Tuesday, February 28, 2017

3109. How to Improve as a Teacher

As I’ve advised you all, you could try and learn one or two or a few new words every day, if you’re a non-native second or foreign language teacher. In that way you can be piling and “rounding up” a vast vocabulary over time.
Well, now I’d tell you that you could utilize that new word and it’ll get stuck in your memory by using it. How? For example by using that word or one of those words even in the lessons you teach: you can use that word in a sentence when you’ve got to give your students an example of something you’re teaching.
Alike you can tell your students that was a word you’ve learned lately, and eventually that action could motivate your students to carry on learning English, because you’ve set a nice example and they can observe you may be somewhat excited with your new words. Your students will value and appreciate that struggle of yours, tentatively. You’re on the same learning pathway as them! You’re companions of “travel”.
Dedicate not a long lesson time to that exercise, so as not to butt into the ordinary teaching pace; so few minutes, like a couple of them may be enough.
/ Photo from: exoplanets-FB Kaspersky Blog. We teachers can teach basing our teaching in contents that might be interesting for our dear students: some of them might be interested in those exoplanets which have been discovered at 39 light years from us and whose sizes and characteristics may be similar to the earth’s: could there be life in them…? The picture above is not one of those planets, but an artistic recreation of another exoplanet.

Monday, February 27, 2017

3108. More on Fostering Communication

I mentioned and pinpointed smiling as a teaching aid for fostering communication in English, our common target language. Smiling, and a clever smiling, can lubricate communication among grown-ups, as more or less I said on post #3107.
Well, also among teens or children smiling can have an enhancing potential to create and make up that communication. It’s so because communication and speaking among people is one of the most remarkable differences between us people and animals for example, and we certainly laugh.
I was lucubrating and thought I should add this point to the last post information. Here you are. / Photo from: Meset What would we do without them at the school? They are great, lady cleaners or cleaning personnel. This picture is a homage to them.

3107. How to Foster Communication in Our Lessons

We second or foreign language teachers foster communication in the classroom, is it true? Okay then, let’s say all we need to say in that target language, as I’ve told you sometimes, even announcements! Albeit we’ll have to explain more and use more plain English (the target language in my case) and use the smartboard or chalkboard as a useful and helpful aid.
In our lessons there should be authentic and genuine communication, and not only “artificial” or “academic” communication, as a drill for instance and that’s it. We teach English for communication and not only for drills. Is that right?
There should be discussions, from an intermediate level upward, in the target tongue, but also at basic levels there could be some basic discussions or exchange of messages: something so nice anyway. From the lesson conducting and leading by us teachers we can foster and boost all that communication. Evidently also from the topics that arise in lessons, for example from their textbooks or tablets.
So communication will be present always, regardless the class level of English (remember, our target language). The teacher will also ask questions to stir the class atmosphere and will prompt too, for that sake. Thus he’ll be encouraging to communicate and will smile too, which may be a big help for naturalistic conversations and encouraging and inviting to speak in English, and using it in a relaxed atmosphere! / Photo from: school-children Emaze. We are training our school kids for globalization!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

3106. Still Educating Today?

Today I'm only saying that educating children today is not like educating children when we were little children, some forty years ago, right? The same as in teachers' case: teaching today isn't at all like teaching some forty years ago - well now we also have more means tan our old teachers had.

Because of that we need for example to read books and websites on educating and on teaching, is that alright? Think of it, let's think of it. / Photo from: Lexus-astronaut Lexus UK Blog. I dedicate this cute picture to all my readers and people who may drop past my blog! I take advantage of this posting to say that I'm optimistic anyway. If you have a peek at my blog or dive for a while in it you'll find answers and understand why...

Friday, February 24, 2017

3105. Let's ascertain the way each kid is!

Coming to the head, if we love our students, with benevolence love plus research as applied to lessons at school plus expertise, we'll achieve to educate each student from our classes the way he or she deserves and needs. And taking into account each student is unique.

Multiple intelligences? Rather multiple attention, maybe.

So let's call and summon their parents or family members to the school to have some words with them, and even more we'll learn from each student: you make out the way a kid is when also you meet his or her parents, is this right?

