Thursday, November 29, 2012

934. After much thinking and much teaching


 
 
One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Yesterday I had my class with the kids of 10 years. You know, all I said was in English, while their aural level is so low.
Well, they understood the games I implemented: with examples, gestures and body language, and you know what: they understood a nice percentage and even could follow the class.
An indispensable aid: the whiteboard. I guess they understand me more and more, despite they are jumpy and frisky, and it’s an extra school activity. I dare say they’re acquiring English, and not just learning. In my class in the morning, with my adult students, happened similar: all the class was in English, by me and by them – it’s true we had a visitor teacher and that makes you invest more effort.” / Photo from: tentonhammer com. man thinking

Sunday, November 25, 2012

933. Teaching to write



One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “About writing essays or stories, you can tell your students to write an outline or a summary. Or just start to write – with some idea in mind – and more ideas will come up whilst writing.

I see this in many students from one part or another: young people simply don’t know how to express their ideas. Because of that it’s a nice thing to make them practice writing, perhaps with some ouline in mind or a written one.

Before, when I said some – many – students don’t know how to utter their ideas, I was thinking in our L1, namely Spanish: so think of much more difficult in English can be.

Many coursebooks have a part at every unit where students have to write.

Just so as to finish, you can write an essay or a story yourself, and explain that it has an introduction, development, and a conclusion. Kids like stories: they can like writing stories; I’ve seen that.” / Photo from: newcreationchapel org. young girl thinking  

Monday, November 19, 2012

932. Discovering new things every day



One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “A definite yes. Many teachers are so committed and concerned about their students, and this attitude assists a lot in the kids’ education. I’ve recently found a text that could help you and shed some light. It’s taken from one of the two most important documents of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), which was a large council of the Roman Catholic Church. It says something of committing and dedicating oneself to other people in order to help them. Listen:

‘Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, "that all may be one. . . as we are one" (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God's sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.’

The title of the document is Gaudium et Spes, and the text is on # 24. The title means something like Joy and Hope, in Latin. Something else: we christians believe there are three Persons in God, but there is one God. The Persons are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” / Photo from: testeur-voyage com. le groenland la plus grande ile au monde

Saturday, November 17, 2012

931. Just my daily conducting



One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “The teacher must know his students, but also he must know himself: how am I doing? Are my students really learning? How am I working lately?

20th century philosopher and writer Jean Guitton (1901-1999), one of the best minds in that century, used to say that intellectual work, and teaching is, should begin by self-knowledge.

What are my strong points?, for example, can a teacher ask him or herself. What’s my style of teaching like? What can I learn from my colleagues of the faculty or department? How were today’s classes? Am I doing my best? Are my students actually learning and acquiring English? Is really there communication in English in my classes?

Draw your conclusions, be brave, and try to take a single resolution for next classes.” / Photo from: farmer driving tractor. library of congress

Thursday, November 15, 2012

930. He has practiced a lot to do this



The next day teacher B went on by telling teacher A what follows and which continues what they were talking about on post # 929.

“As I told you, some of the classes are private, individual, and I usually try to help each student with his school subject of English. Obviously it’s another teacher the one who teaches him English. So I’ve got to learn as much as possible concerning the subject of his school, because it’s of a paramount importance to get to know how he’s going in that subject.

Also the student is new for me. As the private classes are taking place I try to find out things like:
whether he has a test soon,
whether he has some homework,
how he feels in the classes,
I see and observe what his course books are like,
his grades so far,
whether he should study some point harder,
we revise the stuff he’s learning lately,
maybe he can do an exercise or drill his teacher has not set yet as something to do either in the class or as homework, what his handwriting is like,
his spelling,
the difficulties he may encounter,
how he behaves in the classes,
his positive qualities,
in which aspects he’s better at, etc.

If I wish to really help him I must learn all those former points, plus other ones that will come up with the time passing.” / Photo from: noticias es msn com. ski jump      

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

929. I've got to loop the loop



One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “A few days ago I was walking to the center where I teach classes: some of them are for practicing speaking in English, both they and me. And some other classes are private, individual: the student and I work on the course books and notebooks of their school. These latter classes are for reinforcing the school subject of English.

The boys are of 10 years of age. While I was walking to the center that evening I was thinking about all this stuff, and how I could achieve those goals: speaking in English and getting good grades in the subject of their schools.

With the classes as a group I try they listen and speak English as much as possible. This year I still haven’t gotten all the class as a group be all in English. I’ve had few classes with them yet, so I will keep on trying that all I say and all they say be in English.

