Showing posts from November, 2011

756. Amid sere everyday beauty

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “With regard to what we were talking last week in the cafeteria, I would tell you something. Let me think.

You know, your daily work, which one you love, is part of the work God entrusted us to carry out - in ample lenses. All right. Each person is inherently someone that communicates and lives together with other people, right? As well you told me that in this way you serve and help out others.

So your work is trascendent, not only something for yourself, somewhere in your innerhood. Also it’d be trascendent because it connects you with the Other, God. You said we also live and work together with God, so He is right there, among the persons you live with.

My conclusion? We would work not only for this world here but for this world here plus taking into account our father God is here, not only, so to speak, ‘in the stars’. Every day I think we, many of us, people from Western world need solid and firm values to build our lives…

755. How is it going these days, teacher?

Hi teachers, these days are being great, because of my treating people, parents, teachers and kids. Besides I’m keeping and collecting so many possible posts – I hope relevant ones, some of them –, which I might love they were of any use for you. Best wishes, guys. Keep on doing your best. It’s worthy. / Photo from: blog reddrivingschool com. car covered in snow Mark and Andrea Busse

754. My student's 'cooking' next test

Today I’ve translated the email I sent to Javi’s mom, about this kid’s progress in learning English and in studying for a test he once had within a couple of days. The original Spanish version is on post # 753. / Photo from: logosoftwear com. running baker

Dear Luisi,

Kind greetings.
Here you have some rules – better said, suggestions – that might help Javi to prepare for the next test. I do mean suggestions, for evidently it’s him who is learning how to study, with my help, but ultimately he is the one who is finding his unique, and efficient way how to learn English.

I’d appreciate if you passed this email over to him.
1. Javi, read, and read, over and over what you have in the pages of your coursebooks. This is what you’ll face up in the test. Be aware of the ways you learn grammar, vocabulary, idioms; ponder about your own way of learning. In this way you’re going to find your unique learning style, which will take you to pass the upcoming test. Within 2 or 3 years, 5 at the most, you …

753. Looking for the right way to success

Here is an email I sent to Javi’s mom one time, for her to send it over to Javi, before a near test of English at school. I taught Javi private classes. He was 14 or 15. He HAD to pass this exam. This exam, if he actually passed it, that would imply a significant step to pass a substantial part of the subject. I have changed these people’s names. Sorry for the likely format bugs. / Photo from: katarina-nocchie blogspot com. rainy day

Estimada Luisi,

Aprovecho para saludarte.

Escribo a continuación unas normas, o mejor, sugerencias que pueden ayudar a Javi en el próximo examen. Sugerencias porque lógicamente él está aprendiendo a estudiar, con mi ayuda, pero tiene que encontrar su manera, eficaz, de aprender inglés, él mismo.

Si fueras tan amable de hacerle llegar el contenido de este email, o el propio email.

1. Javi, dale vueltas a lo que aparece en las páginas del libro, que será la materia del examen. Lee, relee, fíjate en cómo vas aprendiendo el vocabulario, la gramática, etc. Así irá…

752. A class with young kids

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “A couple years ago I taught English to a small group: they were three. The youngest kid was 9 and the others were 13 and 12. At those ages that difference of years, as you know, is very big.

The youngest one was smart, though had little English. I started to give him instructions, sometimes, at every class. Like ‘Go to the green door and open it... now close it,’ etc. I made gestures related to the actions, with my arms and hands. If I spoke to him in English he would understand little – actually some words were unknown to him - but he began to understand me, and other instructions given by his classmates. This young kid began to relate, to connect ‘that language’ – he knew it was English – with actions and the physical surroundings. Moreover I had got to have this kid move and stand up often: it was necessary for him to do that, at his age, and also because he had been doing homework and studying for rather a long while befo…

751. Working together can boost efficiency

Here is a thread post thatwas published in the web-site of British Council – BBC, , and a reply by me. If you want, obviously you can provide some contribution. Sorry for the possible format settings on this post.

A qualified English language now what?

Submitted by nbotfield_elt on 18 November, 2011 - 20:50

Hello Everybody!

Hope you're all well. I'm a newly qualified teacher with a BA in English language, an MA in English Language Teaching, a TESOL, bags of enthusiasm, heaps of theoretical knowledge job. I understand the job situation is pretty dire in the UK for everyone at the moment so I accept the lack of interest in hiring an NQT. I'm going abroad to teach in about 9 months time, however, I was wondering if anyone had any ideas of what to do to keep me fresh and in the game for the time being? I've applied to volunteer once a week at a refugee centre but other than that, I can't afford to give up too much of my tim…

750. Management of the class

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “In order to manage the class, or in other words, to efficiently teach and create an atmosphere of work, I think it’s essential to continuously observe your students: if they are following you, following another classmate that is responding or explaining about his or her experience, if that student over there is lately more absent-minded..., if there is some furtive-looking sort of plotting between two students - smiling cunningly, with furtive and shifty looks at each other...

