Showing posts from October, 2011

736. She's planning effcient classes

This is a post by a teacher of English and a reply by me. Published on the web site of British Council – BBC. Very interesting to read the articles

absolute beginners

Submitted by Marja Hewitt on 29 October, 2011 - 16:36

Would anybody be kind enough to point me in the right direction. I do not have teaching experience but have been asked to help a friend to learn English. I thought I would go for a walk with her and have simple conversations about our surroundings, but she doesn't understand the simplest of sentences, so we have decided to start from scratch. She is Spanish and finds certain English sounds a real challenge, but by repeating words and sounds she is improving all the time. I am looking for a teacher's plan and worksheets for an absolute beginner. Any suggestions are most welcome. Thank you in advance,
Marja Hewitt

Fernando Díez G...

Absolute beginners. Answer to Marja Hewitt

Submitted on 30 October, 2011 - 19:29


735. Something about her everyday work

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “I like everyday teaching, and talking with my kids, with the other teachers, with the students’ parents. Better said, I love all this.

Some people say every day is the same, the same routine. I don’t mean to boast but I can assure you each day for me is a new battle to beat, in a positive way, you know.

Some days ago another teacher, of literature, told us she tries to better herself as a teacher. She’s after that. She reads the experts, other teachers...

She told us she’s continually ‘recycling’ herself: she has some years of experience, but she’s determined to keep on learning, for her personal human growth, and also about techniques and teaching strategies.

This teacher teaches literature and attemps to present the units in a nice way, so as to get her students really interested in literature.

This girl said her students now read more books than last year, but this goal isn’t only hers, but she’s convinced her students hav…

734. A demanding profession

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “I just heard this is in the school cafeteria: One teacher of English, if someone adult asks him or her for taking private classes, the first thing, at the first interview between they two, is for the teacher to listen to the potential client. So as to make out an ample view of his or her needs.

This is of a paramount importance, look. You know, the point here is to clearly find out which the student’s necessities are: some learners look for getting the ability of reading scientific texts in English – just that. Others want to focus on gaining fluency at speaking - just that.

The teacher, coming to head, must adapt his teaching in order to really be useful to cover those needs, in rather a short period, usually.

How? First listen and put in his or her shoes. Thus, the point is to teach him English to face up those expectations and needs, with all his experience at teaching and planning classes - now they’re classes of English …

733. Learning to pilot the vessel of classes

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Last night, when my kids and wife were all in bed, and I was super busy, planning classes, I suddenly remembered what happened to a student of my class, few years ago. Then he was 10, I think, or 9.

The classes I taught were extra-curricular. The first day that young boy didn’t bring his books of English. I had agreed with his parents to help him with his homework/study plus speaking in English through games. The second day he did not bring his books. I made him think about how he could remember to take his books from the classroom bookcase to my class of English.

He didn’t bring his books the third day, the fourth... He always forgot to take the books... umm!

His eldest sister those days answered to my comment about this point.

Oh, she told me, the same happens with his math book sometimes, he forgets his book: just he doesn’t want to work much.

Soon I dated an appointment with their parents. I ought to talk about this point…

732. Let your students talk!

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “It’s not necessary for you to repeat aloud the words or the sentences your students say as a response to your questions or prompts.

I guess you may do it inadvertently. You want to repeat their answers – sentences or words – for their classmates to hear clearly, or like your repetition was better than their own responses. I’d tell you to stop, to not repeat those answers. Help your students to talk by themselves, to be listened to with their own voices. Thus you’re helping them become more aware of their contributions, a bit more and more autonomous. With passing weeks you’ll get used to this boosting their – not yours! – contributions.” / Photo from: nctm org. Classroom teacher students

731. Showing one possible way

Here are: a post by loubylou in (British Council - BBC) and two replies by me.

language books for teenagers

Submitted by loubylou on 17 October, 2011 - 14:49

I am new to TEFL and have been asked to give a 11 and a 15 year old lessons. Does anyone know of a good book to help them with the basics of English?

Language books for teenagers

Submitted on 21 October, 2011 - 12:09

Hi loubylou,
The first books which come up to mind are Jeremy Harmer's.
His books are great. I read one of them, maybe more, when I was studying Philology of English, about 1992.
I presume, well, I do know you can find titles by him in the Internet. Right now I can't remember any. His books are practical, interesting, encouraging for new teachers.
As well you'll find articles by him. As you know, type his name and perhaps some specific aspect of teaching and learning English.
Let me give you something else, sorry. I mean, you might perhaps find something useful regarding n…

730. Communication for them is essential

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Yesterday, while my wife and I were taking a coffee, at a local close by home, came to mind something about what you told yesterday about discussing a text in the class of English.

Something I remember from past years is that one day we did this very activity in the class, and the direction of the discussion, the conversation, was not only teacher-students and students-teacher, but yet something very useful for learning English: someone replied to what another student said, to express a contrary view of the topic, starting some controversy. This authentic communication in English in the class is great.

