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Showing posts from January, 2010

274. If words: communication

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One day teacher A said to teacher B, “Words, as you know, are essential for any communication. No words, no communication. One student of mine told me, some days ago, about his tricks to learn new words. He is learning Finnish. Finnish is not an Indo-European language. He does a variety of things. Writes a list of new words. Now he writes longer lists of words he picks here and there. He dares to write longer lists: he thought before he shouldn’t write too long lists. He makes a mental photograph of the word or phrase. Something that helps him is to unconsciously relate the new word with a cognate of his own language. A cognate or one similar word in some way: “pelliohjet”, which is Finnish word, resembles and sounds similar to Spanish “pelo”, and “jet” reminds of English “jet”, “yet”. That Finnish word means “guide of rules” (of a board game). He learned that word weeks ago. He uses Wordreference, a nice dictionary-plus-forum on the Web. He revises the words by making mental training…

273. Meeting native speakers

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Below is a part of a chapter of the book I wrote on TEFL, some years ago. I copied and pasted something about courses and programs for learning English in countries where that language is the mother tongue. I've made some minor changes. This text keeps some positive and nice experiences I have with regard to those courses abroad, and it be also nice to provide with some useful tips. The Scottish piper picture was taken from a website of which I didn't save the name. Sorry for the format problems of this post: the book is in the Word program.


En el colegio en el que trabajaba en Jaén (sur de España) hasta 2002 los chicos pasaban el primer trimestre de curso en Irlanda, estudiando lo mismo que en España, más o menos. Tanto el centro de Irlanda como el nuestro de España son masculinos. Las mismas empresas tienen sedes femeninas.
Se escogen familias conocidas, y de buena reputación. Va un profesor con ellos, de España. Recuerdo con agrado por ejemplo el caso de José Ignacio, que po…

272. How to reach the peak?

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I copy from a document of mine. It’s a summary of the research I have carried out these years about success in learning a language. This text is like a tip for teachers, a tip to keep in mind.A person who really wishes to learn a language, and he has the firm resolution to achieve that goal, he is on the right pathway toward success. This resolution is an effective will plus some like of learning that language. You love what you know. You know more and more, and this fact makes you love learning and carrying on learning. You ever learn, from this text, from that text, from a notice, etc. All the time. Every day. You pick up one word here, one other word there. That is the learner that achieves learning.Picture from www mountainguideschool com - Thank you.

271. Use things that grind their attention

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One day teacher B said to teacher A, "I've realized that if you use your students' likes and favorite topics as stuff for the exercises and activities, they get more stuck and prone to participate. I've made one student to grind a prompt in order to make him speak out something. This student supports Barça soccer team, in the Spanish soccer league. I said the best player was Cristiano Ronaldo - a famous player of Real Madrid-, so he startled and showed his disagreement, you know, in a funny way, by replying something. We've practiced the verb be by saying things about Real Madrid and Barça. I mean, I wrote on the whiteboard am, are , is. Then I said out sentences with a blank, which they had to complete by using one of those verbal forms. In this game-activity I referred to the coaches, players, etc. Otherwise they would keep on not using properly the forms of the verb be. We repeat something similar in later classes, to learn those forms." mathildaweirdworldw…

270. Teachers are making something big

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I just read a text that is round, in my opinion. It says big of us teachers. A nice homage to teachers.A juzgar por los titulares de prensa, la enseñanza atraviesa horas bajas. Sin embargo, ni los episodios de violencia, ni las supuestas crisis de autoridad, ni las bajas laborales, ni los preocupantes resultados del informe PISA hacen justicia a los miles y miles de maestros que todos los días acuden al encuentro de sus alumnos con la convicción de que deben prepararles bien para que después sean capaces de construir un mundo mejor.It’s the beginning of an article on teachers. Published in NuestroTiempo, a magazine/journal of Universidad de Navarra (Spain), about current events, mainly. This magazine/journal also contains reports on books, movies; thought columns; analysis of current events. The article or report has been written by undergraduates and graduates of this university. The writers are Isabel Cañas, Leyre Hualde, María Jiménez, María Malo, Isabel Olloqui, Sonsoles Gutiérrez…

269. O, here is the treasure!

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I'd like to add that the story told on post 267 deals with learning strategies. I guess this is a point worthy to note. The better strategies a learner utilizes, the more he will learn/acquire the language. www toothmingle com, thank you.

