Monday, January 31, 2011

554. He is in want of help

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Usually an adolescent is rather closed to an adult, for example, to his or her tutor. The teen will commonly say few words, at your first dialogues with him. You tutor do not ask him many questions at the first interview. Talk about something general, like the studies, and not using long discourses. Be receptive and observant, polite as well. Listen to him whatever he says. Put in his shoes. You know him because he is in the classes and you see him with his friends.” / Photo from: tutoriasparafisica blogspot com

Sunday, January 30, 2011

553. Each intervention at a time

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Turn taking is crucial for the conducting of a class. Wait for your students to say the reply to your demand or question. And then you talk again. Set a rhythm in the class where a sequence of interventions is followed. Do not let any mess rise in the class, because one student is distracted, one other is saying the answer, another one is asking you a question. Act calm. They can repeat the pronunciation of words as a chorus, or one after another, you pointing at one specific student. Also dictation makes them get quiet and attentive to what you say, you dictating slowly, repeating each chunk twice.” / Photo from: a friend of mine.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

552. Writing in Latin you asked!?

Yesterday I came across an interesting text about teaching and learning languages. The text appears in a Spanish magazine, so it is in this language. It was written by Blessed John Henry Newman. I’ve given up looking it up on the Web, in English. Here I offer a translation into English by me myself – sorry for the likely errors. The text is within his book The Idea of a University. I hope it be any useful to you teachers. The passage is a dialogue between a father and his son. My version is not between quotation marks, for, as I said, is a translation by me, not the original text. / Photo from: writing-man1.jpg valeriefioravanti com

The general matter of your composition in Latin, my dear son, has always been of great interest to me […]. The main moral which I would like that you should keep etched on your memory is this: That when you are learning to write in Latin, as in every learning, you should not confide in the books, yet only make use of them; you should not keep like clinging from the teacher like a deadweight, but grasp something of his life; manage what is given to you, not as a mere formula, but as a guideline to copy and to increase a capital; launch your heart and your mind in what you are doing, and henceforth unite the separated advantages of being tutored and of being an autodidactic, - an autodidactic but with no odd things; and tutored, yet with no conventionalisms.

Friday, January 28, 2011

551. Gandalf is a wise man

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “A teacher with passion and a sincere interest in his subject more likely than not will teach that subject in an attractive way. As well that teacher carries on learning and deepening in the subject. That teacher will pass on his interest to his students. This transmission of the interest and the wish to study will be boosted by that teacher’s learning HOW to teach, how to present the matter in the class, how to teach his students to learn the matter.” / Photo from: Gandalf blogdecine com Film directed by Peter Jackson, released 1991.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

550. Another way to plunge into English

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “A friend of mine told me a few days ago she began a course of English for adults. She has a false-beginner group and one with certain competence for speaking in English. The point is that this teacher has realized these people, both groups, demand and prefer she hand-out photocopies of worksheets, with a list of specific vocabulary and useful expressions to manage oneself when visiting a foreign country. These adult people like to have something tangible, concrete, material in their hands. And they work on these worksheets marvelously.

This teacher started the classes with massive speaking, etc, for the learners to listen to the texture of English, etc., etc. But the students rather like to learn the pronunciation of the lexis and the expressions, and to actually learn those words and expressions (sentences). She is doing a brief replacement for few weeks. The worksheets are concerning ‘The airport’, ‘Shopping’, ‘In the restaurant’, etc.” / Photo from: Adelie_Penguins_in_Hope_Bay,_Antarctica free desktop

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

549. In the classroom

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Working makes the person - parents, teachers, and students - improve as persons, fulfill themselves as persons, perfect themselves. Also because work is helping other people, whatever the work is. The person has reason, a mind, which wishes to master the world – in the positive meaning of mastering. He or she wishes to learn, to get to know, to comprehend reality, to possess the reality – in the good meaning of possessing. Working, doing actions matches the person with his or her way of existing, of being. The person participates in God’s perfection. Well, just you may think of these things when thinking about your everyday teaching English.” / Photo from: adamsmithcollege ac uk