View all this not as something negative and invigilating-like. I see you’re trying to manage the class so as to make their real and serene learning English easier.

You’ve got to intervene as soon as possible to cut off possible disruption and misbehavior problems.

I’ve seen you also take into account the average students and the high-achievers, who are trying to listen to the teacher and the conversation between two or more students in English.

Now I ca…

749. He knows strategies to win

I’ve sometimes quoted from brilliant expert H. D. Brown. Today I offer you some (hopefully) useful points for your teaching English and for your students.

They are taken from this author, (1989) A Practical Guide to Language Learning. A Fifteen-Week Program of Strategies for Success. New York: McGraw-Hill. I’d say the methodology he proposes for learners is helpful and encouraging. You can consider each of the points:

1. It sets a general “tone” with which you can approach the language you’re learning.

2. It describes how successful language learners are able to develop effective combination of emotional, intellectual, and physical abilities.

3. It helps you to believe in yourself and to take charge of your own learning above and beyond your classroom activities.

4. It helps you to understand yourself as a language learner and to discover your own unique strategies for success.

5. It gives you helpful ideas for working cooperatively with your teacher and with your classmates, all of w…

748. She loves her private classes

One day a teacher of English said to a colleague of his, “Like you know, I plan every class. Last week, however, I arrived at the center where I teach private classes to a boy of 13 or 14, and at the beginning I told him something like ‘Ok, I didn’t plan today’s class.’ Actually he has to study English harder... and learn how to study and learn, more importantly, I’d say.

Being honest I have a clear idea about what I have to do in the classes, in general. ‘What do you think we should do today?’, I asked him. And when he said what would-be more appropriate then, I had to focus on what he had thought preferably to do, not follow my ideas!

I’d dare to say that in this way he got more aware of his needs. I hope in this way he’ll become more autonomous, and the like. I’m a mere help, you know, and it’s him who has to attend the classes as the protagonist.

That week, he improved, because, like I said, he felt the protagonist of the learning English process, and I was kind of scrutches for h…

747. All can be educative

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “A couple of days ago I was going out my classrroom. While I was talking to a soccer coach of our school at the large hall I saw a small group of young kids running around and playing over there. Natural. Also there were some leaves on the floor, because we’re in fall, and the soft wind pushes leaves into the building.

I asked, anyway, those kids if they had anything to do with the leaves on the floor – at that moment I hadn’t realized we’re in fall. One said, ‘It wasn’t me’ [in Spanish] and then flew away to the gym to practice soccer.

One of the kids was left behind, in the bathrooms. After that he also sped out to the gym. I noticed the light of the bathrooms was on. So, I thought I should tell this latter student to leave the place after having turned off the light.

I then went down to the gym, asked another soccer coach if I could pick up the child for a short while. When we two reached the bathrooms, I asked the kid to tu…

746. The Internet as a common instrument for teachers

Today teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Yesterday I was talking about the Internet and books, when we were at the teacher hall. Just I wanted to tell you that, well, as anyone knows, this tool is a great one, not only to find information quickly. I think it’s fair to say all this, obvious it may be though. The Web offers so many other things. My colleagues and I use it to learn from other teachers of English worldwide, to share resources, to share experiences, varied points of view about similar circumstances, games, read the experts, find interesting texts to exploit in the class, to find solutions, to make the kids think and contemplate. Tomorrow or whenever possible, please, tell me what you thought about teaching politeness to our students and that story you once mentioned.” / Photo from: rockvalleycollege edu. Illinois. The young man in the picture doesn't necessarily have to be a teacher

745. Students learning to contemplate

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “I’m trying to update my capability of utilizing the new technologies as tools to improve my students’ learning English.

Sometimes I take my kids to the computer hall, and have them search topics like history of aviation-challenges or Asian countries. I assign a limited time to fulfill this work, like fifteen minutes for instance. We use Google (Explorer 8) and Firefox. They are just great to quickly find information. The students work in pairs or in groups of three, because of the number of available computers.

One father came up to me last week and made me think: he told me that obviously it kept being necessary to read books – also e-books, sure – for they make the kids think more carefully, contemplate, be creative, invent stories, ponder things: in a word, to be more careful and calm in thinking. The Internet, yes, but also books.

