Thursday, August 30, 2012

897. Aural practicing in class

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “You know what? I’m eager to start the academic year. I’ve got some experience from last year and am pretty eager to begin.

This evening I’m trying to get some time to sit in front of the screen of the computer and just think of the things I can do this year; also the necessities and expectations of my students, and also some ideas I can use to foster speaking in English, like discussions. What about? For example, something really interesting about yesterday, late world and home news, their concerns and interests, their opinions about the topics the coursebook brings about at the opening... whatever things to try and open up their minds.

Some students will say a lot and with others I’ll try to get something said, dunno, things that have to do with the topics: from colors, yes/no questions, dates and times – gently praising their achievements... I’ll let you know about all this when we begin within a few days.” / Photo from: blogs sfu com. classes of French language

Monday, August 27, 2012

896. The more words the better

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “ ‘Ruthless’. It’s curious: I’ve just finished to read a part of an English text I try to read every single day, and when I was putting back the novel and the dictionary in my bookcase, suddenly a word popped up in my mind, ‘ruthless’.

At that moment I thought that word could really exist, so I wanted to check and look up that word in the dictionary: it does exist. Was that word stuck somewhere in my memory or something like that?

Sometimes when I’m writing in English suddenly comes to my mind an expression or word that suits in the text I’m composing. Because of all this I think that in some way I keep learning and polishing my English, and I’m making a tank of vocab and idioms or ways of saying things in English that are useful for the moment when for communication I need words and expressions.

When I say 'communication' I’m referring to both written and oral communication.” / Photo from: langwitches org. interactive smartboard    

Saturday, August 25, 2012

895. My students love stories too

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “We must foster our students should read. There’re several different ways of reading, each one capable of enriching us in different ways. Actually I’m referring to genres. And within each genre we have to be careful to assign enriching readings to our students: they are in the process of making their minds, and we can help enrich them or draw them to misery.

Each genre demands different attitudes: think of thrillers, classic simplified readers for kids that don’t master the language yet, novels, books that help contemplate the world, books that make you stop to contemplate truth or an imaginary landscape, history books that let us know our past and who we are, drama with diverse characters and ways of thinking, science books, romance.

All of them are necessary. Nevertheless we have to perhaps select one, or two, or three for each academic year. I’ve often said in this blog that youngsters love stories a lot. Oh, set some free writing after reading.” / Photo from: guardian co uk. woman placing saucepan         

Friday, August 24, 2012

894. Experience from any regular day

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “I totally agree: our students must develop critical sense, a critical eye, when facing up with written texts in any coursebook.

I reckon it’s clearer when you think of ads and tv spots: I cannot admit to compulsively shop all what they’re saying is good for me, a young man, or a young woman.

As well, I would insist on developing, whilst the years are passing, that the student should have critical sense when reading history texts, the papers, political speeches and slogans...

A colleague of ours last day told me she tried her students gain all this through commentaries on texts, like novels, papers, emotional magazines, and other things. Basically she just helped her teens think – that’s it: think!

Think on the basis of experience, one’s biography, discourse thinking, contrasting, previous knowledge, knowledge of life, processing of thought, other students’ opinions.

In few words: the point is we educators (their families first; ours is a subsidiary labor) at school one of the most fundamental things we’ve got to do is making our kids think: that’ll have been a nice labor for the years they have spent in our schools.” / Photo from: grace edu

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

893. Like part of a natural plan to grow

H. D. Brown, as I’ve written on previous posts, states that learning and acquiring a language mainly depends on oneself. And that’s it. The more effort you invest in learning the language the better. The keys for success so would be “developing your own inner states of motivation and self-confidence, lowering anxieties, and becoming more of a risk taker are part of the plan.” (Page 71 from his already quoted book in this blog). I can assure you that you can rely on him. / Photo from: casd.blinghamton edu. child watering flowers

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

892. A good performance? Because of a good professional

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “The teacher has his duties, which ones he must fulfill. There is a value, and a virtue, of justice for the teacher.

First he has to attend his daily work and does his best at school. Quite often these primeval values have as a result a good teaching, and correspondingly a good learning by his students. He must fulfill a schedule.

The students he has as tutees have the right to be listened to, assisted, educated, his parents assisted in that role of educating.

He must work with rigor and competence. Must improve as a professional. Moreover in private schools parents or families pay for the schooling, and the teacher must make a good use of this investment. Other times it’s the nation that pays for the schooling; anyway, the teacher also here has to make good use of the schooling. Coming to the head, it’s taxpayers who pay for the schooling.

Even he must fulfill his work with some mastery – at least he must try. His duty is working hard, making his students learn English (in our case); and tentatively: students have the obligation of using their talents too.

