Saturday, December 31, 2011

774. Building up tomorrow

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Some years ago a teacher suggested me to recognize my students’ work in class, to recognize this in public, addressing all the students. From time to time.

They’re struggling to learn English, they follow my instructions, they try to be attentive, they attend the classes one day after another. It’s good for them, and just too, to tell them they’re nice people, nice students. They, also as a result, will work harder.

I do know there’re problems of disruptive things and all that stuff, but I insist it’s sensible to acknowledge my students’ effort and interest. As well they’ll grow as better people, becoming more aware of their freedom and responsibility. We people need to be recognized and feel affection. I hope and expect great things in 2012.” / Photo from: web1 taringa. automóviles Llega a New York el taxi del futuro

Friday, December 30, 2011

773. I teach in this city

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “I want to tell you what I do with one of my groups of English. The classes are extra-school assistance and for fostering speaking in English. In the second half of the classes we play games (you can see some on post # 259). At that time I pretend I cannot speak Spanish and they accept the treat, as something amusing.

The thing is that in this group there are kids of different ages. What I do is combining games of different levels: a simple one, and next a higher level one. Anyway, I try to rope all the students in the class in the same game.

For example, an older student may demand some conversation, talking naturalistically, about this, about that, whereas the youngest one tries to grasp as much as he can.

Another point: the youngest kid needs to move around the large room every 5 or 10 minutes – he’s 9. At times I give him some instructions to carry out. Sometimes I ask one of the older students to give the young kid some instructions. For these older students it may be the first time they use English in a naturalistic way, as in the on-the-spot conversations.” / Photo from: albaicin viajescondestino com. This is an awesome district of Granada, where I live. The district is, as you can see, at the outskirts of muslim Alhambra palace. Albaicín, the name of this area has an Arabic origin.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

772. It's a relief we aren't alone

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “The daily conducting with your kids in classes can teach you many things. Last year I taught a class of four students;
‘twas an extra-curricular course. Half of the class was dedicated to do their school homework, and the other half to speak in English by means of games, trying to create immersion in English.

I wasn’t able to reach and assist my four students with their own homework in the same class. One day, an idea came up to me as the class was taking place.

I said to one student of 14 to correct an exercise from a classmate’s course book. This latter student was 9 then. So for the older student was the first time he had to correct somebody else’s exercise – it was maybe the first time he had to
focus on grammar and find out errors in another person’s exercises. Summing up, this was great for the helper and for the assisted boy.” / Photo from: alfamblog alliance-tibet org

Monday, December 26, 2011

771. How to compose something interesting

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “One of my students of secondary got 5 in a test of English - 5 is pass. He came up to me to talk about the test.

I asked him what he thought about that grade. I wanted
to make him draw his own conclusions, not merely me telling what he should do to improve his grades. He looked not very much satisfied with his actual carrying out the test.

I asked him what questions he did well and which ones wrong, this is, his strong points and the weak ones.

Also what he could do to actually improve writing a significant composition.

One point about improving his compositions? I can say some but then we agreed in writing a sentence that would continue adding information to the previous sentence; the goal should be a development of ideas, so as to build a meaningful text – we talked about some linkers: however, nonetheless, all the same, summing up, besides…” / Photo from: galaxywire net. Soyuz. International Space Station. Docking

Saturday, December 24, 2011

770. Mom's tenderness to his son, for example

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “I wanted to tell you about the scanners and rules thing. You can read post # 769. I’m in a bit of a hurry because we’re at Christmas Eve. I could tell you more things, but now I’m saying something brief.

Look. Rules and some sane punishment are necessary. Both must be educative; otherwise our school would be a ‘battlefield’ or the kind, between teachers and students. So, coming to the head, we have to think of students as unique persons, with the dignity of such unique persons. And where are the ultimate roots of such a dignity, if you let me tell you? I’m thinking of two premises: every person has been born, created, as the image and likeness of God. What’s more: we all are children of God (!).” / Photo from: mindware com. Mom and son cooking

Thursday, December 22, 2011

769. Rules for fair play

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Like you
know scanners are going to be set in the school, at the entrance, so every
student and teacher have to walk through them.