268. She's one of my best students!

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One day teacher A said to teacher B, "One day teacher C told me that she was helping a student of 2º Bachillerato to pass Selectividad examination. Moreover, during the academic year these students had to work out texts set by their teacher (D), for Wednesdays. This latter teacher set as homework to read and work on one given text. In the class-period the students had to translate from Spanish into English, taking stuff of information from the text. Teacher C advised this student to read and reread the texts in order to fully understand them; also advised her to learn as many words as possible from the text, because this learner would have to use those words to translate the sentences; and to learn and grasp grammar patterns and expressions from the texts, which would be useful for the translations. The text level of difficulty is similar to First Certificate." Bachillerato is the academic year before entering university, in Spain. And Selectividad is an examination the st…

267. I hit it!

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One day teacher B said to teacher A, "Yesterday! I realized the way how to force my students to make an oral sentence! Or more or less the same: force them to say, to try to say, a message, try to communicate with me utilizing the words they know, some rough grammar, some invented words..., a lot of errors; anyway, I congratulated the student who said this message, these two or four sentences together, because of his hard try to tell me something. Basically the thing was: I had eliminated one other kid-player in a game, but I was wrong: he was not so. His friend tried to tell me in English that I was wrong, because of this, because of that... He had a real and realistic necessity to use English! Like you know, I have a treatment with them: at the time of the class-period I understand and speak English (it's a game, I pretend I don't understand them: both them and I are Spanish)." Roland Joffé directed this movie, released in 1986. Thanks to robertdeniroweb iespana es…

266. Starting a long way

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One day teacher A said to teacher B, "Yesterday one of the kids I teach came and told me she had passed a test she had done a few days ago. She has some flaws at studying from her coursebook, and in general. Like you know, I work in a center similar to an academy, but as well our center offers more activities: excursions, study hall, of course (ever-present in Spain) little soccer (futbito), talks for their parents, computering, extra classes, courses in the summer... I told this girl she had done fine; that's a big step forward; she failed the first term in English; and because she has passed this test consequently she had passed the first term. I expect she will keep on making better off." Picture from www destination360 com, thank you.

265. Improving ways

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One day teacher B said to teacher A, "Some years ago I read something in Ian Meyer that may be of any interest for our class-periods. Look. One teacher used to make worksheets as aids for the stuff the class-group was learning. Those sheets were kept in simple plastic transparent bags, size, say, the corresponding American format to A4. Each bag contained several sheets, as reinforcement for the learners. And those bags were kept in a nice ring-binder folder. She usually called one student when this one had nothing else to do in the classroom. She kept this folder in a nice tidied up way. The learner came to the teacher desk and this one turned over the bags for the student to take one not done yet. But one day... she handed out the folder to one kid, and told her to find one worksheet by her own. This way the teacher achieved the learners become more responsible and autonomous when choosing one sheet. Turned out fine." www ecran-de-veille fr, thank you for the picture.

264. Good job: you are perservering!

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One day teacher A said to teacher B, "You can only love what you know. Many learners fail to learn a language because they don't persevere in their process. They don't carry on, for example, because they lose the 'affection' to learning. Learning demands a continous work, and they refuse to keep on learning. On the contrary, many learners persevere, also, one of the motives, because they like this learning/acquiring process. And they learn more and more, and they like communicating and practicing in, say, English. They like learning, more and more. One new word for them is one step forward. You as a teacher can do a lot regards this like. How? With your positive good mood, every day, overcoming the likey problems you will encounter. You transmit your effort and affection and eagerness to help them in this process." A construction worker in The Empire States building; picture thanks to www imagecache5 art com.

