Noël Grisanti, Latin Teacher, on Teaching Language Online

For Noël Grisanti, the sudden pivot to online teaching was one marked by lots of flexibility. She was in the middle of teaching Latin grammar and Roman love poetry when the news hit. She had to rethink everything that was so key to her in-person classes, including group work to practice grammar and presentation speaking skills.

To start, she had her students get focused by honing one key skill per session rather than multiple. “I would rather students grasp one idea fully than hear about three different ideas that go in one ear and out the other,” said Ms. Grisanti. She regularly checked in on students’ energy levels, beginning with light-hearted exercises, like “describe your mood as a weather forecast.”

She says that this time made her more concise as a teacher to focus on the essentials to grasping key concepts. And while Ms. Grisanti made it work, she looks forward to getting back into the classroom with her students. “I miss the energy and movement of the classroom. … I also miss the spontaneity of conversation. … In my classroom, no student is ever muted, even the quietest ones.”

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Walker’s Dean of Academic Technology and Innovation Sarah Edson facilitated faculty sharing through a series of recorded conversations. Enjoy her conversation with Ms. Grisanti who shares how she led distance learning. Topics include her use of breakout rooms in Zoom, using Google Slides as her “whiteboard,” her efforts to balance understanding with accountability, and more.