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Showing posts from May, 2017

3199. Enjoy Reading Literature Again!

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Reading books is something pretty useful for learning vocabulary… and enjoying yourself! We acquire lexis. In that way we acquire lexis. It takes rather long to learn a basis of vocabulary. But once that basis is gotten, you can read a book with that tank of words that may help you understand any text. And then from the context you can understand many other words it’s the first time you encounter. From the context you can understand close to ANY text in the target language, for instance English! It’s like a child reading in his mother tongue. As he grows up, he can read a novel or a tale with new words to him, but from the context he can make out what those words mean, or turning to the dictionary... And over time he’ll understand more and more and his lexis will be great! A learner when reading books is like a child reading in his mother language. He can face up to any text. I repeat it on purpose and intently: reading is fantastic for learning a language – it isn’t the only skill to…

3198. The Right Way to Assess Our Students

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We are in front of the big exams now or we may be. And we have the problem that some of our students may try to cheat, or in any case we want to avoid that cheating, is that right? Okay, in order to avoid and prevent from cheating at exams we could permit and allow our students to bring books and notes to that big final exam... The activities of the exam to carry out should be ones of elaboration and maturity. They may have to write an essay or composition and in that way it is easy to assess our students’ progress this year. Well, that is an example of activity. In other words, we could assess the level of English the students have accomplished. Also their maturity. And their writing style. I say all this because cheating today with electronic devices is something rather simple. I had a college subject exam – literature – where we were allowed to bring something to the classroom. It is also true that that professor or teacher assigned nice marks to all his students. Thus the activiti…

3197. Immersion into the Target Language Is Better

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If we’re English-language teachers, or another second or foreign language, I think we should teach in English, all the time. Don’t worry too much if you spoke in your and your students’ mother tongue, but rectify! Shift back into English. The point is making up immersion in the classroom. That’s the only way for our students to acquire and not only learn the language. A language that is taught should be used in the classroom, all the time or close to 99% of the allotted time. But try 100% better, and you’ll see that you’ve used the target language 99% in practice. Acquiring is different from learning. We consciously learn a language but we acquire it in an aware way. And can adults acquire or only infants, children? H. D. Brown stated that the answer can be a qualified YES. Also don’t give language facts too much, better if you create that atmosphere where the vehicle language is English. You’ve been using the mother tongue? Rectify your way and from now on make up the firm resolution…

3196. Enjoyng Literature and Reading Is Possible

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Sometimes adult students are assigned to read a novel, for example in English lessons. They may not like the novel too much. Something they can do is trying to empathize with its author or authoress. They can search for information about that writer on the Internet, and so they can learn about him or her and in that way they will understand the novel better. Also those students can think that that novel has some things that can attract their attention and they may like them: the point is being positive and extract the best from the novel. This can be done by adults or young students if they’re mature enough. As well the point is putting in the writer’s shoes. Thus let’s try to understand him or her from what he or she says and tries to say. Let’s be positive and kind of optimistic. Let’s think “Okay this novel has this and that point that are interesting. Otherwise I won’t like it at all and I’ll suffer when reading it and will be looking forward to finishing it!” Of course they can a…

3195. Positive Motivation as a Powerful Booster!

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Positive motivation in the classroom is a terrific and wonderful booster. It multiplies students’ effort and progress by a great deal. It’s much better than the mere telling off or punishing. I also discovered this when I taught kids. And now I can see and spot so with my grown-ups. And I’ve seen it with other teachers too, and it works! It is not silly flattering nor adulating. Just some recognizing their work rather often, for example at the end of some lessons. It is fair: they deserve it. I usually thank my students after some lessons, and it’s something that happens in a natural way. Have you tried with your students? We teachers can always find something our students do well. This recognizing their effort creates a nice rapport in the classroom. / Photo from: CotodePeZca. The picture is just an illustration, a nice one.

3194. When Our Students Are Nice!

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Meals at school is a nice chance to educate our students. They have to learn how to have lunch properly. For example they have to learn how to wait and form a line. Also they’ll learn, with our help, to take whatever they are able to eat and not to have spare food that will go to the trash can and ultimately to the dumpster. There are many countries where they’re suffering a famine... As well they should learn not to be capricious nor whimsical nor fussy. Also we can tell the cooks to serve whatever the kids are able to eat, and not too much. They will throw their peels to the trash can also properly. Sorry to descend to such details but having lunch has many small things to take care of and is so educative! If some peel or paper napkins drop out of the garbage can we’ll tell that kid to pick them up. Of course and I said it already, they should not throw spare food to that can. I was remembering about a camp I attended in the summers: we the monitors used to sit down at the boys’ tab…

