Monday, March 31, 2014

1691. You work with human people



Remember that you have people, persons, in your hands: what a responsibility! 

You influence on them, and whatever and however you do things will influence on their lives forever. 

You don’t just have students to learn English but human people influenced by you forever. I don’t want you get over-worried, just let you know about our responsibility. 

What you do in classes, at tutoring sessions with each kid, even what you do in your private life, all that influence on their lives. And the point is positive: you can really educate them for their great adult lives. / Photo from: secondary teacher preparation program. educationprogram duke edu

1690. I told you the students love stories



If we read a simplified reader or novel in English in classes, remember that the most important thing is for them to have fun, to enjoy the reading. 

I would tell you not to make them do a lot of activities or to make a project work: the key thing now is for them to enjoy reading the book. 

They should enjoy the reading class, and look forward to reading the book. 

And remind them of bringing the book to school in their school-bags for the reading class. / Photo from: student reading book. theyemster wordpress com

1689. Are you happy?



You can always be and feel happy, because always there are good things in our lives which are positive. View it on that side, I would tell you. 

Moreover, if you’re Christian you can be happy, because you’re a child of God (!). 

As well we’ve been created as image and likeness of God. 

If you aren’t Christian, you also are called to live as children of God, of course! 

I say these positive things today because life brings sorrows with itself, and saying positive stuff might help us all on regular days. / Photo from: www craized com

Sunday, March 30, 2014

1688. A way for relaxing



A teacher must know how to relax himself, in order to face up with the next “battle” (next class). 

It’s important for a teacher to head for the classroom rather relaxed but also somewhat tense, with a sane tension. 

It is sound the teacher should sleep well too. Some people do not sleep well because they don’t know how to get relaxed. 

Now I’m trying to tell you some clues for this relaxing. First slow down and calm down the self-stream of thoughts that are boiling inside your mind. 

Then breathe deep in and slowly. 

Relax the muscles of your face. 

Relax your body letting it drop onto your bed or seat, and making as if the body and its limbs (legs and arms) would be heavy and you would need to make them drop down. 

Then relax the mind again – you can speak silently and inside yourself more and more slowly, in a slower and slower rhythm. And repeat the rest of the steps again, as many as you need. / Photo from: relaxing www mstrust org uk

1687. Directing traffic



Definitely we should listen to our students in class, despite we may think it is something childish or nonsense. 

I’m referring to the fact that for example the teacher is speaking and presenting something and then a kid puts up his hand to say something. We should stop our speech tentatively, I would say, and listen to the kid: if something is important for a kid, it is also important for us teachers. 

Later we tactfully can explain to the kid that he oughtn’t to be concerned about that, for example. 

In class we can do like a traffic officer: direct the traffic of possible questions. / Photo from: untitled. commons wikimedia org

Saturday, March 29, 2014

1686. How should treatment be between the teacher and the students?



It depends on the school, and when I began to teach I was like an army officer. Later I changed a lot. 

I’m referring to the way the teacher should treat his students. 

Should it be like an army officer, or rather something similar to a father or a friend, never as a buddy? 

I would say that when discipline and a sound management of the class are gotten, the teacher can treat his students in a more relaxed way. 

Watch over anyway, for the kids distinguish well when the teacher has given up discipline: they know when they can pull the leg to their teacher and put him to the test. 

When discipline is set in a classroom or school the teacher can be like a master and the students his disciples. The treatment then is more relaxed and the teacher can smile, and should smile. The treatment is polite both directions and some joke can have its place. 

The students respect their teacher, and even they can admire him. There exists trusting then. 

Both are embarked in the same ship, teacher and students. They’re like a work group. / Photo from: www arsouth army mil 

Friday, March 28, 2014

1685. Amazed students or accustomed ones?



What is better for English classes, to follow a routine or to do varied activities that may surprise our students? To teach the same scheduled activities, more or less, or to invest variation? 

Both, in my opinion. 

Each teacher has his own way of doing things, hopefully for his students’ sake. 

To have some routine makes our students focus on the activities: they expect the same procedures. It seems sound to have some scheduled scheme for classes, but also it looks fine to implement activities that break the routine. 

The point is to evaluate our students’ ways of reacting and their needs and their expectations, and think what is better for them. A mixture of routine and no routine seems okay with students – daily life in the classroom tells you what is more convenient. / Photo from: teaching class www educationnews org

Thursday, March 27, 2014

1684. Let's see how he plays



In the school in Jaén, where I taught English for some years, we had a lady coordinator that was traveling from a town to another, so as to observe how we taught English or French. 

All the schools belonged to the same company, across Andalucía and Extremadura regions. 