Let's see their parents at least three times a school year, but more often if possible - which it may be the case, as I can tell you from my own experience of all these years as a teacher. / Photo from: British Council

3104. More on Educating for Life

I’d like to share with you about multiple intelligences, because they’re applied at some friends of mine’s schools. However I’ve also found a lot of criticism about that issue, you know. Multiple intelligences… multiplying the concerns and problems maybe, maybe not. It's up to the way you implement the theory, and frankly my friends do it nice.
Look, do whatever you think wiser both out of the classroom and inside the classroom, and work as a team too.
It was a nice (some people say not reliable…) theory by American psychologist Howard Gardner toward the beginnings of the 1980s. Some other experts prefer to talk about mental habits and skills, but there would not be seven or even eight different kinds of intelligences, you know.
I also prefer to talk about multiple ways of learning and multiple learning styles and the like, you know. In the Web you can find quite a lot in favor and against. Philosophically it points at a problem, as I said someway: eight intelligences...
I assume my friends with their schools apply that principle in a nice way, with their feet on land and not building up air castles, as we say in Spanish, basically.
As far as I’ve found along my career as a teacher I’ve encountered the fact that each student is different and unique, and that’s it... And we teachers have to put in our dear students’ shoes and be prone to help them and motivate them as well.
Ok, let’s focus on a single idea or premise: I’m finding out about this theory and practice… and oh, I can see different learning styles to which you’ve got to apply your teaching abilities. Hey, each student is unique, and there’re two principles you’ve got to apply: love them with love of benevolence and try to motivate them for them to seize their own learning pathways – all of which is what my friends are doing ultimately (plus other nice adequate things: they’re aces at teaching!).
And if you have mixed-ability classes (as everyone has, as a matter of fact…) combine different kinds of activities in classes plus make high-achievers help low-achievers. Is it okay? I’ll write further about this point, in case any of those nice friends would write any comment... / Photo from: fishing3 Svino Stugby

3103. Educating for Life

Parents, and other elder siblings, cannot leave their children and their education to the care of the school and that’s it. This latter one is subsidiary to parents’ education and a great help no doubt!
Dad for example may not know how to teach German to their children but he will take care of how they learn German and all about this parenting mission in life: Do they like it? How does their teacher of German teach? Etc.
Parents, as Larry Ferlazzo and many other authors have recently and always said, should be engaged with their children’s education, even and up to some extent at school.
For example parents’ view and vision of their own work educates quite a lot. I mean parents’ general concept of work and precisely their own work. As well family’s notion of homework may educate pretty much, as you can infer from what’s been said so far.
Homework is important, paramount I would also say. It’s enhancing, consolidating and reviewing of what has been taught and eventually learned at school, according to expert Julio Gallego Codes (2004).
Parents and elder brothers and sisters have to set an example. For instance they could create a working atmosphere at home at certain times, even by talking lowly and respecting others’ homework, reading and studying. I’ve been to different family houses where this had been gently set as a kind of rule. / Photo from: father-son-talking www lds org

Thursday, February 23, 2017

3102. How to Face Mixed-Ability Classes

Today I also wanted to tell you that with my advanced level class we’ve had complete immersion in the target language, English. And we’ve discussed about important school points of logistics and about English conversation sessions, so bravo for them!
I also have an intermediate level class, with which I also use L1, which is Spanish, our common language, but I’d like to immerse the class in total English, if possible. I will try hard next lesson with them, which is next week. They hopefully will appreciate it. The point is creating an English language atmosphere and ambiance. Is it possible? We’ll see to it next week...
Anyway both classes are mixed-ability ones. / Photo from: stormy-day-at-the-Bodie-Historic-State-Park lovethesepics. The picture here is just a nice illustration.

3101. Good Teachers, Good Learners

Each and every student should be the protagonist of his or her own learning process of a foreign or second language.
How to accomplish this goal, we could ask. You know, he or she should apply some specific learning strategies to this point. Self-assessment and self-evaluation, so as to be more specific about what has been learned.
Also that person has to plan his or her learning and acquiring the language. What am I doing this evening when I had planned to spend half an hour at learning English? Or before an English class: How should I do to better understand listening activities, which are so difficult to me and I usually catch little yet? Okay (that learner can think) I will write some brief notes as I’m listening to the CD or DVD or podcast. And I will try to make up a thread with the main ideas about what the speaker is saying…
Autonomous learners achieve more because they propose some goals to themselves and try hard to pursue them. They’re reflexive about the way they learn. Alike that person can think, I should speak more with my teacher and my classmates – and some written notes will help the purpose.
And we could go on that way, but now I would ask, How can I make my students would become more autonomous learners if I’m the teacher? Well I could talk to them about learning strategies: I would ask them what they do for this and what for that, so as to make them become aware of their inner processes of learning and acquiring English.
Also I as a teacher will ask them to choose for example between either reading a text summary or conveying it by speaking, when precisely that’s the activity we’re carrying out right now. I could turn to Rebecca Oxford (1990 or something from the Internet, to start with: http://www.teacamp.eu/moodle2/pluginfile.php/1779/mod_resource/content/1/VDU/Oxford_2009_cp.pdf  or http://web.ntpu.edu.tw/~language/workshop/read2.pdf ), or I could read through the posts from this blog about learning strategies, at the right column of it, where the contents tags are displayed in order of occurrence.
Summing up I would make my students become aware of their thinking processes plus I would add some other strategies that are okay with me, in case they are useful for them too. The more they study and learn, the better students they’ll be! / Photo from: Person-Excited-at-Computer blog compete com. The picture might show a successful learner.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

