Tuesday, February 28, 2012

801. The Internet. Our mutual friend

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “One of the big things of the Internet is that I’m connecting with teachers of English all the world wide: it’s something pretty good.

I tell other teachers about my experiences and also learn from them – otherwise I’d tend to do the same things all time in my classes! Also I learn everyday and literary English.

My students, for example, can benefit from some relationships with other youngsters from other countries, by using English when typing. We did this activity some years ago in my school. It was great.

Here the thing is my students’ parents and I are concerned with – we do recognize the Web has many big good things, more good things than bad ones –is that some of the relationships some kids could start and hold, through some social network, may be not appropriate, as everyone knows.

Like I’ve just said, we aren’t any against these networks.

Let me think.

A few parents and I were talking last week about that one of the main things we both have got to do is educating the kids in values, within a whole and integral education, in accordance to men and women’s dignity. Think that you wouldn’t let in someone you don’t know, at home.

Thus, I think we teachers might show and propose values to the kids; these latter ones will take the values they just wish to acquire. On the other hand, some parents told me that their kids and them use the Web in kind of agreement and mutual knowledge.” / Photo from: guardian co uk. I’d like to honor Charles Dickens in his 200 birth anniversary. You may know one of his books was Our Mutual Friend.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

800. Getting to learn kids' interests

Each academic year, in May, when I was teaching in a former school, we teachers planned an excursion with our kids to a one-hour-travel shrine of Our Lady, to say the rosary and to spend a nice day in the countryside. I remembered those excursions with joy.

In the south of Spain, in May, it’s spring though I would affirm it’s like a first summer – it’s hot. The kids were studying the so then 8º EGB (equivalent to K-12 if I’m not wrong; 13 and 14 years old anyway). My remembrances are positive in general.

You spent a day in a different context from school, and you all had fun. The boys got to know you out of the classroom, which is a good thing. One year one of the kids caught a few crayfish in a nearby brook. We relaxed and took something to eat, which the ladies of the dining-hall had prepared for us teachers, like they were our moms. We ate something in the shade. The kids spread over there.

It’s interesting to observe that at that age the kids were – roughly speaking – either like children or like young adolescents, either playful or likely to sit over there to talk about their things. Nice times. On the other hand, I guess I should say it, we were cautious they wouldn’t bring liquors in their backpacks: their parents, and us, wished to prevent the kids from drinking and instead help the kids learn their lives in accordance to their age. / Photo from: jimmypadrigan blogspot com. skateboard1

Friday, February 24, 2012

799. When my students are committed

One day a student of a teacher of English, while at home, sitting in his room and gazing at the park through his window, where at that time some kids were playing and some mom was pushing their baby buggy, then he made his mind as follows.

My job now is studying, ok. I’m going to simply need English in a few years, say, two or three. Now I’m 17. I’ll need to be fluent at speaking in English. I think the word that fits here is commitment. I’m the protagonist and engine of my actual learning English. I have this compromise with myself, my family, my school, my country, ultimately the whole world. I’m part of the future. I cannot defraud and disappoint society, also because of the money my country and my family have invested in my education. I’ve got to pull off the best from myself.

All right, let’s start by making a practical plan of homework for today.

As well, tomorrow in the class of English I will try to contribute more by speaking and by listening to my teacher and classmates. / Photo from: blogs telegraph co uk boys choir singing by david rose

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

798. Motivation as a booster for learning

The girl of post # 797 used to keep a diary about her learning at school. One day her teacher of History wrote some notes about her on the tracking academic form.

She has a few but significant flaws at retaining important info about the period we’re working on. If only did she learn a method to study... Tomorrow in class I could speak about techniques to face the unit and the texts. I’ll also ask for suggestions from students – they like to tell how they study and how they can help one another. A few of them fail just because they don’t know how to study properly. Something else for me to remember, which called my attention: another girl once suggested that she thinks she could pass the subject and learn about our past by counting on two things: effort plus God’s help.

/ Photo from: mentalfloss com. dance class

Monday, February 20, 2012

797. If you wish, you'll get it

A girl of 15 wrote one day on the diary she was keeping the following ideas. She used to write it in English, so as to practice.

My teacher of History – I would say – insists too much on the things I do wrong in my study of History. It’s fair and just to say he also tells me the things I do well. The thing I want to pinpoint here is that I must think I CAN study and learn History; as well and as a result I CAN pass the subject. If a student doesn’t think he or she can actually improve and pass a subject, he or she more likely will not pass the subject – and learn the contents of the subject too. Summing up: I have to think I can pass History because I’m going to study harder... and with a real interest in getting to know how people lived in previous centuries, which is interesting.