She meant some aid and assistance for us teachers, though none of us more or less liked to be observed when teaching a class. I confess I got anxious but I reckoned she worked in something necessary to exert possible changes and insights in our ways of teaching. 

I learned a lot from her. 

I learned things that have turned useful and helpful for an English class, later on. Now I would do things differently, I’d say. 

The point is to be examined by somebody not from the school. / Photo from: Keb Mo Playing worldmusic about com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

1683. Getting along with your students?



How should be treating between the teacher and his or her students? 

There should be a fine and exquisite and normal treatment between us teachers and them students. 

In other words, the teacher must respect his or her students, and the other way round, even more: students are expected to respect their teacher. 

More than one of you colleagues could say Let’s hope it be like that. 

In the papers a few times you can read about a student or his parent hit the teacher. 

In my country, Spain, the teacher is an authority I think, if I’m not wrong. If you treat the teacher bad, and insult him or her, or a mother comes to school to blow the teacher, the teacher is like police: if you put obstacles to their conducting concerning discipline for example, in serious cases, you could go to the trial. Well, you know, this is evident. 

More often than not and depending where the school is (the district or neighborhood) we can conclude that today it’s so often, unfortunately, that there are problems. 

There’s a more general conflictive attitude toward discipline and authorities. 

Many of our colleagues are treated bad in classes, from lack of attention to disobedience to a teacher’s sane requirement. 

The atmosphere is more general even: there’s a lack of values in today’s Western society, and I have written a lot about this in this blog. 

But I did not want to make a catastrophic post: I know many a teacher that can teach and the students more or less follow him or her. 

The number is outstanding anyway. It’s more often than what we can think of. 

You can search about values and virtues in the Search gadget of the blog. 

I’m optimistic nonetheless. We teachers have to educate the kids and their families, that is it, and we’re after that, right, colleagues? 

We, teachers and students, will win in the end, in the end of education, if we wish, which is the case. 

My optimism is based on solid basement: on human nature, and on transcendent basement: We can count on God. 

The point is that we are going through a bad period, but we will change little by little, let’s hope, or something we cannot think of now. I write as I feel. / Photo from: teacher and students. ricochet com

1682. Harvesting the fruits of English by my students



When a student at home is reading a text from the course book, and he is concentrated in reading and understanding, and finding the gist, and re-reading, with a set of questions to answer after the reading, obviously we can say he’s thinking in English, something which he isn’t aware perhaps. 

The key point is to face up with that text. He has had a peek at the questions he’ll have to answer later. 

Some students ask me if some day they’ll think in English. 

Currently I’m teaching a group of demanding adults, who are so motivated to learn and acquire English. 

I tell them they will dream in English, as it happens to me often. If I’m dreaming that I’m teaching, certainly I’m doing so in English. My students have conversations with American volunteers here in marvelous Granada, so as to practice, in extra-class time: my advanced students are talking with those American youngsters in English, like the most natural thing in the world. 

When are you coming to Granada? It’s worth the visit. 

Oh, my classes are nearly all in English: I can say I teach in English and my students understand me – I try to combine simple stuff with more advanced-level for high-achievers. Sometimes I don’t achieve what I would like: all the students understanding. 

A nice activity is describing pictures: they love it. / Photo from: news xinhuanet com

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

1681. Should the family help out in his homework?



Should parents or elder siblings help the kid to do his homework? 

Homework is a complement to classes. 

The best is for the kid to do his homework. 

Nevertheless some kids need help, and one of the parents or an elder brother or sister should be available for solving some problem – never to carry out the homework themselves. 

It’s sound the kid should have a quiet room to fulfill his duties of homework. As well the kid should have had some time for a snack and relaxing, not longer than half an hour, I would say, before studying. 

The family could provide like prompts to have the brother or sister think on their own. 

The family too should be attentive to the tests and exams the kid has to do. Ask him about when it is next exam. Something that has turned out well is to have a diary, where he can write down his homework and exams. Now many schools have their diaries. 

If the kid studies every day, he won’t have to make a heavy effort for tomorrow’s exam. 

Alike the parents could talk to their children about school, how he feels, how he is in the classroom, how he gets along with his classmates, about everything they think it is relevant about the school. The family also should be in close contact with the kid’s tutor or head teacher. / Photo from: watering plugs ready for transplanting into the nursery www aashe org

Sunday, March 23, 2014

1680. How to "manage" a class



Students and above all if they’re teens don’t like a despotic authority exerted by the teacher. 

Let us not forget that students are students, and so people, coming to the head. 

There should be a nice rapport. 

