A little vacation…

For the next two weeks, the volunteers behind We Teach Languages will be taking a little vacation and will not be publishing new issues of the newsletter, but we WILL continue releasing episodes on Fridays and we WILL look forward to hearing your feedback on Twitter, Facebook, and on our website at weteachlang.com.

We hope you all are enjoying some well-deserved R&R, and we’ll see you poolside!

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Community-Based Global Learning Book Giveaway Winner!

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Back in May, we asked you all to send us your questions about service learning and community-engaged learning to win a copy of the new book Community-Based Global Learning: The Theory and Practice of Ethical Engagement at Home and Abroad (Stylus, 2018).

Listeners sent in lots of wonderful questions, several of which will be answered on episode 60, and we are excited to announce the winner of a free book:

Congratulations Sophia Chen from New Jersey, USA

8oaenwr9_400x400Sophia Chen is currently teaching Chinese at a public high school, and is passionate about helping students to acquire language, and using technology to facilitate its acquisition. She and her students are planning for a global service in summer, 2019.

We hope you enjoy your book from Stylus Publishing, and we cannot wait to share your global learning questions with the world on episode 60.

On behalf of the podcast, we’d like to thank Eric Hartman, Richard Kiely, and Stylus Publishing for providing the book for this giveaway.

If you are hoping for more chances to win, stay tuned. We’ll be hosting another book giveaway coming up this fall!

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FAQ: What recording and editing equipment do you use?

In this post, Stacey answers a common question about what the interview process is like.

If you are going to be a guest on the podcast, we’ll make an appointment to meet in person or on Skype or Google Hangout or a similar tool or another free online service. I use all free and low-cost tools for the whole thing. Every once in a while I actually get to be in the same room with the person I am interviewing, but usually, we are in different states or even countries. I have experimented with a few methods, including using the recording feature in Google Voice calls, but over time I have settled on a system that works for me.

I usually meet the guest on Skype or Google Hangout, and I do all the recording on my end with a free recording tool called CallNote that I have been incredibly impressed with. CallNote gives me separate tracks, one of the guest and one of me, that I can then mix during editing, or I can choose a single track with both participants. The sound quality is usually excellent as well. I also record my end with a little Zoom 1 recorder (that I bought on sale…really really on sale). I recently bought a cheap pop-screen and handle accessories for my Zoom and they have made a huge difference in audio quality as well. It’s a great, portable, cheap option, and I highly recommend it. Another key for doing internet interviews: I ask my guests to find a quiet place with excellent internet connection and use headphones or even earbuds with a mic. Headphones are a big plus for audio quality.

I use Audacity (free, open-source) for editing. I originally learned how to use Audacity during a one-hour consult with the awesome educational technologist where I work, and have continued learning with hundreds of hours of practice (thousands? millions?!? 😉 just all my spare time for the last year or so) and a few YouTube tutorials.

There are also some cool facilities on my campus that I occasionally make use of, like a recording studio that I have finally learned how to use unsupervised, although I still feel like they should not allow me to use their nice equipment without a chaperone! (For real, why do they let me touch the expensive equipment?!?!) If you have noticed that the audio quality has gone up over the first year of the podcast, that is directly correlated to my own skill level going up as I slowly but surely learn new skills. I’ll be honest, this weekly podcast schedule is brutally fast-paced at times, and the episodes aren’t always as perfect and flawless as I would like. But without a production team or a budget, getting episodes out on schedule often means just doing my best and hoping you guys like the show enough to extend grace when the production values fall short.

I can tell you a few things for sure:

-I will keep doing my best to put out great weekly episodes.

-Because I keep learning and improving, my best will get ever so slightly better each week, and quite a lot better each year.

-I am committed to keeping the costs low, and will use free and low-cost tools whenever I can. It’s just in my nature to choose the open-source and the free over fancier, more user-friendly alternatives.

If you have questions about the show, about language teaching, about me, or about any topic related to this podcast, please reach out. I’d be very happy to hear from you.

 

FAQ: If I am a guest on the show, what is the interview process like?

In this post, Stacey answers a common question about what the interview process is like.

