Friday, April 30, 2010

340. Are they learning through playing?

How can a learner actually learn? Read what this scholar put: "You've got to be willing to put in your fair share of effort, and that effort amounts to lot more than just sitting back and listening to some tapes. If you dive into this language with a willingness to try hard, and with a belief that you can actually do it, then you will be successful!" (1) H. D. Brown(1989) A Practical Guide to Language Learning. A Fifteen-Week Program of Strategies for Success. New York: McGraw-Hill. I owe a lot to this expert, for my teaching: he has great ideas: he hits the target, believe me. Photo from ledenav artelista com. Thank you.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

339. Communication is crucial

Something else, very sound, about the protagonists of the classes (also you are the protagonist, teacher). From Rebecca Oxford (1990).

“Learning strategies are steps taken by students to enhance their own learning. Strategies are especially important for language learning because they are tools for active, self-directed involvement, which is essential for developing communicative competence. Appropriate language learning strategies result in improved proficiency and greater self-confidence.” (1)

Photo from www googleimages com

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

338. Learning strategies: To the stars and beyond

Sorry for the format thing and the size of the letters - I again copied from Word program.

From the interesting book by Rebecca Oxford (1990) I took some features about learning strategies. It is very helpful for us teachers to consider: we help create learners that really wish to learn English. And moreover with regard to adult learners. But also a kid 11 year old has his or her techniques, though these ones are usually unconscious. Read the following features carefully, I'd advise you. eviljwinter files wordpress com: Neil Armstrong.

(Copied May 29, 2004)

“1. Contribute to the main goal, communicative competence.

2. Allow learners to become more self-directed.

3. Expand the role of teachers.

4. Are problem-oriented.

5. Are specific actions taken by the learner.

6. Involve many aspects of the learner, not just the cognitive.

7. Support learning both directly and indirectly.

8. Are not always observable.

9. Are often conscious.

10. Can be taught.

11. Are flexible.

12. Are influenced by a variety of factors.” (9)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

337. Out of the school

One day teacher A said to teacher B, "It's a good opportunity to know your students to spend some time with them one day, out of the school, for example, on one-day trip, on one-day visit to a theme park, on a day in the country, or visiting as a romería a sanctuary of the Virgin Mary. You get to know your students as they are in more relaxed situations. It's a good chance to share things, to talk with them, and you with other teachers. You get closer to the kids, but as the same time you hinder from you to become their buddy. Also they can see you as more human, so as to speak, although you also try to treat them with affection and real commitment inside the classroom. To sum up, it's sensible for them to spend time together, deepening into a closer frienship. Oh, and you will notice one likey student that is put aside by their classmates."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

336. A nice picture

These are the titles of the chapters of my book on TEFL/TESL. If you are interested in some stuff, we could reach an agreement. Photo from www castlemania han ks ua: an Irish castle, but I don't know where. -- From the titles you could get some clues about the contents. I wrote this book a few years ago, right after my trying to carry out my doctorate in TEFL/Philology of English.

Para el Índice

Títulos de capítulos

  1. Esta introducción da sentido al libro

  2. Atención: ahora viene cuál es la clave del éxito en la enseñanza de una lengua

  3. Aunar fuerzas proporciona una enorme potencialidad...

  4. ¿Tengo que querer a mis alumnos?

  5. Lo más importante: comunicación, comunicación, comunicación

  6. Ten en cuenta sus intereses

  7. Ganar una batalla exige unas buenas estrategias

  8. Si quieres que hablen, tienen que escuchar antes mucho

  9. De lo que se trata es de comunicación

  10. ¿Un concurso en clase?

  11. Profundicemos: haz que empleen estrategias

  12. Si yo quiero aprender un idioma, tengo que apuntar alto

  13. Hazles que piensen por su cuenta y riesgo

  14. Dales puntos a tus alumnos

  15. Cómo puedes conseguir que te hablen en inglés o francés

  16. Recuerda que lo importante es la comunicación

  17. Si eres creativo, tendrás éxito

  18. Programa cada clase

  19. Pon cariño en lo que haces

  20. Insiste en los juegos

  21. Que aprendan a estudiar... y si no, que monten una tómbola

  22. Ponles a trabajar a tope

  23. Anima, empuja a tu alumno. Momento privilegiado: la tutoría a solas

  24. Desde el minuto 1

  25. Sus padres: clave en el aprendizaje de los hijos

  26. Para trabajar y aprender: imprescindible un clima de paz

  27. El esqueleto del idioma: la gramática

  28. Cómo aprender palabras nuevas

  29. La alegría y el buen humor en clase

  30. Alegría y buen humor... en la tutoría personal

  31. La programación debe facilitar tus clases

  32. Cómo encarar la diversidad de los alumnos

  33. ¿Sigues aprendiendo tú como profesor?