Monday, January 24, 2011

548. Learning step by step

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “The first concerning of the teacher should be the teacher himself or herself. The teacher is the main source and resource of teaching and activities for the class. The teacher should catch and grip the things he or she notices from what other teachers do in their classes; should read journals; should visit teaching websites; participate maybe; learn from their students’ ways of learning English and from the reactions to the activities implemented in the classes, from the fact whether the students understood or not the presentation of grammar; the teacher ought to invest some time to analyze his or her methodology, some time to think about his or her students.” / Photo from: kenya-safari www kenyaodyssey com

Saturday, January 22, 2011

547. Making something big

Hi Suzie,

I've just sent you a comment to your blog. I've tried several ways to send you this information. So now, on your blog, you can read the comment, which is concerning education, like you'll see.

Best wishes for your teaching work.

Photo from: japanese-garden oursurprisingworld com

Thursday, January 20, 2011

546. You are firm and not their buddy

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “We need authority and capacity of management of the class. We need to have seriousness and gravity. They are essential to create an atmosphere of serene and effcient work. We can say a rule to be followed, in a clear and firm way. A rule to facilitate their learning and their personal growth. If a student doesn’t fulfill the given rule, maybe we could stop the class to make him or her realize the trespassing of the rule, which also does some harm to their classmates, usually a minor one. If we have to repeat the same rule some more times, something is working bad, and the student must notice this. Something educative is to make him and the whole class consider the what and why of the rule: it’s for their happiness, coming to the head. Pass the ball to that student: it’s his business to conduct well. Oh, just something else, apply this stuff in a kind and serious way, maybe smiling (or not), but without naivety.” / Photo from: students_classroom_1358062c telegraph co uk

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

545. Strong like a fist

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “You have to improve. I have to improve. So, I’d tell you to accept what your students say or suggest about the classes. Even what you notice from their reactions and faces and mood. Do this, you may have either young students or adult students. They should feel satisfied with what they expect from your classes. Get a move on to the students who expect more. Also accept what a colleague of the department suggests to you; listen to her; stop to think about what she said; you will improve your profession... and gain or reinforce your friendship. Let me know about this within some months.” / Photo from: scottish bagpipers www dailymail co uk

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

544. More nice stories

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “More about composing texts. Like we talked yesterday, we can practice writing a story on the board. After that, you could set as homework or to carry out in the class to write a story on their notebooks or sheets. Think of a topic where your students would need to use, to practice past perfect and past simple for example, something that happened before another action also in the past. As well, after having worked on useful vocabulary for the topic, make them think what words they could need to use to write the story. In this way, your students are joining grammar theory and a naturalistic way of utilizing that grammar (and new words). With the passing months and years your students even might create some personal style.” / Photo from: mark and kay bojovic – www markandkay com I think to remember the title of the web-site is Smiling Africa.

Monday, January 17, 2011

543. Starting to write stories

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “I’m trying to give you a way to teach your students to learn how to write compositions. On post # 538 we talked about composing texts. Now, you can assist your students to write sentences separated by periods. I mean, one sentence conveys a chunk of the general message. The next sentence another piece. In this way we are making the whole message, with cohesion. You can practice this in the class by writing a text on the board, by all of you, while you are explaining this thing of expressing a message, a clear one for a virtual reader to understand what you all wrote. You can write a scary story, and you teacher provide the first sentence, which one creates some kind of climax or suspense. They like this. Later on, you can teach them sentence linkers.” / Photo from: Gene Kelly, in unforgettable 1952 Singin’ in the Rain.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

542. Can my students survive abroad?

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “I’ve learned more about the learner’s unique way to learn English from WENDEN, Anita y Joan Rubin (eds.) (1987) Learner Strategies in Language Learning. London: Prentice-Hall International. They put it, Learners are actively and deliberately involved in their language learning process. In other words, they bring to the task of language learning a varied repertoire of learning skills.’ (page xvii).