You know, the students listened to what their classmates said, and some others entered the dicussion.

One day I was tickled glad because I realized that I didn’t have to intervene myself, believe me, because they kept on talking amongst themselves. This is communication, genuine one. Were they aware of being speaking in English…

729. Do you know her point of view?

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Often my students feel bored with the stories or non-fiction texts from their textbook of English. Also with the exercises.

All these things aren’t of any interest to them. Those topics have nothing to do with their lives. The first premise, I think, should be to make them see that the subject of English is not a mere doing exercises in a meaningless book.

How about fostering speaking in English? The subject of English isn’t a theoretical subject, but one for life itself, for communication with real people they’re going to encounter, now more than thirty years ago, when I started to study English.

I propose to you, if you let me do so: after working on a text, or better said, while working on a text, ask them simple – or challenging and brain-engaging – questions, related to the life and the events they’re living, about the city, simple yes/no questions, wh-questions, the youth now, proposals for current economic crisis, cris…

728. Building communication in English in classes

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “As you know I teach in English all the class, albeit the students may have a very basic level or on the other hand they may have some competence to speak in English. I pretend I don’t know L1, like I’ve said many times here.
I think I should help the students with vocabulary for them to be able to talk about what I’ve planned for the class. Last Friday an adult learner and I were talking about relationship-building in a company, for this student needs to practice talking about that topic. That day, during the class, I found out that it’d be helpful to provide vocabulary about that topic before talking, so as to give him more ‘tools’ to speak – I could provide, elicit, teach or do something else to give him some useful words.
In children’s case, with very little English, I could do something similar. Let me see. If we’re going to talk about their schools, why not providing them with some words they’ll need to answer my questio…

727. Exploring new ways

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Once I had to replace and substitute a missing teacher for one class of his. The students were about 9 years old. I was asked to teach that class of English when I’d just arrived at school.

Obviously I hadn’t planned anything for the class. So there I was. They were some 25 or 30 students. I had to do up and improvise.

Since they were young students I invented something that they could hopefully like: a story made up as I would be talking along. During the story I was acting out too.

This happened some years ago. Summing up: the point was attracting their attention to focus on me and the story. I think this class turned out better than the usual planned classes I used to teach.

I think this way of conducting gave me another view of teaching, a very naturalistic one, let’s say. Also at that class I learned a new insight about the ways they listen to English, the way they can react to what they’re listening. However I always fi…

726. She's a good German teacher today

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Last week I began to teach private classes to a young kid with problems; he’s in Spanish primary education.

Some weeks before, at a family meeting at my center, I’d heard a lecture by a psychiatrist. He talked to us, parents and teachers, about the attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder.

I, as a teacher, must observe my students’ behavior. I thought at the lecture that if a young kid has problems with studies, something wrong is going on, as if the regular case for a young student were carrying out his or her studies with no big problems.

My private teaching should not confine to simply teaching English, yet to observe and then assist the student with the way he is. That’s a milestone to success, hopefully.

So, when I plan my classes with this student, I also think about the way he did last class, and how he reacted, and how he thinks, and how whatever. I must know him well, not only invent a way for him to do the exerc…

725. Communication? It makes every day feasible

Here are a post by three researchers and a reply by me. They’re about the so important Speaking skill. You might find something useful for your classes of English. They were published in , the website of British Council –BBC.

Help please!
Submitted by Maria Victoria. on 3 October, 2011 - 22:54

Hi everyone! I have already posted a question on how to teach speaking to children. The information provided by some of you helped me finish my research paper on that topic.
Now I’m working with two colleagues on a new research paper on how to teach speaking to teenage learners. We’d like to hear your opinion on this subject.
According to your experience, what are the most important factors to bear in mind when teaching speaking to teenagers?
Thanks in advance.
Maria Victoria, Celina and Yanina.

Fernando Díez G...

Help please! (Reply to Maria Victoria)

Submitted on 5 October, 2011 - 12:10

Hi Maria Victoria, Celina and Yanina,
This is my favourite skill to carry out in my clas…

724. How d'you do?

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B,
“Lately I’m getting more aware of some of my students’ circumstances. I’m referring to kids that never advance or are attentive in the class.
They can have problems with drugs or drink, sleep deficit, receiving bad treatment at home, or treating their parents bad. And there they are, with me for some hours a day.

A teacher told me, on the other hand, that the family is the first factor that influences on these kids (!). She said some examples to show attitudes that can help, definitely. Look.

Dad not only talks with the adolescent about the grades. There can be family meetings, like at dinner, when everyone can intervene and tell what he or she thinks. Dad and Mom listen to that kid, who is asking for being listened to, please!

This teenager is eager Dad and Mom and his oldest brother would listen to his worries. He feels insecure about himself. Because of that he dresses that way, and shouts, like meaning here I am, I’m someon…

723. They learn their language from Mom

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “I’m glad to ascertain that young learners, 8 or 9 years, use English as another way of communicating, like in Spanish, their L1.