  34. ¡Qué haría yo sin la pizarra!

  35. Aprenden mejor el idioma si les entra por los ojos: ayudas visuales

  36. Tu alumno aprende por necesidad

  37. Cómo hacer que el alumno sea el interesado en aprender…

  38. Las nuevas ayudas: uso de Power Point™ e Internet

  39. La comunicación es entre personas

  40. Les encanta que les cuentes historias

  41. Cómo sacar más partido a las cuatro destrezas de la lengua

  42. Aprovecha su natural interés por leer

  43. Envían y reciben emails de personas reales en L2

  44. Pon una biblioteca de aula a su disposición

  45. Cómo evaluar los adelantos del alumno

  46. Cada clase es un paso adelante para el alumno

  47. Aprueba (y aprende) el que quiere: matemático

  48. Tienes personas humanas a tu cargo

  49. El alumno: su propio tutor

  50. ¿Dónde mejor aprender inglés o francés que en un país angloparlante o francoparlante?

  51. El veraneo es para descansar

  52. Este curso podemos contar con una profesora nativa

  53. Que hagan deberes... significativos para ellos

  54. ¡Imita a un nativo!

  55. Cómo deben preparar un examen con éxito

  56. ¿Aprenden la lengua de igual manera las chicas que los chicos?

  57. Les ayuda a aprender la lengua si tienen encargos en clase

  58. ¿Qué les ayuda más, hacer un mismo tipo de actividad o la variedad?

  59. Principal fuente de recursos: el profesor

  60. El alumno: su propio profesor

  61. Aprendizaje interdisciplinario

  62. Intuición

  63. ¿Qué hago con los inmigrantes?

  64. Apéndices

  65. Juegos


335. Listen to the other part

One day teacher B said to teacher A, "Listen to the student you have to reprimand. Listen before you say anything. Ask him first. If they are several, talk with them apart. - Listen to what the student tells you. Listen attentively and trying to put in his shoes, albeit the thing he did is wrong and you must denounce the thing. Try to understand, don't give him a row, don't tell him off directly. Let him recognize and realize the wrong. Make an educative process out of this conversation. Keep cool. Don't reprimand the very same day of committing the action or omission. Let one day or a few pass. When speaking with the student, ask him what he thinks is correct, make him think, make him give a reasonable answer, peacefully. You win more with an affective word than with a long quarrel. Maybe don't smile when talking with him, as if the wrong thing would have no importance." Photo thanks to www old-picture com

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

334. Don't let grammar get frozen: use it in your class!

Teacher A said yesterday that it turns out to be sound to practice grammar and vocab in his classes. Sometimes, in the time of the class dedicated by the students to doing homework from their schools, when some students have got to do homework some others may not have any homework. So, this teacher hands out worksheets to students with no homework. He's made many worksheets. He tries to compose funny exercises and based on their likes. Here is one, but for a special learner, age seventy-something. Yet, basically this worksheet is similar to the ones made for young kids. It's based on real events and things too. It's in BrE. Photo from thepirata com. Frozen Niagara Falls: amazing. I changed some names and circumstances. Sorry for the formatting bugs: I copied and pasted. You can copy, steal, spread, implement this worksheet.

Worksheet nº 99

Composed on 21 April 2010

Do or make?

  1. Writing and speaking in English ................... a difference, obviously. They are different language skills.

  2. That native teacher will ........................ interviews with each student, while the other teachers will teach in their classrooms.

  3. And every pupil will ........................ a small job, like rubbing the blackboard or turning off the fans after the classes.

  4. In the afternoons of the camp of English the kids will .................... other activities like sports or visiting and assisting in an elderly residence.

  5. So, as I’ve said, the native teacher, Gregg Mayer, an American guy, will ..................... conversations with every kid, to have extra speaking in English.

  6. We have got to ........................ a decision about which teacher to choose among the possible ones we have in the list of possible teachers.

  7. Also in the afternoon the kids and the monitors ....................... some swimming in the pool.

  8. One activity every pupil have to do is ................... (-ing) an oral presentation about a topic their choice.

  9. Dogs in police forces, like in Algeciras, have to ................... some training regime to be able to find drugs hidden in the boots of cars.

  10. When learning English it’s usual to ................... mistakes and errors. No problem.

  11. One of my friends, Pablo, who is a professor at Universidad Complutense, is .................. (-ing) a project about English language learning/acquiring, with some colleagues of the State University of San Francisco, within H D Brown Foundation. It’s a project carried out by experts at TEFL/TESL, about something related to learners' capability for retrieving honed skills in order to communicate with other people.

  12. The research about learning/acquiring a language this friend of mine is ..................... (-ing) seems so brilliant. He is an ace about teaching/learning a language.

