Tuesday, February 26, 2013

974. We like to feel safe




In our English classes we try to only use the target language, like for example English. However, as expert H. D. Brown puts “[…] we’re pretty well stuck with [our] native language system that we automatically use as a reference system, or map, for the foreign language.” / Photo from: aero-news net. Super Constellation airplane      

Sunday, February 24, 2013

973. They are like locomotives




One day teacher A said to teacher B, “It’s just essential the students take the reins of the horse of their process of learning English or any other language. 

In that way, they’ll be the protagonists of that process. 

One possible way – you can do it in the classroom or at tutoring sessions with each student – is to make them become aware that just they are the protagonists of their learning: you could ask them to write 6 ways or actions or strategies they could do to really learn English. If you implement this activity in the classroom, you can ask for volunteers to read their proposals; their classmates can learn from the kids that read their proposals. 

In few words: it’s the person who actually learns and acquires English the one that really and with freedom wishes to learn.” / Photo from: theatlantic com. s_t01_RTR34IBZ. 2012 tour de france    

Friday, February 22, 2013

972. Just simply perseverance!




One day teacher B said to teacher A, “One way you can count on is to repeat and repeat the same message to your students, for them to put nice behavior into themselves. 

And you should say the message in a positive way, maybe smiling, or even neutral: never be naive – I’m referring to a smile that could allow the kids to misbehave. 

Have you ever noticed what tv advertisements do? They repeat the same message – by means of words, images and music. 

Follow the same strategy. I’m trying to give you some examples: say to oldish students that they are capable still to learn English, even acquire it! Another example: repeat to them that the classroom, the school, and the playground should be clean; you know, balls of papers, wrapping papers of pastries and cookies... / Photo from: eslnotepad blogspot com. Stonehenge, near Salisbury, south of England.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

971. Learning a foreign language is worth the effort




One day teacher A said to teacher B, “The language learner who achieves the goal of mastering that language and being able to communicate in that language is the person who really, actually wishes to learn and acquire the language. 

He will invest a big effort in learning it, just because he really, actually wishes to do it. 

Probably that learner will put the means to learn the language: register at an academy, read, study, practice speaking… If he is a perseverant person, he likely will carry on this learning for long. 

Notwithstanding some people tell me that you really, actually learn a foreign language when you have the necessity to use the language. You can think of people from Senegal: they learn Spanish because they have come to Spain to earn the money to live.” / Photo from: 66 147 244 232. toucan

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

970. Do you want me to help you?




Here is part of an appendix from my book (I wrote a book but I did rather little to get it published). I would feel delighted if what follows is useful to you in some way. I have changed some details.

Apéndice 7

It’s their responsibility

Note.- Inspired on: Hess, Natalie (2002) Teaching Large Multilevel Classes. CUP. Plus my own ideas.

It’s them [students] who have to learn. It’s them who have to wish to learn. We as teachers can help them want to and wish.

They have to monitor themselves and plan their work in some way or other (and be able to monitor their classmates in some way as well).

/ Photo from: livelifeorganized blogspot com. young girl washing dishes

Monday, February 18, 2013

969. Is there anything else?




One day teacher B said to teacher A, “Was it either Benedict XVI or Blessed John Paul II who said that for today’s man lacking inner-being, one’s-heart, deep-down are lacking? 

I mean, we teachers should our students would think deeply as well. 

Quite often we talk of superficial things, ok, but what about thinking of things that are right there, inside us, in our hearts? As I’m saying, today’s man needs to think, reflect, ponder, consider, contemplate.” / Photo from: jacksonville com. web_PostalCuts. A mail carrier or postman, as you prefer, is just inserting a letter in the mailbox or postbox, as you prefer also.   

Saturday, February 16, 2013

968. More about beauty




One day teacher A said to teacher B, “Only enthused and busy teachers, like you, can display their wisdom and eagerness to their students. The significance of school is to open up reality to the students. The teacher needs to be enthused by his or her subject. Students attend the school to connect knowledge with their lives. A teacher necessarily has to be ready to connect his or her subject to the other school subjects in some way or another. There must be an interdisciplinary nature at school. 

So as to finish, all the teachers of a school have to learn to work together, each one in his or her position, but also interacting in some or other way.” / Photo from: www winthrop edu. SpanishTeacher   

Friday, February 15, 2013

967. A close team of people in the end




Another real story.

It was a remedial summer course for problematic students. 

