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Showing posts from April, 2017

3172. When Our Students Are Great!

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Our students have great potentialities, most of them, a vast majority of them! If you’re a principal or a head teacher also you should learn that your colleagues have big potentialities too! We’ve got to discover and find them! If we trust in people – students or teachers – and we give them responsibilities and some chances of having initiatives, they usually respond well, and they will take up those tasks, those assigned tasks. As if they were something of their own. And they’ll embody that common project. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it in many many cases along my career as a teacher. It’s something great. Both if the students are teens or grown-ups. We teachers will have to encourage our students and explain things well to them. Of course we can encounter cases when kids don’t seem to be on our side, but when we treat them aside, one by one, they react well. What I mean is that people, persons have great potentialities and capabilities. Sometimes they won’t meet our expectations but the…

3171. Applying Discipline Now!?

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Classroom management can be applied even at this long the school year is by showing ourselves teachers as serious persons. I mean we can get serious in the face and gestures, as if something important would be going on, which is the case! Also by showing silence and gazing and staring at our students. Not saying much. Silence may be pretty eloquent. This kind of classroom management not only does concern the respect owed to us teachers but also to the student him or herself. We apply classroom management because as well we want to respect our students, and we wish to form and educate students at their professional work, which is being competent students. Students are not born by knowing how to be a competent student, but we have to help them become those serious workers of their job as students. In the classroom there will be silence and peacefulness: that’s precisely the kind of atmosphere our students need to carry out their job as students. Alike we can address a few students when …

3170. When Teachers Are in Love

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We teachers have a lot to say to our students, their families and all humankind. Also if we’re Christians. A lot of people live as if God our dear Father would not exist. And he does! A friend of mine doesn’t believe in God and the poor man lives as if we human people would be the victims of fate. And that’s not the case at all. I respect my friend a lot, and listen to him. And that transcendent stuff can be said and shown in our everyday teaching and working. We teachers are or may be great humanists, and have the elixir of happiness or may have it. A creature, a person, who listens to our teaching can feel comforted because of our competent working, and trying our dear students would learn a lot of useful things for their lives as citizens of this our dear western world. I’m referring to both knowledge and abilities as well. We teachers don’t confine our work to just fulfilling a report or chart we have to show to our boss: we can have a great soul with plenty of human ideals. By th…

3169. On Men and Women

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I’ve been resting for some time with my family. Now I’d like to say something in favor of women. First premise: I learn quite much from my female students. They have some perspicacity men don’t have, or not at the same level. They learn and acquire English in a particular way, from which I can learn a lot. They have their love for specific details and little things a lot of men don’t have, or again not at the same level. If you saw the details I encounter in them, you’d gain a vision which is beautiful. I could say many positive points about them. By the way, all my current students, and also within a few months, are adults. More things can be said in their favor. They also have a shrewdness and perception as well men have at a different level. You have to count on them and on their opinions. Regards young students, teens and children, on the other hand, I prefer to have lessons for boys and lessons for girls. Many teachers I’ve met coincide in the same way and vision. Well, it’s just…

3168. Just for Fun

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I'm a bit resting today. I have a lot to say on coming posts. Today I wanted, as I said, to rest and to express my love for Ireland and her people and her folk-lore. - I think I've been to the castle on the picture: I guess it's Cashell, is that right? It's in the center of the island, a bit to the west.

My family roots come from the north of Spain, Cantabria namely, where the Celts settled a zillion years ago and whose landscape resembles Ireland in some way. / Photo from: helloireland com

3167. How to Learn a Vast Vocabulary

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We foreign or second language teachers need to learn the vocabulary of that language, if we’re non-native. We need the words to communicate in that tongue, English in my case and my students’. Also in order to teach it. What can we do? For example reading a text with new vocabulary, from the Web, from novels, etc. The fact of looking up a word in the dictionary or using an online dictionary like Wordreference and thinking of that word makes you learn English vocabulary. An action like that – looking up the word – makes you learn the word. And if you see that word again, later on, it will ring a bell to you and it will be easier to retain and learn. You’ll be learning a rather vast lexis! With practice and continuity, of course. That’s an example of a learning strategy, you may have others. Over time you’ll find you’ve learned a vast lexis, and you’ll be able to teach an ample vocab to your students too. The teacher can give what he has, and not what he doesn’t. If he knows many words …