The teacher has to manage the class, but it’s something human and humane, he does not manage the manufacturing of screws. 

Students do not like to be treated as inferiors, and looked down by the teacher. 

They understand rules in some way, they may not like them though, because their nature and age take them rather to play and have fun. They know they must respect and live rules, because classes have to teach something, but they even can hate the arrogant teacher, or despise him at least. 

They like the teacher that listens to their petitions and to what they say. They expect rules and to be said how they have to work. They do not like buddy teachers, above all if they are rookies. / Photo from: boy cyclist www kentroadsafety info

1679. Can our students summarize a text?



Making summaries is a pretty good activity, which the learner of English has to learn too. 

We can practice in class. We could ask a student or address all the class to show what the most important stuff on a text is, or in a chapter of the book or reader they read every Tuesday, for example, in the English class. 

We ask some students, till the main part will bring out. 

Now we tell them to write that part. It’s a sound way to start to make up summaries. When we ask about the most important thing, we may let them speak in English. 

It’ll be very usual that they try to tell all the text from the beginning up to the end. Well, up to some extent it is something similar to a summary – they will say the most important points mixed with extra details to a summary; we should tell them those points are secondary in the importance ranking. 

We teachers ourselves can make up a summary that will be an example for our students, for further summaries. Making summaries is an adequate activity for the mind. / Photo from: John Deere www deere com au

Saturday, March 22, 2014

1678. Our students concern to help others



We teachers have to teach our young students to care about the poor, the elderly, the sick. 

I remember a school that used to take its students in small groups to visit poor families or people who lived alone. 

The kids learned how to value what they had at home and the education they received at home and at school. 

Do our students give alms? Do the older ones explain to someone poor who is begging on the street that there are social dining-halls, and that those people can turn to the parish where they live to ask about Caritas

That Spanish social service already assists many people. Do our students have social concerning for others? / Photo from: teacher and students www naiku net

1677. Content-Based Instruction: it's useful



In the methodology of CBI, this is, Content-Based Instruction, the teacher and the students discuss about a topic which is interesting to the kids. 

In this case English is not the end but a vehicle to communicate among the people in the classroom. 

English is an instrument, a means, a tool. 

Here the teacher asks questions to provoke the conversation. Each student speaks on his own or is addressed by the teacher or by a student. 

Sometimes a topic is brought out in a class, like for example the monuments of Granada and other attractions for tourists: the teacher then sees that it be interesting to talk about that. Tomorrow I have a class: I’ll try to apply this methodology. Will it work well? / Photo from: Harvest Pics www thecombineforum com

Friday, March 21, 2014

1676. Building meaningful sentences in class



It’s of a paramount importance that learning and acquiring a foreign language would serve the purpose of communication with other people. 

When working on grammar in classes we can implement an activity that is useful to make sentences and messages with sense. 

Write on the chalkboard the words of a sentence in a jumbled and scrambled way. Ask your students, by turns for example, to put the words into the correct order to mean something. 

That activity can be helpful for all ages and all levels of the target language, English in our case. 

Another way to implement this activity with young kids is to write words on stripes of paper, big enough for every student in the classroom to see them, and put those words into a correct order, sticking those labels of paper or card with plasticine™ or blu-tac™. It’s cool and different students can contribute to making up the sentence. / Photo from: bricomania fijar argolla en techo www hogarutil com

Thursday, March 20, 2014

1675. Linking reality with names in English



Young kids learn by playing, among other paths. 

On post # 259 I gave you a version of a list of more than 100 games. 

What they do in the class helps them learn. 

One example is TPR (Total Physical Response), as you may know. They play the actions, verbs, jobs and professions you tell them in English to carry out. 

They live those activities. 

In early ages they can somehow connect reality with words. Thus they use their brains and make them develop. Also you can show them shapes – triangles, squares, circles, rectangles, made out of colorful cards or on the PC, and the next day you can ask them what rectangles they saw the previous day, in English, by showing them the shapes at the same time. 

You can ask them what object a triangle was, too. 

Just try a few days, so as to find out if it works with your kids. 

If they respond in their mother language, you could teach them how we call those objects in English. 

If they’re learning to read and write, you might show them flash-cards with names in English, so they would link the English word with the shape or the action. Repetition every day would foster all those processes. / Photo from: child with a computer. www edutopia org

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

1674. Oh, tests and exams. How to reach farther



Tests and exams measure the knowledge, and the communicative and practical competences our students have. 

You assess your students’ progress each and every day, in class, and perhaps you write down any grade or note about this or that student. 

Nevertheless you told me you wish to help your students prepare a test next time better than before. 

