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Showing posts from March, 2011

608. Sense of humor and a nice rapport

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One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Sense of humor is something natural in human relationships, also in the class. It’s perfectly compatible with a serious discipline, as you may know. Even more, there cannot be humor if discipline lacks in a class.
All this stuff has to do with striving to work well, both teacher and students.
It’s like a lubrificant for the gear of the class, which enables the conducting of the class ok.
But don’t force up the situation in the class: it’s not being funny. Have fun in the class: perfectly compatible with rigor in working.
If you are competent, more likely you’ll be able to manage the class and enjoy the class. Be patient to obtain a good rapport. Be respectful to your students, not bitter, listen to them like they were adults; they like this.” / Photo from: now dartmouth edu

607. A lot of success on their counts

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Today I copy a quotation from great BROWN, H. D. (1989) A Practical Guide to Language Learning. A Fifteen-Week Program of Strategies for Success. New York: McGraw-Hill.
For me it’s a sound insight for a learner of English, and hits upon one of the keys to succeed in learning English. If useful, you can read it and keep it in mind for your, for our daily teaching.

One of the primary keys to success in any undertaking is to establish your own personal goals. The more those goals arise out of your convictions, beliefs, and general aspirations, the better are your chances of succeeding. If you’re involved in something only because someone else has told you to be there, you’re not as likely to come out a winner. (page 5).

(I wrote a paper on this book, for my doctorate research). / Photo from: m24digital com. british-airways

606. Students as their own locomotives

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One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Concerning private classes – though it can be applied to groups – each and every class ought to be one step forward. We can’t let all classes be the same: time flies.
To the student in private classes you should make him see his small advancement and that he is actually learning to do the activities and to study, better and better, ok. You, I’d tell you, should lose him so tight, in the points he is positively learning. Make him be aware of his progress. The goal in mind for you is to assist him to become close to an autonomous learner. Pass him this idea: I wish you to improve more and more, so you have to struggle to improve more and more; it must be of your interest, even more than mine. – Tactfully, you know.” / Photo from: virginiaandtruckee com. A 1873 locomotive.

605. Building the lasting edifice of English

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One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “On post # 600 I was telling you about a teacher we had at a school of languages of Universidad de Granada. I was a student of English. I wanted to tell you more things about this teacher.
This person did something that is not simple for me to do - I was learning English.
With fortitude, and kindness, he showed for example that he wasn’t understanding me when I was presenting a topic; he said he was lost, with plain and encouraging terms.
As well he told us the points one of us had done wrong during his or her speech, a few big grammar points. You know, he didn’t let one wrong point without correcting it, if he thought he must do it. What I mean is that this teacher had the fortitude to correct, and not a lenient weakness to keep silent.” / Photo from: members virtualtourist com. Blue Skies through Evora’s Roman Temple.

604. Enjoy nature

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One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Walking along, just for a walk I mean, even preferably at dusk, helps you think. It’s suitable for you to think about your work – you know, also about your family and umpteen other points. You teacher must think, I’d say. Despite you are busy. You may stroll across the countryside or along the shore, thinking and contemplating. Or sitting under a tree.
Even you may feel you thought nothing big afterward, but at least you’ll have walked. Try do this – it helps me sometimes, and yesterday I read something similar in Laintimidad, by philosopher Miguel Ángel Martí.” / Photo from: visitaespana com. A view of Sierra Nevada, near Granada, where I live. When are you coming?

603. Students love stories. Do you ever read?

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One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Do you ever read? Do your students read? I’m serious, I’m not kidding. When you read a novel you get to know other lives, other people, though fiction, ok. You learn from the writer other people, societies, epochs, countries, ways of thinking. It’s no wasting time for you. Think also of history, essays, teaching English, education, family. You need to form a tank, so as to acquire humanity and wisdom, not merely technical stuff.
And I have the nice experience, like most of teachers of English, that students love stories, and even more when you tell them stories. It may be no good example, but some years ago I used to summarize what we had just read in the class, in Spanish. It was to a simplified reader in English, A Tale of Two Cities?” / Photo from: marmo69 blogspot com. Leo_Tolstoy_Anna_Karenina_unabridged_compact_discs.jpg