3166. I Write for Nice Committed Teachers!

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I’m reading an interesting book about what Pope Francis is doing in favor of immigrants, the homeless, girls that may fall in prostitution networks… He has done quite a lot for them and keeps doing things for them. Something else could be done by us teachers. I live in Europe, the target and finish of many immigrants that travel across the Mediterranean Sea to find something better than in their origin-countries, submerged in endemic wars. Many of them die on the way here. Something may be done. For example I know many teachers and young people that invest their free time by doing things in favor of for example the elderly: old people that live rather lonely. And they are doing something great! Summer is coming, and also I know teachers who are volunteering for English camps for boys or for girls, and that’s great too. Also some of those teachers are assisting at urban summer camps, as well by doing things for kids, like for instance teaching English as a foreign language. Maybe we ca…

3165. Treating Our Students in a Nice Way for Success

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We teachers have some or many students, okay. But each student is unique and worthy to pay attention to, as you know. Let’s treat our students with tenderness and affection, for they could have so few people around who could love them. This doesn’t prevent from firmness concerning classroom management. What is more, attention, affection, even some kind of clever and intelligent tenderness are great boosters of a sane classroom management: when we love, with benevolence love, our students, in the long term, will respect us. And not too much in the long term – also in short. Now I’m thinking of a summer course we ran in a school of Jaén, south of Spain. It was a program that offered remedies for students who had failed many subjects along the school year, before final September exams. Okay, those boys had a lot of hours of classes and studying at the large study hall or the classrooms. Discipline was rather wooden, do you say so? And those boys and young men, whom you might find they co…

3164. Dreaming Nice of Our Lessons!

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Thinking about our lessons, in a peaceful and tranquil way may be pretty sensible.

Something I carry out sometimes is strolling along a park or the countryside, and while I’m doing so I think of my students with ample lenses, trying to think what else they can do at their learning and acquiring English as a foreign language.

Also I think of the lesson plans themselves. For example lately I’ve thought of insisting on learning strategies in the classroom, having my students ponder about those techniques, and why we do such and such activities in the lessons.

As well I think of how much they can give from themselves and which the goals should be, as I said, with more ample lenses. It’s kind of dreaming high about what they can give. I said I do this sometimes: actually walking along someplace I do it rarely (but a few times anyway), and what I do more regularly is thinking and meditating about my students and our classes, short it may be though.

I do so because I can think of higher goal…

3163. How to Foster Fluency in the Target Language

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Some weeks ago I watched a video in the Internet about the educative school company where I taught in Jaén, southern Spain, and I got stunned: I saw a girl aged 12 or 13 from the female school of the city plus a young man from the male school speaking in fluent English, and it was all amazing, like they were totally bilingual. As a matter of fact more and more students of that institution can do so, and in many other Spanish schools too: the overall thing in Spain is changing, and on the street you can hear more English than twenty years ago, definitely. When I taught at that male school I didn’t make immersion in English, but now I would do it: it’s the only way our students can learn the tongue and also acquire it. Acquiring a foreign or second language entails and implies unconscious gaining the language in a particular atmosphere where the students are exposed to that tongue. We teachers have to create immersion in the classroom: that room is a piece of an English-speaking country…

3162. Nice Guys!

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So we have that the teacher has to smile. Also he has to thank his students for small services, like erasing the chalkboard or picking up a piece of paper. With this elegance he is pushing toward the direction of a sensible classroom management. On the previous post I mentioned God, as the basement which we can rely on. He’s in love with each person, and has a limitless affection of a great dad and a great mom, even more, more than all dads and moms together, of course. And the teacher also has to ask for forgiveness. Before I thought this would subtract authority to me the teacher, and that’s not the case. Even that action could reinforce our authority as teachers. Once I was told by the deputy head teacher or subdirector to ask for forgiveness to a kid I had applied a serious punishment on or something kind of that. This was reactive to me: I was discovering a new and fresh attitude in the classroom that works: it makes the teacher-student relationship more humane. And alike the tea…

