Showing posts from December, 2009

248. When alone

Here you have a comp I had to write for my program of English, C-2 Level, at Centro de Lenguas Modernas, Universidad de Granada. I will present it to my teacher after Christmas vacation. The student has to continue the given beginning of a novel. 11 beginnings are shown, and you got to continue the one of your choice.

From the Teacher’s Book – 3: Communication – Telling stories

Begun on 21 December 2009

Student: Fernando Díez Gallego

Let’s have a try. I am taking 1984. And digging some remembrance of a film I saw many years ago, when a child myself. However most of the stuff is of mine. Ah, there is some streak of I amlegend, 2007, starring Will Smith.

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen… I awoke at that sound, but remained very still in bed, eyes wide open. Listening. A metallic striking. So cold a morning. Windows wide open. For granted, I every day heard some other clocks striking, far, in the distance, in some corner of the ship.

Oh, shhh, I had b…

247. What's the right thing to do?

The teacher trainer-coach told me, "My class-periods, at the academy, have two parts. The total duration of a class-period is 45 minutes. Half of one class-period is devoted to their homework. Each kid - is expected -, studies from his coursebooks, the coursebooks each kid has in their schools or institutes. Well, if they are doing esxercises, I do see it, but... are they really studying when it seems so? This is a new thing in my classes. I don't know what to do; I'm on it. First premise: it's their own business, whether they are making good use of this time. I should believe and trust they are doing the right thing. It's them the ones interested in learning! I'm not sure, but maybe, so as to solve this dilemma, I'll tell them I am going to ask each one some practical questions about what they have studied. Or perhaps, I'll tell them that if they have no exercises, I'll carry on giving them worksheets I compose, in accordance to what they are lear…

246. Training? Essential

The teacher trainer-coach told me, "Many teachers ask me up to what extent drill is good to learn English, or should we teachers put drill aside and using all the time alloted for the class-period to, say, creative writing, talking, etc? Drill is good practice. The students learn a grammar pattern, ok, and then it's convenient for them to practice that pattern in the form of the common regular drill-exercise, in which your kids have got to repeat a molded kind of sentence, or using the appropriate verbal tense." The Chosen 7 guys for the Mercury Project, at the beginning of the 60's. Oh, what were their names? Schirra, Sheperd, Gordon, Glenn, Carpenter..., Sorry. There is a novel about this thing. Tom Wolfe wrote it, The Right Stuff. Picture from www spacearium com.

245. Just digg Communication as the goal of your subject

The teacher trainer/coach told me, "Listen, I copied something that shows a learning strategy so clear. It's from the book by Rebecca Oxford I told you some weeks ago, and other times. It says, 'Placing a word or phrase in a meaningful sentence, conversation, or story in order to remember it. This strategy involves a form of associating/elaborating, in which the new information is linked with a context. This strategy is not the same as guessing intelligently, a set of compensation strategies (described later) which involve using all possible clues, including the context, to guess the meaning.' It's on page 41. Ultimately these learning strategies enable to build up communication, which is the goal of the school-subject of English." familias_numerosas 3bp blogspot com, thank you for the pic: awesome!

244. You are kidding, huh?

The teacher trainer/coach told me, [from now on, the posts are in AmE again]. "I wanted here to tell you something so helpful for your classes, I hope. Sense of humor. Some way that sense of humor permeates all the class-period. A few days ago, I started a mental-calculation game with my kids, beforehand explaining the Plus and Minus signs. This game gets them so stuck and silent, as though it be no one in the classroom. Then when you say "make" or "equal", at the end of the thread of operations, all of them shout the result at you. You say a chain of numbers joined by Plus and Minus, rather slowly. Once I started to say this thread of math operations, but more and more fast [sic], and then they realized of the tricky and humorous streak I had given to that thread, provoking a big mental mess, and all us had a small laugh. It's cool." www ecomodelismo com, thank you for the photo.

