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Showing posts from November, 2016

3044. My Students Love Stories!

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Who has not worked on readers and abridged and simplified books when teaching English or any other language? They’re great. In my opinion the first goal is for our students to understand and enjoy and delight what they’re reading. The main point when reading a novel can be enjoying reading it. For that goal our students should be able to understand what they’re reading, and so they might have to look up some words in their dictionaries or online dictionaries. Or they could try to guess the meaning of new words from the context, which is good practice for them! Moreover classics and other books bring about educating values: generosity, love, friendship, patriotism, endurance, honesty, sincerity, courage, magnanimity, professionalism… Those books foster kind of a school of values and virtues alike. Besides they can be useful as assigned homework, but always taking into account our students also have other school subjects and probably other homework tasks to fulfill. As well at home the …

3043. On Nice Class Management

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I’ve written for long about class management and classroom discipline, and you can consult the labels or tags at the right column of my blog. Okay then, I would add that the best discipline is the teacher’s moral authority, the one gained because of his prestige as a teacher. Moreover also the best discipline is self-discipline: the one gained by some students that are convinced they wish to learn and acquire English. I’ve seen it in real life. As well and in order to reinforce those discipline and class management the teacher can, from time to time, talk to his students about the positive value that is paying attention and behaving well: they will gain more than if otherwise they become disruptive. Discipline and class management are built day after day, with a perseverant labor and welfare at the classroom, both by the students and by their teacher. Thus we as teachers can converse, discuss, talk at the classroom with our students for these latter ones to get persuaded the best thin…

3042. Let's Be Watchful at School!

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Let’s be careful, because some of our dear students could be suffering from solitude and loneliness, although they may be surrounded by their classmates and teachers. I knew a case, a classmate of mine when I was a schoolboy, when I was 12 or 13 years, who felt so lonely. His name was Sebastián and had a tragic end. From here I make him a homage. So both teachers and students should be on alert. Better if male teachers receive male students’ pains and sorrows, and the same for female teachers and female students. Tutoring sessions can be a nice chance to observe and learn about these problems. Let’s be watchful because those poor students could be not sharing their wounds with other people, neither with their families... We people are not made to live in a lonely way: we need other people and other people need us too! A person develops himself by counting on others. Oh, and there could also be lonely teachers as well – think of novice teachers for example. Also we count on God, and th…

3041. Do You Empathize with Your Students?

We teachers should also talk with our students apart our classes. And we’ll do so in order to be updated about their likes, with prudence. Even more if we’re over 40 years, I would say. In other contexts different from classes themselves we should chat with them, and also they will get to know us better, in other contexts, as I said. Because of that it may be sensible to run short excursions or escapes from the school. Our students thus will see we’re human and normal people. We might positively influence on their education thanks to and due to the prestige we will have gained from our teaching and classes, well sketched and drafted – remember I told you we should plan each and every lesson. We have to be updated about their likes, with a convenient prudence. Do we know about their videogames, cell phone gadgets, etc.? Or otherwise we think any past time was better than now? We teachers and adults in general should be enthused with modern times, which have both positive and negative t…

3040. Enjoying their Textbooks?

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In Spain at least many students don’t know how to study English and its correspondent school subject, and therefore they also fail at learning and acquiring that language. They don’t know what to do with their textbook and activity book, for training for a test for instance. It is a school subject so different from History, Biology, Chemistry, Literature, etc. Therefore too there’s a big failure at getting good grades: those students get bad grades definitely. There was a case in which a student one day thought of carefully re-reading the texts from the textbook at home, trying to understand the gist of the story plus each sentence within that story… and he did improve his grades, over time! No one had ever told him how to treat those texts, which on the other hand were interesting – a story about some specific characters, and funny besides. Those students who do not know how to study, moreover, have to face up with tests they do not know how to answer: they weren’t trained for that a…

