Tuesday, February 25, 2014

1647. Arts and Science are compatible



Humanities and Arts. 

At these our times fewer and fewer youngsters choose them at the secondary education in my country, Spain. 

Other studies and degrees are more attractive now to our young people: technologies, engineering, computing, economics… So disciplines that are more kind of appreciated nowadays, more to date, let’s say. 

However this lack of Humanities can produce thought poverty, lack of an ethical discourse, and the loss of coherence of our western civilization, according to what some Catalonian teachers put. NB.: Catalunya is a region of Spain. / Photo from: studying-at-the-library-at-college-of-idaho www collegeofidaho edu

1646. A way to learn verbal tenses



I already have written about learning and acquiring verbal tenses in English and other stuff. 

Basically and naturalistically the steps are: listening to the teacher, speaking, reading, and writing – I’m referring to the usage of a verbal tense: for instance the students read sentences with that verbal tense on the chalkboard or smart board. 

When the students have put that tense into their minds, you can ask them by using the verbal tense as a warmer for the first 5 minute class beginning. / Photo from: toyon berryessa k12 ca us

Monday, February 24, 2014

1645. Are you scared before the exam?



You, teacher, can teach the following stuff to your students that are going to take an oral exam, for example for one of the parts of the examinations of the University of Cambridge. 

The point is they could read in English some texts or articles, and this influences on the aural communicative competence: listening and speaking. 

Or if possible they can speak to you in that language before entering the hall of the exams. / Photo from: cleaning the school www michaelturton com. The pic on this post is merely an illustration

Sunday, February 23, 2014

1644. Are my students acquiring English?



Is it acquisition or a bit of it? 

I mean, my students, adult ones, are starting to speak in English, after many hours by me speaking in that language. 

They commit errors and mistakes, anyway. 

What I can assure is that there’s an atmosphere of talking in English, chiefly by me, but I’m having them starting to speak. They’re good learners, and very eager to learn. 

I’m after programming the course with also grammar aims however, scheduled ones. It’s pleasant to stay with them – they’re nice and polite, and persevering. / Photo from: newsroom unl edu

Saturday, February 22, 2014

1643. Tests simple to correct and practical



Written tests are an interesting part of the assessment of the students’ knowledge and communicative competences. 

A friend of mine composed tests easy to grade (or mark). He just assigned and wrote some grade to each activity, and after the exam, on another day, the correct answers were written on the chalkboard. 

The students had their test papers with them, after the grading by the teacher. 

He asked his students for correct answers and responses, and wrote them on the blackboard. Often there were several different possible answers and replies. Then the students could correct their tests themselves. They could keep their tests. 

Often too, he used to write a comment in English to each student on the test, at the end – often but not to every test. / Photo from: www interactiva-deutsch-stuttgart de 

1642. Let's delegate some work



The director of the department of English in that school told me that she attended the sessions with the other teachers of English, delegating some tasks to her colleagues. 

She would like to decide she herself but she understood she couldn’t reach all the school big scheme and the team of teachers’ labor. 

She was a good listener herself – she listened to the other teachers’ problems, new activities, new ways to make the students participate, positive things that she might not like albeit they were okay. 

With time passing she won a big prestige, because she worked so hard and was attentive to the teachers that wanted something from her. And on top of that she was a mom and so had to combine the school labor and her work as a mom and wife. / Photo from: Monday German teachers at dinner www3 villanova edu

Friday, February 21, 2014

1641. Don't shout at that moment



While working silently in the classroom, with an atmosphere of working out an exercise or a text for example, don’t shout at a disruptive student – go to his desk and correct the misbehavior. 

If you shout, what will you do next? 

So start with a low voice, and so respect other students’ working. / Photo from: Teaching German blog knowledge-must com

Thursday, February 20, 2014

1640. They like their classroom



The classroom. 

Kids and the teacher spend many hours a day there in. 

The classroom should be a pleasant place – even cozy? 

My main experience with youngsters has taken place in a male school. I do know that in the female school of the same company the atmosphere is even cozy. 

Anyway, a classroom is the place where kids grow up and learn and make a labor that will linger the rest of their lives – they’re encountering themselves. 

It should be neat, no balls of paper on the floor, desks periodically tidied up in rows. 

Maybe the kids can hang their project works on the bulletin board. 

The smart board ought to be clean, and if the board is a chalk one, this one should be clean. There may be a kid in charge of erasing at the end of the class, and shake off and tap the chalk eraser or duster carefully out of a window often. 

Fans and central heating help great. 

Air the classroom at least at the end of the classes, or even after a class, depending on the weather. / Photo from: can-service-oriented-architecture-approaches-save-our-educational-system www zdnet com

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

1639. Educating is cool and interesting



Philosopher Miguel-Ángel Martí states that also free will, choices, wishes must be educated, not only intelligence. 

