Showing posts from September, 2011

716. Pulling forward from one another

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Last week a chemistry teacher told us that few days before she had asked a student to say the answer to an activity, and he had at once responded something like (in Spanish, L1) he could not do it because he was hyperactive, this little ‘sassy devil’.
What to do when some or many of our students just don’t want to work in the class? Now I could say: reckon and praise someone’s try, or right answer, small it may be though. This can be the beginning of pulling them upward from their passive state.
Keep on admitting the correct answers and their struggle to work nice. Try and try. This process will take a long time.
You can stop to briefly discuss their correct answer, so as to reinforce their effort and hitting the target. Have them approximate an answer, if someone wants to say nothing. Grasp the just low-voice hint he or she says. Exploit this hint to give some answer.
The point is to softly pull them out to start to work and …

715. Ready to struggle

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Sport games, for example basketball, or here in Spain soccer, which is so popular (football), imply struggling, a sane fighting.
Life itself can be a sane struggling too. Living in the classroom and in all the school around can be so, alike. When we teachers love our job and wish to teach and assist our students to learn English, we’re prone to teach the class with commitment and at full dedication to our students – evidently sometimes or often we can feel tired or burned out or a zillion more hazards.
Difficulties, hard challenges, dire straits can make us teachers think and act more efficiently. The very same thing can happen to our students, when they try to overwhelm tough situations and everyday studying.
Teaching English is not a mere teaching English, like you know: it’s teaching a profession – as students – and ways to learn English: listening to understand, focusing on a drill exercise, making up a project-work withi…

714. An essential part of her job

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “In most of the centers I’ve worked, we teachers used to have tutorials with each boy.
Maybe at the first tutorial, at the beginning of the academic year, the student was afraid and trying to make out what his new tutor would be like. The first meeting might be cold, like a kind, say, of a mere report-filling-in.
With passing months the three-fold relationship among parents, teacher and student could become cooperative, efficient and warm. Something I came up with was ‘I’m asking the student to bring his stuff of English and we’ll discuss about his work, his mood in the class, etc.’, if he wants to.
I found out a lot about the boy, and with running days was him who asked me for help and advice. It was a good chance to put in his shoes to learn how he felt in the class, also his feelings relating his classmates, a clear insight of the group, and so on. It meant a new world I as a teacher discovered. / Photo from: junglekey com.…

713. Helping him discover a new landscape

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “A few days ago I attended an interesting lecture by a psychiatrist. Look, you and I have to learn and accept that we can have students with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder in the class, and we must know this distress may be affecting them in a serious way!
Well, you’ve noticed some students are active in an abnormal way and they can’t focus on us, for example, however we do. It’s not something to ignore and obliterate – some students may need specific attention by a specialist.
Now I’m just telling you some practical things we can do with the students in the classroom: have thatkid sit next to a calm one; positive motivation helps him or her more than your scolding – they’re very receptive to positive motivation; they better respond to a sequence of steps than if you assign to study four pages as homework; assign dates for rather frequent tutorials with his or her parents; also have tutorials with the student; thi…

712. Some suggestions to improve homework

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Relaxing after the classes naturally is necessary for our students, to later keep on plunging into the learning process of English.
Children and teens have to move and run, play some sport, for example. They could do this at some scheduled time in the evening. A mom some days ago told me that if they play sport, kids burn fats and use the body energy. She said also that kids shouldn’t live chocked with many extra-school activities, as well.
If they have classes in the evening, including lunch at the school, she - an expert in these issues who gives lectures – says youngsters could dedicate half hour to watch television, or play some video-games, listen to music… – before homework.
The point is that they would rest, ok, but not too long, for then it’s harder to focus again on school homework.
About us teachers she said it’s all right to take a nap at some time, but about 20 or 25 minutes maximum – otherwise, if longer, you get …

711. That family looks nice

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “You are a busy and committed teacher, no doubt. However, your first ‘investment’ has to be your family. And your Father God, firstly; you told me you need him. You also told me you often arrive home late, throw your bag aside, and close you in your office to carry on working, the students in mind always, of course. More or less it’s so, right? Almost no word to your wife, and your kids see and hear you little.
You deserve relaxing and staying with your family. They deserve you. Your wife does wish to talk to you. ‘Every night she tells me the same’, you think. She needs to be listened to by you. Her joys, her frustrations, your kids, her work out, your eldest son leaving for college… On the other hand you’re starting to tell your inner stuff to that young female teacher who just arrived to your center. Ok, you feel, it’s nice to tell your uneasiness to her. She’s so attentive, and sweet and young, you think.
Do you ever take …