263. Be audacious: You'll beat it!

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One day teacher B said to teacher A, "Rebecca Oxford, on her book about learning strategies, she refers to intelligently understanding a message. I'm worried some of my learners might not understand what I say in the class-period. I think it's more simple to understand things they can see written on the whiteboard. This lady talks about using clues to intelligently understand a message. The clues are precisely the similarities between L1 and L2. I told you the reference of her book some posts before this one. She gives this example. The students see association sansbut lucratif, in French. And they can understand it from the similarities with some English words. Sans can sound or can be figured out as sin in Spanish, without in English, maybe because the learners already know these words. Furtherly we have lucrative in English. Summing up, the point is that they can kind of figure out the meaning." www ubercoolgifts com, thank you for the picture.

262. Encounter a classic

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One day teacher A said to teacher B, "Reading helps constructing ways of how to express ideas in English, also helps acquire grammar models and idioms. My learners read classics. Other teachers the same department propose other kinds of books. The director is open to any proposal; this is the first premise. Every year I plan a short set of abridged and simplified novels. Even I set only one reading for a year. Besides, reading classics gives values to the kids, universal and positive and virtuous values to the learners who have been entrusted to me, and to the whole staff of teachers. What values? Think of love, faithfulness, asking God for things, perseverance, courage, forgiveness, comradeship, being audacious, friendship, obedience to someone above in the ranking in the army for example, loyalty, spiritual values, virtues or positive habits, hope, the family, and the like values. It's worthy to implement. Do try. Oh, by doing this way we read authors of the history of univ…

261. Every person is unique

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One day teacher A said to teacher B, "In a school, someplace, some time, one student, within one class-group, high school age approximately, was treated bad by some of her teachers. Truly she was very troublesome, disruptive, got bad grades. She grew a big low self-esteem: she thought of herself as the worst among her sisters. The black sheep. She would not reach any high in studies, and perhaps in life. I assume she was mistreated, some of her teachers did things wrong. Bad thing, definitely. She wasn't offered any..., say, any, any praise, any backup, or any positive help to get out of the hole. The point: she did need one hand to get the best stuff out of her, to take small steps upward. She thought of herself just like a silly person. I precisely exaggerated the story, I went over the top. But think how she could have improved herself - beside the study thing - if applied the treatment you have been formed on as a teacher."
Pic from www geekologie com.

260. My students are persons, who need love, and who need to love

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One day teacher B said to teacher A, "Some days ago teacher C told me she had reminded of her students, at the Christmas vacation. She missed them. She prayed for them those days. She recalled one by one her students: she loves them. She does not have any obligation this kind. Or does she, in some way? She is committed with a deep labor by educating her students. It's more likely, in this way, she can actually help them. She said she notices some correspondence: she sees affection, response to that love, an effort to improve as persons, an effort to learn English (more or less). One of those schoolgirls said to this teacher that she got upset because another different teacher scolded and screamed at her for any small trifle." www abandorman com - Thank you for the pic.

259. Just for our everyday struggle

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(picture from www oldskoolanthemz com) Ok, you win. Here you are. I hope this long list of games be any helpful. I'm convinced we teachers have to help out one another.This is the work result of quite a nice number of years teaching. Excuse me for the formatting errors: I copied from a Word document.Updated April 9, 2010Apéndice 6Games for classesAunque hay un apartado de este libro dedicado a la explicación de cada juego, en castellano, me ha parecido conveniente componer este guión de juegos. Ahora los coloco por orden de dificultad, o prefiero decir de desafío, para los alumnos. Se puede aprender una lengua jugando. El juego es una imitación de la vida, y más en el caso en que los chicos tienen que utilizar inglés para comunicarse en clase.They are really fun, both for the teacher and the students. Besides, they practice real communication in English. Give them points for the scoring. They are just set on a list ---further developments and variations might be applied. They cover…