3161. How to Smile at Students

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I insist on purpose: we teachers should smile. I told you about this on the previous post, #3160. The teacher has to accept, listen to, receive, morally embrace his students. It could happen, the kid could have his smiling teacher as the only smiling person around. This is perfectly compatible with classroom management and discipline. Even more, smiling can be very encouraging and classroom managing, because it shows the teacher has the classroom control. He should be joyful and optimistic. I can tell you all my optimism leans on the strong potentialities of the human person plus the deep and firm basement of leaning and turning to God. Many kids, well, every kid, or grown-ups too, need a stimulating person around. For this purpose also we have to make lessons very participative. Politeness and elegance make the rest, regarding classroom management. Plus fortitude, because the teacher has also to correct his students, telling them the truth and what’s upright, honest and honorable. Co…

3160. A Nice Way to Manage the Classroom!

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Okay, classroom management is an important point for our classes. The teacher could talk or present a point from his subject by smiling, which can be elegant and encouraging, but turning into a serious look if there arise some misbehavior. What I mean is that smiling can be even classroom-managing, and it might show the teacher has the class-control in his hands. But if you think that a serious look is better, there you are. Also politeness by the teacher, like thanking some small service by a student can sow a sane and upright classroom management. Plus the way we dress can help: it’s up to you, evidently, but an elegant “façade” may also help managing the classroom, and I’m now thinking of a teacher we had when I was some 14 years old. He was elegant and a smile was all the time on his face: he imposed respect, and he was kind and nice with us his students. And he did nothing special for managing us as students. Even his lessons were interesting and said something special to us teen…

3159. The Teacher's Duty of Reaxing Too!

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I have some stuff for posting, but today I wanted to write about something necessary both for the teacher and for the students, which is resting and relaxing. All that’s also one teacher’s duty, because amid other reasons the teacher has to spend long with his family and recover strength for next battle. By the way I pray God for peace in so many countries. As I was saying he should stay and remain with his family. In Spain for example we’ve had – where I live, in Granada – some short vacations or holidays, celebrating the Holy Week plus Easter. I was also thinking that the teacher has to learn how to keep his family in peace and harmony: it’d be strange a teacher would be able to pacify the classroom and not his own home… And this harmony passes alike through politeness at home: thanking the helping out, asking for in a nice and kind way, etc. And concerning the spouses I could say that there should be communication between them two, for instance when their kids are already in bed or…

3158. How to Train for Exams

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How to train oneself for exams and tests? Daily. Every single day. That’s the answer. I mean: through classes and personal work and studying. And the teacher will help his students by telling them about adequate learning strategies, plus the ones the very students will apply or otherwise discard, if they aren’t useful. As I’ve said somewhere else many students, on their own, don’t know how to prepare themselves for exams of English as a foreign or second language. Because the thing is different as in History or math for example. They take their textbooks or tablets or iPads and… so what? Well the thing is different in these two latter cases, because those electronic devices can nicely help to practice for an exam and they are interactive. What if the textbook is a printed book? I knew a student, more than thirty years ago, who one day, when already tired of not knowing how to deal with his English textbook, he took it and… started to carefully and willingly read the texts and stories …

3157. When Big Exams Are Around the Corner...

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Exam and test contents should not be a surprise for our students, something unexpected. Exams and tests should assess and evaluate our students’ knowledge and practical competences. I’m focusing on English as a foreign language, but what I’m saying could be useful for other school subjects. Okay then, our exams and tests should, above all, assess our students’ communicative competences. Grammar and vocab are means, tools, instruments for communication. And their contents (of exams and tests) and their kinds of exercises should be very similar, even equal to the ones we will have done in classes. When teaching kids I used to include vocabulary activities, grammar exercises, writing an essay or composition, all biased to rather showing the communicative competences my students had or should have accomplished. Those tests assessed reading and writing skills, sometimes also listening, while I assessed speaking along the year, both with short answers or topics my students had to convey. Wh…