243. Well, my students are trying theories

The teacher trainer/coach told me, 'My students make guesses about the meaning of a new word they see on the whiteboard. This is a good strategy, though unsconscious usually. As well they make theories about how to say a word they haven't learnt so far, but they need to express it. This is agood strategy also. They try and invent words, from the Spanish real words. This is good. This is effort. This is interest. This is the pathway to success. These kids are 10, 11, 12, 13 years old. They are starting to feel the texture of English. I'm satisfied, in bulk terms.' Thank you, www instablogsimages com, for the photograph.

242. Hey, you, what's going on?

Further games, both to learn and to have fun.

1. Matching: four words with four meanings, on the blackboard, or on the pc screen, etc.
2. The same as number 1 but orally. Can be difficult... and challenging!
3. The teacher writes one sentence on the BB. You all, teacher + students, repeat it as a chorus... And then you rub the sentence, and they have to say it. Can be pair-work, or individually, or the class as a single team versus the teacher, or...www coolest-gadgets com, thank you for the photo!

241. You are not too old!

The teacher trainer/coach told me, 'Some adults tell me that they would like to start again to study English. And also that they have forgotten all what they had learnt, many years ago. I tell them that if they re-start to study and practise English, all the knowledge and practice they had acquired is re-gained again. It's easier to remember words and grammar: when you study English, as an adult, all or most of what you had learnt is re-born. Nothing is spoiled. They don't start from bare 0.' Thanks for the photo to www soultones com.

240. She is my best friend

The teacher trainer/coach told me, 'You should foster every student of yours the values and virtues of solidarity, companionship, friendship, charity, comradeship, concerning about his classmates. All are human values or virtues. Charity as well is a grace, a help given by God, who is our loving Father. One example of this helping one another is making two students sit down together, sit down with their desks together. The goal is to help each other. I've implemented this kind of working, and it has turned out to work well. Those pairs can do an exercise from the coursebook. Both students get some benefit: one helps his classmate, and this one allows being helped by his monitor. This method enables both to get aware of learning strategies and solving problems.' Thank you for the photo, Colegios Attendis.

239. Your commitment

The teacher trainer/coach told me, 'What can you do when arrives to your class-group, at the beginning of a new academic year, one student, or several ones, with a big lack of knowledge of English, or a low capacity of concentration, focusing, cognitive problems, read-comprehension deficit, audio-comprehension deficit, familar problems (which is a strong background), operational problems, just maybe laziness, other times dislexia, etc. Each problem needs special treatment; each student needs special treatment. However, you have 25 students in the room! A colleague of mine told me: Affection, love, advising by an expert, listening to the kid, loads od patience, remedial work. Plus combining one simple activity in the classroom with a higher-level one. This latter one to avoid your fastest students might become bored. Plus planning your classes. Talking with their parents - or with his mum... so many split marriages, or his dad. I do know that you do much more than the amount you ar…

238. I reckon you try to do your best

I think I should make something clear. Obviously it is not the same the way you conduct a small group and a large group. Currently I teach small groups, from 3 to 5 or 6 pupils. A fantastic number. Also I have taught... I was about to say large class-groups, but those groups were rather small if compared with regular classes at an institute of Spain. In this latter case, there can be 40 students. And you have to teach English! You have to help every student out to learn English! Coming down to what I was going to say. When I was based in Jaén, also south of Spain, the class-groups of the school were some 22 to 29 students, approximately. Still a number with which you can work ok. I would say, as any other teacher, that the maximum number in a regular class-group should be some 20. An institute in Spain means basically secondary education - 12 to 18 years. All the same, I would tell you that all or most of the things I post in this blog may be implemented for any class-group. I owe wha…