They are necessary now, the principal told me yesterday. I’ve read somewhere in the Internet that these things are necessary in schools like ours, which is placed within a difficult neighborhood. Students, too, know that the scanners are going to be set during this Christmas vacation.

Oooops!, I’ve got to leave you know – I’ve appointed a date with the
representatives of one of my classes. I’ll tell you further tomorrow or on
coming days. See you. Oh, I’ll tell something about rules and norms too.” / Photo from: theball tv. waiting to kick off the tournament

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

768. On duty, like you, committed teachers

How can I get my students should do their homework? Here you have a post by elena.t about how to help her students wish to fulfill their homework. Below you have more information about her circumstances. Basically her student won’t learn English and carry out their assigned homework. Also beneath is a reply by me. All this was published in British Council – BBC useful web site, which is / Photo from: daylife com. Dublin Irish police officers stand guard outside the Bank of Ireland. Sorry for the likely format settings.

Helping with English homework

Submitted by elena.t on 15 December, 2011 - 18:20

Ive recently started volunteering in a childrens home and one of my duties
is to help with english homework. I am not an enlish teacher, but have a degree in psychology. The children are quite a long way behind and sometimes unwilling to concentrate and learn. Any advice which would help get their attention, make our sessions more interesting and also encourage learners who find learning english extremely difficult, would be much appreciated.

Submitted on 19 December, 2011 - 20:34

Hi elena.t and you all, teachers,

Let’s give it a try.

The first premise is you are a psychologist. So, you’ve got, I presume, a
valuable knowledge about the ways we people think, feel, how to boost our unique personal qualities, possible cognitive deficits... And you consider each kid the way he or she is. It’s a nice point to start.

I’m trying to write rather briefly. In a common day I have to deal with
this issue more often than not: homework. The same things: my students, many times, are behind and with a serious attention deficit, which shows itself clearer when having to carry out homework. Were these suggestions of any use, I’d like to have helped out another teacher(s) and Greek kids. I’m telling about my experience with the boys I’ve taught in both, group and private classes, plus what I’ve studied in the experts.

1. You’re intending to teach them English, ok. The people who are the
protagonists are them and just them. (Also you’re an indispensable person and a protagonist in the classes, crystal clear). Thus, second premise, the first thing to keep into account is that they won’t work and learn if they do not want to; it’s their business, their problem, ‘not yours’.

2. Therefore what I can do is helping them, pushing delicately, towards
wishing to fulfil their homework and learn and use English in a naturalistic
relationship among all of you, little by little; otherwise we’ll achieve
nothing, obviously all the time respecting their freedom: only will they learn if they wish.

3. Listen to them, whenever the chance comes up; I mean, they want to know hardly anything about English and the like. Get really interested in the stuff they say, although you may think that that stuff is childish or the sort. Students, more in kids’case, let them educate themselves by the person they know loves them; this is the love of benevolence that, I think, Aristotle, wrote about. In few words, love them.

4. Reckon the small correct thing one student does. For example, tell a
girl to do an exercise from the English book. She could start to read the
instructions, perhaps not understanding much, and she asks you what the meaning of this word is. Ok, she’s starting to advance, though this seems so small a step it’s not worthy to be reckoned: it was something so easy…! Then, she might not understand the instructions and she’s on the point to give all up. No way. You can say to her to read the instructions over and over, with a dictionary and your assistance. The point for this girl now is as though she would have to find out who ‘the bad guy is’.She understood at last: perfect. Next time it’ll be a bit easier to face up another exercise. I’m not writing about the second part, which would be her actual fulfilling what the exercise asks for, this is, writing the answers or filling in such or such drill, or read a story.
5. Remember that learning English is something realistic: they’re learning
something they’ll need, sooner or later. Use examples and sentences taken from their lives and interests.

Well, I’m finishing here. I hope these suggestions would be any helpful.

6. Let a student say the answer when someone else asks something he or she doesn’t understand. The helper will gain motivation and this fact will be a booster for the whole class.

Kind regards

Fernando Díez Gallego

Granada, Spain

Teacher of English and teacher trainer

More about Homework in

Sunday, December 18, 2011

767. Teachers can do big things every day

One Sunday teachers of English B and A, two girls met up with each other in a bar, with their families, “You know, I believe any teacher can do great and important things in her classroom: I mean, if she carries out things well, and puts affection, love, and commitment in her work, she’s doing grand things, and not a mere dry fulfillment of duties.