The students would face exams in September. Discipline and group management were strict and hard and even a bit tough. The schedule included many hours of personal study. Plus classes. The students, on the other hand, had some time for the swimming pool, playing soccer, just chattering, etc. 

Discipline was somehow kinda military or I dunno what. The teachers were serious and competent professionals. It was hot but dry. The students had to fulfill a strict schedule. 

The study sessions were invigilated by a teacher. 

In those circumstances, a teacher told me, it was rather simple a student would give vents to his stress and problems. The kids could count on teachers for tutoring sessions! 

That teacher told me that one kid had given vent to some dire straits he was suffering. He felt happy. He could count on an adult to just tell him his problems and other stuff. 

The average atmosphere of those summer courses was positive anyway. / Photo from: bbc co uk. mark cavendish takes the overall lead in the tour of britain with victory in stage four - his second successive win

966. Finding his own route




I’m telling you a story today. 

A real one. 

Pedagogue and teacher Daniel Pennac, from France, once wrote that when at school a student understood nothing from his teachers. He did not do his homework. Never. He wouldn’t write any essay (composition). 

Nevertheless he was told or suggested to write a novel: one chapter in one week. And the kid took up the task. This kid discovered a new world in reading novels and drawing puppets on blank sheets of paper. In that way something was enhanced there deep inside him – something that moved his brain. 

In my own experience I’ve tried hard some student would improve, but with no success. And then, suddenly, you discover something that fits him and you also discover he’s an ace at something. 

For example, I’ve met some students that had many academic and intellectual problems. And after some period you find they are aces at manual tasks: like caretakers or superintendents in condominiums, or that other who did fantastic by working with his father in a workshop of aluminum windows and the sort. 

I took the first story from Changrin d’école, like I said, by French Daniel Pennac. / Photo from: flightglobal com. i guess the plane is an Airbus 850 yet I’m not sure. I read the book by Pennac in the Spanish version: Mal de escuela.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

965. Hey, how do you feel here?




One day teacher B said to teacher A, “Take always into account that classrooms, and the school too should be nice places where a kid has the opportunity of growing up and educating nice. 

Think of maintenance, clean places, desks with nothing scribbled on them if possible, trash cans, keeping things neat, decoration, no balls of paper or pieces on the floor… 

A student can develop and increase and grow values and virtues in places that way.” / Photo from: www lolafayemi com. learning spanish  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

964. Show me a path to success




One day teacher A said to teacher B, “Be careful and cautious with the stuff you teach in your classes: your goal is not merely teaching facts of the language, this is, stuff about: how first and family names work in English if compared to the way Spanish does, etymology, words, words and words, facts and facts about English, but mainly do help the students to learn and acquire English. 

How acquiring English? You teacher - among other things - can talk massively in English, and your students will be listening, acquiring, understanding, using the language. 

I learned this from an ace cited many times in this blog, H. D. Brown. You can read something about him on post # 961 – it’s worth reading the quotations from him in this blog; I wrote a paper about his grand methodology.” / Photo from: virginiatrailguide com. path to pass mountain hut. adam walks along the Appalachian Trail descending Pass Mountain

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

963. Beauty as educative



One day teacher B said to teacher A, “It’s clear English should be used as a vehicle language in other school subjects. 

Moreover, students should be educated in observing and appreciating beauty – in English – in other subjects. It’s sound to educate students for example in fine arts, in English too. 

However, you can surround students with beautiful things, but those things have to be in connection with their lives. This could be done by means of discussing about paintings for instance, in the classroom. Let them give their opinions in the classes you have with them. Do start you yourself: say something, say a prompt, break the ice. 

If our students acquire sensitivity, we are educating people with human values, like tradition, creativity, inventiveness, imagination!, solving problems, resourcefulness…” / Photo from: people tribe net. venus by milo in louvre    

Sunday, February 10, 2013

962. Just I plan the class



One day teacher A said to teacher B, “Your students gaze you take to the classroom some sheet of paper where you planned that day’s class. They see this day after day. They also see you have a glance to those notes from time to time. 

That is an interesting point. Your students notice you plan each class, taking into account what fits a more general planning or curriculum or syllabus. In other words, what fits their advance and progress of learning English [or any other modern language]. 

And what is more, you try each one of them advance in their mastering the language, and setting a real communication in the classroom. 

Go on that way. Your students, likely, will take the school subject of English more consciously and seriously. You’re creating a sound atmosphere of learning English.” / Photo from: fanpop com. Girl Reading books to read 64022_1528_1920

961. Learning a language as if by fun



I implement many games with my young students and it turns out okay. 