237. Don't be scared!

The teacher trainer/coach told me, 'Something prominent is discipline, if you want to get your students learning English. Keeping discipline in the classroom and helping create an atmosphere of work is... up to you. Your new students, at the beginning of a new academic year, are very sensitive and they early soon feel whether you are afraid, if you do not have the control and managing of the class-group. Stop speaking when you notice the smallest sign of disruption. Keep silent for some tense seconds. Gaze at the 'funny' student. And then, you can tell something to the disruptive student, you can remind of him about a few rules set by you before, at the starting of the class-period. Don't carry on with your conducting of the class-period, as though nothing had happened. Keep firm the reins of your students. Be coherent with your rules. They test you: they want to find up to what point they can reach, without your saying anything. All of you, the teacher and the pupils, a…

236. Strategies to win the battle of learning a language: learning strategies

I have just tried to change the label 'strategies' into 'learning strategies', but i've given up. Hence, when you click on the label of strategies, consider that I mean 'learning strategies'. On the photo you can see the new Airbus A400M, the biggest transportation aircraft, for military utilities. Yesterday, in the news on tv the speaker said that Spain is going to use it for humanitarian missions, wherever necessary. Two days ago it showed several hours of flying and the plane turned out to be satisfactory. The place was a military base near Seville, south of Spain. It can contain a 'copter, a tank, troops, supplies of useful material to aid people of zones of any kind of conflict. It's a plane designed and manufactured by European countries. Thanks to laatalayainformativa files wordpress com.

235. He listens so attentive!

The teacher trainer/coach told me,
' Rebecca Oxford is an ace at learning strategies, as I told you some posts ago.
I told you the reference of her book: simply great.
She states that your students have to learn, have to practise intelligent listening or reading, and that way understanding the message.
Perhaps they are not aware, but they try a clever guess to understand you - because you only speak in English in the classroom.
By the way, if possible, I'm going to publish more frequent posts, so as to publish my book on TEFL/TESL.
Your students may get stuck when listening to you, plus your gestures, face expressions, use of the digital or blackboard, occurring of similar homophones in their L1, the experience they are getting with the passing time, plus your examples, your asking one student about something and his classmates receiving extra information about the stuff you are speaking about, plus repetition, plus helping one another, plus the grammar pattern and vocabulary …

234. H, do you know the activities of tomorrow's exam?

And now you can read an extract from my "teacher-trainer's" book on TEFL/ TESL/ LEFL. Basically I state that the tests or exams we set to our students at each evaluation or assessment period - think of two months for example- , those exams should consist of points they have worked on the class-periods, but also, and this is essential, the way you set the questions or activities of the exam should be similar to the ones done in the classroom. Some students of mine, at my academy - it's much more than an academy - don't know at all what kind of questions they are going to encounter on the next day's examination in the classroom! Carry on reading the article below.And let's try to expand Spanish as a lingua franca (Wait, plus English, by what we earn our living! There shouldn't be a wrong and harmful competitivity).

45. Cómo evaluar los adelantos del alumno

Voy a contarte mi experiencia, por si te sirve de algo. No pretendo hacer una tratado exhaustivo sob…

233. Why you chose that job?

Here is a comment I posted on the website of BBC-The British Council a few days ago. I hope it would be any interesting to you.

Fernando M Díez...

Why you chose teaching as a profession?
Submitted on 9 December, 2009 - 21:15

Hi, everybody,I appreciate your posts about this big question.I appreciate you are teachers of English...We teachers influence on our learners, kids if the case. We transmit our enthusiasm as though by osmosis. If you, teacher, keep being a learner of English (if the case), they will notice your enthusiasm, or at least your effort. The very same occurs regarding any other language.If you attend your everyday post as a teacher, with a struggle to become someone better, as well, despite our natural human flaws, you'll hit on top of the nail. You well know this, as me. You'll help your pupils somehow to become better people, better persons themselves.I could say many things about the thing why I chose this profession. A lot of ideas come to my mind.I've just …