602. Laboring the soil / Daily effort

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One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “I think your hidden work makes classes efficient. Or may make, if you prefer so. Classes are the performance of a lot of ‘hidden’ work by you.
Think of your planning the classes, while thinking about the real classes and the students, the sudden spark that comes up to better the classes, the continuous learning and improving as a teacher, likely failures, struggling to improve and grow as a person, as a husband and father, and as a colleague too, the trascendental view of your daily work, your correcting tests late at night (or not), your searching stuff on the Internet. Without that hidden, and so not bright and gleaming work, your classes wouldn’t work well and help your students learn English. Oh, and also count on your perseverance day after day.” / Photo from: farm-tractor co cc. A John Deere tractor.

601. Candies! / Young students

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One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Young students, six, seven, eight... years cannot follow a class just sitting and listening. They need to move, to stand up, to walk, to circulate around. I knew a teacher burnt out when he began teaching English to young students. So, I would say - if it’s useful - you might shift activities every five, or ten minutes. Utilize visual aids, implement TPR (Total Physical Response), take them down to the playground to learn objects and places of the school, make them learn their five senses, use flash-cards, posters, word-cards to stick on the board, utilize realia. However, start teaching them to stay sitting nice also. Be patient.
Female teachers have, I’d say, something inherent for these kids, yet there are some male teachers, evidently. Unless you have much extra time to make up material... Well you should have some stuff at the department of English, and you can ellaborate some more and keep it. On the label of this blog,…

600. Something natural / Naturalistic communication

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One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “With passing time since, I’ve realized of some teaching strategies one of the teachers of English applied in the classes at that center I told you about. It was a school for adult learners. I was one of the students.
All we said in the class was considered as important for the others. The teacher intently listened to each of us. We were a small class. All the class-period was authentic communication. We talked about us and our opinions. He often didn’t interrupt us. He achieved to hold the conversation while we naturalistically carried on saying more things about one topic.
We talked among us, asked other classmates and answered their questions. The classes were interesting; sometimes we had a small laugh; and we attended the classes with interest. We used to discuss in a friendly way, but with discipline.
I think we didn’t attend the classes simply because we wanted the title – the classes themselves were worth to attend. I’…

599. A warm atmosphere / Helping the colleagues

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One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “You, we, can do good to our colleagues and other members of the Department of English of our school. I remember a teacher of English who offered himself to someone else, who was choked with a hefty wad of tests to correct. The first teacher was capable to help with the correction - briefly speaking - albeit we are talking of two different teachers. It can be an exception anyway. The first teacher was then very much welcome, gently declined though. He didn’t have that duty to fulfill, evidently.
Another point: you and I must set an example, not only to our students, that’s for sure, but also to the other teachers. I mean, set an example of hard-working, comradeship, bettering, listening to another teacher and to what concerns him, be nice, frank, capable to lower likely contrasts of ways of being and fights. Yet you and I have defects too. It’s not anything arrogant.” / Photo from: partyresources blogspot com

598. Shoot the ball at the right time / Implementing activities

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One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “You told me you plan every class, ok, and you write a scheduled plan of activities and things to implement. And also you told me sometimes one activity, however it is, does not work, does not engage with your students, and you see they’re getting jumpy and uneasy. You wish to carry out that activity but they seem they don’t want to carry on with it. So, give up and stop doing that activity, and gently shift into the next one. You’ll learn from that trouble for next time, and you’ll be able to engage your students with something similar to that activity, or with some change applied to that activity, something that fits.” / Photo from: 2sports info

597. People are awesome / One objective per class

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One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Plan one objective for next class, I’d tell you, only one. Perhaps two. I’m referring for example to one grammar objective, like present perfect. The point is that your students ought to realize that present perfect is something related to our ordinary life. To realize that it’s something meaningful. You can present the grammar pattern with vivid examples, talking slowly, with the board, repeating, with some acting out, a stroke of humor, making them repeat as a chorus or individually, asking them.
You can peek ‘Verbal tenses’ in this blog to further view this way of conducting. Remember to assist your statements in present perfect with writing examples on the board. Bear in mind that present perfect can refer to for example our experience, and also to things you have really done in your life, and which ones your students may know, or may understand you have done because they are obvious.” / Photo from: xinhuanet com. Beijing …