3100. Plenty of Communication in English!

I’m concerned about the fact that with my lower-level class I utilize our mother language too much, to the detriment of English, our target tongue.
I don’t know quite well but we can be using Spanish up to some 8 to 10% of the allotted time. Which is much, I’d say. And I’d like it diminish.
Let’s do something: next lesson with that class is next Wednesday (because we have a long weekend, etc.) and I shall try to utilize English close to 100% of the assigned time, which is 55 minutes – so 100% is the goal, the desideratum. Albeit I'll have to explain more things in English!
We have to discuss about a class problem and we’ll do it in English (I will try rather hard but gently and nicely of course). Also at tomorrow’s lesson with the higher-level class I also will try to discuss about the issue all in English.
I can tell you about that small specific problem: few students can attend conversation sessions with a native speaker, namely an American volunteering college student whose name is John.
Obviously those sessions are free to attend: you attend them just if you like – they’re extra-school activities.
As I said I will discuss about this issue with those two groups of English language students… in English. The point is more students would be able to attend those English meetings.
We, teacher and students, can deal with this issue and with most issues in English – the thing is that I tend to use some Spanish because I attempt things get set and established clearly and I don’t want any misunderstandings… Let’s see to it! / Photo from: 5-tips-for-landing-your-dream-pharmacy-job Education Advices. With this picture I try to show an example of professionalism.

3099. How to Make Lessons Interesting

Our students have to gain a communicative competence, otherwise they won’t be able to understand nor convey their ideas, thoughts and feelings.
The foreign or second language learning process is paramount. And there, at that point, we teachers have to invest some great effort and commitment, right? Besides the culture vehicle is language, and if we want our students would learn and approach our culture, history and traditions, they should gain that communicative competence. As simple as that.
We have to provide and give our students the tools for communicating and conveying messages. Because of that also CBI, content-based instruction, is also paramount: we teach the language with contents, with meaningful contents.
I said we give our students the tools or language: let’s not forget the students are also the protagonists of their language learning process: the more they do the more they’ll gain that communicative competence. Learning but also acquiring the language I mean.
As I said on the previous post, #3098, we could provide our students universal literature books and readers. We teachers have to help our students gain the capability of reading, understanding and enjoying literature, maybe by means of readers, this is, simplified and abridged books. They can use a nice dictionary, a bilingual one, and we teachers could help them approach the process of reading and understanding a book… all in English!, which in our case is our common target language.
At the beginnings it may be a bit difficult to face up to a book all in English, but eventually and subsequently they’ll be able to face that nice reading and they’ll feel a big satisfaction, which is so motivating! / Photo from: www castles org

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

3098. Students Love Stories

Something our students should take up is reading. And since I’m an English language teacher I would advise reading novels or readers in that language. Readers are simplified and abridged books, for learners of English for example, and they may be pretty interesting.
Yesterday I wrote on homework, okay, readers are good homework. And something I would also recommend is that the first task our students should have to carry out is just understanding and enjoying what they’re reading. That’s something so educative, for their minds and for learning and acquiring English.
For instance classics of universal literature are rich in values, as I said on another post, and about which you can find further information by clicking on the tag “beauty as an educator”, from the tag list on the right column of my blog.
Even something we teachers can do is to create and run a classroom library, with readers at the students’ disposal. And when they have to do a test and some of them have already finished while their classmates are still writing their tests something they can do is borrowing readers from the library – in the school where I worked as my first job as a teacher we had a nice department library.
Yesterday I said something about homework: parents are the first people who must be interested in following and tracking their children’s homework, since they are their first educators. So not only teachers should be interested in carrying out that homework but parents and elder siblings too.
They will ask their children about their school activities, they’ll talk at home about what they’re learning and will foster the thirst for learning more and more. Weekends but also during the week those family relations will foster and boost talking about what they’re learning and studying, both at school and at home. / Photo from: castillo Arkhos com ar. A castle could be the scenery of one of those readers, which enrich our students’ minds and imagination, and make them think and develop their brains.