  13. NYC Police Department are ......................... (-ing) an investigation about potential terrorist cells hidden in the city. [Would to God this wouldn't be the case, oh my God. Would be nice every people live and work to build a better world]

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

333. Teacher A's general picture of his classes

One day teacher A said to teacher B, "On posts approximately #106 through #120 I told you how you can present verbal tenses in your classes. Grammar is essential. It's like the skeleton of communication. No grammar, no communication. Our students need vocabulary too. My classes are extra-school. They have learned the grammar in the school, in their coursebooks. In my classes, late afternoon, we practice that grammar. In the form of games. I try to make them use those grammar patterns. Even we are achieving something else. We make conversations: they try to explain to me some message, in English, because I pretend I don't understand Spanish (L1), and they use the grammar and vocab they have stored. I praise their try. They see grammar and vocab like useful instruments. However, they make many mistakes, of grammar, you know?, but we are trying to hold a conversation among us." Picture from knanvar files wordpress com . Niagara Falls.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

332. For our everyday teaching

A few minutes ago I encountered these words from the encyclical letter Spe Salvi, by Pope Benedict XVI. Would be nice it also help you. www ccma com mex provides this photo.

Mary, Star of Hope

49. With a hymn composed in the eighth or ninth century, thus for over a thousand years, the Church has greeted Mary, the Mother of God, as “Star of the Sea”: Ave maris stella. Human life is a journey. Towards what destination? How do we find the way? Life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route. The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives. They are lights of hope. Certainly, Jesus Christ is the true light, the sun that has risen above all the shadows of history. But to reach him we also need lights close by—people who shine with his light and so guide us along our way. Who more than Mary could be a star of hope for us? With her “yes” she opened the door of our world to God himself; she became the living Ark of the Covenant, in whom God took flesh, became one of us, and pitched his tent among us (cf. Jn 1:14).

Friday, April 16, 2010

331. New technologies

One day teacher B said to teacher A, “A few years ago I was registered in a course of English myself, at an advanced level. We were adults. We were few in the classroom, and used to talk in English most of the time, which is a good practice for advanced learners of this language (as a foreign one, EFL). The point is that in the classroom we had access to the Internet and a screen to watch YouTube; so, authentic material in the target language. Also we could consult the Web to look up a word (Spanish or English) on a dictionary online, or a point of grammar somewhere in the Web, with examples of the usage. As well we could watch dvd’s from the coursebook. I mean, the Internet in the classroom is a great source of material for your classes.” On the picture is an “autogiro”, a Spanish invention by De la cierva; kind of a predecessor of helicopters; from www gasolinealleyantiques com

Thursday, April 15, 2010

330. Your students may not know strategies

I've showed you many learning strategies on my blog. Something sensible you can do in your classroom, with your students, is precisely teach them how to implement these strategies. I've learned these stratgies here and there, reading for years, also I've learned them with my daily teaching, with my everyday treatment with my kids. Teach them the strategies. I mean, teach your students how to learn English. Don't tell them how to do the exercises or don't translate the exercises into L1. This, I guess, may be a nice way to make them become autonomous learners. b1 blogspot com, thank you por the picture. In Spanish the title of this movie is El maquinista de la General. I didn't know it but Buster Keaton was both the star and the director of this film.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

329. Skills to accomplish a work

How can we achieve our learners (our students) learn English? Remember they are the protagonists of their process of learning. I quote from Wenden and Rubin (1987), experts in learning strategies. Adult learners can learn faster and more successfully than kids or adolescents: they have a need! Look: (photo from unlike net. The Berlin Wall)

“It is implied that learning will be enhanced when the experience of adult learners and the needs for which they seek an educational solution are taken into account in our language learning curricula and methodology.” (Page 10).

I copied this November 3, 2004, during my doctorate research.

WENDEN, Anita y Joan RUBIN (eds.) (1987) Learner Strategies in Language Learning. London: Prentice-Hall International.

Monday, April 12, 2010

328. How to cook a class

One day teacher A said to teacher B, "What's the best discipline and management of the class-period? Self-discipline.
It's the student who really wants, wishes to learn English. So he makes good use of time, though kids and adolescents are playful and the kind. You can try to inoculate them the good virus of realizing of the necessity - and even interest and fun - of learning English. You have to try to make them want to learn. If you are motivated, it's more likely for them to get motivated alike. If they make small progresses and you gently praise those progresses, you'll boost up their wishing to keep on learning.
Make your classes practical: the subject of English is practical essentially. And remember all the time that your work is a service to them." Thanks for the photo to www necesitocasa com - A kitchen in a house of Huétor Vega, a town close to Granada (Spain).