3193. Something Relaxing

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Wait there. We may somehow suffer from the ending school year, we teachers may have a lot to do, we may be tired and exhausted, we may be anxious, a bit anxious about the final lessons, we may suffer from some family circumstances, and our younger students may be also kind of nasty at this end of the school year… First premise: we’re children of God. Let’s rest, turn to and lean on him: He’s near everyone who calls him. And that serenity will help you turn to your last forces in order to finish our school year even somehow gloriously, so as to say. This is my advice. Something else: I knew a teacher who used to turn to his father God pretty often, also for giving him thanks about what turned out well. Alike let’s consider that sometimes what makes us suffer at school can be kind also of exaggerations. That teacher said that often what makes us suffer are exaggerations and ideas that are not rational nor reasonable, as I told you all a few posts ago. Let’s be optimistic by stopping to …

3192. Just for the End of the School Year!

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In my opinion the teacher should have more knowledge about more areas, not only about the school subject he teaches. In that way he will be able to teach with more ample lenses, and with more perspective: we're educating kids to be wise, if possible. I wrote something about the necessary interdisciplinary nature teaching in the classroom should have, on post # 3181. For example in English as a foreign language I try to also include texts about history, short biographies, technology… texts with some human interest about them. Modestly I can tell you that I have more knowledge than just English. Also in some way we should give our teaching a humanistic touch. Our students have more subjects than the one we may be teaching. And all knowledges should be interwoven. This is rather a complex thing but we can just ask our students what they’re learning at other subjects, in English, and so they can tell us something that will so be connected with our subject of English. As well you may h…

3191. Raising Students' Morale at the End of the School Year

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A sensitive teacher knows how to recognize and appreciate his students’ hard work, and even more at the end of the school year, and in public. Although there were errors, mistakes and misbehavior he knows that with gracious words he can gain the class of the students to his side. In that way he’ll be raising his students’ morale, as the good generals knew how to ponder their soldiers’ good features and great deeds and feats. I’ll be writing more maybe tomorrow or later today. / Photo from: House Beautiful. I do like libraries. At present I teach at a library-classroom, and sometimes while my students are writing silently I often look over the books on the shelves, always prone to help them in case they need it.

3190. Educating Their Emotions Is Paramount

Do we teachers educate our students’ emotions, feelings and sentiments? Of course the first task and duty is for their parents, but we teachers can help a lot.

There may be a great emotion illiteracy: we simply don’t know much about educating emotions into positive feelings. In other words our students should be balanced at emotions, and that’s so or more important than intellectual education and instruction. Remember we’re educating for life now and for their future.

Spanish teacher and neuropsychologist Fernando Alberca (2017) postulates we should educate our students’ and children’s emotions, as I said, to achieve happiness ultimately. At tutoring sessions a lot can be done: leading emotions (something rather passive) into feelings and ideas (something active).

Often our students and we teachers as well may have negative emotions, irrational ones, which are exaggerations and negative emotions, which we should re-orientate into rational, positive and reasonable thoughts. Our student…

3189. Taking On Our Students' Necessities

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I think we teachers should have a nice and endearing attitude to our students. A lovable one, because ours is love of benevolence plus affection. We love them plus their families, which are ours in some way. Plus our colleagues too. Parents, teachers, students should be the correct order for our assistance and attention. But it isn’t a silly love, because as I said it is love of benevolence: so we wish the best to them, and seek it and keep on seeking it. As I said, the affection and attention order has to be parents, then teachers, then students. It’s so if we wish our school would go on an effective way. That love, that benevolence love at the same time is delicate toward people of the other gender. We should prevent from nasty gossip about our relationships at school. By the way in Spanish we have an expression for being attentive and take on our students’ needs, which is very adequate and it is “hacerse cargo”. We must assist our surrounding people’s needs. They deserve that atten…

3188. Educating Kids in an Ample Vision!

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We teachers have to educate our students about other countries and other continents. Also we teachers should pay attention to what’s happening in those maybe far countries. For example rich countries have to help poorer countries develop themselves. I had a friend that lived in a country of Africa, maybe Nigeria. He told me that those third-world countries had to develop by themselves, with the people they had at those countries. As well we should educate our students about a sound ecology: they have to learn to take care of our planet. If we take our students to excursions, and we should do it, we can teach them for example not to drop garbage around in the countryside: wrapping papers, cans, plastic bags… We’re educating future citizens. That friend of mine also told me that clever youngsters went to richer countries to study and many of them stayed in those richer countries of the first-world, after college. And those young people would be the ones that would push their countries f…