We can elicit, from them in a class, punctual things they do to learn this or that necessary point of grammar, or whether they actually retain the grammar point and the vocabulary – words and expressions, for example, to lead themselves around a foreign country’s airport when arriving there, and feeling like lost and uneasy. Or on the streets of the City. We teachers can obtain interesting feedback and so improve and redirect our methodology, as well as we can help other students discover helpful techniques to actually learn and reach mastering the language.” / Photo from: cashier fotosearch com

Friday, January 14, 2011

541. Communication within the couple

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Pragmatics is a relatively new area in learning languages. And it’s so important. There remains a lot to study and develop.

Look. We can have the language, we can master it, right, but learners of English have to be tactful when speaking with speakers of other languages. Imagine a marriage, he speaks English and she too; the first is Spanish and she is Japanese. They understand each other in English. The Spanish guy must be very tactful and delicate with his wife. The guy might be very direct when saying something; it’s usual speakers of Spanish (or Castilian) from the continent of America say we Spaniards look like we were mad (angry) when speaking; people in Spanish-speaking America talk like sweeter and with a finely molded-intonation language. The Spanish from Spain, often, sounds like it be chiseled and hard. So, in the Japanese lady’s case, she can suggest something delicate and not going direct to the point, and her husband could not understand her. I don’t remember any specific case – anyway, think of the case she mentions something about not having taken food for a car trip, and her husband might not realize that they must stop somewhere to get food and drinks.” / Photo from: vitzvideo.jpg es autoblog com

Thursday, January 13, 2011

541. Over the gaps of learning

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Quite a number of friends of mine ask me how to learn English. They’re young professionals or students of last years of college, and they need English, more than ever before. Some of them read novels, study to pass official examinations, listen to something on a web-site, learn words and expressions. That’s okay. Everything is positive. Everything adds up. Everything is a step forwards. I tell them, like a summary of my experience and other teachers’ that speaking is essential. Some of them talk with me in English, but it’s hard to them to carry on by doing so, because it takes quite an effort, and we both are Spaniards, and obviously it’s a bit weird to speak in English. Anyway, we keep talking in English. They show me paper examinations they’ve done as well, and I try to tell them some helpful advice.” / Photo from: 1969-Dodge-Charger-General-Lee-DOH-Jump-Swamp seriouswheels com

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

540. A new way of doing things

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “A few years ago I started to teach a course for old (not much old) or adult university graduates. Now I’m talking about my first day with them. On the last post I told you about what Wenden and Rubin say about the learner’s unique way. I’ve said a lot of things on this blog, and I’ll say more things about those two scholars and experts. Now what I mean is that first day I had to change some methods of my of teaching methodology. I had to speak in Spanish during half the class. The students were so concerned about learning English. They asked me many questions about grammar and vocabulary they already know, or which they had some confusion about. It was a great experience. I had to re-plan everything for those marvelous people. As well some of them (all?) wished to learn English because they wanted to travel abroad. It was great.” / Photo from: pianist-in-london photobucket com

Monday, January 10, 2011

539. They'll achieve big in their lives

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “You well know that every efficient learner has their unique way to learn. We teachers ask ourselves how we can achieve our students can speak in English. In the big scheme, in my case, and it’s true and fair to say, I have learned from other teachers and from experts, and from my daily working, and from my students themselves. I’ve learned from my errors and other teachers’ ones, trial and error, you know. Evidently I keep on learning, every day. I hope that on coming days I’ll say something of what Anita Wenden and Joan Rubin published in 1987 on this matter of the unique way – they are the editors of the book. Just something else, bear with me: when I train would-be teachers I tell them to teach on their own, like I let them think of and apply what they think would be acting wisely; beside some advice I try to make them aware of their natural freedom and responsibility, and potential!.” / Photo from: kids_in_subway zombiezodiac com

