTech tool(s) that you have used and hope to empower more colleagues among us.
That concludes the first LEA newsletter of 2024. Looking forward to the growth of our community, and I do hope that your 2024 is as fruitful as how we have envisioned during the Christmas and New Year break. Till the next issue!
Making a difference with you,
Chin Yew KIEU
Founder, Language Educators Assemble
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