Last thing: if most of his students failed an exam..., hmmm, well, think of it, man, try and discern what side the ball was: his students were lazy this time?; he didn’t work thoroughly?; maybe both? Anyway, stop to think of it with serenity and draw your honest conclusions.” / Photo from: mexico cnn com. Alondra de la Parra. Directora de orquesta mejicana   

Monday, August 20, 2012

891. Effort when at school

Sandie Weems, thank you for your comment. A nice one.

This is a BEAUTIFUL picture! I have been there several times as my family is from No. Ireland and this is one of my favorite places. I have pictures but I have to admit yours caught it all!!!! Hopefully am going back next year and will have pictures of my own to post. :)   On 432. Beautiful, but real?

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “I’ve seen you sometimes write brief notes on your students’ paper tests when correcting and grading them. You say you write those things in red as encouragement or more often, as gently praising their effort to improve and gain communicative competences or whatever.

And once you told me that not only good grades should be praised but also effort, effort to improve and do things better. I totally agree with you: one student may have not gotten a good grade now but lately he or she is striving to write better sentences for example, and that effort should be awarded.

On the other side good grades are a result of effort.” / Photo from: youthkiawaaz com. education in India

Saturday, August 18, 2012

890. Opening up new panoramas

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “A couple days ago we saw high-achievers’ case. What about students that have problems at learning and studying? I’m trying and say just something here.

These latter students may be suffering, because they see something is expected from them, and they don’t or can’t do it. They may feel bad, unsatisfied. Everyone expects more from him. He feels awful with himself perhaps.

His tutor must listen to him – and the student can give vents to his misery. The kid lets himself be listened by and educated by who he knows loves him – this is love of benevolence; all love is of bene-volence.

Some phenomenon related to this is that in the classroom this student may show off and behave bad and conduct in an arrogant way. You know, quite often this manifestation is a sign of the insecurity he feels, very typical in adolescents.

Education is something personalized: his tutor can put the boy an easy and challenging goal for the next week. As I’ve always said, male tutors for male students and female teachers for girls.” / Photo from: lizasreef com. peacock in a tropical rainforest

Thursday, August 16, 2012

889. A high-achiever guitar player

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Some day I’ll tell you how to help students with problems at learning and at behaving in classes. Today I wanted to tell you just something about high-achiever learners.

These students may get bored in your classes, and also they may think the coursebook is too simple and childish. Why not making them dream high?

Once I gave a student a sheet with sentences that he had to turn into the passive voice. But this is not exactly naturalistic communication.

One of the school principal's assistants once suggested to me that I could hand out more naturalistc sheets of activities taken from samples of the Cambridge examinations of English: readings with interesting topics like mystery, sheets with usage-of-English exercises that were all of a challenge, blank filling-outs where you’ve got to choose one out of four possible answers. Well, you can think of your students’ particular cases and decide what to do.” / Photo from: ibiblio org. guitar player girl     

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

888. I think teachers are great

I was thinking of you, teachers, whose posts and comments appear in such web sites as British Council – BBC or TeacherLingo.

Often I read your posts, or part of them. I big thank you. You may have not realized of it but you help me in my daily work with your work and enthusiasm. A teacher that makes posts and comments has to be somebody enthused, isn’t he? Well, it might happen (likely) some of you’re burned out, but there you are, keeping on publishing posts, commenting on others’ posts, asking questions, giving your opinions.

Also I’m so grateful to the two web sites themselves, British Council – BBC and TeacherLingo. I name those two because they’re the ones I contribute to; evidently there’re many other sites.

Thank you, teachers, again, for sharing material for classes and your valuable experiences. Alike there’re plenty of teachers that don’t publish in any web sites, yet there you are, in your classrooms day after day: I would like your work should be reckoned here as well. / Photo from: guardian co uk. students listening to teacher    

Sunday, August 12, 2012

887. Still on vacations

Hi everybody, one of you sent me a comment on post # 886. I didn’t publish it just because I don’t understand it. Could you please be more explicit? I would appreciate it.

Something different: I have a tank of possible posts: I will be publishing some of them, thinking of you readers. The thing is that I regularly revise one previous post, every day, one post already published much before, in order to refresh knowledge and practice for my classes. Should I publish the best of them again? I don’t think so.

There you are; you have the labels and the titles of the posts on the right columns on this blog. At your disposal, anyway, of course, in case you have a question or whatever.

Oh, something else; it’s a bit curious and interesting: I see you in the US (and in many other countries) are starting the academic year! This is something not to be thought here in Spain. The final exams in our schools were on the very last days of June. Thus we teachers started our vacations in July. And we will start the new academic year at the beginnings of September; and the classes in the second or third week of September. Each teacher can work on his own at home either in July or August.

Why the beginnings of the year that late? Well, you may think, for example, that right these days we have temperatures of much higher than 40º Centigrade – I calculate about 110º or even 120º Farenheit. Temperatures here lately can be some 40º, 45º, 49º Centigrade. Old people are advised not to go out during the hottest times in the day. We keep in touch! / Photo from: ehow com. article new ehow images a06 bc mb family – bbq – game – ideas. mom and child playing       

Saturday, August 11, 2012

886. Fortunately English is spoken world-wide

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Man and woman are born in a country, with her traditions, culture, history. I think it’s important to go to school taking into account and within the context of those traditions, culture and history.