Sunday, January 9, 2011

538. A school of many great people in history

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Teach your students to compose an essay or an oral presentation. The first point regarding composing a text is that this text should be clear to the reader or listener. Emphasize this point. Besides, teach your students to compose a text in three parts. Some college students have told me nobody has taught them how to write a text. Three parts I said: an introduction to the matter the student is going to deal with; the main body or development of the ideas; plus a conclusion to summarize or collect few ideas, or a single idea. Evidently this is not the only way to organize a text.” / Photo from: oxford gettyimages

Saturday, January 8, 2011

537. Practicing for the near future

Here is a set of activities I help to compose, for a three-week course of English; a set of activities directed to the advanced students. We tried to think of high level activities, professional ones inasmuch as possible; as well as useful for the students’ near future. This document was included in the book I wrote for teachers of modern languages. Sorry for I don’t find italics in the laptop I’m using these days. I have corrected some mistakes, left some others. / Photo from: tennis-game-400 sports-information org

Apéndice 18

Objetivos para un curso de inglés de verano.

New version of ’07 CE
Mainlines after a conversation with the Assistant of the program
This layout might be taken as well for the Top-level group
May 18, 2007

A. Advanced group. Professional status-like. Demand the following three objectives from the NN Academia’s teacher. Core point: help the students learn and practice professional English, in view of social current realistic demands, plus what their parents told us they expect from the course.

1- The students prepare a speech about one matter of their choice, from their favorite shool subject. Then they convey the lecture. Follow-up exploitation by the teacher, making everybody intervene to criticize the lecture. The students have been jotting down notes while the speech is in progress, to later say the general scheme or a brief outline. The teacher asks them questions about the lecture. The students ask the lecturer further questions or otherwise the lecturer asks his colleagues questions about his speech.

2- The students prepare and learn how to compose an invented utter and extensive resume, as if they were university graduates or post-graduates eagerly applying for a job. They have to present the resume (CV) and give further details about it, responding to an imaginary employer. Exploitation by the teacher and the students follows up this discourse.

3- The students prepare and undergo a job interview to enter a company of their choice. Furthermore, their classmates explain whether they would choose the applicant or not, and why. The teacher acts out as though he was a bit tough employer.

Friday, January 7, 2011

536. Shhhh! She-is-studying

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Revision is necessary to learn English. We can revise grammar and vocabulary of past units, even of past years. It’s necessary to obtain a communicative competence with the help of knowledge and practice stuck in mind and ‘at hand’. We can revise all this stuff in the form of warmers at the beginning of the class. In a practical and naturalistic way. For example present perfect. Although the students may make mistakes at that moment. Anyway, all of you are maintaining communication by means of knowledge already learned, or should-be learned. I include in the written tests a question with a pattern of grammar already studied in a past unit. Teach your students how to revise at home, in a quiet place. How to revise short lists of words written in their notebooks. Teach them how to plan revision of grammar. Or set some brief homework that should deal with that grammar.” / Photo from: school_in_iran solariz3d com

Thursday, January 6, 2011

535. His strategies to win

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “I’d tell you a written test should be practical. Both for the teacher and for the student. Let’s see. The student should not get confused, bewildered because he or she finds a type of activity you all, in the classes, haven’t worked on. There shouldn’t be anything new, different; something the student didn’t expect. We can implement experiments in the classes but not in the exams, I’d say. It seems sensible to explore new activities in the classes, not in the tests.

On top of that the students may not know how to study the just finished unit, in order to prepare and face a written exam. They have done activities in the classes, but they are not well prepared to face the real written test. Assessing and evaluating our students’ knowledge and competence should be something accomplished every day, not confined to a single-term written exam. And exams should chiefly assess the learners’ communicative competence, which entails a theoretical grammar study and also practice.” / Photo from: capitan_trueno imag lecturalia com

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

534. This is an adventure for me

Teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “I wanted to show you the planning of my first class of English with adult learners that are going to attend an adult school center to participate in varied cultural and sport activities. Some of them are retired people and also there are younger learners. The groups are small. Some of them graduated in some university degree quite a number of years ago. They attend the classes of English because of some interest to learn basic English, in a relaxing mode, also because they want to attend one of the cultural activities offered by the center.”