710. His secret? Just studying

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Last week I had a tutorial with a marriage – I had called them to come to the school to talk about their son. The father had studied English when at school.
He told me something that can be interesting for our students. He said he was not good at learning English. All in all, once he thought this flaw shouldn’t go farther. Enough was enough. He plunged into the coursebook and started to analyze and try to understand the exercises and the texts. Little by little. With his dictionary. He was understanding! Well, he thought, this is not that difficult! He was glad when he realized of his progress.
On coming weeks he offered as a volunteer in class to say the answers to the exercises. He told me that he even began to like the subject of English, because he got mixed up in it. I support these experiences: I’ve seen it in my students, sure thing.” / Photo from: migrelief com. Boy Studying

709. He's prompt to help others

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Lately I’ve been coming up with the idea of the many things youngsters can do in favor of society.
Don’t get me wrong, I mean, I know not much about American politics, but I can remember what J. F. Kennedy once said. I can get an interesting point from the sentence. It was something like –remember- Ask not what America can do for you, ask what you can do for America.
I had a male student in my class. He was behind some misbehavior stuff in my class. The representative of the class suggested I could take the boy in charge of a small job for the class. Some problems still arose, but I can assure you he matured.
In his attitude there was something of a rebellion against rules or the kind. He and also his fellows wished to be authentic and genuine. And they were growing and getting out their childhood. They felt insecure. This is the age of boasting, shouting, dressing in a specific fashion way, so as to say: I’m someone! They st…

708. Communication unites us

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “one of my current students yesterday told me she had met an American small gang this summer, in their vacations. Her level is advanced. They made friends with one another.

She had fun at communicating in English with people her age. She told me they met up together some days to have a drink in one of the bars of the town, at dusk.

When she wanted to say a word she didn’t remember, she did something very interesting: she explained the idea, the concept of the ‘missing’ word, by approximating the meaning, paraphrasing the meaning, using examples, explainig the use for the thing, using mime. This strategy is presented by Rebecca Oxford (1990)Language Learning Strategies: What Every Teacher Should Know. Boston: Heinle and Heinle Publishers.

It was fun, she said. She did achieve to set a natural communication with those girls and guys.” / Photo from: welive2care com. girl talking on phone

707. Excuse me, can I help you?

One day teacher of Englisjh A said to teacher of English B, “A few years ago came to my school a new teacher of English. He was an experienced one. He came to me one of his first days to tell me he was amazed to see a student in a wheelchair: this student looked cheerful usually.

He and his family had had a car accident. This kid got seriously damaged in one leg. All in all, as I’m saying, he looked as though this inability was..., what shall I say it in my English? You know, this big problem had not affected him too much. As well, it was amazing to see how his classmates pushed the wheelchair, these and those at different moments, with nothing special.

A van used to take the kid to the dining-hall, a teacher of his driving the van. These things are nice at school, and can be an educative example for the students, and the teachers.” / Photo from: torange us. People studying pointer scheme

706. 9/11

I said nothing about 9/11 this morning, while composing post # 705. Actually I wanted not to refer to the date. But it was in my mind, obviously. These latter days I had the thing in mind, as a billion more people everywhere. I prayed for the more than two thousand victims, plus their families. I also prayed for the terrorists. With passing years I’ve learned about two people close to me that actually saved their lives. / Photo from: reddogreport com. 9/11 Firefighters Flag

705. A trip to Granada

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “With the English language you can go nearly anywhere in the world. Yesterday, Sunday, was a bright day. I was walking around with a friend of mine. It was still somewhat hot here in Granada, south of Spain. I live here.

We entered an ice-cream local. I ordered a nuget ice-cream. While we were enjoying the ice-cream, a family entered the local. This one is in Reyes Católicos street, rather close to Alhambra palaces. In Granada downtown you can easily hear English. I noticed the lady of the family had small problems with her English. I offered myself to help out with translation. All of us began to naturally speak, about them, about me. Their origin was Vietnamese, but lived somewhere else.

Then, when the lady addressed the assitant girl of the local I caught this one also knew English – she’s Spanish. Good English. It was a nice morning. The family lady told me they’d like to visit Alhambra palaces. It’s great to have a lingua …

704. She on the way of becoming a committed teacher

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “You and I have students with problems of learning, that’s for granted. What can we do with those, few often, students who can do nothing, or looks like that?

Two days ago I came across an old student I had twelve years ago, more or less. Now he’s an attorney! Since he saw I was astonished, he replied: Well, to be unable to face up with a book, full of words, the remedy is... reading. The way to defeat math unability is reading and re-reading the coursebook and notes by the teacher in class, and try to understand the universe of an exercise-problem in the book.

The moment you see that you understood something, Phew! One step forward, all right. As little as you make any progress, also your teacher will notice this change, Phew! He or she will think, for he or she are committed teachers. They’ll get more focused on supporting these steps of yours.” / Photo from: web2 menai-h schools nsw edu au— Students in library

703. A love story

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Know what? It’s interesting. Yesterday I read the story of a student that was considered as a blockhead by his teachers. Also by himself. He understood nothing. He was nearly nobody.

