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Showing posts from March, 2012

819. As fresh as singing in the rain

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One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “I’ve recommended you to plan each class: maybe one or two goals, some activities to implement during the class, combining listening with speaking, etc. However don’t plan too many things: with your experience you’re getting capable to plan the class and some useful activities in not much time – you know what your students need, what they enjoy, what you can demand from them, etc.


Now I tell you not to plan one class, next class, for example. Don’t be afraid. You, maybe somehow inadvertedly or unaware, know what fits in that class, and you have your real students in your mind – you do know them. Sometimes you’ll see that that class turned out well, even better than some very much outfitted and planned classes.

As well you’ll feel better, and likely your students also will feel good, for they’ll see you manage and conduct the class without any planning notes. Alike the students will see you’re so committed with their learning. …

818. Respecting others' work again

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On March 26 Eugenio O. sent me the following comment. As well it appears if you click on Comments of post #816. As I said short ago I also publish comments on clearer full extension on a new post, like the present one, because the tag or label I selected for comments about new posts is rather small and so they could pass unnoticed. I just read it again and I have nothing to say about it, Eugenio O. Thank you!

Of course I always moderate any new comment. Now, these days, there are some new comments I’ve got to moderate. / Photo from: cosasdeperro com. veterinaria

A very good entry, Fernando. It is a matter of respect, good breeding and concern for others' work. Maybe if kids learn to behave at school, then they will at home. Cheers!

By Eugenio M. Olivares-Merino on 816. The school is getting cleaner and cleaner on 3/26/12

817. A nice day around a castle

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One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Some weekends ago I arranged an excursion with a teacher, to go around the hillside of the Alhambra and Sacro Monte, in Granada – if possible, don’t miss a trip to Granada, if you let me tell you.

The point of the story was that at the beginning, starting his SUV, he told me he had a terrible cold – I could see it, so I had asked him. I told him that if he was sick we could put off the excursion for another day. Anyway, he simply told me that he did things despite his personal circumstances, kind of something like what you have to do must be done. I’m bad, so what? He said this in simple terms, not arrogant, in a plain way, easily, with some humor, in a serene mood. I liked the sentence, and I’ve gotten and drawn more conclusions lately, for daily work and life.

You know, we had fun: the sunset; we strolling around the impressive Alhambra, the muslim palaces; Sacro Monte; the valleys... still green. I didn’t know I could find…

816. The school is getting cleaner and cleaner

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One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “As you know we teachers in our school try to pass on values, a nice living together at the school, joy, how to study... Last week a teacher told me something I think it’s important, and so I wanted to tell you about: the school bathrooms.

We teachers try the students should treat us and their classmates with respect and politeness, all in a kind and nice conducting at the school. As well the students have also to learn to recognize the lady cleaners’ work too. They are real people, and just not ‘someone’ over there I don’t care at all.

One day I decided to take a few students that had just left a bathroom. I called and talked with them a bit about using the facilities and the school places in a proper way, you know, by means of questions and answers. Then I asked them please to go back with me to the bathroom. I told them that if there were pieces of clean tissue on the floor, the ladies would have to collect them, so it woul…

815. Auntie, at her age, start to learn French!?

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Infants and small children can acquire English or any other foreign or second language, ok. In the case of adults: Can they acquire a language, or they can only ‘learn’ the language, which sounds like not so thorough as ‘acquiring’ a language? Stevick (1989:4) puts it:

Until a few years ago, people assumed that this natural ability to ‘acquire’ a language died out about the age of puberty. After that, it was thought, people could gain control of new languages only by ‘learning’ them. In this special technical sense, ‘learning’ is what we do in classrooms, with a textbook, focusing on one thing at a time under the guidance of a teacher. More recently, we have begun to change that view. It is still true that small chidren cannot learn from textbooks, of course. But we are discovering that, to a greater or smaller extent, every adult can not only ‘learn’, but also ‘acquire’ language.

In this sense, ‘acquiring’ a language means taking in sounds and experiences, and then organizing them un…

814. More about colleagues' working in the same direction

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I recently received three comments. Their contents are below. As well those comments are attached to the posts they refer to. Thank you, german english translator and asnhuman, and Private Schools Victoria. I copied and pasted the comments because the tag for comments beneath my posts is rather small-sized, so this way you can read them right below more easily; anyway, like I said you can also see them by clicking on Comments – for those specific posts: # 811, 792, 804. / Photo from: allatsea net. South Grenada Regatta 2011




Various learning methodology applied for grasping pronunciation at a particular age. german english translator
By anshuman on 811. Adult learners' pronunciation of English on 3/21/12

Really you given some solid advice here.This is very nice one and gives indepth information
By Private Schools Victoria on 792. English as a bridge of communication on 3/21/12

Thank you for this very useful information. I find it very interesting post...
By Private Schools Victoria on

813. Working in group adds people's strong points

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One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Tell you something about the relationships among you, the teachers of the same department, you ask me? I’m telling you about one point: learning to listen to your colleagues. Look, this is my and others’ experience.