The teacher will pick up the smallest efforts and struggle, will correct the wrong way, will take the good things the student is doing – it’s a slope upward. 

The point too is making good use of time. 

The use of time, with the help of a schedule will help for granted to do things intensively – little by little. 

Call his parents to see you at school for reinforcement, also at home – parents obviously are the first educators - we help and assist. / Photo from: kwgs org

1638. Just teaching English



Some teachers teach the grammar of English and facts about the language, and some others teach in English, 
from low levels, 
with realia (real things), 
establishing communication in the target language, 
using cognates (similar words to the ones in their mother tongue), 
speaking massively and letting their students say things in English, 
and correcting them when they speak in L1 (the mother language), 
so in few words, a mixture of communicative and notional classes. 

Remember the goal is for the students to learn and acquire English, not to learn facts from the language. 
This idea is taken from American expert Henry Douglas Brown and from my experience of learning how to teach. / Photo from: numberedpages com

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

1637. The humane part of your work



So you’re planning a new class for tomorrow, but you look tired and fed up... 

Each class is an encountering your students, persons they are. 

They’re expecting your doing well. 

Eagerness, excitement, future positive anticipation you should have, maybe you feel not a flame of relinquishing but you’re a veteran that move in a well-known-for-you field. 

Each class is a time that is unique. 

You and your students ought to finish the class by being more of a person, because you did something creative, and, in spite of their playfulness, they finished the class with more life experience. Thank God. / Photo from:  english teacher in russia www englishfirst com

Monday, February 17, 2014

1636. Classes of English? All in English




When you try to speak in the target language in the class, English for example, and you’ve got to explain something, which would be clearer and quicker in Spanish, which is the students’ mother language, and even you say a few words in Spanish… rectify and skip to English again. 

This struggle is good also for your students – you set an example. 

Also when a student asks you a question in Spanish, you can either let him go on, or let him know he has to ask in English. In the first case or example, afterward, tell him to make the same question in English however he can. 

Those are steps forth. / Photo from: Danny Mayer skateboard about com

Sunday, February 16, 2014

1635. How a teacher achieved discipline



Something well known is there are teachers that have behavior problems in their classes. 

Anyway I know a teacher that used to be able to be easy, despite the fact that their students were teens, and rascals, in a natural way. 

However she was able enough to recognize the things that their rebellious students achieved, small though. On the basis of this recognizing the good achievements by the kids she could attain to pull them up and create a more and more disciplined conducting by her students. 

She had fortitude, as most women have. She was capable to face up with the problems. 

With time passing she achieved – how to say? – that her students be more enthused with learning English. She had many short conversations in the school halls, and knew how to become interested in their students’ lives. / Photo from: images wikienglish kz

Saturday, February 15, 2014

1634. Do you often read?



Reading books and e-books is quite important for our students, if they are relevant and adequate for kids. 

According to philosopher Miguel-Ángel Martí and others, while you’re reading you make your mind work fantastically well. 

You also encounter yourself because you’re reading on your own. 

And you encounter other people in other worlds, or precisely our world. 

They provide a spiritual experience, and they forge you. 

They too take out the best from you, if the books are good, both fiction and non-fiction. / Photo from: kids reading fimotro blogspot com

1633. More about female teachers



Female teachers have some features that make them become specially good for teaching. 

Think of sensitivity, tenderness, intuition, looking after others. 

They can also be specially good for important posts of decision. / Photo from: teacher www thewaygookeffect com

1632. Engage your brain to develop your mind



It is essential that our young students develop their brains and minds. And if they are adults maintain a fresh and effective mind. 

So exercise drills are important. 

As well repetition and revision of a particular semantic field words is necessary. 

For example they can try to write as many words as they can remember, and afterward they can revise the list of words from their notebook to find out which ones they omitted. Or they can write or mentally say sentences with those words. You remember the words that you use. / Photo from: tech-students www journaldugeek com

Friday, February 14, 2014

1631. Boys and girls again



It is said usually that girls in general are better students tan boys. It is true in many, many cases, yet not always – this is something evident. 

Either man or woman has their own way of being. And their own different psyches. 

I remember some cases when I was making a tutoring session with parents at the school about their son and it showed up that his sisters were more careful with their school material and that they studied more, as if they were more prone to studying than boys, who were more prone to play soccer on some town sport fields. 

Another experience anyway: I have taught in boy schools and found kids that reached the CAE or the Proficiency, if I remember right. CAE is the Certificate in Advanced English examination from the University of Cambridge in the UK. Proficiency is the highest examination of the same university.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

1630. Be reasonably demanding with your students



Yesterday was a positive millstone. 