3156. Our Competent Work Can Be Great!

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Some quick advice about classroom management? Let’s try to implement and apply interesting activities, which are meaningful for our students. Also let’s look in their eyes, when addressing them, like combing all the class of students while talking to them. As well let’s stop talking when we detect somebody is distracted or they’re chattering among them. Silence can be very eloquent. The point is roping our students with the activity we’re carrying out, and praising, gently, their right answers, not too much anyway. Addressing each student when talking and combing all the class of students may be helpful. Now something about learning strategies. One key strategy for our students is trying they would connect and relate new knowledge with things they’ve already learned. Let’s comment on this point to our students, and let’s give them examples. For instance connecting present perfect in English, our target language, with present simple, which they may have already mastered. And explain th…

3155. Students as Autonomous Learners...

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I’m lately saying students must be the protagonists of classes. Also the teacher, of course. This latter one should teach his students to learn how to learn. The students’ job is studying, learning and working. So they should be taught how to learn. Someone taught me how to be a teacher. They should be taught their profession. Even more in the case of English as a foreign language: when exams and tests are around the corner the students will study harder… but they may not know what to study or how to do it. They need learning strategies. We can in the lesson ask how high-achiever students learn, and maybe we teachers can suggest further learning strategies: organizing their work, planning it, summarizing, drawing conclusions, revising and reviewing, receiving feedback about their learning, drawing the main points about a grammar pattern, practicing the communicative competence by writing, reading for the gist, for the main points, understanding a word from the context, practicing the …

3154. The Protagonists? Our Students Plus We Teachers

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The students I have in my classes have to be the protagonists of their own learning, crystal clear. I will – after Easter short vacations – talk with them in the classroom. They’re grown-ups. With one group I’ll speak in English with them, while with the other group (lower English level) I’ll do it in Spanish, our common mother language. Currently they’re all the students I have. I’m a part-time teacher. And I’ll ask them why we carry out such and such activities in the classroom. The point is for them to become kind of more active students – they already are but they can be more active or more protagonists, or maybe more aware, and that’s it. As well I’ll draw some conclusions about the activities they prefer, and maybe the ones they do not like that much. I will do it. Let’s see what they want to tell me. I want for them to be more aware about why we carry out those activities they seem to like quite much. For learning English – learning and acquiring too – I implement activities to…

3153. Our Students as Protagonists!

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One teacher, some time ago, told me that he had to be honest and sincere with me. He told me he did all – planning his classes, working hard, etc. – because he loved God above all, and his students as well and also for God. I liked what he told me. He also tried to love his colleagues, and the parents and families. He alike told me all this didn’t prevent him from trying to carry out his work with technical efficiency. I insist on purpose: he was a good teacher, a competent one, and tried to work fine. Ok, on my behalf, I can tell you I have other points and posts to tell you all, and I hope they’ll be helpful and useful to all of you. For example I’ve got something about the point that our students have to be the protagonists of their learning and so also of our lessons – this doesn’t impede nor block that the teacher also is a protagonist in the classroom. Should the students not be the protagonists of lessons there would not be progress at their learning…! I’ll tell you more on com…

3152. More on Educating Our Students for Life

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We teachers can help our students in these rather hard times. They’re times of crisis, because crisis etymologically means “change”, and these times are times of changes. Anyway, I was going to write about another point. And it could help these crisis times. We teachers, as anybody else, have faults and defects. Ok, we can’t hide nor conceal them, before our students. I mean, our defects are transmitted through our conducting in the classroom and out of the classroom. We have the duty of behaving in an honest, honorable and upright way: we set an example, both we want or we don’t want it. Be tranquil: our struggle to be better also is transmitted through our conducting, both regarding the subject we teach – English in my case – and regarding our trying to be better persons. Let’s be nice at home with our families too, cooperating actively to create a lovely atmosphere. Let’s also be nice at school, prone to help and assist our students in their needs. Let’s be easy to listen to our st…

3151. Being Creative at Planning Lessons!

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Creativity at teaching. Essential. Think of it. Teaching that is not creative is not teaching. But be easy, for you have many possibilities and chances of being creative at teaching, since you’re a committed teacher that passes by blogs about teaching, and stops to read posts. Also because any person is a principle of creation. So he or she are creative teachers. Also because each teacher, as each student, is unique, and I believe in your potential to teach in a creative way. I believe in you, in each teacher. And even more over your career years. The more veteran a teacher is the more creative he can be. But also let’s be careful we don’t innovate at all. A good teacher has to improve his teaching. As he can see the effects of his teaching on his students. I mean, if he sees his students are happier and happier, he’s on the right pathway. He tries – more specifically – each and every of his students would learn and progress as learners and persons. And this entails happiness, which i…