You yourself have your own points of view about facing this or that thing that could improve the efficiency of the classes and activities of English, ok, great, must be so. I know you enough, guy. So stop, stop, relax, and beside you bring up your view of the matter you’re discussing at the meeting, as well listen, listen to your partners. Learn how to listen, and even try learn from them.

The situation usually is more complex than this, but firstly your mood should be of listening to them. Don’t get me wrong. By no means do I mean you shouldn’t say your point of view, for example, to better there be authentic communication in English inside the classroom.
Working in group boosts the efficiency of teaching and lea…

812. Each kind of discipline for the kind of work

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One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Many of us teachers get worried and anxious because our students behave bad and don’t want to learn.

Nevertheless, from what you’ve told me sometimes we teachers can face this trouble in a different way, by changing it into a great challenge. You’ve told me not to worry too much: things will change little by little, if they see my commitment and my interest in each and every one of them. I hope so.

Coming to the head, they’re free... but alike responsible of their own actions. One point, for example, about discipline and education: avoiding disturbing and teasing one another is not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal, in this example, should be respecting others, helping, assisting, offering friendship and solidarity. All this should imply I respect their personal freedom, and also this is perfectly compatible with a minimum of rules, the schedule, small jobs in the classroom, respecting others’ dignity, setting an example b…

811. Adult learners' pronunciation of English

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Three days ago I received a comment from German English translator,
which is the following text. The comment was about post # 778. Learning a language and having fun

“This suggests that the likelihood that we will achieve close to native-like pronunciation if we take up a language after childhood, varies from person to person, no matter how hard we try.”
Let me think. I would tell you, inasmuch as I know, that after childhood someone can learn or acquire a close-to a native pronunciation actually depending on that person, yet he or she has to invest a big (and nice) effort to pronounce as a native speaker. Something of this acquired pronunciation is gotten from massive exposure to listening to English – like something you’re not aware. H. D. Brown, moreover, wrote that you can imitate a native speaker, and as with the time passing you can reach far in the pronunciation of a language.
Some people have more aptitude to grab pronunciation and express it than other people, but anyway any pe…

810. Communication as indispensable for everyday relationships

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One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Like you know, communication among people is the goal of the school subject of English.

You teacher, in class, I’d advise you, try to speak in English all time.

Now I wanted to tell you some activities to foster, boost and make communication easier in English. If one student says something in his native language, have him say the same in English, as much as he or she can, with his/her own words, with a few words at least, so as to give you some information which you can ‘understand’ him/her with - you all are not English native speakers. You’ll find positive surprises from the students.

Let that student over there go on talking in the target language – don’t interrupt her; even you can ‘tease’ her so that she would go on explaining further about the thing she was talking about. If one student, on the contrary, doesn’t understand you much, have another student say what you said.

Don’t shift into L1: explain the same thing with…

809. Everybody's daily work can push society upward

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One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “I’m telling you an interesting story that can help us, you and me, to consider the big labor we’ve got at school plus our students’ power. I hope it be any useful. One kid of 16 thought this way, more or less. With his tutor’s help.

I have a compromise – that’s the word! - in connection with my studies. I have to study in an effective way. I cannot lose my time. I can actually help out to improve society, my country, Europe, the western world, all the world, south-eastern Asia – which is a place where a big number of people live... So I must fulfill my duty as a student. If I study, most likely will get good grades and learn useful things for me and for others. Solving many problems of today western society just depends on me; plus on this other person, that other one, those people over there: if each person fulfills their duties, by carrying out their work well, as a result we’ll have a better society. Quite a big deal depen…

808. Adults enjoying life / Adults' learning a language

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Many people think that for adults it is much more difficult to learn a foreign language – English in our case – than infants. Even they think that adults would never learn a language really, actually, practically, naturalistically. The next text can help you and me to gain some fresh view about this point.

Should you, like a kid, try to pick up language subconsciously? The answer is a qualified yes. As an adult now, you most likely analyze yourself too much. Your tendency is to memorize, focus on grammar rules, translate from one language to the other, and do just about everthing except subconsciously acquire it. You’re probably learning facts about the language at the expense of learning to use it. And one sure way to fail at learning a foreign language is not to use it for genuine communication. (p.21)

The text above is taken from H. D. BROWN (1989) A Practical Guide to Language Learning. A Fifteen-Week Program of Strategies for Success. New York: McGraw-Hill. I wrote a paper about …

807. My kids, reading? Love it!

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One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “An activity you can implement in your classes of English is related to reading; shortly speaking, look. Can be great.