My adult students, three of them, at last, gave us their oral presentations: two ladies and a man. 

The allotted time  was 3 minutes, but they spoke for longer. They had to speak about a topic of their choice.

If a year ago somebody had asked me to enroll in this task, together with my students, I would have not believed it. 

A person has some potentialities that are bigger than what you can think of at the beginning. On next weeks other students will carry out this same enterprise. Be reasonably demanding, I would suggest to you. / Photo from: adult students news richmond edu

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

1629. What do you really mean?



Something I miss is a more ample knowledge of the pragmatics of English. 

I mean, you know, that I say something, but I don’t know how it sounds to native-English people. 

Phrasal verbs for example are changing their meaning sometimes, or they're gaining a new meaning. / Photo from: www baylor edu

1628. Some students ask for "Get a move on" to the teacher


An education law of some years ago – now I don’t know if it is valid any more – stated that there should be common basic goals for all the students in a class, like for example to acquire the grammatical competence for using the four kinds of conditional sentences, both at speaking and writing. 

Plus there ought to be more advanced-level competence goals for high-achievers and students interested in advancing more than the regular average student. 

Okay, but can you do that when you have a class of 31 students? 

I do know some teacher who arranged things to reach such extra goals, for example by providing them with material of the CAE examination for reading and working on those texts. 

However, you must count on the extra volunteering working will from that teacher. In a few words: it’s tough to go onto those extra goals, yet you can try and maybe you’ll come across a grand hard work by some students. 

CAE stands for Certificate in Advanced English, within the examination scheme of University of Cambridge, in UK. 

Some students ask for "Get a move on". 

With time passing you get on with your students and you can catch on who expect more.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

1627. Dedicated to my oldie students




Pedro arrived home. It was ten minutes till twelve. 
He came from the English class. 
There was no one at home at that time. So he sat down in a chair and took the new worksheet that has been given to him half an hour before. 
The teacher had had no time to start to read out that worksheet. Pedro felt curious about the new worksheet. 

He read through it rather slow. He wanted to read it before the next Wednesday. He read it thoroughly. 
With the aid of a dictionary from his e-book. 

The bells of the near church tolled twelve. He didn’t hear them, for he was concentrated on the sheet. 
He learned, on his own, some words and a nice number of idioms. 

Neither did he hear the key opening the main hall door. Someone was trying to come into the apartment. 

In the end he noticed somebody heading for the lounge. Would it be his wife? / Photo from: old marriage www sweetuprinting com

1626. Female teachers of modern languages



Femininity. I guess that there are more female teachers than male ones, above all in primary education. I can figure out that also from the people that publish in TeacherLingo web site. 

In English and in Spain it is so, definitely: there are more female teachers in the first years of education. 

In my class (1992) there could be three senior girls for each senior male student. 

Those female teachers can provide a thorough education of children and older kids. They observe little and minor details, which is preferable in primary education. They can focus on specific actions for education sake. Also for teaching English sake. 

I can remember that my English-language teachers were girls and ladies till college. I can also remember that they were demanding on little things, which is sound for learning and acquiring English. / Photo from: teacher and students therookieteacher ca

1625. Educating for feelings and sentiments



Who knows he’s loved and he knows how to love others is happy. 

Our students’ parents are the first people that have to educate their sons and daughters regarding sensitivity, feelings, sentiments. The father should educate his sons, and the mother her daughters, preferably. 

The school assists in that task, in a subsidiary way – this is, as a help. We teachers contribute to that task, which is so important in our lives. We teachers educate the will and the sentiments, if the parents wish to. 

Traditionally the school taught and educated the will, but today, first the parents, also the school can educate feelings and sentiments, in accordance to the parents, tentatively. 

I taught at a school in Jaén (south of Spain) that gave talks to both parents and other talks to the boys. The programs were well outfitted and designed by experts in education of young people. 

Here, on this post, I only can give some clue. 

A boy may fall in love with a girl. The boy should know to be careful if treating the girl. She’s not a mere beautiful face or body. That girl deserves to be recognized as a whole person: her personality, her biography, her circumstances, her whole being as a person. She deserves to be treated as such, as a person, who might become in the future the mom of their children. / Photo from: students studying library cathysandeen wordpress com

Monday, February 10, 2014

1624. Beauty as a necessary value



I have written also about values and virtues. 

Beauty is also a value and has something of a virtue and blows of effort. 

The point is to take care of the appearance. 

The value-virtue is in between, neither little, nor a supreme value. 

There is an inner beauty inside a person: gentleness, politeness, good habits, good spirit, and there is an outer beauty, which has nothing to do with dressing provocatively. It’s more rather of a springing from that inner beauty. Anyway, of course you can dress nice. / Photo from: teacher and students 10 therookieteacher ca

Sunday, February 9, 2014

1623. Boys and girls



I prefer single-sex education till the last years of secondary education. 