I’ll let you know how classes turn out to be like. Their level of speaking in English is low. I’ve got to loop the loop.” / Photo from: argentinaindependent com. When-the-cars-or-bikes-werent-on-sight-the-plane-was-getting-all-the-attention-from-the-people. by-Irena-Baxi      

Sunday, November 11, 2012

928. This helps be more communicative



One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “I teach adult learners too, like you know. They’re retired people who have worked as many different jobs.

I try classes be communicative, as much as possible. So I try to plan activities that could foster communication in the classes.

For example, sometimes I address one student and tell him or her about a situation, a specific one, in Spanish, which is our mother language. And then I ask the student what he or she would say in English, so as to respond to that situation.

Before that we’ve worked on a list of useful expressions in the target language, by means of having passed on a worksheet with useful expressions for traveling, or when at a restaurant, etc.

The student then says a word, or a phrase, or a sentence to respond to what I had asked. Briefly I give you an example: I ask someone how he would ask for or demand the check (or bill) at a pub. And the student will say something concerning the check (or bill).

It’s so simple, we have fun, and in some way all that stuff is communication. I also implement other activities, trying to aim at communication in English – all in this latter language if possible.” / Photo from: nationaltransportmuseum org. guinness truck    

Friday, November 9, 2012

927. A delicate and tactful work by you at school



One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “Your treatment with your students should be one with elegance but firmness at the same time, all the time respecting your students. In this way, more likely they'll respect you too.

Consider that you're treating with people, who're young but not unaware of the way you treat them.

I’d tell you that you ought not to shout at them, at least usually. Shouting at a student is like a blow to him, one friend of mine used to say – he’s a teacher too. A very few times a shout can suit a situation, when you must use your fortitude, in order to stop something wrong and serious at once.

And, if possible, take the kid you shouted at, later or on another day, and be a bit specially kind and nice with him, just a few nice words or a greeting, so as to avoid that kid could get hurt by your correction.

Youngsters don’t like being shouted at – well, like anybody else, does he? Even sometimes they could feel serious fear because of your being rude and unpolite, if that was the case. So as to create a nice atmosphere of work, be polite and nice, but be firm and act with fortitude.” / Photo from: drylife com. man painting house exterior improvement    

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

926. The key thing is immersion



One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “I can see that if you teach classes to rather oldish people you have to turn to their mother tongue, for example for grammar explanations.

I’m trying, anyway, to find the way to speak all in English. H. D. Brown used to say that even adults can acquire and not merely learn a modern language.

With my young students – 10 years – I will keep on talking all in English albeit they won’t understand everything. Remember I kinda try to pretend I do not speak Spanish in class – their and my mother language. If possible, immersion is preferable, but each case must be considered and then something specific will be looked to.” / Photo from: pguims-random-science blogspot com. scuba-diving    

Saturday, November 3, 2012

925. A particular atmosphere



One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “The best thing you all can do in your school regarding misbehavior and that rather strained and tense atmosphere... is to suffocate and choke that atmosphere with fresh air.

You can try: turn to tutoring sessions with the students and their parents, demand some basic discipline rules, the class-representatives’ assistance to their classmates, love of benevolence that does not mean being naive, be respectful, set good examples of polite treating the kids, some elegant or correct atmosphere, ‘exploit’ the good atmosphere that many of the students create, assign some educative punishment and correction...

So, is there some naughty atmosphere among some students?: head for them with the aforementioned ‘weapons’: all already said suits a type of school like yours.

Oh, and try to create an atmosphere of serene work in classes, where the students can think.” / Photo from: Solder_grissom-w-capsule. nasa project mercury astronaut virgil gus grissom

Thursday, November 1, 2012

924. Trying to set each thing in its right place



One day teacher of English A said to teacher of English B, “Currently I teach adult students. They’re retired people. The course has two hours per week. The atmosphere is one of nice rapport.

I teach them useful expressions for their trips to other countries. They registered in the program just because they wished. And also because they need English. Each two or three weeks I hand them out worksheets with useful expressions, stories, etc.

I’ve tried all the class be in English, but they told me the level is too high and they don’t understand. Thus, in those circumstances I’m using L1, namely Spanish. If I used only English in the classes, I would need a long time to explain things little by little. Furthermore their levels of English are so varied, from low to general intermediate.

I would like there be total immersion, but – don’t get me wrong – I have to use our L1 too. For next week’s classes I’m going to re-consider whether it’s okay to use L1 or I should invent any sort of class in which only English be spoken, by me. But so what about their contributions? It’s natural for them to translate into Spanish often, when I ask them about the meaning of something. Sometimes I ask them to try and say that now in English.” / Photo from: thisoldhouse com. woman hanging a framed picture on the wall