3039. Teaching? Awesome!

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I’ve been writing for long about teaching English and educating our students. Since 2009. I do like to teach and educate, in their parents’ name. I like to treat people, both young and adults as well. Teaching and educating are just great. You know that you can leave a nice and fine trace in your students: what you teach and educate now, and the way you carry it out is like a seed that will yield fruit soon and during all their lives too. What a responsibility! Whatever you do and whatever you don’t do influence on our students for a great deal. What teachers can we remember and recall more frequently and better? Those ones that were really good teachers, right? They planted a seed that configures your life for a lot, doesn’t it? The idea you have about life influences on your students, and this is irremediable. Perhaps teaching is a job that can gratify for deals. Perhaps it is one of the jobs that can hurt you most or otherwise gratify you most. It is nice and beautiful to be a teac…

3038. Just for Fun

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Today is a rainy day in Granada, south of Spain. Kids enjoy rain a lot.

3037. Freedom at Our School Lessons?

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Only can we educate our students if they’re free. They should be able also to choose extra-goals we may plan for them. There are goals for everybody, and there could be goals for those students who would wish them, who would like to expand their knowledge and skills as well: listening, speaking, reading and writing, in English, their target language. For example you may think of high-achievers: when they’ve reached common goals for everybody they could choose extra-activities, or something else we teachers can implement in our lessons is for high-achievers to monitor low-achievers, sitting next to them. If our dear students are educated in the context of freedom and liberty, they subsequently should have responsibility. Freedom and responsibility should go parallel and together. “Responsibility” comes from “response” and “respond”: one nice and fine way for our students to respond about their duties as students is doing tests, in which they have to respond some questions or activities…

3036. Our Job as Teachers Is Great!

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In order to educate our students we have to love them. In order to teach them English and help them learn and acquire that language we need to love them. Otherwise we cannot educate them, neither can we teach them English! The school should be a home extension: we teach our dear students English because their parents cannot know all the knowledge areas, competences and skills we specialized teachers can teach them. School is a home extension: we’re teaching and educating daughters and sons of families. Their parents have entrusted them to us to be taught and educated! Which means a big and nice responsibility, doesn’t it? If we love our students with love of benevolence, we will wish the best for them. This entails specific and tangible everyday things and actions. We will actually address each student, which implies looking in their eyes, and maybe treating them as if they were the only student in the classroom. I try to treat them as children of God, and that helps me quite a lot. P…

3035. Discipline and Class Management

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Are you concerned about discipline and class management? Today I would tell you that the teacher who respects his students, and is serious in the classroom, and plans his lessons and tries to improve his teaching, that teacher will gain his students’ respect. More likely than not. He will be respected by his students. Over time. Be patient. Also if you love your students with love of benevolence, this is, wishing and seeking their good, you will be respected and loved, over time, with also love of benevolence. No doubt. More likely than not. I can assure you from my experience. Get interested in their things. For their benefit. Get interested in their learning. Sometimes students may be disruptive because they can’t learn and work well, and they see no sense to learning. With passing time, when you’re gaining their respect, you may feel the need of even smiling, with a challenging smile, attracting your students to the challenge of learning. / Photo from: backingham palace guards The …

3034. Working with People is Nice!

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I just realized about the point that for our profession as teachers “the other people” is of a paramount importance. We live and earn our living by “the others”. For us teachers communication among people is pretty important, isn’t it? Every day we’re building up relationships among people and we don’t know how to live without “the others”. “The others” are our dear students, their parents, our colleagues, the lady cleaners, the school cooks, the admins… Either we know how to build up nice and human and humane and humanitarian relationships among all of us each and every day or we’re building up something-against-the-person. But stay calm, for us teachers, each and every single day are building up, or trying to build up, nice relationships. We don’t know how to live without other people. Each and every single day we face up innumerable occasions and chances to build up nice relationships among persons, though our students might not be willing to build up those relationships… sometimes…