You know, if that person, as she tries to be a thorough professional, deals with the ups and downs of everyday work, she is changing that regular routine into something more human and humane – also because she gets really concerned with her students and colleague teachers, not only physical things.

Last Friday the new teacher of our school looked afflicted, sitting in front of the window, in her classroom, lonely, sobbing and trying to hide herself from the possible passing by people.

One girl, a veteran teacher noticed something wrong was going on; got into the room and asked her what was going on. The veteran teacher listened to her story.

Basically her students had realized she was rookie and had made a disgusting ‘welcome’. The veteran teacher offered some possibly helpful ideas, which came up to mind then. After a while they two had a small laugh.

The veteran girl also asked her where she was from – she’s a native teacher from Galway, in Ireland.

Summing up I would draw some conclusion: a person’s positive attitude and care of little things, on the one hand shows she’s great, and on the other hand she knows how to turn daily things into something human and valuable. I guess that this attitude makes teaching English increase in the efficiency of classes.” / Photo from: ideasinspiringinnovation wordpress com. Dublin Phoenix Park. It is or was the largest urban park in
Europe. Its area seemed awesome to me.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

766. Genuine and authentic love

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Yesterday I read through this blog. The guy writes things he’s picked up here and there. After reading this stuff I at once realized that those things must be really first accomplished in my life and in my class, and it isn’t enough just to have read some posts and this is it, as he says of himself.

It’s ok you have to think of your students when planning a class, and not of ‘virtual’ students: you must accept your students they way they are. I oughtn’t to plan according-to-a-perfect-methodoly-like
classes; this has to be related with the students.

The first premise, I think, is that I have to struggle to firstly love my wife and kids, and as a result the love to my students will be genuine and authentic: You say you treat your family in a rather rough way when you arrive home!? And you tell me you love and teach and treat your students in the nicest way!? It doesn’t fit, guy.

So I would turn the thing the other way round, which is more positive: if I treat my students nice, first I must love my family. You know, it’s been a long time since the last day I brought home some chocolates; Sara and my kids love them, and we’re close to Christmas. I’d like now to make the firm resolution to love my dearest wife and kiddies through everyday little things, and also not make faces when my daughter asks me to play with me like I were a horse and she rides on my back around the lounge.” / Photo from: 20minutos es. niño y niña jugando con videojuegos

765. Their success? Because they work hard

Today I’ve translated, in case it’d be useful to someone, an email I sent to Álex’s dad and mom a couple years ago. Like you may guess, I’ve changed the names and few detais. “Álex” was a student of one of my English classes. Then he could be 12 through 14. He got many fails in his school subjects in the first Evaluation – I think this could be right before Christmas. We had to solve Álex study problems as quick as possible! The original email was in Spanish. / Photo from: universitypost dk. German student at Heidelberg

The email was:

Antonio [Álex’s dad], I’d appreciate you would pass this email to Álex. Un abrazo, Antonio [we in Spain use this expression to say bye on an email; Abrazo is a hug. I wish you a Merry Christmas. Call on our school to see the Nativity scene. I’ll be out. You might keep talking with Baby Jesus, his mom and dad; you can ask them questions and tell about the things that concern you.

Álex, here you have some suggestions for next days.

1. Right now I begin to begin! You should think now. Consider
what happened in this term, and make up realistic resolutions for Christmas vacation days. Think of what happened, and then think of how you can improve as a student, making specific resolutions, enjoy the hours you’re going to stay in your bedroom, maybe you’ll feel like you were “in prison”. Relish what you’re learning.

2. You will enjoy more and more as you put away and reject any lapse of concentration. When you catch yourself absent-minded, go back again to work. You’ll reckon you’re getting the good habit of rejecting stayning in the clouds... and plunge again into the book.

3. Before you start to work, stop to see what you are going to do that morning. Just dedicate 2 minutes to this planning.

4. Don’t be me lazybones, Álex. Sorry, it’s no insult, as you
know. Get a move on!
You will go up on the Premier Soccer League.