Once you have agreed to be a guest on the podcast, the actual interview process is pretty easy (well, I think it is anyway). I use all free and low-cost tools and try to make the whole thing as pleasant as possible for the guest. Every once in a while I actually get to be in the same room with the person I am interviewing, but usually, we are in different states or even countries. We can meet on Skype or Google Hangout, and I do all the recording on my end using a great free tool called CallNote. You just need to find a quiet place to chat with excellent internet connection, and if you have headphones or even earbuds with a mic, that is a big plus for audio quality. Recording a 20 minute interview usually takes about an hour between chatting to get things set up and the recording itself. I edit a ton, so we can do multiple takes on anything you need to, and I can take out anything that doesn’t quite work.

In most interviews, something technical goes wrong or some element is less than ideal. I am comfortable with that, and have always found that with a little good humor and patience, my guests and I can work through any obstacle.

From the time I first ask you to be on the podcast to when the episode actually airs, a couple of months may go by. I hope when your episode does air, that you feel really proud of it and want to share it with all of your friends and colleagues. In fact, you may even become a contributor and submit interviews with other language teachers you know. That would really be a best case scenario.

If you have any other questions about the interview process, please let me know! I would love to answer them in a future post.

If you have questions about the show, about language teaching, about me, or about any topic related to this podcast, please reach out. I’d be very happy to hear from you.

 

FAQ: How do you choose your episode guests?

In this post, Stacey answers a common question about how she chooses her guests.

My choices are guided in equal parts by serendipity, networking, and a commitment to diversity. I have my own professional network of teachers and researchers that I draw on, but I also meet people in interesting settings, follow leads on the internet, sometimes listeners suggest people, I run into folks at conferences…so many ways interviews come about. There are a couple of factors that help make sure we always have a diverse set of interviews on as many levels as possible.

One–> I encourage people to submit contributions. Why should I be the only one interviewing people? I only know the people I know. But you all know so many amazing teachers. If we work together, we can cover more ground, represent more diverse voices, and generally do better work.

Two–> I record way in advance, usually 4-6 weeks, but sometimes longer. That means I always have a pipeline of episodes ready to go, and I can organize the episodes to represent different kinds of diversity.

Is there a kind of language teaching or a voice that the podcast is missing? I would love to hear your ideas and get your submissions. Reach out to talk about your ideas!

If you have questions about the show, about language teaching, about me, or about any topic related to this podcast, please reach out. I’d be very happy to hear from you.

 

FAQ: Who sponsors this podcast?

In this post, Stacey answers a common question about sponsorship and financial support.

In the last few weeks, I have gotten several questions about how I support the podcast financially. It’s not something I talk about, generally, because there is not much to say. The answer is that I do not have financial support or sponsors nor is the site monetized in any way. I have a few reasons for prefering it that way, and I do not intend to seek any sponsors out.

I have a job as university staff/faculty where I get to work as an administrator, teach, and do research I love, but the podcast is not part of my responsibilities at my job either. My employer is very supportive of my “extracurricular” work on the podcast, but this podcast is a something I do in my spare time, usually after my three kiddos have gone to sleep in the evenings. If something costs money, I pay for it myself or I live without it. I do all the recording, production work, and social media using free or low-cost tools and public domain art and music that I also edit myself. In fact, I’m not the only volunteer: All WTL guests and contributors volunteer their time and intellectual labor to be on the podcast.

A grad student I know at my institution would call this a punk podcast because I am using what I have available to make something outside traditional structures. Since my own musical tastes run a bit in the other direction, I like to think of it more as a 1970’s-era-easy-listening garage band that I funnel all my creative energy into.  In reality, it’s just an all-volunteer effort in which many people have participated out of sheer good will. If you would like to volunteer as a podcast contributor, here’s how you can pitch in to this all-volunteer effort!

If you want to give the podcast money that will be used to fund episode transcripts and hosting fees, consider purchasing some podcast swag from our online store. (But no pressure! I know as a language teacher you are probably spending all your extra money on funding your own teaching and professional development, so please do not feel obligated to buy swag unless you really want it. In fact, I regret even mentioning the swag. Although I will tell you I drink my coffee out of my We Teach Languages travel mug every morning and it’s a great mug!)

