Bialik Hebrew Day School is a Jewish day school in Toronto, Canada. Bialik serves grades K-8 and aims to provide students with an exemplary education that embraces inclusivity, social justice, and equality. As a 1:1 and Google Classroom School, Bialik is also dedicated to ensuring strong digital literacy and achievement.
Students at Bialik receive instruction in four different languages: their native English, French, Hebrew, and Yiddish (Bialik is one of the few schools in North America that teaches Yiddish language). Given the importance of language learning at the school, Bialik required a way to easily facilitate language practice and feedback.
In 2021, staff were introduced to Mote as a way to supplement their language classes and its use took off. In fact, since the start of the school year, Bialik has created tens of thousands of Mote recordings – nearly all of them in Language Arts.
At Bialik, teachers have found Mote for Slides particularly effective for practicing pronunciation and grammar. Using Mote for Slides, teachers have created templates in which students could both hear their teachers pronounce words in their non-native language, and then submit recordings of key vocabulary.
Bialik teachers also use Mote to teach reading. For example, with this template, Sarit Fuchs and Dana Amar created an assignment for their Hebrew class in which students are given a written passage and must read it aloud while recording a mote. With this recording, Sarit and Dana were then easily able to assess their students strengths and areas of growth, while also allowing for fun and engaging activities such as singing traditional Hebrew songs.
Beyond students recording their voices, Bialik teacher Hagit Dekel also notes the power of oral feedback on the students’ work. Dekel notes:
“By using Mote to provide feedback in the language of instruction, I use the language of instruction in an authentic way. Students are encouraged to listen and apply the feedback to their work. This requires them to use their listening comprehension skills, as well as their critical thinking, since the feedback is simply explaining what the mistake is, without providing the correct answer. Thus, students are required to make a concerted effort to understand what they are hearing in the language of instruction, process the feedback, and derive the expected correction on their own.”
With Mote, then, language learning and instruction has become faster, friendlier, and easier. The product has allowed teachers to improve the speed and scalability of assessing student learning. Rather than needing to assess students’ pronunciation and grammar 1:1, with Mote, teachers can now easily assess students asynchronously. Moreover, with the ability to record their voices, Bialik teachers can now also leave their instructions and feedback in the language that they are instructing, thus giving students a more authentic and immersive learning experience. And for students, there is joy in practicing their Hebrew, Yiddish and French pronunciations on their teachers’ warm and inviting templates.
For Bialik, Mote has provided a way to create engaging and differentiated learning materials that could bring multiple languages and cultures to life through listening and speaking activities. With Mote templates and activities, Bialik has beenable to stretch language learning from a primarily written exercise to one that emphasizes verbal confidence and fluency. In doing so, it has managed to both make students more excited for their learning and the lessons even that much more effective.