What Teaching Partners Have to Say About Our Workshops
By Emily Hathaway
Following the conclusion of our fall workshop series to design the projects that are running this semester, we sent out a survey to participating faculty to get their insight on how we’re doing. And the results are overwhelmingly positive and supportive!
Let’s take a look at the numbers. We had 33 teachers participate and 21 respond. For about half of those, Virtual Exchange (VE) was totally new while a quarter were familiar with the concept.
By the end of the workshops, everyone had a much better idea of the goals of VE and CLICK projects, with 90% of respondents saying the goals were “extremely” or “very” clear.
While there were some (6) who did not come out with a mostly complete syllabus, everyone expressed confidence in their ability to run a VE project. 95% of respondents said it would have been difficult, very difficult, or extremely difficult to put together these projects without the Design workshop. Only one person, who was unable to attend all the meetings, didn’t feel more confident in their ability to design a VE project. For those that did not complete their syllabuses while the workshops were running, our Virtual Learning Liaisons and CLICK Coaches were there to provide support to be sure their projects were ready to go this semester.
In case the numbers aren’t persuasive on their own, here’s what people had to say about the workshops!
First, we asked participants to explain how they would characterize the workshop facilitator, Gazelle International’s founder Nancy Ruther, to potential future participants. The vast majority of responses mentioned her passion, experience, and knowledge. She was described as “internationally minded” and “highly informed and with the amount of experience was able to field all questions to minimize anxiety levels.”
We also asked about participants’ favorite or most useful parts of the workshops. The two most common responses were the pair/group work that they did in order to immediately apply concepts discussed to their own projects and our use of concrete examples from previous CLICK projects. Multiple people cited getting to know and working with their teaching partner.
Having asked for the positives, we needed to ask for the negatives too. Constructive feedback allows us to continuously improve and provide our teaching partners with better support! For this question, we already knew that one of the comments was going to be based on the breakout rooms: they were too short. We have a lot of information to fit into a short workshop, and when people have questions that need answering, the time has to come from somewhere! Emily González of North Essex Community College gave us our favorite kind of criticism when she said that her least favorite part was “the time in between working with my partners and the IVE workshop. I felt like a kid with new shoes hopping about trying to get out the door and kick up my heels.” Fortunately, there’s nothing stopping teaching partners from continuing to work between sessions! In fact, we encourage it!
Other comments addressed the LMS that we use, Linkr. Some people found it difficult to navigate, specifically for finding and uploading documents. There’s always a learning curve when it comes to a new LMS and we all have our personal preferences. While some didn’t find Linkr to their taste, others are using it to run their CLICK projects! To learn more about why we use Linkr, be sure to check out this post.
When asked if they would recommend Gazelle to their colleagues for training, there was not a single respondent who said no. Marjorie Antoni, English teacher and Head of Language Center IUT Charlemagne, University of Lorraine said “Yes, because they give us the motivation to go for it!”
Finally, we left space for any final comments teachers had for us here at Gazelle.
Frédéric Hermant of IUT Nancy-Brabois, Université de Lorraine said “Thank you for bringing this project to our school. It will allow [us] to root ESL classes into reality.”
We love hearing back from our clients, both the positive and the negative, so we can keep providing them with the support they need to create the best possible projects for their students.
If you're interested in hearing more of our news or about joining in one of our future workshops, be sure to join our mailing list!