Tests and exams should include what you do in classes: the students oughtn’t to find different and new questions and activities than the ones you implement in the class. 

Tests ought to include three language skills at least: listening, reading and writing. You evaluate their speaking day after day. 

You can ask high-achievers and low-achievers in class about their learning strategies – in a word: what they do before a test. Their classmates can learn new and useful strategies, maybe things they hadn’t thought of before. Even, as you know your students, and your students’ tests, you can suggest a learning strategy. / Photo from: www bubblews com. girl playing the guitar

1673. Such is life in the classroom



You teacher, like me, have molded how to do an exercise from the students’ textbook, right? To a certain student, I mean. 

Unless anyone helps him try to understand an activity, he won’t advance. 

However do not tell him how to do the exercise, do not tell him the answer. Make him think from clues you tell him. 

Next time… you will have to mold again maybe, but he’ll be more skillful hopefully, and he’s so grateful to you for the help. / Photo from: teacher helping student. neatoday org

1672. Managing students' behavior



Once a teacher was insulted in class. 

On another day, the student asked the teacher for forgiveness. 

Okay, what you’ve got to do, said the teacher, is to come into the classroom tomorrow, and ask again for forgiveness in front of your classmates. The story ought to end well. 

That day, after publicly asking for forgiveness, the teacher smiled at her amicably. It was so TOUGH for the student to do that, that the teacher should forgive her again. 

This excuse was good for the student’s look in front of her classmates. And it’s so educative for her and her classmates. In that way the teacher got good from bad behavior. / Photo from: studentabroadmagazine wordpress com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

1671. Educating affection at school



On post # 1667 I wrote about the education of affection. 

Affection is first learned and educated at home, with our family. 

One way we at school can educate affection is by means of the regular conducting: regular relationships students–teacher during the regular classes: activities, reading books, tutoring sessions, etc. 

As well we can refer to the relationships among them students. 

For example a male teacher asks a boy at a tutoring session how he gets along with his new classmates. 

The teacher can educate by talking about friendship, discarding struggles among them students, loaning school material, how making friends of both genders. / Photo from: shine yahoo com

Monday, March 17, 2014

1670. Important things in our lives


Some mornings, when we have the class of English – notice I didn’t say “when I teach classes of English” – and some students are talking, I let them go on for a little while: they are people (adults) and they were talking about something important for one of the students. 

Other times, also they’re talking and I have some activity scheduled on my notes… but I don’t interrupt them: they were talking amongst them in English! / Photo from: people talking www sagetherapycenter com

1669. Greetings on Saint Patrick's day



Today I wanted to greet my Irish friends, for today we celebrate Saint Patrick’s day, also the ones who live in the USA and Spain. / Photo from: st patricks day parade 2011 sebastien band. in  Albany, the capital of the state of New York. alloveralbany com

Sunday, March 16, 2014

1668. Acquiring English since they're babies



Things are changing in Spain, I said on post # 1664. 

There are more and more bilingual schools. 

Infants acquire English since they’re pretty young. 

A teacher talks to them in Spanish, and another teacher does in English. And both are ways to communicate – to communicate with affection, which is the reason why we often communicate with other people, according to scholar Miguel-Ángel Martí. / Photo from: profesora con niños pequeños. magami blogs uv es

1667. Working with affection



According to philosopher Miguel-Ángel Martí affection is a subject matter nearly ignored by education and anthropology. 

And it’s affection what joins us people with one another. 

Affection should be treated in some way at school. 

And before that, within the family. 

The school is an aid, which would help the families educate their kids. There should be connection with the families concerning affection. And both, school and family, should look for truth in this field. 

I’m referring to a correct anthropological concept. Precisely because of that we have got to find truth. 

Any educative institution, from kindergarten to college, should treat this topic, affection. 

In reaching the correct affections our lives depend on. 

It is happy people the ones that love someone and feel being loved by someone – someone or some ones. 

We still have to pass on the subject of affection, as we try to pass on, in our kids, will, wish, knowledge, science, social competences. Right now it is enough with what I have written: we have to dive in this subject deeper and deeper. / Photo from: Rick Mastracchio working at ISS in a spacewalk in 2010 www newsfilter gr

Saturday, March 15, 2014

1666. Parents and teachers as protagonists of education



The translation of the text on post # 1665 could be:

In our philosophy, the goal is helping the families in their beautiful duty of educating their children, by facilitating these latter ones would discover the transcendent sense of their lives.

We carry out this duty by means of an individual education, taking into account all the aspects of person, fostering the unity of action and criteria for their families, the school and their free time.


Any suggestion about the translation? / Photo from: school and parents www businessweek com