3150. A Nice Atmosphere in the Classroom

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Although we’re about more than the middle of the school year something about classroom-management should be said. Angela Watson posted something about this some days ago. And also I had to say something, though her writing and language are better... Anyway here you are. The point is for us teachers to work in a nice and quiet atmosphere. Also because that’s the only way our students can work and learn... The big test is around the corner – as Angela Watson wrote – but we should do something else about classroom management. For example we could again set some basic conducting rules, while at the same time we try to do our best and carry on with the syllabus or course outline. We may spend and consume some time by adjusting some nice behavior among our students but it’s worth the try anyway. Of course we can remember this point for next school year. Next I’m copying some notes I wrote some days ago about this point. I think it’s the best I can do now because I’m toot tired to post after…

3149. Our Profession as Educators is Great Again!

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The ultimate teachers’ work? Educating our dear students, although sometimes they may bother us teachers... And educating in values, as you know or may know. Our work is not merely teaching math or helping them get and gain a communicative competence in English as a foreign language. Thus our educating and teaching are a subsidiary work to their parents and families. I say families because the elder siblings may educate too. However this is a work or duty of their parents, as this work or duty, based in love, is the primeval parents’ one. And we teachers help. Their parents don’t have to know about all the subjects their children have to learn about: math, sciences, English as a foreign language, history, literature, the mother language’s linguistics, sport, religion, the foundations of our civilization, other cultures, fine arts, etc. And while we’re teaching those subjects we also educate our students, for example at working hard and getting appropriate studying techniques and learn…

3148. Educating Our Students for Life through Sensitivity

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On post #3147 I wrote about beauty as something educative, and that’s okay. We have to teach our students to appreciate and esteem beauty, and also have to educate their sensitivity. That’s quite important. And we can achieve that goal by showing them beautiful sceneries, and taking them to excursions to the countryside, the mountain, the forest, a river… In that way we’ll be educating them with values that make us all more human and humane. As well little by little, for instance in the subject of history, or as a topic within the English-language subject, we can try to teach them how to value and understand some nude, other sculptures and paintings. In that case – nudes – we will explain to our students how well ancient Grecians esteemed beauty, and about the beauty canon they had and why they had it. Alike those people educated their boys and young men to follow what’s beautiful, and subsequently were able to distinguish between what’s good and what’s wicked to do. Girls were educat…

3147. Beauty as Something So Educative

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I’ve discovered that beauty can be very educative, well, better said, I found it so quite many years ago. An activity I implement in my lessons is describing pictures for example of beautiful sceneries and landscapes, from magazines. They’re both interesting for describing them in the target language, which is English, and also to make our lessons more human and humane. A picture of a scenery is kind of a window that’s open to nature, often beautiful nature. After one student has described it he may show the picture to his classmates, who have been trying to imagine the landscape as the first student was telling what he could see. Our students, I’ve observed, need to learn from beauty, and watching landscapes can be very instructive. Also we could project a video and pause at sceneries to describe by one student, and the rest of his classmates can add something else, from what they can see. As well they could describe what one or several people are doing, from a picture or image too. …

3146. Have a small laugh with your students...

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Have you ever seen yourself teaching? Maybe with a video, maybe not. It is interesting. But you may not like what you look. Doesn’t matter too much, if you’re trying to do your best and trying to improve your teaching. Has any of your students taught a lesson of the school subject you teach? In my case I’ve seen it. Twice. Once a student of one of my classes wanted to teach a lesson, an English lesson. And I let him proceed. In this case I liked what he did – he could be some 12 years old. He was smart and got it, yes he got it. Obviously he imitated me in some things I usually do. That was ok. But one other time another student, some 14 years, imitated me in one of my lessons! He went to the front of the classroom and he imitated the things I do! And I didn’t like it too much. I was at the back of the classroom and he was the teacher. This was some twenty years ago, and I was starting my career as a teacher or close to that. Another teacher was in the classroom: it was him who had to…