I’ve taught in both options – only boys, and boys and girls together. Till the last years of secondary education the differences in psychological aspects are so clear between male and female students; there will be differences also later evidently. 

In the case of teaching and learning English, my experience says that the more homogeneous the class-groups are, the better. A boy and a girl of 14 are so different; now I’m referring to psychological traits. 

Learning a modern language demands, if possible, the students should have similar levels. It is the school subject where differences among kids are more remarkable. In History for example all the students go at the same pace, so to speak, but in languages the differences are bigger.

Moreover each academic year you have in your class-groups students that come from very different levels of mastering a language. Your school can be bilingual, but evidently you cannot hinder new students to come from schools that are not bilingual. So what? What can we do? – Well, for example you can combine simple with higher-level activities, but the problem is lingering still. 

Summing up, I guess single-sex education is one more option, one that I prefer, as I said. / Photo from: alumnos en biblioteca educaresdesarrollo blogspot com

1622. Your colleagues and you on the right pathway



There are people for whom delegating work is difficult. Think for instance of directors of departments of a school. 

They prefer to do things themselves, but they can’t reach everything and every task. Those people ought to learn how to delegate stuff to do in others’ hands. 

Besides if they delegate, they can be fostering other people’s initiatives. Not only the director of the department carries out all the labor: his colleagues can perfectly have initiatives and nice ways to do things. / Photo from: Audi Shark Concept Kazim Doku

Saturday, February 8, 2014

1621. Learn in order to assist and help society



I have written that learning and acquiring English is something useful for the students. All right, but also remember that at the same time the student and the teacher have got to gain values and virtues. 

One of those values and virtues was solidarity, charity, love of benevolence, helping out. 

Thus the students and the teacher ought to assist and love other people. 

As well in the students’ case they’re preparing themselves for a future service to society by using English, all over the world. 

And among those assisted people are the poor. 

Today many young volunteers enroll in adventures in other countries to help out, build a church, teach to read and write, teach Christian doctrine. That’s sound, and as a summary I would say those students (and the teacher) should assist the poor, but alike the rich and the middle class, every day. / Photo from: MilkMan commons wikimedia org

1620. The point is to make up a good resume



An advanced-level activity you could carry out with your advanced students (either because of age or because they have a high level) is to compose a resume (or Curriculum Vitae). 

This activity helps them for real life. 

You would lead the activity plus elicit some points from your students. 

It’s a sensible activity for older students. 

First it should include personal info; then the studies (decide in what order they should show up); then professional experience (decide also in what order they should appear); personal interests, fields you like and you’re an ace at. Obviously the students can make up and invent information. / Photo from: students classroom synonym com

Friday, February 7, 2014

1619. Immersion for learning English



Many people agree that you can learn and acquire a language when there’s immersion. 

You can provide that immersion in the English class. 

As well you can spend a whole academic year in an English-speaking country if you’re a student. 

This immersion is offered in Ireland by Spanish Fernández-Álava family. I don’t know much about this initiative, but I can tell you a few things. 

They select the families where the kid is going to stay with. There will be a single student in each class of Saint Patrick’s school. The personnel of that school will assist each student. All this is what their ads say. Sounds great, doesn’t it? / Photo from: www theepochtimes com

1618. Allergies to seeds are a problem for students



We are in February, which is a month when some students start to have some allergies to plants like for example cypress. 

Within some months the symptoms of other allergies will start to show up among students. 

I remember that in May in classes we had got to have the windows closed and so the atmosphere got too warm and stuffy in the classroom. 

During the recess the students with some allergy had to remain in the classroom. I don’t remember now if a teacher had also to stay in the classroom with them; I think not. Those students could not go out to the surroundings of the school and sport fields because of the allergies to pollen! 

Some of them used to wear masks, and even some of the students had to finish the course year in a school near the coast, of the same corporation as the one in Jaén, which was inland, among olive-trees. / Photo from: skateboard about com

Thursday, February 6, 2014

1617. Trying to do difficult tasks



While teaching and telling things to my students (retired people) sometimes I feel the temptation to say something in Spanish, but I aim at English, I let them know I was going to say something in Spanish, and I explain an anecdote (for example) in English. 

I try all the class be in English, alike when they participate. They sometimes say things in Spanish but more and more they’re saying things in English. 

Yesterday, Wednesday, a male student talked in English for 2 or 3 minutes. That was communication in English! They’re understanding English more and more. I speak rather slow and use the whiteboard to help my explanations, for example by writing some words, even more if those words are cognates to words in Spanish. / Photo from: window cleaning www photo-dictionary com