He added this was not any ‘against’ the Internet at all: both are complementary, evidently, a…

744. Leisure activities also

Something very simple today. I’m a teacher of English but often I also think of teachers of other subjects. I'd like many of the posts of this blog could perhaps be useful to those other teachers. A few days ago one kid told me they have eleven subjects in total! One teacher told me once that I should bear in mind the fact of the students having that big number of subjects. For example, a good moment to bear that in mind is when assigning homework: rather brief, continuous and relevant for the process of learning English. Also I ought to remember that young people have got to do sport and move in general, more when concerning young kids. / Photo from: swimming org. man swimming

743. Teaching to catch the core of the problem

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “I’ve been awaiting for today to tell you about my experience at teaching private classes, as you asked me to do. I have reached a conclusion regarding these classes, look.

Some students used to ask me for private classes, a few years ago. The first premise was they failed the school subject of English, because they did not know how to study the subject of English; it wasn’t like math, history, geography, economics; often they didn’t like the subject, I think because they saw it as something useless: a meaningless textbook, a lot of meaningless exercises, grammar that didn’t mean anything for real life, nonsense texts.

I don’t mean at all that today’s coursebooks of English are dud – I believe they are a really-helpful instrument for learning English... only if students learned how to make a good use of them!

Many times this happened in spite of my colleagues’ nice effort to fulfill their duty as teachers of English.

My privat…

742. A message for teachers

Here is an address of John Paul II to the students, teachers and administrators of Rome’s schools. I re-read it and think it can be encouraging for us, teachers, and teachers of languages. This speech was on February 13, 1999. I hope it’d come in useful. Every sentence is meaningful because it provides an ample vision of our day-after-day work. / Photo from: dailymail co uk. postmanIt is the school's task to develop in the students an appropriate knowledge of the world, of cultures and of languages, and at the same time to help them search for the truth with an open mind, in order to form a free and responsible personality. In this journey which nourishes the mind, acceptance of the "mystery" of man cannot be lacking: it appeals to God and makes us discover his action in the world.

741. Writing about really interesting topics

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Writing texts is one sheerly great way to begin to express students’ ideas in English.

As well it’s a way to develop their thinking capability, because the students have to invest an effort, an attractive one, to sort out the ideas they wish to communicate with you and his or her classmates. One example: they’ve read a text about sex discrimination.

From the beginning, I would tell you, the students should make up sentences by using the words and grammar they’re learning lately; this could be a starting point to actually think in English, and so not translating from Spanish.

With some experience you will learn how to rope your students in an interesting topic they like, perhaps because you’ve commented about it, and they tried to give their own ideas, trying hard to utter them in English, while you might be helping them with the vocabulary they don’t know.

Don’t focus on correcting the grammar mistakes at this stage: let them…

740. They're following your directions

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Yesterday Sunday, I saw a mom that was repeating the same order or warning to her little kid, like, ‘Don’t climb up that verandah; you can fall down’.

And she said the same warning several times, in a louder and louder voice. Meanwhile the kid was not listening to his mom. This was in the central green downtown.

Farther was another mom, who, in a low voice, was telling her son not to climb up somewhere, in a nice but firm voice, and she went on to explain what could happen to the kid, the possible consequences of this climbing up to that dangerous place. She didn’t repeat the same sentence too much. She expected the kid to do things nice.

Well, this is an example I’ve invented but it could help you, in your classes, whenever you’ve got to say an instruction to your students. Don’t repeat the same thing many times. Just once, or twice, in clear and simple terms, calmly, helping your students see the advantages of doing somethin…

739. The right swing at the right moment

While driving back home after school teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Like I told you last week – what I meant then – is that a teacher must acquire prudence, good sense.

Think for example of assigning as homework to read a text from the textbook, which includes examples of the difference of usage between past simple and past continuous, which also is at that moment better than setting as homework just to do a drill about that difference of the two verbal tenses: the former homework is, at that moment, more appropriate than a mere exercise about those tenses.

Another example of good sense and prudence is noticing this or that student keeps on not participating in the class: he said the last thing in class five or six days ago – too much, perhaps.

You then try to facilitate his participating – you wait with patience, you give him or her some clue, you slightly praise their trying, and as a result you’re helping to build their self-esteem.

One other day you cleverly f…

738. Trust me, honey, this is the correct way

I've just seen the link to British-Council - BBC I typed on post # 737. Oh, silly me! Sorry again: the right link is I've been a bit hectic these days, so I think I've been wrong because of my hurrying up. Anyway, as you can see, the link is in my blog, at the right column of links. / Photo from: rgodldfr arb wordpress com. Forest in fall.

737. My apologies

I'm sorry, you British Council - BBC team. For I typed your web-site link wrong, on post # 736. I've just realized that your real web-site link is

Thank you very much indeed, for your thorough useful service to us, teachers of English.