/ Photo from: travelinos com. alnwick castle outside

Saturday, February 18, 2012

796. Free games for TEFL/TESL! A new view of things

Very helpful. Come on over to see the following site. In it Shelley Vernon offers us many games for teaching English, in a fun, relaxing and effective way. www.teachingenglishgames.com . I'm so grateful to her. I recommend it to you, teachers. Thank you again from here, Shelley.

I also publish a comment by toddy: ( / Photo from: absolutgranada com. Alhambra. I live in Granada, Spain, as you may know) .

English the basic steps with the ten steps are really marvelous and great .No-matter it needs some time to be clarified and understand with a more ease Speaking English UK

By toddy on 794. Importance of teaching values on 2/16/12

Thursday, February 16, 2012

795. Working as a team may hit the target

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Last academic year I taught a small group of four students. They did need to study useful basic grammar to be able to communicate in English, plus lexis, read stories, drills, practicing naturalistically, etc. And they did need to learn how to study also from their textbooks.

Eventually it was like I had to teach four private classes, all at the same scheduled time! One day I was helping the oldest student with his irregular verbs – they’re so necessary to learn because we use them a lot in our everyday conversations. I also was heping another kid with his corrected and graded last test.

Oh my! What to do? It was driving me crazy. One idea, however, came up: I asked the student of the test to explain to a younger student what errors and mistakes he had done in the test. In this way the student of the test became so aware and enthused with explaining to the other student about his errors and where they were. He got pretty focused on the test, much more than if I would have merely explained his mistakes and errors.

As a result this student played ‘the teacher’ so good – he then was responsible for teaching well to his younger classmate; he oughtn’t to fail in his role!” / Photo from: dinghy1 lagoon co uk. a sailboat race.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

794. Importance of teaching values

Today you have a post by a teacher, published in the web site of British Council – BBC, www.teachingenglish.org.uk , and a reply by me. Here you have them, if they be of any use to you. / Photo from: forouniversitario net. estudiantes atentos en clase.

Importance of teaching human values to the students.

A teacher affects eternity. How morals ethics and values can be incorporated in the pedagogy is a question that has disturbed me for long.

Your views shall be highly appreciated and shall go a long way in making this world a better place to live in.


Hi dr vipin oberoi,

I’m glad to see you write about something so essential in our daily teaching. I’m trying to give you some points you could think of, if any useful.

1. Whatever we, teachers, do or whatever we don’t, that influences and educates our dear students. We teachers are in front of our students and they ‘observe’ us.

2. Oh, first premise. The students are free. You can propose or set an example, but not impose. It’s the human person who takes up what he or she wishes to learn from us teachers.

3. Whatever we teachers do in the classroom, in the end either educates or does harm; nothing is neutral, if coming down to the roots.

4. Even we teachers, whatever we do, also out of the school, in our private life, in some way as well influences on the students. You can’t give what you lack, for instance, hard-working.

5. Two big values to educate our students: freedom plus responsibility: I choose to do this and the result or consequence is of my responsibility too (both for good or bad actions).

6. Some values which come to mind now: hard-working, autonomous learning, joy, friendship, environmental frienship and care, contemplation of nature, learning to think, generosity, honesty, respecting others’ dignity and mine as human persons, arriving on time, solidarity and helpig others, to have a small job in the classroom as service to others and as personal growth, to be a good son or daughter, to learn to listen to others... Oofff! It was a long list, yet not complete (impossible to complete, anyway).

7. We teachers and the way we face up our daily work and job sets an example to them.

8. The attention and interest for each and every student is of a paramount importance.

9. If possible, talk to their parents or organise a meeting or tutorials (conversations), to show them your sane eagernes to pass on values to their children: ultimately it’s the parents who are the first and indispensable educators. Often they’ll pull in the same direction as you. Listen to the parents. I’d say the order of ‘importance’ of a school to work well if we consider the ultimate reason of the existence of that school is: parents, teachers, and students.

10. In my school the parents want I should propose my students spiritual Christian values alike. [Which encomprise the afore mentioned ones, for sure]

I would tell you that the fact that you show your concern about passing on values to your kids implies you actually are already educating your kids in sane and life-long good habits, no doubt.

If you wish, you can find more things in my blog http://fernandoexperiences.blogspot.com . Values and educating people, persons, is an issue I’m also so concerned in my teaching English to my students and the prospective teachers I train and coach.

