September 2022
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ONLINE WORLD LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION TRAINING AND ASSESSMENT

Anastasiya Pylypenko University of South Florida, Florida, USA

CALL technologies are advantageous to incorporate into the classroom, although often instructors are unfamiliar with technology practices, unsure of how to incorporate them into their curriculum, or do not know where to start to gain the knowledge necessary to do so effectively. In response to these issues, Online World Language Instruction Training and Assessment: An Ecological Approach serves to guide online teacher trainers to develop the necessary skills and strategies to ease the shift from face-to-face learning environments to online learning. This book is aimed at supervisors and administrators who plan and create CALL teacher education (CTE) training for professional development and evaluation procedures for online language instructors.

The authors, King Ramirez, Lafford, and Wermers structure ten chapters that end with practical action steps, checklists of collaborative training suggestions, applicable case studies, and empirical applications to aid trainers and supervisors in applying the theories explained in each chapter. In Chapter 1, the authors argue that the move from face-to-face to online instruction requires different skill-sets, practices, activities, and teaching styles. Chapter 2 is focused on reviewing theoretical frameworks and essential design elements for CTE online training, the effectiveness of strategies, and formal training alternatives. Chapter 3 explains the cognitive, emotional, and functional challenges that online language instructors face. Next, chapters 4-6 move on to identify essential online instructor skills that should be required to teach in digital spaces effectively. They also highlight the processes for evaluating the instructors’ attainment of these skills through contextualized assessments and mentoring. In chapters 7-9, the authors explore professional development for online language instructors at the micro-level with self-assessments, peer mentoring, and goal setting, along with macro-level training such as departmental workshops, seminars, and courses. Finally, Chapter 10 provides an overview of the topics discussed in this book and provides suggestions for the normalization of a critical CTE approach in online environments.

In terms of the book’s utility, the authors provide numerous research-based practical activities, such as conducting needs analyses on the instructors’ use and knowledge of basic technologies, their frequency of use, and their comfort level (e.g., Palloff & Pratt, 2009). However, one critique for this book is the two intended audiences. The first is ideal for developing online instructor training, and the second is for general professional development. This leads to a slight disconnect between the ten chapters because most readers will only need a part of this book; only a specific audience would find this book beneficial in its entirety. That being said, in terms of its strengths, the authors provide an in-depth analysis of the key foundational elements for online instruction and provide useful implications for administrators, or those developing professional online training seminars. This book is theoretically grounded to provide suggestions and applications for filling the gap between face-to-face and online instruction. As such, I would recommend this book for anyone seeking practical strategies to improve their pedagogy and curriculum in an online context or for those who are fostering online instructor’s development.

References

Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2009). Assessing the online learner: Resources and strategies for faculty. Jossey-Bass.


Anastasiya Pylypenko graduated with MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of South Florida’s Department of World Languages. Her primary research interests include intercultural communication, sociolinguistics, language acquisition, discourse analysis, and pragmatics.
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