5. [...] When you understand hardly anything from an English text, read and read and read it, over and over, with the aid of your dictionary. It’s like finding out who “the bad guy” is. Each time you read, each minute you study means managing to squeeze decimals in a test, it’s like the decimals of a second athletes struggle to squeeze: 4.25 [5 is pass in Spain; 10 is the highest grade]; 4.75; 5.75; 7.75... as far as
you can.



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

764. When kids are responsible of their learning

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Each class is unique, and has some surprises, which you can take advantage of for your teaching and your students’ learning English.

Look. Yesterday I got into my classroom with my planning notes. Basically we would dedicate a short period for them to do their school homework, and a second part, longer, to play games to practice speaking.

What really happened made me smile: I felt the students were more protagonists and enthusiastic motors of their learning, and homework. It took longer than I had planned, I mean, what they were more interested in was their homework, more than my games. This hasn’t regularly occurred. Great.

One kid assisted me as a monitor to a younger one, who was reading a simple story in his textbook. Time flew. At the very end of the class, the younger student wished to go on reading one more story. The third of my students in that group was missing yesterday.

Alike at those fantastic times I discovered other small ways to teach. I believe my students were more capable to understand and speak in English. I felt that the process of learning English was something kind of natural, or more human.” / Photo from: danzfamily com. mowing the lawn.

Now is a comment I received 12/12/2011:

"Being a teacher is a very rewarding job. I salute them. They are very dedicated on their job." By cielle, a comment on post # 714. An essential part of her job. Thank you very much, cielle, you're welcome

Sunday, December 11, 2011

763. She needs the instructor to learn

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “It’s marvelous when a person decides to take on learning English, on his or her own. Great. However I think that this learner will need a teacher, a coach, a person who can talk with. Language is something between two people. Many people ask me what to do to learn English once and for ever.

I tell them that whatever they would do is helpful. I mean, I try to facilitate the way: as they show the wish to learn I encourage them to start as soon as possible.

Nevertheless, ultimately they’ll need a person that could demand from them, encourage them, lead the way to them, make them go on and on with the schedule they had thought.

When I say whatever they do is helpful, I mean that anything regarding working with English seems okay – at least, at the beginning steps: a web-site, grammar from a book in the bookstore, reading a reader with a dictionary, talking with me in English, and so on and so forth. Whatever they do adds up something to their learning.

Naturally I also advise them to enroll in such or such course or center, because there will be a person who will exact and encourage and talk with. Registering in a course or program as well creates the necessity to use English.” / Photo from: makingthishome com. small plane flying

Saturday, December 10, 2011

762. Viewing with a fresh perspective

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Our students can gain a new and fresh view of their homework, just at the tutorial between you and each student. This is crucial for their learning English.

Students settle what they worked on at the classroom that very day. They, maybe now, understand the texts and the instructions of the exercises. And they’re able to make up a composition. The habit of dedicating time to deepen, think and review the texts, grammar patterns, graphs, and so on and so forth is simply crucial. Classes and homework are conplementary. - I don't mean students cannot achieve all this in the classes. I'm talking here about the importance of homework, which is complementary, like I said.

Students do need some quiet period to ‘process’ all the information from the classes, also for their personal growth and for making up a solid tank of knowledge to face up life. I ain’t magnifying, I think. I intently repeat, classes and homework as complementary things.

All this about intellectual capabilities is also so because students learn to utilize realistic learning strategies to solve problems; just think of reading a text for the gist or scanning to find a specific piece of information.

And I’m not referring only to their personal growth, but alike to obtain the capability to communicate with other people in English, which is what they’re going to do in a few years. Remember that our students are people that’ll be part of society.” / Photo from: minnesota-visitor com. family on vacation

Friday, December 9, 2011

761. Making big things little by little

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “A game you can try with your class is repeating a sentence as a chorus, word by word, subsequently increasing the number of words, starting with the last word of the sentence. It’s amazing to see students’ capability to remember each chunk, which becomes longer and longer. I’ve done this with students from 10 to 12 years. In this way you make them develop their memory and some awareness of syntax-with-a-message. They like it. They’re able to repeat long sentences. It can be helpful to practice the grammar and vocabulary they’re learning.” / Photo from: sierra-nevada costasur com. A hotel in Sierra Nevada, Granada, Spain. This picture could have been taken these days.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

