Weekly Check-ins Using Google Voice

One of the hardest things to do in a second language is to talk on the phone.  Worse still: leave a voice mail message.  And yet these are activities that many of my students have to do as part of job inquiries or job interviews.  It’s not fun and it is very stressful.  So I decided I would make this an activity for my class.

I resurrected my Google Voice account (that could be a blog post unto itself about trying to figure out what the number was in the first place…) and changed the settings so that when a VM came in it would alert my gmail account, and would not ring my cellphone. I then gave the Google Voice number to my students and asked them to call me.

This is the busiest time of the year,  I have discovered that asking students to do weekly face-to-face checkins with me about their projects is impossible to schedule. So instead, I have asked them to send me a voicemail and tell me, in Spanish, how they are progressing on their projects and what are they listening to as part of their daily listening practice.

I acknowledge their calls by opening up google voice on my computer and texting a message back, asking them questions or commending them on something they said.  So far, it has worked perfectly.  I will keep you posted!

Barbara is a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at a small liberal arts college in Maine. Rumor has it this was also her alma mater. She used to work for a small liberal arts college in the cornfields of Ohio for almost 20 years as a teacher and language center director. Prior to these adventures in higher ed she taught high school Spanish and loved it. She wishes she had more time in her life to play with her dogs, write, read, swim, do yoga things and making stuff out of clay. To see her online portfolio please click here!

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