Monday, February 20, 2017

3097. Our Students' Real Interests

Personal and individual work by students hits the target. Homework is necessary. At home they can revise and review what has been learned at school, in case it is not a flipped classroom, for which you can find info at the tag of “flipped classroom” on the column at the right hand of this blog.
However students might not be able to know how to deal with studying English, which is our common target language. And for us teachers: what to assign as homework, only exercises and translations from English into Spanish, our common mother language?
At home or if they’re teens also maybe at a library they should re-read school texts for instance. Anyway homework should be also communicative, like school lessons themselves. Okay, the students should learn and practice grammar points but also use them for communication sake, into communicative activities, like writing an email they’ll read out at school on the following day, and much better if those students actually write an email to their teacher and about themselves and their interests, and the best ones would be read out in the classroom!
Homework should be twofold: studying and exercises, and not only these latter ones. There’s a part of their homework which could be studying and memorizing a grammar chart, but also they should use that grammar structure into something connected with their own real lives.
When I teach private tuition I give my students examples of sentences that have something to do with their own interests and lives, because the sentences from their textbooks or tablets could have nothing to do with them and so be not meaningful at all: remember our students are learning and acquiring English for real life and for getting a job within not many years because time flies!
Well then, I will say more things about homework on coming posts. / Photo from: Some-Ways-to-Improve-Mountain-Biking Sjfixed org. Students have their own interests obviously, like mountain-biking.

3096. My Students Are Eager to Participate!

I’ve just planned one of my lessons, for next Wednesday. And I’ve thought about what grammar patterns my students need to practice more, and about their growing communicative competence.
I presume that it’s sound to assess the class-group globally and infer what they need to practice more. I would say there are two strong points about my lessons: I have to make my students practice grammar points and they need a lot of discussion in English, our common target language.
When I discuss with them I assume that the main goal is to set that communication in English, though they may make some mistakes or errors. The main point is communication. And I think that with practicing grammar patterns they will be more able to communicate in English: they’ll have more weapons to talk in that tongue.
Besides they’re eager to participate and thus some chances for communication show up, which is so positive! Also I wonder if they’ll be able to polish their grammar mistakes and errors, and up to what extent? They’re grown-ups and have their minds very much “made”, but I’d like to win the battle of grammar: the aim is to commit fewer mistakes and errors.
Moreover and on top of that next Wednesday we will discuss if they’re coming the following Monday: Tuesday is a work feast and we don’t have classes, but are they coming on Monday or otherwise making a long weekend? We’ve got to talk about that point… in English and only in English. Let’s make for it! / Photo from: African Screens Wallpapers Nairobi Dusk. Did you think there would not be tall buildings in Africa?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

3095. How Are We about Professionalism?

I’m concerned and a bit worried. As you know I try to create immersion in the classroom. Immersion in English, my students’ and my own target language.
Well, you know, sometimes, not very much anyway, I use our common native language, namely Spanish. I utilize it to reinforce what I’ve just said in English. But most of the lesson is in dear language English.
Should I not shift into Spanish at all? Sometimes I say something small or rather small in Spanish to reinforce what I said and I think it needs clarification. Yet I should set “a nice example”, as a former teacher trainer, and maybe say all in the target language… What to do?
You know, there’s immersion in English but… there would be more immersion if I said all in that tongue. Tomorrow morning I could try to say all or 99% in our target tongue, couldn’t I? Ok, I will do it… and see what happens with my students.
Also I had written in my diary that also there’s communication in the target language, English. Am I doing right? I’ll do it – speak all in English or 99% - and let you know what results in the end! / Photo from: Waitress-01 menu-explain blogspot com. Any job worker should carry out his or her work in a very professional way, I assume. If a waitress, like a very professional waitress, with a lot of professionalism!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