Hope these ideas would be any useful to you.

All the best

Fernando M Díez Gallego

Granada, Spain

Monday, February 13, 2012

793. Thank you for the comment

On February 10 I received the following interesting comment to post 790. I thank you, reader, very much to send it. As well thanks for the suggestion; I’ll think of it and take it into consideration. – You know? I just read it again: I’ll have a try next Wednesday. / Photo from: morenglish es. Spanish kids learning English.

“I am a student currently majoring in English Education, and I really enjoyed your idea having the students engage and communicate. Although a fun twist to this lesson would be to use it as a sort of ice breaker for High School students."

By Anonymous on 790. A naturalistic way of learning English? on 2/10/12

Sunday, February 12, 2012

792. English as a bridge of communication

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “In my opinion, definitely it’s a great and essential idea today here in Spain and in other countries (I guess), more and more, subjects different from English should be taught and learned in English.

For example it’s becoming more and more frequent today that in Spain students attend classes of History, and Science, with textbooks in English, or by means of portfolios or dossiers made from here and there – complementary topics to one another.

This may mean like a change of mind: English is not only a practical subject to actually learn English, but a vehicular language for other subjects. I’ve met teachers of secondary education in Spain that were studying the level of C-2 in order to facilitate themselves with the instrument, the terms and grammar to teach those subjects. C-2 level? It is the highest level of English within the Common European Framework.

Believe me, it’s worth to invest the effort, both by us teachers and by our students to enroll in this battle!” / Photo from: brotherpeacemaker wordpress com. bridge building

I received a recent comment. I’ll say something about it the next post.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

791. Thinking of his family

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “I’ve learned from what you told me last week. That you think of your students also out of the school sometimes, like when returning home from the school. You think of what this student or that one needs, their advancing, the reason of that behavior that day...

Nonetheless you try hard to live your life; well, teaching English is a big part of your life.

You also think of what you can do to build up your love to your wife day after day, how to be nice at home, and not only with your students and colleagues, how to help your eldest daughter, who’s going to get married soon, how to meet ends this month.

I’d tell you you take into account, you bear in mind both groups of people, school and family, because of the love you have to them. I can say this because I know enough about you. Like I said, sometimes I learn from you, and not only nice things we can implement in the classes. Great.” / Photo from: gardening shecknows com. girl watering flowers

Saturday, February 4, 2012

790. A naturalistic way of learning English?

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “In these years of my career as a teacher of English I’ve been creating a scheme that has happened to crystallize.

This general scheme is: I try to teach and lead the learners’ process in the following sequence: first, learners respond with words; then, they say sentences – and phrases; after that, we hold conversations.

This scheme is kind of inherent in any conducting of my classes, it’s implicit in my daily conducting, not something to follow to the letter.

This big scheme is the materialization of my teaching goal; it’s a sequence of steps in communication: words, sentences, conversations. However, this big scheme is something I don’t necessarily follow. Fortunately life is varied, and each student and each group of students are unique. So it’s as a scheme to take into account, just that. As you can see, the goal is communication, by means of words, then sentences, then conversations. In other terms, the use of words, sentences, conversations, serves the purpose of conveying and receiving meaningful messages between two people, among several people.” / Photo from: languagelinkus org. humanairplane – mom with her baby playing - and the baby acquiring language. The scheme presented above is not the same as the way infants learn to speak, yet something similar.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

789. Kids learn also by playing

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Realia (real objects) for learning English? Pretty useful, I’d tell you. Try and use them sometimes.

Now I remember two cases of my own. Last year, one day of February, one of my young students - 9 years – had to learn the word ‘swing’, ok? I was trying to explain to him the idea of something swinging. Soon, it happened I remembered the golf swing! Ok, I taught him how to swing, with an imaginary club. As well I brought something relaxing in the class. Kids that age simply need to move around and do actions. These latter ones make them learn words and phrases.

We repeated the swing. I’ve got to say he learned swinging pretty well, in my opinion; he’s so smart a kid. He enjoyed the class and ‘swinging’ got stuck in mind. Amusing.

Something else in short. One of those days I was teaching a class with adults, some sixty-something years. There happened to be a chess board and its pieces in the library where we used to have the classes.

The initial idea was to explain what a ‘board’ is. To have that chess board there helped a lot. Moreover they learned the names of the pieces, while I was asking them the position of each piece by means of prepositions. I confess I also learned the names of two pieces, ‘bishop’ and ‘pawn’. ‘twas amusing too.” / Photo from: munosconggolf com. simple golf swing