Monday, April 30, 2012

833. Another view from his angle

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “At tutorials, or in general, if you treat a student better than he is or seems to be, that student surely will better and improve as a person. Don’t attend the tutorial by being too distrustful and too ‘cautious’.

Treat your students like they were adults. Better said, treat them and listen to them as persons that really think and have their own vision of things, even now when they’re adolescents. Talk to them in a serious way, as people that really think, although you may think what they say is childish. For them those things are little but important and essential.

You might catch yourself doing a lot of good to those students of yours. Not being too distrustful doesn’t mean you have to be naive. Your affection plus experience will teach you how to focus the points they say at the tutorial, and what you observe at other contexts. It’s like if be better to sit and relax when listening to him.” / Photo from: foros monografias com. salto de esquí

Friday, April 27, 2012

832. I've got to refresh my teaching English!

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “I’ve decided to speak English clearly in my classes with adult learners. A few of them say they can’t follow me sometimes. I tend to speak rather fast: my high-achieving students follow me easily but others are left behind. I have to speak like in some on-line courses of English or like some news speakers: on those pages for learning English they speak rather slow, because the key point is for the learners to understand, evidently: if the learner gets lost more likely he or she will feel disappointed.

I’ll try to improve this thing next class, and the next classes, over and over again.

Another point regarding the classes with adults is that some of the high-achievers capture most of the time and most of my attention, although I try to dedicate time to low-achievers or false beginners too. The formers speak longer. Some months ago, out of the classroom one lady told me about this problem of understanding and made me realize of it.

Oh, one thing I’m going to do is that I will have one high-leveled learner explain something in English to that lady, with his own words – she might understand him more clearly than me. As well I’ll try to combine simple with higher-level activities or pieces of conversations. As you can see, feedback from the students is a grand aid for the teacher of languages. For a teacher it’s important to refresh his ways of teaching: each failure can mean one step forward.” / Photo from: gizmowatch com. crosley attic radio speaker  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

831. She does great with her role

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “I’ve seen in my classrooms that when you offer trust and confidence to a student, this person usually experiences a quick but also continuous sense of responsibility and gratitude, ‘I’m in charge of providing chalk [or a marker or...] for the teacher, for the classroom; I’m important or I have something important that depends on me; I have something important to do’.

You can explain to him that as well in that way he’s helping his classmates. He experiences an inner growth too. All this is a nice experience, alike for the teacher. Often the kid fulfills that small job with satisfaction and zeal. He also betters and improves and grows as a person. He feels he has something in his hands. He’s been entrusted a key point in the ‘class gear’.” / Photo from: binarymoon co uk. Toy Story 3. She’s Jessie: Woody’s and Buzz Lightyear’s friend. By Pixar. Kids love the movie.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

830. Intuition


One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “I'm happy when I see this: a student of mine speaking in English as naturally as if speaking in his own native language up to some extent.

Look. Last year, in Easter, I started to teach private classes to a kid of 9. The second day of classes we used the textbook (coursebook) of English he was learning English with at his school. We had some conversation about the new words he was learning. He did understand my questions in English and he answered in English too, as another way of speaking beside Spanish!

Obviously he knew vastly much in Spanish, but the point here is that he was speaking and, so, thinking in English, not like my dear adult learners who used to translate, at least some times, from Spanish to English. It was not a problem, I think, that we shifted the two languages from time to time.

For the kid there were two ways of saying ‘feet’: in English and in Spanish, ‘pies’. I enjoyed all this very much. I also want to say that he was very smart and used intuition when I told him something in English, something he might have not studied but it was something that had to do with the topic, like for example, parts of the body. I also used gestures as an aid.”

/ Photo from: es 123rf com 3194105. mujer esperando el tren en la estación de ferrocarril. A woman is waiting for the train at the train station. Intuition: What’s she feeling? Maybe she’s a bit anxious for expecting the train, she may be tired, she’s just there, she may be thinking, she's happy though... You may try some intuition about her, because she’s naturally expressing something; here the intuition begins. When you see this picture you at once think of something about her and her attitude. Don’t you?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

829. An in-depth view of things

Here you have a text from a blog about educating. I think the text is sound and might help you in your daily teaching.

I translated the text into English. The original version is in Spanish. The author, José Luis Font Nogués, gave me permission to utilize some of his material. He was a teacher, and an educator in the most profound sense. He has made many tutorials with the boys he taught and with their parents and families.

The blog is  I tried to make the translation as good as possible; and I changed minor unimportant things. Hope it might help you: it’s a good insight and in-depth view of persons, in my opinion. / Photo from: teach-english-mexico com. map of Mexico

Deep understanding other people begins with a view full of love from me toward the other person I have in front of me [think of your students and their families, your girlfriend, your spouse, a friend of yours, anyone else...]. This is love of benevolence, of wishing goodness for that person. That view can reach the innerhood of the other person. In that innerhood you can find the goodness – maybe hidden – of absolutely any person.