Friday, April 9, 2010

327. How to balance your class-group

One day teacher B said to teacher A,
"How getting your students more involved in the class conducting and how improving discipline and management? You can try this.
Also this thing I'm telling you about may increase their responsibility and maturity.
Write a list of small jobs for your students to do in the classroom, like: arranging the rows of desks, getting chalk, erasing the blackboard, turning off the lights after the classes, clean the chalk dust from the teacher's desk, watering the plants if any, remind you of important things for today, the updating of the noticeboard, a representative of the class, a 'committee' of representatives, monitors to help their classmates, reading the class list and checking out whether absentees, etc.
And assign one student per each small job. Usually it turns out to be very positive. I've done it in my school."
Thank you and welcome to the blog, hiyanewday. Photo from bluefiles storage live com. You may know that the actor is great Harold Lloyd, in a famous scene of one of his movies.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

326. Did I achieve my goals?

One day teacher B said to teacher A, "The learner should do an examination himself about his learning. A self-examination. For example, after one unit of the coursebook has been covered.
A snap general vision of his invested work effort;
What did I learn?;
How did I work?;
What can I express now?;
Did I learn a new learning strategy?;
Can I now express more ideas or thoughts or statements in English?;
What amount of vocab did I learn?;
What new grammar?;
Can I better speak with other people with the new things I learned in English?
This is another fostering and helping way to make himself an autonomous learner. It's he or she who is really interested in learning." Photo source: us 123rf com.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

325. The primeval point

One day teacher A said to teacher B, "The first learning strategy or the first thing a student of yours must do is studying. Some months ago I told you that many students don't know how to study their coursebook of English, and I also told you some tips to solve this. Anyways, your students must study, and study hard if they wish to learn English. That's what we've done ourselves." Photo credit: www lcdinternational org. Girls in a school in Uganda.

Monday, April 5, 2010

324. Autonomous learners

Here is an entry to the interesting website of BBC - The British Council. And a comment by me to that entry. Sorry for the formatting bugs. I preferred to try to publish the initial entry from the website, because I believe it's very interesting. Sorry again, I gave up.

Students! You are the teacher!

Submitted by brenbrennan on 17 March, 2010 - 21:30

I have just listened to an interesting podcast (you don't have to download, sign up to anything etc, you can just listen without any commitment or passwords!) from Steve Kaufmann who is the king of (an excellent language learning site btw).

The subject is "What I would do if I were a teacher". He freely admits that he has never been a teacher and doesn't know how to teach, but he is giving his opinion merely as a language learner who has had lots of experience from the receiving end of L2 teaching.

It's interesting to get student feedback in this way, as perhaps teachers do not put themselves in the shoes of the learner often enough.

To paraphrase the podcast, he says that if he were a teacher he would outline to Ss in the first lesson that the onus of L2 learning responsibility lies completely on their shoulders.
This is what he would say....

* My job is to make myself unnecessary.

* You (the Ss) must be independent of me.

* You should not expect ME to teach YOU the language.

* My job is to give you the habits and attitude for YOU to learn the language yourself.

* You cannot learn the L2 only in the classroom and I cannot teach it to you only in class

H He also highlights the huge importance of reading when outside the classroom and dedicating the time needed.

I think that this is not only good advice, but would make all language teachers' jobs much more interesting (than they already are, of course). Imagine having a class of rabidly motivated students, that bring the lesson to you, in terms of new vocab, phrases, idioms etc etc.

M My in-company business students could do with a little bit more of this student ideology!

* brenbrennan's blog

* Login or register to post comments


Fernando M Díez

Students! You are the teacher!

Submitted on 29 March, 2010 - 10:01

Hello, brenbrennam and everyone,

I've just read your post with interest.

You know what?

This is precisely one game we, I and my pupils, do in the class-periods. On top of that: my pupils often ask me to 'play the teacher'!

They are 10 to 14 aged.

One student, who has previously guessed a number in a draw-straw game, is going to act out as if he was the teacher himself. And basically he implements some other games for 'his' pupils, and makes these latter ones participate. All is conducted in L2. Sometimes, most of times, this stuff is spoken in broken English, but there is actual communication. We'll brush up the grammar with the passing time. Now they see English is a practical subject and usuful for real life.

Even that 'teacher' imitates me! - well, natural, isn't it?

From a deeper background both my research plus experience have been so far concerning English-language learning.

The premise I keep in mind and the one I intend to transmit to my kids is that it's they who are the ones who wish to learn English. No wishing to learn, no learning.

I agree with the points you paraphrase from Steve Kaufmann.

My professional blog is mostly dedicated to learning strategies and communication.

Also I am a learner myself - who is not a learner yet if you, teacher, are a non-native speaker of English? I try to keep learning, every day, and moreover, currently I'm trying to pass C-2 level myself.

My blog is

Best for everyone: we teachers can make something great with our everyday labour.

From fantastic Granada (Spain)

Fernando M Díez

On the picture a Chinese student, thanks to cnreviews com