232. Student: Catch that chance!

The most widely spoken languages in the world, as you know, are English, Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, etc. I wrote my book for Spanish teachers of English, but also for teachers of any language. Spanish is more and more widely spoken, due to Hispanics who go to the USA, due to Instituto Cervantes, etc. Moreover, the children of, say, Mexicans, are integrated into the community of English speakers in the US, so into the second generation. And, quite often, these children, these young people, are bilingual: I'd so much love I would be bilingual myself. Ok, here you have a quotation from my book, chapter 44, 'in exclusive'. With regard to this phenomenon of children acquiring English as a second language in the US, I'd just add that some months ago I met a girl who came to Spain to brush up her Spanish, or castellano. She, like me, is a student of Centro de Lenguas Modernas, Universidad de Granada, in Spain. Her parents came from Mexico. I'm a student of English at that c…

231. Making a puzzle

Today I have re-discovered something definitely helpful. It has happened a few hours ago, when planning my next class. One key point with learners of English - young ones I mean, some 10 or 11 - is that simply it is hard for them to make, to say, a full sentence! Believe me, I'm trying various ways. Well, I have written a sentence we have used today in the class, namely 'Betty has got two cats, one is white and the other one is black'. Ok, on another post I will let you know what we have done today with that sentence - this is not the point right now. Coming down to the point of constructing complete sentences. I've just done something so simple and quickly-doing! I have written that sentence and then I have cutt off the words into single words, single pieces - a puzzle. Well, something to be said: I've joined some pair of words together, in order to facilitate their work. I usually don't prepare extra material: I programme the activities, objective, some prompt…

230. He needs loads of words

Just further games.
1. Questions addressed to a single student (identity items, his family, his soccer team, his favorite color…).
2. Words guessed from a picture drawn on the blackboard by the students. Everyone wants to go to the front of the classroom to draw!
3. Competitions of words between two players. Fantastic.Photo by nega. From Picasa Web Album.

229. Coursing obstacles... for communication

The teacher trainer/coach warned me,
'Oh, do not correct the mistakes Agustín is making.
First of all: he is speaking in English now, imagine, now in the classroom; he is struggling with the words; let him carry on.
He is the only student in the classroom that, on his own, just because he wishes, speaks in English.
At that moment of the class-period for example, imagine, it is not something... compulsory to speak in English.
Furthermore, he is doing a big try; notice he is an authentic autonomous learner, who actually wishes to communicate with you.
And, look! (imagine), that other student wants to also speak in English!
Put them both to speak to each other.
[I know that some speakers say it is not correct to use an adverb between the preposition to and the verb form]. '

Thank you for the photograph, rcpineda com. Pineda de Sevilla is a social club, and prestigious, one of whose resorts is a riding club.

228. Strategies to win the war

The teacher trainer/coach told me, ‘One key to success in learning, acquiring, retrieving, and using L2 is, as you well know, utilising learning strategies. Adults are usually more self-conscious of these strategies or procedures, and they may progress even faster than children. Regarding kids up to 16 years, you, their teacher, ought to ask one by one, among your students, what they do to learn English. And it is at this moment when they are capable of becoming aware of precisely their learning strategies. One chief point, look: praise the student, praise him, when he manages himself to tell you something, like for example, one basic but helpful strategy, also helpful for his classmates. He, be sure of this, is going to walk faster and better on this path to success. Now it is more likely he will adopt a reflexive learning/acquiring mode, and this fact multiplies the progression.’ Photo from www gurianinstitute com

227. A successful guy, no doubt

I copy something I hope it might help you with your TEFL/TESL. It is a part of my research for the doctorate. Of my doctorate at an advanced step yet, though I did not achieve the doctorate as such. Yes, for I swifted into something, say, more practical, more for the-day-day labour with your learners. I did not achieve the AD but fortunately and thanks to God I reached the right stuff, I guess. So: thanks to ABG, an ace professor of Universidad de Jaén, also south of Spain. I'm so grateful alike to H D Brown, Mrs MJA, some many other scholars, and my kids. And a longest etc.