In our case, teachers of English as a foreign language, I also think that at least partially our students should learn and acquire English in the context of traditions, culture and history of the men and women that were the predecessors of today’s people.

The point is that fortunately there’re many countries where English is spoken as the first language or as a co-official language. Also fortunately some coursebooks of the English language include key facts of those traditions, culture and history.

The case I remember is a British context. I guess, which isn’t simple perhaps, coursebooks of English should include a few facts of those countries where English is spoken every day.

So sorry if I forget some countries where English is the first language (or it's a second tongue). Think of UK, USA, Ireland, Australia, India, New Zealand, Canada, Kenya, Nigeria, Malta, Israel, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, South Africa, Togo, Sri Lanka, Trinidad-Tobago...

Summing up: textbooks or coursebooks of English could perhaps bring up some amusing or interesting pieces of history or anecdotes of those countries: we cannot get rid of traditions, culture and history of those beloved countries.” / Photo from: vbk- children reading Tintin. picture by S R Raghunathan

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

885. Mom, I've got to walk the dog

It’s known by anyone that kids (in general) dedicate a lot of time to playing videogames.

A teacher and friend of mine told me once that instead of insisting kids and parents not to devote so much time to videogames, it is better we teachers should insist on studying, on sitting in front of books and studying: textbooks and course books include so interesting information and formation: math, history, literature, languages, spelling, chemistry, science, fine arts, music...

It seems sensible to relax between school and homework, but we should help students not to get too much distracted from the school subject matters. I would advise the recess between school and homework should take between twenty and thirty minutes.

I think watching television may get them too much distracted.

One more thing: if possible, students should dedicate some time to sport in the evening, or in the afternoon. / Photo from: gsd1. german shepherds are also prominent in the world of service dogs

Sunday, August 5, 2012

884. Another new beautiful vista

Some of my adult students tend to say that they know little of English, whereas the truth is that some of them have an upper-intermediate level of language, I’d say. I teach a group of those people.

They tell me they’re too old to learn – they’re recently retired workers. How much can they really learn and acquire, concerning some competence at communicating in English? I believe – some of them are rather oldish – I should help them become more capable of learning and acquiring English. How shall I do this, how shall I prepare them to become more skillful to learn and acquire English?

Scholar and expert H. D. Brown wrote, referring to learners: ‘Don’t sell yourself short! You can no doubt take in a lot more information if you just make up your mind that you can do it and then exert some effort!’ (Page 50 from already mentioned A Practical Guide to Language Learning...).

Summing up: right now I make the resolution of trying to help those people become more skillful to reach as much as possible: I wish they tentatively take enough competence to be able to hold conversations in English and speak in that language when they travel abroad, for example for managing in a restaurant, for asking for help to arrive at certain place, etc. I ask God for help to reach this: the more the better. / Photo from: lizasreef com. tropical rainforest      

Friday, August 3, 2012

883. Communication in classes

One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Usually in the short courses of English I teach my students respond to my questions and queries with only single words. I’ve got to make them say full sentences.

They know enough grammar to say full sentences. One thing I’m going to do is to elicit full sentences from my students, randomly. As I said, they’ve learned enough grammar of English in their schools.

Also something I wish to do is to ask them questions to make them listen to questions in English. It’s necessary they would learn to make questions. And the first step could be they would listen to me saying questions, listen to me asking them questions. ‘How do you come to this center in the morning? By car? Walking? What do you do on a regular day? How long, how much time do you play video-games every day? Do you help your family at home?’, etc.

Sometimes I just try and communicate with them however possible, with single words, but I must teach them to say full sentences, meaningful full sentences.” / Photo from: globalgiving org. student raising hand   

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

882. Your struggle now

One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “The students of the summer course you’re going to teach must respect you.

You told me they’re about 9 to 11 years. Ok, this is a summer vacation course and they just are on their vacations, and the mode of the classes will be different from their regular winter classes in their schools. However, you could make them become aware that they must respect you and what you say to them, like for example instructions regarding behavior.

The students may be frisky, playful and jumpy, and you can try to make them feel calmer, but, as I said, respecting the teacher is a must-fulfilling from the kids.

What you teacher must not jump over is exacting and demanding and teaching good manners: while you're staying in class you have the responsibility of the management of the class, and they must respect you, and one another; they, later, in other activities of the course, apart from English, can play however they want or however the monitors think it’s ok, but now in the classes of English they have to stay rather calm and keep good manners.

Discipline here consists of good manners, more than trying madly to have them all sitting nice and being quiet all the time; I guess this latter thing is not possible. Also you can try all their energies should focus on carrying out the activities of the English classes.” / Photo from: saxonfencing co uk. fencers. fencing