3094. Sense of Humor and Motivation

We teachers should acknowledge and value our students’ contributions to the lesson! Also because that takes and means an effort, as I’ve said sometimes. And both if our students are grown-ups or if they’re teens.
The recognition has to be proportional to the effort invested, obviously. We can’t fall into flattery and adulation otherwise... So from a positive viewpoint we can tell them things like “That’s right!” and others. All this boosts our students’ motivation and pushes them to keep on carrying on with their tenacity and resolution, plus it could redirect some students’ starting and attempting disruptive behavior…
All this in the context of nice treating our students and making up a cordial atmosphere. Also all this has to do with sense of humor. We can have small laughs in the context of nice class management and discipline: where there’s discipline we can allow those small laughs.
The relationship must be human and humane. And this relationship with them in that way reinforces class management and discipline, definitely. All this fine treatment is quite educative, and helps make them thorough men and women! / Photo from: 2008-01_kosiuszko-canberra expedition toptotop org. The picture is just a nice illustration.

Friday, February 17, 2017

3093. The Thing is Communicating

Expert in learning a second or foreign language H. D. Brown stated that we teachers and learners of those languages should imitate a native speaker. And for that we could listen to podcasts and radio stations through the Web, where you can find radio stations from all over the world. Also at YouTube you can find interesting videos. Some days ago I found an interesting video about cockney English.
Some learners, and some teachers too, have gotten an accent and pronunciation close to a native one. Even I know a man of a Spanish origin but who has been living for many years in the US, and his friends and the people who know him say he sounds like a native speaker, even they don’t find any difference at all…
There’re people with more aptitude to imitate but every one of us can go far in this thing of imitating.
Anyway a field where I think it is more difficult to imitate a native speaker is in writing. I notice that my American friends write in a Spanish which you can easily note they’re foreigners. And the same happens to me regarding English. Learning and acquiring a foreign language is a life-long task!
My adult students are acquiring a level of English where they already have the so-called sense of the language, by means of which they can have a nice intuition both at understanding texts and producing nice language samples! Also they can for example more or less easily distinguish the difference between “special” and “especial”. / Photo from: people-talking

Thursday, February 16, 2017

3092. Using Visual Aids for My Lessons

I was thinking… I have two big helps for my English language lessons: the dictionary and the whiteboard.
I say to my students that the dictionary of English is like another teacher: it solves so many problems! I call it Mr. Dictionary. I could utilize my smartphone to look up words that show up in the classroom, but if I’m honest… I prefer the printed dictionary book: I can find words more quickly than in my mobile, turning to and accessing the Internet.
Often my students can find that word in their smartphones faster, and that also helps us a lot.
The whiteboard? It’s like an appendix or extension of myself, I would say. We don’t have a poor smartboard, but for our classes the whiteboard is okay, quite okay. Otherwise: no whiteboard no classes: I couldn’t stand without it! It’s, how should I say? That’s right, kind of myself or part of my body. I use it so often!
For everything: phonetic transcriptions, new words, examples, even drawings, presentations, explanations, more new words, brainstorming, smiling, more single words or phrases, a for-communication-aims thing… phew! / Photo from: how_to_learn_german_language Education Advices

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

3091. Discussions as Something so Educative

I’ve told you we teachers have to make our students think and engage their brains in intellectual activities. And once else that’s okay I guess.
We can teach our students, and help them learn superior intellectual activities, such as plan their work and their learning process up to some extent, synthesize, schedule their activities and free time, reason, understand what they read, summarize, evaluate their own work and study, apply their correct learning strategies, revise what they’ve learned, draw conclusions, comment on a text…
Those skills and activities make their work be something human, and are pretty educative. Also in the classroom we can help them apply those skills and activities, like for example reading a text aloud and silently, also on their own, and making up a follow-up discussion...
Remember I’m an English language teacher, and if it is possible, discussions are a paramount activity, because they develop their communicative competence, and that’s one of the foreign or second language main aims. As well that activity, discussions, may be so interesting to young people in the classroom, alike as for adults! / Photo from: MotoGP07_a_jpg  www the-laser com. We can touch topics our students like plus topics we think are interesting and educative for our students.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

3090. Are You a Moral Authority?

I’ve told you a lot about class management and discipline. Okay then, I would add that the teacher can have and should have a moral authority, with seriousness and gravity, young you may be though.
You are the person you are, but as the time passes, you’re gaining gravity and seriousness, with all your work done and carried out throughout the years of your career as a teacher. In other words, let’s see, it’s kind of a charisma. And all that force is felt around you in the classroom.
You may think you don’t have all that moral authority, but don’t worry too much: as I said you may be gaining it along years: carry out your everyday work the best you can, working with your students and having them working, and at the same time appreciating and esteeming them, and all that gravity will be gained, from the very first career years. Its source is your seriousness at work.
All that seriousness is transmitted to your students, even if you smile, because it’ll be a clever and intelligent smile, like the one that knows he is playing in his own stadium. And now so as to finish, you have the artillery force and background of your school department: tentatively your colleagues and the department head are supporting you. / Photo from: For The Curious Building the Wilshire Grand Los Angeles. Tentatively those workers are working safely.