If you have questions about the show, about language teaching, about me, or about any topic related to this podcast, please reach out. I’d be very happy to hear from you.

Book Giveaway!!!

We’re doing another book giveaway and you can enter to win in the month of May!

Ask Richard Kiely and Eric Hartman your questions about global learning, service learning, or community-engaged learning, and you will be entered to win a copy of their forthcoming book Community-Based Global Learning: The Theory and Practice of Ethical Engagement at Home and Abroad (Stylus, 2018).  Your question might be featured on the podcast!

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You can submit your questions in audio or written format. For audio submissions, call our Google Voice number (629)888-3398 and leave your question as a voicemail. Or you can record on your own laptop and send the file (or a link to the file) to our email weteachlang@gmail.com. You can also send questions via our website or social media.

If you have any questions or need a little help getting your question submitted, please reach out! You can email, call, leave a comment under this blog post, or use our contact form!

Please spread the word and encourage your brilliant colleagues to send us their questions! We can’t wait to hear from you!

 

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FAQ: Do you do workshops or other speaking?

In this post, Stacey answers a question about her experience and availability for speaking.

This is an easy one. Yes! In the past, I have done speaking and workshops of various kinds both at conferences like ACTFL, AATSP, MWALLT, and SCOLT, and as an invited speaker at secondary schools and universities. My talks and workshops generally cover topics related to adult learning including transformative and experiential learningproblem-based learningcritical pedagogy and intercultural communicative competence, and online/hybrid language learning.

If you are looking for a speaker on a topic within my range of experience and expertise, I would love to hear from you. I am prepared to do both keynote-type presentations as well as longer, interactive workshops. In fact, I have workshops ready to go on using adult learning models in secondary and postsecondary language teaching and teaching language in hybrid/online settings.

Also, if you heard someone on an episode of the podcast and want to get in touch with him or her about a speaking engagement, check out the show notes for that episode. I always put contact information for guests in the hopes that listeners will reach out to ask questions or extend the conversation.

If you have questions about the show, about language teaching, about me, or about any topic related to this podcast, please reach out. I’d be very happy to hear from you.

 

FAQ: How can I contribute?

In this post, Stacey answers a question about becoming a contributor to the podcast.

For various reasons, some people want to help with the podcast, but not necessarily be a guest. Or maybe you have been a guest in the past, and are looking for more ways to contribute. I could definitely use more help. This is an all-volunteer effort!

Here’s a list of ways you could get involved…

…Volunteer to write a reaction or another episode-related piece for the newsletter 

If you hear an episode (they go live on Fridays) and are inspired or have a story you want to tell our listeners as a follow up, please let me know! Send me a message on Facebook or Twitter, or you can call or email or use our contact form!!

Check out some of our previous newsletters to get a feel for what others have done. And, I will also tell you that I love new, fresh ideas. So, if you have something else you would like to contribute to the newsletter, just let me know!

…Record an interview or conversation with an amazing teacher you know

I work hard to find and interview a diverse group of folks, but I am only one person and can only do so much. I just don’t have access to YOUR network of colleagues or YOUR knowledge of who is doing cool work. I would love for you to be an episode contributor.  If you still aren’t convinced and want to chat with me ahead of time about what that might look like, I am all for it. Get in touch.

…Tell people how much you like the podcast

Please consider leaving us a review on iTunes, tweeting or posting on Facebook about your favorite episodes, and sending links to episodes to your friends and colleagues. Word of mouth is the best way for listeners to find us, and I really appreciate your help!

…Suggest a skill you could contribute

Our newsletter contributor, Maris Hawkins, approached me to tell me that she thought she could help with curating social media posts for the newsletter. To be honest, I’m not sure the newsletter would even exist without her offering that. Another listener has volunteered to turn an episode into an EdPuzzle that could be used for professional development. If you have an ability or interest that you think could make the podcast better, bring it on!

If you have questions about the show, about language teaching, about me, or about any topic related to this podcast, please reach out. I’d be very happy to hear from you.