3033. Avoiding Boredom in the Classroom

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It is also sensible we teachers should have scheduled goals and objectives concerning our teaching labor, and with our students in mind. So those goals would be general and the same ones for everybody. However it could be also sound to have extra-goals for those students who can progress more, and otherwise, with no extra-goals they would get terribly bored in our lessons... As well they could be objectives or goals those high-achievers might freely choose – it is clever to give freedom and responsibility to our students, and educate them in those freedom and responsibility. In my case, as I am an English-language teacher I used to provide extra-material for those high-achievers. Namely and specifically I used to hand them material for training for First Certificate level of English, according to Cambridge University, or in other words B2 level of English, the first professional level of that language – it’s high-intermediate. In the school subject of English, moreover, there are very…

3032. A Friendly Atmosphere in the Classroom

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Yesterday I wrote that it’d be okay we second or foreign language teachers would speak in the language we’re teaching to our dear students, and it’s so; and also I said that I usually speak in English to my Spanish students, before and after the lesson. But think that communication among people is the first priority for us human people, and for teachers and students too, obviously. Anyway, communication can be held in English, the target tongue. We can enhance and facilitate communication before and after the class with a challenging and helping smile: we can be pushing and gently compelling our students to take risks and speak in English, our common target language. With creativity and a helping smile we can build up communication in English, which will help our students step forward and use that tongue. However I could also tell you about the experience a female teacher told us about: she used to have nice conversations with their students, female ones above all, before the class, w…

3031. Immersion, Communication and Motivation!

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If you’re a second or foreign language teacher I’d advise you to speak in that language to your students at the classroom, all the time. The more you speak in the target tongue the better. What’s more, try to speak only in that language or 99% of the allotted time for your classes. That’s the only way for our students to acquire English for example – if the case. This is, our students will be acquiring English and not only learning it. With massive clear though English our students can gain that tongue. We have to be careful because we easily may have the temptation of turning to our common mother language, this is Spanish, for an easy translation. And we would so be not doing our students any favors. Besides by using the target language and so making up immersion in English in the classroom we are motivating our students to also speak in English, for we’re creating an atmosphere in which English is the communication vehicle! Let’s take advantage also that the USA president elect Mr. …

To a Friend and to All of You Too

Oh Bernardo, of course I remember you, of course I mean it. My congrats for being training for B2 level of English. And glad to hear from you. I tried to post a comment but it won’t work. I wish you all the best. I’ve seen you hanging around in the cyberspace sometimes. You’ve got my prayers. Readers, he was an old friend of mine. Like I said I tried to post a comment but Ooops, something failed so I gave up and wrote a post. Spanish youngsters are training for English language examinations. More and more.

3030. My Lesson Goals Are High!

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I reckon we teachers should plan each and every lesson, and we have websites with material by real teachers, and that’s pretty nice. Also we should think of a specific goal or a few goals for those lessons we plan. For example: to give a summary of a text by speaking, and that’s also okay. Sometimes the objective or goal can be more general, as for instance to practice speaking. But do we teachers have specific goals for the whole school year? It’d be sensible and you may agree with that assertion. In other words, we should propose short-termed goals and long-termed ones as well. Alike we could concretize some tendencies, which could be trends our dear students should take over time, but they’re not very specific goals, like to gain a communicative competence in English, which is the language I teach, as you know. Or I help my students learn. Those tendencies are like attitudes we foster at lessons. Sometimes we’ll plan just activities, but with an implicit goal in mind, like for exam…

3029. Our Job as Teachers Is Just Great!

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Our students have many different school subjects: math, science, history, sports, a foreign or second language, grammar, spelling, maybe religious doctrine, biology, chemistry… And there should be something, some thread which should unite all those knowledges, skills, paradigms, practices, lab practices. By the way, we may enjoy teaching those disciplines: I do! Something unitive can be joy, yes, a somewhat mature intelligence, a joyful one, which knows how to be over all those subjects, taking them to a common goal: personal growth. In the school subject of English, which one I teach, so I’m the master of it at the classroom, I can ask in English about what my students are learning at all those subjects: What are you learning in history? And I can help my students talk about those knowledges in English, so I will provoke, say, a conversation in English, a real and naturalistic one, for some minutes. Above I said joy can unite, join and combine all those subjects: a smart student can o…