A few committed teachers pulled him up from the deep hole. But now I wanted to say that something definitive that took him into a category of someone for himself was love. One day he noticed that a girl same school was looking at him. Not like you see the traffic-lights, but it was a lovely look. His life changed. He realized he was someone for someone else. She liked and loved him. He also started to love her. With passing days, the first thought that came to her mind in the mornings was that boy. The first thought that came to his mind was that girl. He was appreciated! One day they came across each other on the line to take the trays at the cafeteria of the school, and started a conversation.” / Photo from: eatlearnlive com – students lunch

702. About the beginning year

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “We are beginning the academic year. Your students have the new coursebook of English – or a borrowed one. Most of them wish to do things well, or something near that kind, at least. Now it’s the moment when they have to begin to do homework, and listen to you in the class too. You can tell them the reason to carry out homework, which is not too much. It’s reinforment, it’s internalize the language, practice for later naturalistic communication in the class by using that grammar pattern.

When one student, the next day, didn’t bring his (or her) assigned homework..., what to do? You can note down some sign of ‘not hw’, or the sort, on the class chart. But, in a nice and firm way, make him respond a question by you about the significance of enhancing his learning at home. Solve the possible problems he will bring about, or have him find a solution himself. The point is: no student be left behind, and work from the beginning.” / …

701. A respectful atmosphere

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “One positive thing you have and perhaps don’t notice it, is that you try to arrive to school in time, then you head for the classroom, before your students have arrived, and sit and revise your notes, etc. When young students are arriving they say ‘Hi’ or ‘Good morning’ and you respond with a nice reply and smile. All this creates a nice atmosphere – politeness and kindness, also work and setting a good example by you – that makes a warm starting.

In teens’ case, they’re more serious or something like they don’t want any ‘special’ treatment. Nevertheless they do expect certain welcome and treating them as already-grown people. They feel insecure but like them to be considered as ‘someone’.” / Photo from: excelined org

700. Beautiful things

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “I was thinking of past WYD, a few weeks ago. WYD stands for World Youth Day. Thousands and thousands of young people came to Madrid in August...! The temperature was of 100 or 110.

I was with a nice group of Canadian youngsters, from Saskatchewan state. Weather here in Granada (rather far from Madrid) is tough in summer because of heat: terrible.

They came to stay with Benedict XVI, for a few days. This person is the successor of Peter, one of twelve Apostles of the Lord Jesus. I took note of pieces of his speeches, one addressed to college teachers; others to those youngsters. I was glad to see other adolescents with values and virtues. For those of you that don’t know about Jesus Christ, he was, he is true God and true man. I respect everyone’s beliefs, as always I do, and have friends of other religions or no religion. But I thought I should say a few words about this issue.” / Photo from: sunset sailing --travelooce com

699. All similar stories but unique

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “When the academic year, like now, is beginning, few parents phone me or come to school to call on me.
One teacher used to say that the best grades can be gotten in September, now. Not in June, when the year is game-over. Well, also in June anyway. Usually it’s mothers who call me or pop in my school, after Christmas, or more often after the Holy Week vacations, in spring. ‘My son is smart, you know, but is lazy’, said one mom. ‘I’m done – I don’t know what to do with my son. I’ve told him a zillion times he has to study, he has to study, he has to study. I have no idea in what way to tell him again’, said another mother whose son is 6 feet tall, already has an incipient beard, baggy pants at fashion, a skateboard with a long biography in its wheels, a colorful cap at an angle, huge sunglasses, hair hiding his face.
I’m depicting can-be regular situations at our job as teachers but my goal is not to criticize or be cynical, no…

698. How to cook an essay

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Non-native students should master writing in English before proceeding into college. Master at least in communicating a clear message, well structured and with no big mistakes.

If possible – it’s possible to train – uttering something relevant and with the student’s own developing style. Writing is entertaining and creative. There are varied ways of teaching models of writing, but on the other hand each student must develop his or her own natural way. Here is one example. First, the student has the idea that he or she wants to communicate. They write a brief introduction to the topic, for the reader to learn what he’s going to write about. Then he or she develops the idea in the central body of the essay, making clear the core of their message. That body presents and develops the idea, as clear as possible.

All this training is in want of doing it once and again and again, and the learner will be discovering and noticing some…

697. The power of veterans in learning

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “What to do with oldish students? As you told me they’re 50 on, approximately, right? Well, they registered in that course whose teacher is you, because they wanted to.

Yes, I know they may not have the same flexibility of mind like children. However they can apply the ways of thinking that corresponded to their intellectual professions. It’s somehow more difficult – and different – for them to learn English, sure thing. Their capabilities and memories are not like they used to have, natural. But if they wish to learn, they’ll invest the needed effort and perseverance, and also their discerment.

I also had old learners some years ago. I didn’t set homework to them, but some of ‘em did study at home... They need you a lot, to foster and guide their capabilities. They’re very motivated and enthusiastic to learn. They brought motivation to the first classes, and it’ll increase as they see their progress.” / Photo from: mercedes b…