Monday, February 13, 2017

3089. A Nice Atmosphere for Working

We teachers should create a nice atmosphere in the classroom where our students can work, learn and grow without stridencies. In that intellectual atmosphere our students will focus and concentrate on their learning and working.
They need silence and quietness. We can achieve that ambiance if we talk to them in a rather low voice. I’ve seen it: when you talk to your students in a rather low volume, they tend to get quieter, so as to listen to and understand you.
We teachers can try to make up all that nice ambiance in the classroom. For example when we want them to write a composition, a comp. That atmosphere will allow for thinking. We have to make our students think, which will allow for their neurons to connect with one another, if those students are children or young children, and if they’re teens they will make up their own personalities – also if they’re younger they will make up their personalities, of course!
For writing a composition they need to be prompted, stimulated and motivated. Thus compositions can more easily be written and made up after some previous activity, as a follow-up to that activity, for example working on a text from their tablets or textbooks. That previous text can stimulate their imaginations and minds for later composing the essay. / Photo from: faro tratarentreamigos blogspot com. We teachers have to shed light on our students’ minds and lives, what a responsibility!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

3088. Teachers' Affection and Attention

Some days ago an adult student of mine, after a lesson, asked me how we teachers could remember and recall our students’ names, even at the beginning of the school year, which isn’t the case anyway. I told him it is an ability that in some sense we teachers have.
It is practice, the practice of remembering our students’ names, characteristics and traits, as many class-groups have passed through our hands throughout years. However also it is because of the affection we have to each of our students: you can recall the names of those people you value in some way or another.
As well I’ve noticed that memory, up to some extent, is like an elastic ability you can train. A teacher once told me that she could remember many target language words because she had expanded her memory because of many times trying to learn new words and terms. She had acquired kind of a photographic memory. And any teacher could acquire that kind of memory, if he or she practiced the process of learning new words, over and over again.
On top of that when I was a child I also admired that teachers’ ability of treating and addressing each student of theirs, with respect and by their names. / Photo from: www responsiveclassroom org

Saturday, February 11, 2017

3087. Are Our Students Happy?

A teacher must be able to empathize with his students in the classroom. He should be able to feel the sentiments of his students and how they react to his teaching and prompts.
Even he should be able to change what he had planned for that lesson if necessary! Even more he should plan his lessons with his students in mind, taking into account also that two class-groups are never the same and each one needs a special attention and assisting from him.
If that teacher feels his students are not understanding what he’s saying, he should change and make a clearer discourse. As well he will rope his students in the class or lesson by having them intervene and participate, also he will let some students participate more if they’re eager to do it and it’s good, suitable and appropriate for them.
I said something about anxiety on the last post. He will detect some possible anxiety in some of his students and will try to make them feel better; also I said that we teachers have to be sowers of peace and joy. He will find his students’ flaws and lacks, alike he will find his students’ strong points and will know how to take advantage of those strong points: it would be a fault not to discover their strong points to make them perform according to their good qualities...
That teacher will avoid his high-achiever students get bored and dull. So returning to the first premise I said something about on this post, he will empathize with his students. Oh, and he will be able to recognize any possible bullying attempt. / Photo from: people-happy-cheering bachflowerssingapore wordpress com

Friday, February 10, 2017

3086. No Anxiety in Our Classes Please

Second or foreign classes by nature are mixed-ability ones and have different communicative levels, maybe pretty different ones... It’s something I see every day. And the teacher shouldn’t confine his or her teaching to either high-achievers or low-achievers. Let’s think of it, because this is paramount.
What to do? Maybe teach at different levels, combining two kinds of levels… which isn’t simple but we could try it. So the point isn’t confining to teaching high-achievers or low-achievers.
Even something nice we could try is for high-achievers to monitor or to explain things in English to low-achievers – English is our target tongue. The point is that we teachers should not teach and expect a level they cannot give: we teachers should be sowers of peace and joy, and not sowers of anxiety.
Something else which is quite educative for high-achievers and also makes them invest a nice effort is for them, as I said, to explain things in English to low-achievers, what do you think? Sometimes low-achievers would understand other high-achiever classmates better than us teachers! And alike, so as to finish, I would add that we should gently praise low-achievers or disruptive students when they hit the target on the center, when they give a nice answer or response! / Photo from: madre e hija discreame blogspot com. The picture is just a nice illustration.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