Key factors of success In learning New version (iv) 2007-07-24

1. Attitude
2. To wish to learn
3. To use the means for that goal
4. Study + learning strategies
5. To plunge into the pond. Take risks!
6. Communication
7. Effort
8. Motivation
9. Reflexive learning. To be creative. A diary?
10. Massive input
11. Massive output
12. A good method
13. Rapport. Personalisation (this is mainly for the teachers)
14. To have fun
15. To m…

226. Look: they are working together!

The teacher trainer/coach told me, 'When this phenomenon started bigger in Spain I got worried. I'm referring to the point of the presence of kids from varied countries in the same classroom. I thought long about this concern. But now, what I see in my centre is that, for example, a boy from Morocco, age some 11, a few days ago, was talking to another kid of his football team, about the next match they were going to have, that same evening. I don't remember the Moroccian boy's name, but he was centre forward! [as you noticed, lately I'm using BrE, for the stuff I told you about my preparation for the level C-2: It's hard to manage two varieties, home and at the school, of the university of Granada, south Spain]. And the boys from Bolivia, they fortunately are getting integrated, are fitting in, with their classmates as well. What a relief! Just so as to finish, you can read furtherly about this point of immigrants in the book by Natalie Hess, whose title is Tea…

225. He feels confident!

I asked the teacher trainer/coach what and how to do with the immigrants, who more and more come to Spain. He told me he would say something as soon as possible. Something which might help those people. Follow the blog, he told me.

Picture from visitinargentina com

224. Making words

Making up the mechanics of words. Picture from manitouheights com. Extra games (spelling):
1.Similar to 12; they usually confuse the pronunciation of the vowelsa e i.
2. You write the consonants of some words and they have to give the vowels.
3. Making up as many words as possible with some given letters by you.

223. Who, me?

The teacher trainer/coach told me, 'It's important to learn how to listen to your students. Be patient. Whatever they tell you, though they may seem trifles, is important for them. It may be you yourself the only adult who listens to them! And they are so sincere when listened to! It's a big responsibility. Besides, the fact that half of your kids in the class-group have their parents splitted. Besides: here in Western world... Wait, wait, wait. I'll tell you into a positive way. The roots of Europe: Christian. Don't forget it. The roots of the US: Europe. Christian plus Aristotle plus the ancient thought. In simple but truthful terms. You think it's any good to contribute with your Christian and human values to our so beloved society? Think over it. The happiest people in history: the saints. The saints, with God's help. Definitely. Not discarding other believes. I don't want to look down other believers. I must respect. Yet, I cannot stop saying what I…

222. You can lift your students' view of life, respecting their parents' way of education

Photo from encuentra24 com. A John Deere tractor.

The teacher trainer/coach showed me the next stuff.
He told me the stuff is a piece of chapter 19 from his book on TEFL.
It’s people, persons, what are in your hands. Their life, their future, as persons, depends much on you, on whatever you do. Their future is in your hands. We do not manufacture pizzas. I know you have this point clear. In the way you do your everyday work, that’s the way in which they do their work now, and their work in the future. If we wish to change evil stuff from society, let’s change, improve education (I don’t remember who said this).
But, there is a big "but", their parents are the protagonists of your students’ education.

That is the beginning, translated into English, of the paragraphs below, written in Spanish by the trainer/coach.
Tienes personas a tu cargo, en tus manos. Tienes su vida, gran parte de lo que serán mañana. No fabricas pizzas. Ya sé que tienes claro esto. Pero será conveniente que l…

221. Please, fair play

(I must say something. I do not mean, in any way, that the players above are doing any wrong playing).Further games!
Most of the games I propose to you don't need extra preparation out of the classroom, like making up posters, etc. You can directly implement them in the classroom!
1. Writing words on BB from someone spelling, either you or a student.
12. Reading numbers and years written on the blackboard (BB).
3. Many possible games with the alphabet. One example: once the alphabet is on BB the teacher taps on one letter, with his marker or chalk, and they say out the pronunciation of that letter. Can be funny .swim-city com