596. Is he alone? / A regular teaching day

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One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “I’ve been thinking these days that if we come to the head, ultimately, we can count on a competent and helpful teacher, or Teacher, with capital ‘T’ if you prefer so. Jesus Christ knew, and knows, who each and every student is, his or her joys and distresses. He is true God, true man. Faith is a gift you can ask for. Does all this stuff have anything to do with our daily teaching? Think of it. Teaching in the class is equal or paralell or has to do much with educating people. We have an aid close to us, at every class, who can, and does help us. This statement might help you reach easiness when working with your students, when teaching the passive voice. When we meet each of us again, let me know what you think.” / Photo from: nomadas abc es

595. A competition in the class

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Sorry again for the format setting bug. One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “I propose you an exercise that can be helpful to acquire a grammar pattern. It’s simple. After having done an exercise from their textbook, the students must write three more sentences the same pattern as the one of that drill exercise. They love to outdo their classmates and competition, like you know. So in the class the first student that writes the three sentences – correctly – wins. By practicing the grammar structures it’s more likely they’ll learn those structures or patterns; alike they see that pattern is something with a meaning, with a message.” / Photo from: jpiantcpa com

594. Parents, teachers and students in the same ship

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One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Crack (sorry), cannabis and liquor are serious hinderances and remoras for our students’ growing, and mental work, are they?
I assisted in a remedial summer course for boys, in August 1993. They had to prepare their September exams of their schools, when back in their cities. The kids lived in the school. They had quite a nice number of hours in the study hall, and remedial classes. We tried teach them how to study. The work was intensive.
You’re soon understanding why I relate this story to drugs. Drugs and drinking aren’t so a simple problem to solve, I guess.
They also had scheduled time for sport, swimming pool, a few movies, recesses. They could join their parents in the weekends if they had passed week tests on their subjects. Otherwise they had to study those days to improve their studies. Many families took their sons to the course.
Summing up, it was a hard course for the students.
One important point was the individual t…

593. A summary of a teaching experience

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At Centro de Lenguas Modernas, Universidad de Granada, we the students had to present several lectures, to pass C-2. This is the guide plan for my last lecture. – The site of CLM is http://www.clm-granada.com/. I hope anything would be useful.
- I'm grateful to many people.
/ Photo of this post from: proyectotelemaco wikispaces com. Alhambra, in Granada.

CLM presentation
Fernando Díez Gallego Paper begun on 6 May 2010 Theme: What makes a good teacher of English? My experiences and research on TEFL 1.Self-introduction, and introduction to the presentation. 2.The goal of teaching English: communication, communication, communication. 3.For that goal: help the learners become autonomous learners. Who actually learns English? The learner who wishes to learn. The two protagonists of the class: the teacher and the learner. The successful learner is the one who utilizes learning strategies. 4.Class management: the best discipline? Self-discipline: the learner who wishes to learn L2. Adolescents do…

592. Writing and reading stories

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As you well know, the Internet offers a lot of means that can aid teaching and learning English. Chris Lima posted some articles in the site of British Council – BBC (link on the right column in my blog; view it!), with useful ideas for reading narratives. I’ve copied here a piece of one of the articles by her, submitted to that site on December 12, 2010.Task 3. In pairs or small groups, Ss use their notes to create a short story (50-100 words) to match the painting. Ss share their stories with the group, either displaying on the wall, emailing them to others or posting to the Class wiki or blog.”/ Photo from: clt astate edu. The Globe, where most of Shakespeare’s major dramas were performed, in London.