3085. When I Taught Young Kids

If you’re a children teacher plus a foreign or second language teacher I would tell you something indispensable to utilize at the classroom is realia. Real things or realia.
When I taught young children in Jaén (south of Spain, a nice town), some twenty years ago I was recommended to use them, otherwise my students would not have understood me in English, our common target language. I was told by kind and great Mary Jane Amaya to use real objects and stuff as a vehicle for my students to understand me and learn English.
Young children cannot think of abstract things, so they need to see realia or real things. I can recall that I brought and should have brought to the classroom: ingredients of food packs, some basic foods, a salad ingredients (great Lucas Huijtbregts even used to make and cook a salad with his young students and in the end they ate up the salad they had made; sorry Lucas if I misspelled your last name), stationary material, fruits, posters (visual aids), etc.
Now I’d say and reckon those children classes were for specialized-in-young-children teachers, not for me maybe. Thus and therefore classes were colorful and picturesque, with all those things; things those students could see, touch, eat… I can now recall all those classes and the school with great affection. / Photo from: untitled elementary student chalkboard cnnn com. That nice school was and is single-sex education, so there were a male school and a female one in that town, of the same education corporation I mean.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

3084. Are We Happy?

Men and women, by nature, have to connect with other people. As simple as that.
And they are happy if they seek other people be happy too. It’s something by nature. Men and women are social beings. It’s natural for men and women to wish and seek what’s good to others. Men and women are happy if they have friends. Friends to whom they may wish happiness.
It’s the way things work and turn out well. Teachers are happy when they seek goodness to their students – plus their colleagues and students’ parents. So are things. It’s something we can’t change.
Everyday teaching seeks goodness and happiness to students. I know you teachers try that way. Even because you’ve read so far, until this line of the post. And every single day, since you’re committed teachers, try hard to do things well. I’ve seen it.
Why do I say all these things today? Look, there’s a huge and deep thirst for plenitude, happiness and love, among men and women today. And you can see it in novels and movies for instance. Today men and women cannot quench that deep thirst with mere substitutes: today men and women look for real happiness and real and authentic love. You can turn around and see it everywhere. If you’re a bit perspicuous you’ll notice it everywhere. / Photo from: teacher-explaining-grammar-to-student www lifed com

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

3083. How Good Learners Communicate!

I’ve already told you that good learners, good language learners utilize learning strategies, and this point is something that makes them learn a lot!
On the label or tag column, at the right hand of my blog, you can click on “learning strategies”. And one I use and recommend to use is for those chances we don’t know a specific word in English – which is my target language. When I don’t know a word in that marvelous language and I do need it I use a paraphrase; in other words I explain its meaning, as simple as that.
My students have already been taught about this great learning strategy. Also it’s a communication strategy, as you can see. From time to time I remind my students of it. And this is this evening’s post: a simple point for everyday use of English as a foreign language! / Photo from: o-MOTHER-TEEN-SON-facebook www huffingtonpost com. The picture is just a nice illustration.

3082. Engaging Brains into Something Interesting

We foreign or second language teachers foster communication inside the classroom, and that’s okay, and that’s one of the main methodologies today: the communicative approach.
However we could foster real communication, couldn’t we? Instead of the students giving a simple answer we could ask them further, by amplifying the answer: let’s settle real communication, let’s make our students think over.
Communication should be real and respectful, thorough and humane, educative and rich in values, deep and not just superficial. At least let’s ask them further questions, to create a nice discussion. There should be real discussions, deep ones, what-else-like ones, rich in contents. Let’s introduce some follow-up.
For example if they give as an answer the way the story protagonist thinks, let’s ask them more about that way of thinking: kind of, Do you think the same way? Do you agree with her? Why? In few words, let’s deepen into our students’ answers.
A friend of mine used to say we language teachers ask a lot of questions, but rather useless ones… Let’s deepen into the texts from their textbooks or tablets. Another example that can be interesting to us teachers and to our students too is history, or science and technology. Our students have to learn how to think, how to engage their brains.
Even in my former school we had English-language textbooks that brought about ethics, school ethics, for example about friendship and bullying. / Photo from: classroom1  now dartmouth edu