Loving each and everyone plus the sere respect to his dignity leads to offer forgiveness, to excuse, and as well to demand good goals from the other person.

In that way you can combine reckoning the positive good things of the other person and understanding and comprehending his weak points, his flaws, plus at the same time helping him with a kind demanding – or suggesting - goals.

From understanding each other you two obtain a deep communication at the same level, or a kind of leveling of that communication and that community of sentiments; and you yourself also discover the other person’s defects, yet not to criticize them but to help struggle for a sane amending. It is a good costume to purify our view of other people in order to wisely read their hearts.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

828. Learning a language? At any age I think

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “A few years ago I taught English to recently retired people, most of which had earned a university degree and worked as such professions as they had studied. Nice people, very nice. And we had fun.

We had two classes per week. They had enrolled the course to improve their English, to have their time engaged with something useful, and some of them had sons or daughters in an English-speaking country.

I was mainly concerned with having them speak and practice English. Adults can learn, even acquire a language, as H. D. Brown and Stevick put it (you can read posts #815 and 824).

Nevertheless, can oldies learn and acquire a language? I’m after this finding. I would say yes, but I cannot give you a qualified yes, or at least they can, but up to what extent? My old students did learn anc acquire English but the course was short. We tried hard to have all the class in English. If a student explained something in Spanish to someone else, I said to the former student to please explain that same thing in English.

Almost at the beginning of the course I specified some goals and points to take into account.. The goals and points were as follows, more or less:

1.     Make up realistic and naturalistic circumstances within the class, like An the airport. Create, make up the necessity to speak in English.
2.     Hand out worksheets with useful expressions and work on them.
3.     Have them speak however they can.
4.     Have them participate, also by turns, because a few hardly ever participate.
5.     Describe pictures from an illustrated magazine. Both I and they describe colorful two-page pictures, by turns.
6.     Exploit grammar, topics and vocabulary they’ve already learned for years. Some of them have a somewhat advanced level.
7.     At the end of the course they should think they’ve done something worth to do; they should have learned effectively.
8.     Hand out some worksheets with stories invented by me. They like stories.
9.     Take into account this ‘process’ of learning (and acquiring!) English: first they say or respond with words, later on sentences, and later on conversations.”

/ Photo from: nightingalehealthservices com. happy old marriage. The couple on the picture were not students of mine.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

827. Good manners

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “I’ve been thinking you’re right. I like what you told me last Wednesday: at the beginning of this academic year you addressed your new students and set some rules for a nice conducting in the classroom: anyone should raise his right hand if he wished to say something, they all should stand up when you entered the classroom, you on the other hand should listen and assist any of them... They seemed to agree. They thought those rules were ok for a serene atmosphere of work and study.

Now you try to be coherent with those behavior and politeness rules, first from your own, and also from the students, alright. So you demand respect to one another in the classroom, cooperation with a classmate in need of some help, basic good manners.

However, and I believe you were so right last Wednesday, you said it’s okay to live with some rules or some acquired good customs, but first you should be nice and polite at home, with your wife and kids. So you cannot be an ogre at home whilst at school you’re so nice and peaceful. I like what you told me.

We’ve got to continue talking about this thing, because I’d like to do the same with my students and firstly with my family. I wish to be so nice and attentive with my wife and kids. Both my family and the people I work with at school deserve this kind of treatment.

It’s more probable I can do good things for the people around me at school if at the same time I put in affection and attention at home. For example, if at home today it’s my turn for mowing the lawn I ought not to dogde that housework.” / Photo from: virginmedia com. pixar animation movies. Wall-e and Eve.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

826. Winning? Only after sere training

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “You feel bad, done, distressed, because of that big failure in your work as a teacher. You tell me the thing is that most of your students have failed their last exam of English, and their families are mad [very angry], right? You say the school principal may fire you, moreover. And you think you’re still rookie.

So what? I would tell you to carry on trying to do your best at teaching English, at your job, at treating both students and families, to think of a remedial training and a new test. Well, I really see this is what you are after: improve your work as a teacher and educator, learn new methods and techniques, plan your classes, think of every student’s needs and expectations, ask your veteran colleagues for advice, study about your profession...

Go on that way, and your striving to do things good will pull you out of the hole. Don’t look at me by making that face: all your trouble can still be mended. Think of this trouble tomorrow, in a more serene mood. You can think, then, of the targets you hit and the ‘mischievous’ – like you say – deeds.