591. Are you uneasy or okay?

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One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “I knew one teacher that told me something which may easily occur to any teacher: he or she could suffer distress and uneasiness because he or she cannot see their students improve, despite the big effort and commitment invested in their students’ educative process. So it’s not the teacher’s fault; you can’t change the way your students’ are done (well, you can help out a lot). That teacher I knew told me that she did her best, and tried over and over, and she worked for her students’ sake and as well as to give a joy to God, through her work. God is a loving father, with a dad’s and mom’s love to us. She concluded nothing was ever lost. And the following day she would try again, with some gained experience.” / Photo from: gamezblog com. / (Something else about another point: I bear in mind Japanese friends and everybody there).

590. Learning to learn

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One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “I’ve realized that in my private classes, some years ago, I used to give quite a lot of advice about learning strategies. This post is also suitable for large classes. I found out I should do the exercises with the student. I should assist him to learn how to face up doing those exercises and drills, and studying for the next test. The point in this case was to help him understand one exercise; to discover what the exercise was asking him to do; to get him see the importance of those exercises to become able to communicate actually in English.
With fortitude I had to set him short goals for the following day. For him English was an awful subject, just something to pass and forget after that. I achieved to say clearly what was wrong about his work and also his steps forward. Ultimately he was the responsible person of his work.” / Photo from: alternativelearninglane com

589. Feedback from our students

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And today I post this comment by another teacher of English, Ayse Reyya, also published in the web site of British Council – BBC. I read it couple days ago. I hope you like it. The link to this site is on the right column of my blog; worth to visit!
We should ask our students
Submitted on 3 February, 2011 - 16:28
I think we should ask their opinion (what and how would you teach if you were me?)once in a while and get some different/student perspective. we sometimes get so caught in our own teaching styles and ideas that we miss the point. they sometimes give very simple but useful & innovative answers.Ayşe Reyya
/ Photo from: fotos-paisajes net. This is a view of Palacio del Generalife, which is a part of Alhambra palace and fortress, in Granada. They were bulit in muslim style, in the Middle Age. The picture is just to illustrate this post.

588. Teachers' work

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Today I post an article by Angela.C. I read it yesterday in the British Council – BBC site for teachers of English. You can click on the right column of this blog, the one with links, if you want to access the site. The article is brilliant. (I replied to it favorably, as other teachers have done).
What early-school teacher do you remember most vividly, and why?Submitted by Angela.C on 16 February, 2011 - 23:51
It's a question that got me thinking about not just my early school teachers, but teachers that affected me throughout my education, from Little Red Train Nursery School, to my Ph.D. classwork in astrophysics.Good teachers in our lives are not characterized by the grade level at which you encounter them but by the learning environment they foster. The teachers that made a difference in my life, and helped me empower myself to blaze a trail, had something in common. They recognized that it was MY journey, and they were there to help guide the way. Through a love of teaching, a…

587. Self-discipline

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One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “It’s not true, say, that rather old people can’t learn English. I said, many posts underneath, that they have strategies to learn which a child doesn’t have – well, strategies and aptitudes are diverse. Adult learners can organize their work, be more aware of their process of learning, have a self-evaluating abilty, a more systematic way of learning, perseverance, self-control and autonomy, can generally be more open to what the teacher proposes in order to learn.
What about memory? I do know they are losing memory capacity, like they often say, but their memory is suitable to train, to enhance by training and practicing. Usually they are quite motivated; they have a clear aim in mind; they apply their profession skills to learning. Check out about ‘necessity’ on post # 461.”/ Photo from: visitingdc com. buckingham-palace-picture-3

586. Discovering new things

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One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Achieving to learn new things motivates the student to go on learning more things. Also if the student understands the grammar he or she is learning, he’ll find a text or sentences with a meaningful message. Now think of this learner if he reads in advance pages of his textbook the class hasn’t studied yet. I mean, the student can have a look at the following unit the class is going to begin next week. He can read through the pages, look up and find the main topic, new grammar, new words, new and fresh exercises.
As well the pictures of that unit provide useful information. So when the whole class begins the new unit, this student already knows some things, and can relate what he’s read to what is going to be developed along the following days. It provides an advantage position for the learner if compared with his classmates.” / Photo from: destination360 com. mexico-scuba-diving-s