I’ve written a lot about games in this blog. Even you’ve got a list of more than one hundred games on post # 259. 

An expert on learning languages is H. D. Brown, about whom I’ve also written on many posts. I’ve learned a lot from him, for my classes, since I came across his ideas at the beginning of my research for the doctorado (it’s the following step after your college graduation, in case you wanted to carry on your university studies and research in Spain some 20 years ago). 

He states 

Virtually every strategy or gimmick that has been mentioned so far in this book can become a little game. And remember, games are fun. You can take a lighthearted perspective on this language learning process of yours by thinking of it as a game. So, go for the gold! (page 71, from A Practical Guide to Language Learning. A Fifteen-Week Program of Strategies for Success. I published a paper in a university journal, about that book). / Photo from: makeitworkmom com. mom child reading

Thursday, February 7, 2013

960. My students like stories




Yesterday I implemented the following activity with my adult students – all of them are retired people that wish to learn English for traveling and visiting different countries. 

Basically it was a listening activity, but it also had speaking and reading parts. It requires several steps. We have not finished yet – I expect tomorrow or on coming days. We’re enjoying the activity, and they like stories I invent. 

Yesterday I started by writing some words and phrases from the text of a worksheet, so as to do a pre-listening exercise. On the whiteboard I wrote some words like: Katherine Stinson, sailboat, around the world, alone, dangerous, dangers in the ocean. We were discussing them so they could make kind of an idea about the story. 

After that I read the story aloud, number by number. 

After that step I handed out worksheets with the story, and again I read the story aloud, and we discussed and clarified some points of the story. They were writing notes of vocabulary. And they asked me many questions about some words that were new to them. I got amazed they had understood the story while I was reading it aloud for the first time. 

I would say this was learning and even something of acquisition. 

Of course you can use the worksheet if it’s any useful. / Photo from: sampedrosun com. Painting-by-Terryl-Godoy-Man-at-Work-4   


Worksheet # 145

The Unbelievable Story of Katherine Stinson

February 4, 2013

1.   Katherine Stinson is a courageous and brave woman. At 23 she has been the first woman in sailing around the earth completely alone. She states her guardian angel has been an allied friend though.
2.   She sailed off from Hawking Harbor, on January 2, 2013, close to New York City.
3.   Her sailboat / sailing boat was about 80 ft (24.38 meters) long.
4.   The mast was around 20 meters high.
5.   During her trip around the world she has faced two strong storms, waves 10 yards high, but on the other hand she had to suffer some dead calms.
6.   The firm Lucky Strike has been the main sponsor: they have invested $ 6,000. Its logotype was painted on the big sail.
7.   She could keep in touch with her manager, Ray Branson, all the time, by radio and with the help of communication satellites.
8.   She could count on him.
9.   In case she was in a dreadful situation, up to the point she could perish because of a storm or a crevice in the skull for example, she could call Ray Branson, and this person would send powerful large motor boats to rescue her.
10.               There were about 50 points along the route where those large motor boats could set off at once.
11.               Moreover, in other hazardous or dangerous circumstances for her, Mr. Branson would send a helicopter to rescue her. She had GPS (Global Positioning System).
12.               It’s a relief she achieved the harbor of New York after 28 days. She has suffered diseases, storms, fog… but she says the most dreadful thing is solitude.
13.               Oh, I’ve got to say that Ray is her husband. He was one of the people that received and welcomed her, together with their kids / children, Kevin and Sarah and many other people.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

959. Aware of their learning strategies




Here I am again, to tell you about the dialogs I’ve heard from the two teachers: One day teacher of English B said to teacher of English A, “We teachers should be aware of good students’ attitude to learning a foreign (or a second) language. Those high-achieving learners have learning strategies which they are aware of. 


They apply those strategies and then they observe that those strategies produce positive grades; so they keep on using and improving those learning strategies and get along – so to speak – with the school subject of English. 


And what is more, they can talk in English in the classroom and write their thoughts when required by an activity in their course books. They can express their ideas and this makes them feel satisfied. 


I could tell you some examples from real students I teach and have taught.” / Photo from: annarbor com. south african kids playing soccer (or football)    

Sunday, February 3, 2013

958. Future posts... I hope soon!



I wish to post as soon as possible. I hope to have the chance of doing so soon. / Photo from israelity com