Think of your students more, of their good, of their advance as learners of English. One more thing, if it helps you: I usually turn to God, also when I feel all the world falls upon me. As well listen and talk with their parents, little by little, do meet them at the school!” / Photo from: paris tour de france. paris champs élysées

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

825. Learning to communicate afresh

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “If your students have the words, they can have the communication they want to hold. No words and no grammar: no communication.
Something you can do is providing your students with the words and grammar they need to give a message, like ‘It’s everyone’s duty to preserve our world’. For example one student has to explain this sentence, this idea to her classmates, in the front of the classroom. Beforehand, also in the class, and shortly, you and she can work together on useful words and expressions. You yourself can provide a few of your own.
Next, her classmates have got to understand her message. They don’t know the sentence itself. So as to explain it, for instance she can use concepts, like: nature, wild life, atmosphere, smog, forests, water, litter, solidarity among peoples; she also can explain healthy and environment-friendly customs; she can use the verb ‘can’ and ‘can’t’; also talk about our descendants, etc. The students will be understanding because of the vocabulary they know, also maybe because of similar words in Spanish (cognates), grammar patterns they already know... And these kids will approximate the meaning of the message, maybe by saying aloud just single words, sentences yet in broken English, longer contributions.
Thus: What are they all having in that class? Not less than communication, and in English, which is your ultimate goal of your school subject. Besides they’re thinking in English.” / Photo from: eastpuertoricodiving com. scuba diving lessons 

Monday, April 9, 2012

824. Learning? It's fun often

One brilliant expert in learning English or any other language is H. D. Brown. Reading him has been a grand help to me, teacher of English, concerning my students’ learning to learn that language. It’s a relief for teachers of languages to read the next text. It’s rather focused on adult learners, but I could say it’s also useful for learners from 16 or 15 approximately in the case of boys, and 15 or 14 in the case of girls. The text has been taken from a paper quotation - a paper I wrote for a university journal on Arts, History, Philology, Literature... Here you are.

It’s not ridiculous to conclude, is it, that adults are potentially superior to children in foreign language learning? Research on successful language learners shows that a significant portion of adult success is attributable to optimal conscious learning. You need not be overly worried about all of its details. But at the right moment, you need to be able to monitor yourself or your language with zoom lens, then take corrective action.

In short, try not to think too much about your language learning process, but allow yourself optimal occasions to zoom in and figure out what’s going on. If you can balance the two principles of focusing closely and of getting the larger picture, you will be well on your way to succes. (Brown 1989:229. The reference to this book is easily gotten by typing his name in the Search box). / Photo from: nashvilleviolins com

Saturday, April 7, 2012

823. Observing things from another angle

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Often, I believe, the best manual and handbook for me, teacher, to continue learning my dearest job is my students themselves.

Imagine now a teacher that is at hand of his students’ all the time, that he’s attentive to the way they’re carrying out a project work or an exercise in the class, by small groups, for instance: he is continuously learning about the way his students think, their strong points, their weak ones, the way the students face up with problems, who the leader is. In this way the teacher is recycling his way of teaching, and alike viewing the topics also from their students’ points of view.

I can assure you that a big part of what I know as a teacher has come from my students, not only from books and the Web - which are indispensable though.” / Photo from: brisbanecbdhotels blogspot com. Brisbane shines even in the wet. Brisbane, Queensland, Australia     

Friday, April 6, 2012

822. Testing new ways of doing things

Today I’m just testing the new dashboard of Blogger and other apps. Basically I’m testing the types of characters, size, font, format, tags..., and familiarizing with the new look of the dashboard. Today I’m telling nothing new to you about teaching and learning English. Do give, or just think yourself of some tip or experience you’ve had. Most likely it’ll be interesting. / Photo from: neuhaus co at. snowboarding

Thursday, April 5, 2012

821. Once again, communication is just necessary

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “A few days ago I wished to talk with one of my students’ parents – about some trouble their son was doing lately, and about his poor progress lately; I was thinking then: What’s going on with this kid? So I decided to call his parents by phone, so as to arrange a tutorial with them.

However..., would it maybe be better to give a note to the student himself about the tutorial with them?

I would definitely trust the boy. It’d be better to trust the kid and have him cooperate with their parents and me in helping him in his studies and behavior. It’s good the student feels the teacher trusts him. This way had worked ok some other times. Otherwise, if I called his parents direct, in this case, instead of trusting in giving the note for the tutorial, like I always do with the other kids, might possibly hurt him some way and make him think he was not being trusted.

The parents came up the scheduled day and I think we arrive in time to help their son regarding those aspects. Like you say, all in the school must be educative. Oh, and all this doesn’t imply to be someone naive.” / Photo from: bbc world service Learning English. Asking for and giving directions 

Monday, April 2, 2012

820. I think it's an accurate view

Today I post a small text that in my opinion doesn’t have any spare word. I took it from the longer text of “Address of John Paul II to the Students, Teachers and Administrators of Rome’s Schools”, delivered February 13, 1999. / Photo from: theicebergfestival ca. iceberg

It 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.