Tuesday, October 25, 2016

3019. Grown-Ups in My Classes Are Great!

With my adult students we work out worksheets I hand out to them. And we take good advantage of them indeed!
I read them out, then they do so, I present the words they don’t understand, and which ones are new to them. Other exercises and activities we carry out are saying the meaning of words in English, or the other way round: I say the meanings and they give me the words, after we’ve read the worksheet several times and they have a clear scheme of that worksheet.
Also they summarize the worksheet and now yes, they translate Spanish expressions into English ones from the worksheet, so I ask them “How would you say… in English?”
The point is for my students to get a nice communicative competence. And this school year as well I’m presenting grammar points, also for a communicative purpose: they learn and/or revise ways of saying everyday things in English.
The classes, as you know are in English, tending to 99% in that marvelous language. The class-group should be small, say 8 to 11 students each class-group. 11 students is rather much, and 8 or so students is a nice number, for they can participate and contribute more often. The minimum number for nice communication in English would be 6 students.
I also teach them collateral lexis to the words of the topic the worksheets are about. In few words we work from worksheets I compose or texts from different books I copy. And remember the goal: communication, communication, communication. If you want to learn more about my classes, let me know. / Photo from: Dad-and-Daughter. A fantastic photo shot

Monday, October 24, 2016

3018. Nice Contents for Your English Language Classes!

We language teachers can teach for example general English, and that’s ok, but we may have to teach ESP, this is English for Special Purposes, which demands a lot from us teachers, because we’ve got to recycle our English and learn how to say many things in a sort of variety of English: business English, science English, etc.
But the result is magnificent: we make possible to set communication among people from all over the world. We English language teachers build bridges among people, and what was an obstacle, English, becomes a bridge for communication between people, isn’t it great?
This also happens with Spanish: many people from America and from Europe, namely Spain can communicate in that marvelous language. We in our center have a new teacher from Chile and we teachers can talk with her in Spanish.
The human person only grows well if he’s in contact with other people, because man and woman only develop their potentials when living in a society, I mean with other people.
And the person is destined to love, with benevolence love.
So we already have that people have to live and work together, and they have been created for love of benevolence toward others. Love of benevolence is to wish what is good for other people.
Persons only develop their potentialities when living inside otherness.
And another consequence of this social contact and communication learned and acquired in school classes is that companies and corporations will be able to get in contact from different countries.
Think of another example of communication, which is so prominent here in Granada: tourism. Another example of communication we language teachers facilitate is academic relationships among students from different countries. All those communications are awesome and gratifying, no doubt about that.
So as to finish I will cite another example of the need to learn English and/or Spanish: globalization. Just think of it, because you know a lot about it! / Photo from: planting-tree una pagina un minuto wordpress com. The picture shows an example of communication, a nice one, between a grandfather and his grandson.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

3017. Creativity from the Teacher and from the Students!

So I have written about immersion in English, the target language, and also about acquisition and not mere learning, this is, in other words: our students learn English, but as well they are acquiring it, in some way the same as infant children do when they learn their mother language.
However I’m presenting grammar points in my old students’ classes. Is that opposite and contrary to the valuable unaware acquisition?
Well think this way: grammar presentation – and grammar elicitation from my students – boosts communication in the classroom and out of the classroom, because this grammar gives them the tools and instruments for later communication in the classroom, both with me their teacher and with their classmates.
This grammar presentation boosts my students’ communicative competence and enhances it.
Moreover my students like to have this grammar presentation at classes: also because they can contribute with the knowledge they already have – they’re adults and have studied about all this. Alike I will present some grammar points they have never studied yet, because they pertain to a level of English which is higher than the one they have now.
Thus I would advise you to present grammar points in the classroom, if possible in the target language but if they do not understand you, then try in their mother language. / Photo from: MIT libraries. The picture is just an illustration for the post.
Something else I’d like to add is that I beg my students’ pardon if I inflicted some humiliation or the kind in classes during my first years as a teacher because I had scolded a student in public too much. I wouldn’t do same way now. I also regret from any faults I might have committed during those my first years of teaching.