760. He practices hard to improve his records

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “I wish to actually help the small group of students I lately have in my classes to improve the grades of the subject of English of their schools, and also to learn English for their near future. I see that my own striving to improve is essential, for example in thinking in the way of helping each student, with their traits. If I struggle to better myself, I will help them, If I don’t, every day, I won’t assist them, even I could hurt them in the process of their education.” / Photo from: biketrialmadrid wordpress com. sergio llamas bicicleta trial

Saturday, December 3, 2011

759. Shhh! I heard something in the distance

The next day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “The way for learning English irregular verbs? Studying. Lately I made the following experiment, so as to help learning these verbs. Instead of teaching the difference between irregular verbs and verbs with the –ed ending, I had my students read a text from their course book that told about, for example, young Jim’s story when one day he got lost in a forest in winter, and he heard noises at night, and the like; or you can compose and provide a text written by yourself. We worked on around the text, they understood more and more, the small suspense caught them... I explained the words they didn’t know.

Then I asked them to tell me which the irregular verbs – in past simple and past participle – were, and the regular ones, on the other hand.

They realized that many of the verbs were irregular, ans so the past wasn’t formed with the –ed ending. I think they became aware that the irregular verbs are something very common in English.

As a consequence it was worthy they had to learn them if they wanted to learn English.

As simple as that. Now recall the irregular verbs used in this simple text, in past simple and past participle: said, made, had, got, lost, written, were, heard, told, understood, caught, wasn’t, didn’t, became, was.”

/ Photo from: Stagecoach is a 1939 American Western movie that was, as well known, directed by John Ford, starring John Wayne and Claire Trevor. I think this film was the first movie, or the first masterpiece, where John Wayne began to play. This is the first movie of John Ford that was not a silent movie, I think.

Friday, December 2, 2011

758. Irregular verbs now and then

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “English irregular verbs are an interesting grammar point Spanish students have to study year after year, increasing the list of them each academic year.

Quite many more verbs of this type existed in Old English, before the 11th century, perhaps most of the English verbs then. In other words, the way each verb took the form of past simple and past participle was more complicate than the simple –ed ending. With centuries passing, fewer and fewer verbs remained as such ‘irregular’ verbs, in fact those verbs native speakers used very often. Because of that those verbs remained being ‘irregular’, while most of the English verbs, roughly speaking, were taking on the regular form of –ed for past simple and past participle.

This can be due just to linguistic evolutions that actually occur in every language, with the language common people speak, year after year. Beside the fact that many words, so verbs too, were entering in the English language, mainly from French and Latin, and their past simple and past participle forms took on the –ed ending.

Today I wanted to say something about learning irregular verbs, plus something I do to help students learn those peculiar verbs. It’s a simple and small detail. I hope that on coming days I’ll tell about this. Today I’d stop here. I dedicate this post to philologist E.O.M.” / Photo from: lowlands-I net. text in Old English. I’m afraid I don’t know what this text is, only I’m certain that it’s in OE. The characters generally were similar to the ones you can see here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

757. Leading the correct way

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “What to do? About 2001 I was teaching a class-group of 13 and 14 years. One student, after the first few days of the academic year, was starting to tease his classmates, to insult them, to conduct in bad manners. I repeated, to him and the rest of the class, some basic rules of conducting in a classroom plus the reasons why.

However, this student kept on doing bad, disruptive things – and a few other students. At certain moment I told him, in a low voice, to wait for me after the class, for I wanted to have a word with him - for me and him to talk, in good words and making him think of the best way to behave. Nevertheless before the class had been over, this kid kept on misbehaving. The class was small. As things went on the same bad way, I stopped talking, and kept silent.

Then I explained basically the same rules I’d said before, making them think these new announcements meant one more time, meaning I should not repeat the instructions too much. I said further similar things, firm and very sincere, in a loud voice.

After the class I greeted them bye, until the next day, and I headed for the secretary office to call his parents. I thought these ones should know the story from the teacher before, not from the student. I tried, at every moment, all this would be something educative and responsible-making.” / Photo from: mike oldfield es. driving car