3028. Students Monitoring Students: Awesome!

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I’ve noticed that something nice works fine at our lessons: a student explains to a classmate of his something I just explained but it wasn’t clear enough to some of my students. The first student explains the same I explained but with his own words, which make the second student understand better. Even sometimes we teachers can set monitor students to help low-achiever students. They may sit next to a low-achiever student and help him carry out the activities they have to do, at a silent allotted time within the lesson. It works and turns out fine! Have you ever tried so? It’s sensible. Also because the monitor improves his grades, his attitude at learning, his aptitude to learn, and he matures quite a lot. I’d advise you all to implement it: you’ll get amazed about the results. Spanish expert at learning Víctor García Hoz explained that in the seventies some research was carried out about this kind of monitoring and the results were also fine. Give it a try yourself. Even more in th…

3027. Are Our Students Free to Learn?

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Without our students’ responsibility we cannot educate. Responsibility is when the student can response about his behavior – “responsibility” and “response” have the same Latin root, as you can observe. He’s free, and subsequently responsible of his conducting, behavior and learning. “Subsequently” not in time but at the same time he’s free. And he can learn only because he wishes, because he wants to! Otherwise he won’t learn at all. We teachers can teach but the student can only learn if he wishes. Learning English is a free situation and process. The supreme and an everyday moment also is responding an exam or test. The teacher asks him for his responsibility: he can show what he knows and about his communicative competence – tests and exams should be communicative: we’re teaching how to speak in English (and how to write, to read, to listen), and not mere language facts or theories! Let’s be careful: we cannot confine our teaching to just facts, but we should help the student reac…

3026. Ask Me Questions

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We English-language teachers often ask our dear students about different things; we ask them a lot of questions, right? But can our students ask questions? That’s a good question, isn’t it? Our students must learn how to make questions too, not only answer them. With my adult students we’ve practiced this activity with long sentences, with many complements we can ask about, like for example “Mary arrived at the airport at 6:00pm, to take a flight to Norway, where she would spend the Holy Week holidays with her grandparents.” About that sentence we could ask: Who arrived at the airport? Where did she arrive at? What did she go to the airport for? Why did she go to the airport? And other questions with Where? When? Whom with? Etc. (well not many more questions, as a matter of fact). As you all can see we also practice past simple for questions, with the auxiliary verb “did”, except when “Who” is the subject of the verb. First I ask the students questions that they’ve got to answer, and …

3025. As Free as a Balloon!

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We teachers have to educate our students in an atmosphere of freedom, freedom and the subsequent responsibility, subsequent not in time but at the same time they exert their freedom. They will be able to learn if they’re free to do it! Only the person who wishes to learn will learn. I can recall a teacher that told me that I used to scold the students that were chatting in class, and that teacher told me, ok you’re right you have to gently scold them or call their attention, but ultimately they should be free to actually learn: only those students who want to learn will learn. Because learning is so a personal thing. The best discipline is self-discipline: when the students interiorize and learn that they have to learn, they will behave themselves. Discipline is not just an exterior thing, a set of rules you set in your classes, but a personal thing. Paradoxically only those students that are free will behave all right! They have to want to, they have to wish. And we teachers what we …

3024. Educating Today

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Teachers aren’t the only and main educators of young people. It is parents, and families too – elder siblings for example – the ones that have the unique mission of educating their children, right? We teachers are an extension of their home, and we educate in their parents’ name. So we should talk with those parents frequently. And we have to educate parents to fulfill their beautiful mission as parents. Something specific we can do to help educate their children is to call parents to the school, to hold some tutoring sessions with them. I know at some centers there’s no available schedule for this duty, but I presume that’s something we teachers should do, is that so? I presume yes. Today parents cannot confine their mission to just bring children to the world, but they have to learn how to educate those children. I mean, in the past parents could educate their children as something natural and that’s it, but now they have to learn how to educate, and here we teachers I think can do …