Friday, October 21, 2016

3016. Immersion Now!

Sometimes at classes when I realize I’m speaking in Spanish, our common native language I shift into English again, because I intend to create a nice atmosphere where English is the vehicle for discussions and communication in general.
Today one of my students took his turn and spoke in English for a lot, about two texts from a worksheet I’ve handed them out, number 195 already.
It has two texts, one about family relations and another one about the rise of the bicycle in the 1890s. Two very interesting texts, with a nice number of points for discussion. One is B1 and the second is C1, to provide material both for low-achievers and high-achievers too.
So when I am aware I’m speaking in Spanish I beg their pardon and change back into English, our target language.
If I produce a lot of output in that language I give my students chances and opportunities of acquiring English and not only learning it.
And all that with a smile, maybe a small laugh and a bit of sense of humor, good things for the lubricating of the class.
The point, remember is to create immersion into English, and it turns out fine. Awesome, I mean from my students. At present I teach adults but I hope I will teach kids pretty soon as well. / Photo from: Steps-To-Fly-A-Kite-With-Your-Kid. The photo is just a nice illustration, isn’t it?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

3015. Artículo en español, sobre dar clases

¿Pueden ustedes creer que me cuesta un poco desarrollar un texto en español o castellano?
Estoy acostumbrado a escribir en inglés, desarrollando artículos. O quizá sea simplemente que tengo que pensar; bueno, eso pasa también en inglés.
El español o castellano, como prefieran, creo que es la tercera lengua más hablada en nuestro querido mundo. Primero el chino, después el inglés – qué suerte tienen ustedes de saber inglés porque sea su lengua nativa… – y en tercer lugar el castellano o español. ¿Alguno de ustedes tiene otros datos? Porque el árabe es también muy hablado, y el ruso también. Pueden opinar, por supuesto.
Ah, y qué suerte tengo de saber español.
Pero iba hoy a escribir sobre el arte de la docencia, o de enseñar, o de ayudar a otros a aprender. Sí, yo lo considero un arte, y una vocación, en definitiva.
Me alegra enseñar, o dar clases, como decimos, incluso cuando tengo que dar clase a niños o adolescentes, incluso cuando tengo que dar clases de inglés a niños en un campamento de inglés, en verano, cuando sé que ciertos individuos van a reventar la clase, con perdón por la claridad.
Por otro lado sonreír a los alumnos es importante. Vaya que si lo es. Tener sentido del humor, reír un poco en clase, por ejemplo con adultos. Romper el hielo, para seguido retomar el hilo de la clase.
Es un arte, que se aprende con el tiempo. Estoy en ello. Yo suelo decir que no se dan clases de inglés, sino que se tienen. Queden ustedes con Dios. / Foto de: uvillage nd efu. Chaveas jugando con la tierra: ¡les encanta! ¿A alguien no le gustaba eso cuando era niño?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

3014. Is A Movie An Interesting Topic to Investigate?

I’ve already written about the “flipped classroom”, and you may know about that new interesting way of learning.
Instead of the traditional way of teacher teaching and presenting the contents of classes, the students would get the information from the Internet, encyclopedias, books, surroundings and thereabouts, from people that know about the specific contents, etc.
Is then the teacher an unimportant person? Not at all! The teacher could filter the information that is meaningful, really interesting and relevant. Also he would lead up the way to the convenient sources and would in some way help find the best contents for the unit or topic.
The teacher keeps being of a paramount importance! He also provides a critical eye: he can tell about the relevance or not of some specific sources.
The class is then a working group or team, together with their dear teacher. This latter one can set the student working teams or they all can discuss in the classroom how to make up the groups. Then the teacher would act as a moderator – otherwise the class students could be discussing about how to make up the teams for a never ending long time.
As well the teacher would organize and run the group turns: when the different teams would present their topic and material. I guess it’s an interesting way of learning but I’d like to have more feedback from real classes which are working that way. You may have heard of this learning style and have more knowledge than me, or even can be working that way! / Photo from: charles chaplin in love with blind girl City Lights 1931 movie. Could a single film be an interesting topic or theme to investigate about? Think of it! Maybe something more ample and broad?