If you’ve got, say, five days of classes of English per week (would be ideal!), you could dedicate one class entirely to reading, either an abridged simplified reader or an original-version novel. Each student brings to class their copy that reading day. All of you read for some minutes, aloud. You teacher assign who has got to continue, randomly, and you yourself read too.


At the end of the class - or as homework for the next week - a few students give a summary of the text read that day. Like you can see, this activity includes speaking - it’s an intermediate or advanced-level activity. Otherwise, as homework, the next day devoted to reading, a few students will briefly say a summary, by speaking, about the part of the book covered the previous reading day, with the aid of some brief notes scribbled, or neat…

806. Importance of arriving at the right time

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One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Arriving at school on time is something I’ve always had to face. I’m referring to my students. And it’s an interesting point for inciding and educating kids. If you struggle in this point, you’re also educating in other values, like hardworking, work planning, respecting others...

Last year I took a student right after the class to talk to - he used to arrive late. I thought I had for too long told him he was tardy. Things shouldn’t go the same for any longer, definitely.

We started to talk about what was going on with him to arrive late - in a calm and helping tone, but bringing out his responsibility. The problem was similar to what I had suspected: some laziness, not using his wristwatch, not leaving home at the right time.

I noticed that if you make a student think of the reasons to do things right, you can educate him or her for a deeper and more responsible conducting. Adolescents often expect some reason why to do thin…

805. Can you hear and listen?

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One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “A class of students isn’t a mass, but roughly speaking I might say there is a majority of average students – each student is unique however – then a few that have serious cognitive problems, poor communicative strategies, metacognitive and work planning problems... Ok, this is the way they are. And as well we have the high-achievers, well.

I like teaching. And in the class I try (and should try) to do my best, as many of you busy teachers. It’s not simple to combine those ‘three’ general circumstances. I love teaching and this is something that counts much in favor. The students respond to this affection and interest, within a short period - this is my experience. For example, imagine I've been molding an exercise in the textbook to a boy that doesn’t know what to do – consequently he responds much better and more efficiently than if I treat him hard; being tactful is complementary with firmness. I learned this specific w…

804. I wish to learn if my working is going ok

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One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “I’ve been lately thinking of the importance of getting feedback by me, the teacher, about the way and things I do in my English classes. The feedback could help me make out if my students are actually understanding and, ultimately, if they’re actually learning and acquiring the competence of using English for communication, etc.

One way – together with personal questions to each one about the classes and their process of learning: two weeks ago an adult student of mine suggested if it’d possible for her to record me reading worksheets and speaking, in an MP3. Sure! I told her.

Next day in the class with these so motivated students I’m going to ask her if she could, please, play the device aloud, also for me to listen to me myself. I’ll learn, hopefully, the way I pronounce English and if the way I explain things are within a clear speech for them, or maybe I should change something.” / Photo from: Capture15. robinson-solution…

803. My students love Pixar animation movies

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Today I wanted to write something about the animation movies of Pixar. I love most of them, like my younger students too. It’s awesome how these guys give life to a lamp, to the characters of the sequels of Toy Story, better and better. Those characters do have sentiments, human body movements, ways to react, love. You may know that the leaping lamp that appears at the beginning of the presentation of the films is a ‘descendant’ character from a fomer movie. I quoted some words about this latter one, from http://www.the-leaping-lamp.com/pixar-shorts-luxo-jr.html . The photo is also from that site.

Luxo Jr. is the first of the Pixar shorts as Pixar Animation Studios. John Lasseter was sitting at his desk when he got the idea of animating a non-living object, bringing it to life, expressing human emotions and giving it character. A Luxo lamp became the model for Lasseter's experiments, along with the fascination of the proportions of a baby's body. He wondered how a baby Luxo lam…

802. Communication with parents at the school

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One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “You have the first tutorial with those parents today? So, I guess they two don’t know you and you don’t know them. All right.


I’d tell you the main thing for today’s tutorial should be they would feel nice with you, and you with them. Smile. You told me you teach the son of theirs that shows serious problems at studying and learning in the class. You know, try to enjoy the tutorial. Break the ice. Be honest, sincere, direct with them though in a polite and delicate way. Be yourself, in any case.


Don’t attend the meeting though you feel scared and anxious. All in all don’t worry if you actually are so at that moment – so what? A moment will arrive during the conversation when you will connect with each other. Talk with true affection about the kid despite you’ve got to say negative things. Be positive. Suggest positive things for the kid to improve.


Oh, and listen, listen to them. Parents wish the teacher should listen, with t…