English for them is another ‘something’ that they naturally utilize in the class of English, to listen to what their teacher’s telling them.

I guess this conducting is an unconscious learning a language, more or less similar to when they learned Spanish from mom and dad. They don’t wonder why their teacher is speaking in another language – they don’t understand the notion of ‘language’.

Their teacher is a person that always speaks in that way – in English.

I try to say no word in Spanish. They kind of relate me to that peculiar way of saying things, and naming objects. They don’t care about the ‘language’ that’s being used as a vehicle. I pretend I know no Spanish at all. They get used to listening, and from time to time they are able to answer in English, as something ordinary.

I’ve got to be patie…

722. A lot of students love stories

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “When I was a child my brothers and sister used to read classics of literature. I mean, classics of literature in the form of juvenile literature, comics that adapted classics – in Spanish.

Thanks to that I got to know many classics otherwise I would have never read.

I admit that some teachers don’t like these modified version, for these books don’t show the original versions, as they were written.

However I’ve utilized abridged versions in my classes. For example Dickens’. Students often like stories, if they can understand the texts.

An extra positive point is that these books usually show interesting male and female characters who the students identify with, plus values like frienship, love, audacity, loyalty, perseverance, good humor, solving problems, the family... In my school the same books were used the next academic year, or within a couple years, by another group of students. It worked good.” / Photo from: bookcase -…

721. A huge number of teachers of English

Now is Saturday evening and I thought to write something. I thank you, people who have a look at this blog.

Someone wrote somewhere that she likes the stories of this blog. M. V., thank you: they’re taken from my students’ lives, and from their conversations with me.

I found out that writing stories, either real ones or modified, might be a nice way to tell you, teachers of English –or anyone else – what I’ve seen, or seen and modified.

As also you can see, I selected as links, for teachers of English the sites of British Council – BBC, and TeacherLingo. If you wish to improve your daily labor, and you do wish, I’d say to you to view those two sites. They’re great.

You’ll find tips, resources, videos, deep research about teaching and learning English, and things about our students’ process of learning English, by teachers all over the world.
You, BC - BBC and TeacherLingo teams, and all of you, teachers, are doing-something great. I’ve also learned from you all.
We’re building up 21st…

720. A regular day of theirs

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “I was thinking about what you told me yesterday. It helps me.

You said something that can help us, teachers, to have a trascendent view of life. That our students are people, individual persons to teach English, and furthermore, assist them to achieve a thorough education.

Well, delicately respecting students’ freedom plus their parents’, obviously.

And we as well have God, who helps us, both teacher and students. Also you said that you count on him to hold a positive view of your work, an optimistic one, and that nothing said or done in favor of our students’ education is lost.

God would have, according to you, a tender love, of a dad and mom. And he’s close to us in our daily struggle and joys. Last that we can offer our committed labor to God as a gift to Dad.

Well, also you escaped from that great frustration regarding your work, in 1993, by turning to him. I like all that thought, and made me smile yesterday.” / Photo fr…

719. Our lady cleaners are great

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Yesterday I entered my classroom and at once I saw a big spot of blue ink on the floor. I stopped and said something about the stain, in a calm voice but making them think about what had happened. The point was I tried to make them be aware of their responsibilities. My mood was serious and disappointed.
I asked who had done it. I talked about the extra work that spot meant for the lady cleaners of our school. Their work schedule is demanding and they’re in charge of the school cleaning, the chapel, the kitchens, the bathrooms. And removing that spot should imply about thirty minutes.
Those ladies were mothers of families perhaps, adults of course, respectable workers, and carried out their work at the school with good disposition.
I guess they, or most of them, grasped the message. I think they’ve scarcely observed them when cleaning or making meals, or at least some of them haven’t. Do they value this professional work?

718. Please, tell me another story!

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “My students liked to read, yes sir. Once a month I used to bring to the class of English a pile of readers and few unabridged books, with one of my students’ help.
The students liked that special day, and they were eager to see me and their classmate carrying the books through the door. The aim was reading for pleasure and massively. I delivered the books according to each student’s level of English.
They did focus on reading, silently. When someone finished his book – I didn’t care much whether they had actually finished reading it; I thought it was more important for the learners to enjoy reading and feel free, that day. Anyway, they did read actually.
Often one student came to my desk to ask me for another one, great. They familiarized with reading extensive English and understanding a long text, which told something meaningful for them. Many of them asked me to tell them the meaning of a word. I was circulating between th…

717. The reason of their success: Planning

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Students appreciate we teachers would take some notes with us about the class planned when we head for the classroom.
They notice everything we do in the class, for their good and personal growth – and learning English, or otherwise for their bad education.
One teacher said he had realized that his students had noticed their teacher used to plan every class. This teacher planned the class with the activities he’d implement, by taking into account the students’ needs at the moment, and some challenging activities to advance more, so as not to do always the same things.
Anyway, you can try to plan your classes in the way you are. This planning means an important initiative to really reach significant aims.” / Photo from: ctmstravel com. British Airways Cabin Crew