(Class planned on January 5, 2010)

Level 0 – total or false beginners – about 8 classes

Tuesdays and Thursdays 18:15

1st class:

1. Self-introduction. Goal: basic communication: basic vocabulary, expressions and some basic grammar, simple conversations or questions and answers. - At their disposal. – Learn their names.

2. Listening to me whilst doing things around in the room.

3. I elicit words in L1, and I write translation on WB.

4. Some “games” about words: I say a word in L1, they in L2 (the words are on the WB); I say a word in L2; they in L1; one student says as many words as he or she can remember; I say meanings in L1 and they say the word in L2.

5. Simple and intuitive conversation; acting out by me!. – Basic questions about me and them, and objects, etc.

6. I write basic expressions in L2; I say translation in L1, and they try guess version in L2: ‘Good afternoon.’ – ‘My name is Yolanda.’ – ‘I am from Spain.’ – ‘I am learning English in N Center.’ – ‘I live in Granada, but I am from Motril.’ – ‘We have 5 children and 16 grandchildren.’ – ‘People say I am a good cook.’ ------ We work on this stuff.

7. They listen to me while doing things around. – I ask them in L1 what they have understood.

8. We revise, in somehow fun way, the vocabulary studied.

9. They ask me questions in L1 about what they want to say in L2.

10. Working on prepositions.

/ Photo from: i telegraph co uk

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

533. My students in a choir!?

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Singing in a choir is very educative. The choir may be formed by the students who wish to participate. Each member has to invest discipline in. The result of the performing of the choir depends on the duty fulfilled by every singer. They follow the directions of the conductor of the choir. The singers tie themselves to these directions. The conductor imposes discipline. Each singer redirects his performing to serve the common accomplished performance on the stage or in a chapel. The members have to tie themselves to the schedule of the rehearse and arrive on time. The singers are engines, not people dragged passively by someone else. The choir as a whole joins the members. Also beauty is educative: beauty is a human value that pulls up people to a more thorough and humane position.” / Photo from: vienna-boys-choir blog 8greattowns com

Monday, January 3, 2011

532. Thousands of stories

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Reading texts is an enhancing method to learn English. Do you know who the learner who achieves success in learning English is? The student that reads and rereads a text at home, a text which has not been set as homework. This student reads the text just because he or she wants to. I’m referring for example to those texts in the coursebook about our planet in the Jurassic period, or one about the love between a guy and a girl of different social classes in the 19th century. The student reads the text to just learn the story. And then he or she studies the grammar and vocabulary: analyzes, compares with the mother tongue, focus on the structure, infers a theory, remembers he or she has seen the same expression before, makes a written collection of new words, or whatever strategy that fits their style. That student learns because he or she has an effective attitude toward learning English.” / Photo from: hong kong skyscrapercitycom

Sunday, January 2, 2011

531. Do you like this panorama?

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “I told you on post # 526 that I had started to teach a course of English to retired people – nearly two thirds of the class are retired people. These days I’ve thought - tell me your opinion - the best thing to do in the first classes is to be honest, clear, authentic. I mean, to let these people know I’m used to teaching young people; that I’ll try to do my best; I’m at their disposal; I’ll consider their suggestions if they have any; I’ll track their learning and redirect my first idea of the way of teaching. In other words, I’ll apply my methodology but taking truly into account the feedback I get from them. This way of doing can be a way to break the ice, to stand closer to them, to show them my wish to teach them. This being at their disposal doesn’t hinder from the authority and respect I have for being their teacher and the director of their learning.” / Photo from: FondoAlhambra viajeenelmundo com ar. Alhambra palace is in Granada, the city where I live.