- Nancy Ruther, EdD
Beyond CLICK training: Our support continues
Congratulations, teachers! You and your teaching partners have completed the training and designed your first Virtual Exchange (VE/CLICK) project! It’s exciting! You have a great partner. Your Virtual Exchange project design is solid and will be fun to run. Yet you are a bit anxious, too, yes? You still need to do some finishing touches for the syllabus, tweak the rubrics, resolve that technology bug you just discovered. Oh, wait! Your partner reminded you that you’re not on your own. Your Gazelle International training team is still here to help! Pose a question on WhatsApp. Schedule a zoom meeting. Help is there for you.
During the VE/CLICK design training, you got to know your partner, other teachers in your cohort along with our training team. Your CLICK coaches were the virtual exchange liaisons who joined each session, sent the emails reminding you about meetings, helped troubleshoot technology issues, and pointed out supplementary materials. If you or your teaching partner had difficulties or conflicting schedules during the workshops, we may have had a one on one meeting to sort things out. And just because training ended doesn’t mean we stop. We’ll be there for you now that you’re starting and right through the project. We’d love to join you in celebrating the final team presentations with your students!
Our support can be as active or passive as you need. Was your partnership a match made in heaven and your syllabus seemed to just emerge fully formed? Great! We’ll check in periodically about progress, send out pre and post survey links, and prepare the certificates for your classes!
Hmmmm. We all know problems can arise even in the best of partnerships - personal situations or events out of your control. We’ve been through earthquakes, covid and more with our CLICK teachers from many cultures and locations. Let us share some of the situations we have helped teachers navigate toward “happy endings.”
Schedules and communication: We’re all busy people and sometimes that means messages get lost while we juggle our commitments. But one absent partner means the other one will take on more of the workload and progress stalls. It can be awkward if you don’t know what’s going on. Reach out to us. As a third party, we can work directly or through their campus liaison to understand their challenge and help you re-engage or re-schedule activities. During and after the training and throughout your CLICK project, we’re available to schedule calls and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Cultures of grading: Different countries and educational systems approach grading differently. One of the things we enjoy in the process of designing your projects is that you are actively navigating and enjoying cross-cultural differences as your students will once they CLICK. This can easily be seen in grading approaches. At first glance, the differences between American grading systems and French grading systems are a matter of conversion from a 100 point scale to a 20 point scale. However, like with languages, converting grades is not as simple as a one-to-one translation. Mathematically, a score of 15 would convert to a 75% or C on the American scale, but it is better translated to a B+.
In a previous CLICK project, there were miscommunications between teaching partners on grading expectations. The American wanted to give everyone full points for a specific task, whereas the French saw that there was room for improvement so couldn’t justify a perfect score. After a quick message from them, their CLICK coach at Gazelle International moderated a solution that worked for both teachers and in both education systems.
Technology issues: Virtual Exchange relies heavily on technology, some of which we use regularly and some which is new to us or our students. In a recent training of ours, connectivity issues forced us to pivot. The CLICK coach handled the visuals while the facilitator finished the presentation. Our rule of thumb is to always have a backup plan. Our teaching partners and CLICK coaches form WhatsApp mini-groups for ease and speed of communication. We can step in, suggesting a quick solution that eludes you in the heat of the moment or help create alternatives so you can maximize the benefits of your project and minimize time struggling with your tech.
Our CLICK coaches enjoy being involved with your projects, both learning and sharing with you as well as helping navigate challenges that arise. If your class has a final presentation, we’d love to be a part of it and see what your students achieved once you have helped them start CLICKing along with you!