Monday, February 6, 2017

3081. To Irish People but Not Only

I dedicate this post to my Irish readers, plus an amazing photo from Ireland. Thank you, Irish people! I learned a lot when I was with you, in your fantastic country. I also greet the many Irish people who live in the US too. / Photo from: HD Wallpapers Only

3080. Motivation and Sense of Humor

Something that unites me with my students, and which you could do if you like and think it’s okay with you is that after the lessons, often, I thank them for their attention and contributions to the class.
I can tell you the class gains a nice rapport! Also sometimes at the end of the class I make up a brief summary of their work that day, just some words. I tell them kind of, okay, we’re advancing and progressing at this or at that. They’re so nice and give me back and return thanks for my teaching the lesson.
All this I guess could be done with also young students, teens for example. Alike you could say what they have got to improve, at the same time that you say their achievements. You can imagine how much this motivates them and makes them realize they’re carrying out a nice intellectual work.
As I said all this unites students and teacher, in a big way! You may try it at classes and see how it works! I remind you that currently I teach grown-ups. / Photo from: desktop-flying-bird-wallpaper. I dedicate that photo to bird-lovers.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

3079. On Class Management and Motivation

Besides your students will feel addressed by you, one by one, through that nice smile, and it counts for motivating them plus making themselves feel under nice discipline and class management! / The picture might show a teachers team.

3078. A Nice Week!

I would advise you to treat with affection the people that work and live and coexist with you.
Namely for example tomorrow Monday have an affectionate glance and looking at your colleagues – the other teachers – when you arrive at school. Also at your students’ parents and families, at next parent meeting, and as well at your students, tomorrow, as I said, when arriving at the first classroom.
Comb the classroom with an affectionate smile, a smart and clever one, perfectly compatible with sane class management and discipline, because it’s an intelligent smile, not a lenient one. Even more, that smile can be a signal of some firm class management and discipline, and it might show you have the class reins and control. They will appreciate that smile! / Photo from: 010104_0610_0035_nsls masp.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

3077. Making Friends?

I was leafing through a magazine for learning English, featuring varied topics, and once again I made the resolution to every day dedicate some minutes to learning new vocabulary, maybe from my Oxford Dictionary of English, which was a Christmas present from some friends.
Today Saturday I wanted to say that novice and rookie teachers at our schools should be monitored during and through the first years of their job as teachers, say, for the first three years at least.
Veteran teachers can do this task in a nice way, and I know about this point from my own experience. Also from my experience I would say that male teachers could monitor male green teachers, and the same for female teachers: a novice teacher can suffer through dire straits at the beginning of his or her career and can subsequently reach a close friendship and intimacy with the veteran colleague – many teachers think that way too.
Even this task or small job could be instituted at our schools. As well this point can serve the purpose of passing on the school philosophy of teaching to those nice rookie teachers. Give it a try? / Photo from: 02451g-comportarse-oficina-trabajo ComoHacerPara com

Friday, February 3, 2017

3076. Acquiring a communicative competence

A good online dictionary you asked? I’d recommend you Wordreference.
I just came back and arrived home from my lesson with grown-ups, an English language lesson. They’re great. They wish to learn English and acquire a really good communication competence, and they’re achieving it, yes sir.
They’ve been talking with one another about getting together after my classes for them to carry on speaking in English, on their own. They’re great, those people!
Today one of them asked me some questions about grammar, about the usage of some similar verbs in English, and even he, a great fellow, made up a theory about a grammar point, from what he could deduce and infer. The theory turned out to be false, but I congratulated him anyway because he made up a language theory, and that’s totally positive.
He needs the grammar as a skeleton for real talking fluently in English. That is about a paramount point for adults learning a language: they tend to use their own learning strategies.
Another example of a learning strategy is collecting words of this or that kind. I foresee he’s gaining a nice communicative competence! I would tell you further about him but I guess I should keep a nice job secret: other classmates view my blog and I oughtn’t to say more about him. All I say now is that he’s great – well every single student is great, for they voluntarily wish to embark in the nice process of learning English, for communication with native speakers, for traveling abroad, for visiting their sons or daughters in Britain or Ireland… / Photo from: entrevista-trabajo-enlace-digital-esradio Diez consejos para superar una entrevista de trabajo Libre Mercado. The photo is just a nice illustration for the post.