585. Think also of his future

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One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “I know what you mean, so I’ll give it a shot. You find a kid that lacks attention, he, or she, is jumpy, there’s no way to get him roped in the class, he drives you crazy, you lose a lot of time trying to make him work, he’s disruptive. But no student can be considered as lost forever. When he grows up, you may think, oh man, if I had done something else for a more personalized education... You feel bad because you just used to try to tie him tight, yet his response was being even more jumpy and at loss. Some remedy? Well, think of slighly praising his effort when there’s any, mold doing an exercise from the textbook, or tell another peer to sit next to him and help him out. It’s not simple anyway. Nothing is lost though. He can need the aid of a psychologist as well. With passing years he may be a competent worker at his father’s metalwork place.” / Photo from: umpbump com

584. You two are at the same flight

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One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “When talking with your students at individual tutorials, you ought not to show as an ice model, distant, aloof, someone you can fear but not someone you can share your worries with, like you were a flawless person, not prone to forgive or help out. Maybe you can tell him that it takes you some effort to do things okay too. That you may have the same struggle as he can have, that when also you were 15 you had to struggle on the same field as him. With confidence and humanly you can tell him some worries and concernings about the school, and can share some joys too – be prudent anyway, when talking about yourself, because the aim is helping your student, not confess all you have inside. And you aren’t his buddy.” / Photo from: altairva-fs com. Douglas DC3.

583. Reading provides authentic English

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One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Utilizing texts in the class is a useful aid for practicing naturalistic speaking. You read a text, aloud, maybe written by yourself, brief, not much time consuming when inventing it - I know you’re busy. You write an interesting text, like a story for example, adapting the language of the text to the grammar and vocabulary they are learning. You read it slow, emphasizing, stopping, clarifying some point with examples or drawing puppets on the board, or writing single words. Then you hand out photocopies of the text to the students. You and some of them read it aloud, trying to understand it. Then you ask them questions; catching questions. With humor. Also you can ask one student about what another one just said, so as to grasp their attention.” / Photo from: nikonians org. library_of_congress_reading

582. He gets fully involved

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One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Yesterday I said to a student of mine, at the tutorial, ‘You tell me you want to learn English, right? But do you wish to learn English? How big, how intense is your will? Do you really wish to learn? So what are you doing these days to effectively learn? Do you do your best?’ All this I said, trying to be kind, encouraging, half serious, half smiling. I believe he stopped to think about these questions; he began to realize the classes are not just a trifle, but something that gets him involved as the main protagonist. ‘Otherwise – I added – unless you have this sheer will, let’s up and go. On the other hand, if you have a firm resolution, take for sure you’ll achieve it.’ ” / Photo from: bikerradar com

581. Calm down

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One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “A teacher needs to have gravity, albeit he or she may be young. That teacher talks and moves with gravity and seriousness, with serenity. He or she would not scream and loose their temper. With passing time he or she acquires the skill to conduct the class in a somehow smooth way. However, if their students find out they can exploit their teacher’s anger, and it turns to be like a funny game, be cautious. To sum up, the class is not a struggle whose core is setting quietness, but a time for learning English. I know all this may be not as simple as that, but anyway, put this view of things in your mind, like a sound target to reach.” / Photo from: North by Northwest (1959). Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint.

580. Contemplate during your work

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A reflective teaching develops individual and social competences of logical reasoning, pondered judgments, and open-minded and receptive attitudes. These all sentiments are seen in the mirror of everyday experiences and mental flexibility, which are necessary premises to consider an individual as capable to master his or her innermost roots of thought, and capable to control his or her innerhood.
I think this may be an appropriate insight of a good teacher of English. I have translated the quotation from Spanish, intending to make the text as clear as possible. The text is in Pérez Ferra (2005) “Documentos de clase doctoral: Los nuevos significados del cambio educacional” Mendoza: Argentina. And I owe the quotation of the text to Porcal, María Luisa, “Proyecto de Mejoramiento Educativo: Experiencia de Innovación Didáctica Pedagógica en la UNCUYO que conlleva a los alumnos mejorar [sic] su rendimiento académico y al grupo docente a reflexionar sobre la propia práctica”, published in th…