3187. Maybe the Best Classroom Management Ever!

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All of us teachers try to set some classroom management, right? To achieve it we can apply some gravity to the activity we with our students are carrying out. We transmit gravity to our students in that way. It’s a bit of some solemnity at the activity we’re doing with our students. In that way we set our students at working fine. The activity itself gains those gravity and seriousness. It means that what we are doing is quite important, and we can’t play with it. It also means: Okay, let’s be careful, we’re working and working is pretty serious. I remember now that a colleague of ours said that our students need to work in a peaceful atmosphere, focused on what they’re doing. And another teacher, I also remember it right now, said that working is one of the most serious things we can do... Even then, when we’re doing things that way, if we smile or have a small laugh, those smiling or laughing in some way are serious too, or a bit, a small bit, solemn. We’re educating our students in…

3186. How to Get the Most from Kids in Vacations

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Within some weeks I’ll be assisting and teaching at a couple of English-language summer camps, with teens and younger children. And that’s okay and I can help out there. However I’ve got to think about the profile I’m applying regarding classroom management. The kids will be spending their vacations and they want to have fun. Even they tend to (in some way) blow up the lessons, and sorry to be so honest. I’m not upset, I simply tell you all how those kids take those courses. So I have to apply some classroom management. I’ll implement some low profile management. I mean, let’s see, I should not get irritated. I’m also implementing a series of games with the younger kids, about which I have a list of more than 100 games, to foster speaking in English and aiming at having fun. I mean it, I ought not to get angry. I’ll let you know about it on coming weeks. I will also try to set some order at the games but taking into account that I won’t get 100% nice classroom management. The first pr…

3185. You Can Relax!

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Warmers? They’re necessary for each lesson we teach. Lately I’m explaining to my dear students that warmers are kind of an introduction or prolog to the lesson. They serve the purpose of warming up to be able to understand and speak in English, the target tongue I teach and enjoy teaching. A few questions plus speaking by the teacher are a nice warmer. I guess you all are about looking forward to finishing the school year, in the north hemisphere. Is that right? So also, beside warmers, we teachers need relaxing activities… and not only warmers. For relaxing we can implement a series of exercises prior to a lesson, so before we enter the classroom and we may be at our office. Or even along the school halls in a prudent way! First relax your limbs, if sitting down (even if you’re standing up). They’re quick exercises and take not a long time. With practice you’ll do these exercises more quickly and with more effectiveness. Then relax all your face muscles, your shoulders, your limbs aga…

3184. Resting as Necessary Too for Teaching!

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And today some time for spending with the family, and for resting and relaxing, before the week starts again, with the big exams around the corner. If we seek a profound work as teachers we also need resting, and it's kind of some obligation. But the mind goes to my students and I remember them and pray for them and their families. God bless them all. The lessons are already planned: I hope they will help my students!

Oh, by the way: if we want to take some care of our students' families we should take care of ours. Firstly and independently. / Photo from: Jay Graham Photographer

3183. A Special Atmosphere in the Classroom

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Along these years I’ve also found out that my students must receive a massive input in English – the target language – if I want to get a massive output from them.

So at the beginning of the lesson lately I usually speak for a few minutes in English (close to all the lesson is in English!) for my students to warm up. I also make them participate by means of answering some questions I ask them. In that way we make immersion in English and the classroom becomes a place where the vehicle language is English.

Even before and after the lesson my dear students also talk to me in that tongue. They’re great. So those warmers I implement are the first activity proper we carry out. For example lately I’m explaining to my students what warmers are themselves, and the thing is okay and it works, and they are eager to participate. We have few lessons left until the year is over! / Photo from: Beyond MarsDiscover Magazine Blogs. Also Mars has a special atmosphere: When will we go?

3182. How to Get a Lot from Our Students

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I’ve found out, over time, that positive motivation can make us reach quite far in our classrooms! Our students can go far in their learning process, if they receive positive motivation, instead of too many punishments and penalties. So we can in the classroom state what’s right in our students’ contributions, up to the point that we could recognize as okay to closely all their contributions. The point is accepting their right targets, when they give a nice answer. It’s my experience. My students have gone far because they’re nice students plus my recognizing their right contributions, which are most of them! This is better than just denouncing what’s wrong about them. We get and gain more from our students when we give them positive motivation. However we will praise gently, not too much, so as to avoid too much pride from them. For example some minutes before right now I was teaching my grown-ups, and I was trying to praise their contributions (not too much remember!). Also I usuall…

3181. The Best Classroom Management!

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We teachers have to teach our students how to think. How to learn to think on their own. We will provide them with texts that will make them think, and we’ll do so in the school subject of English as a foreign language too. Texts that matter are convenient. I mean we’ll use those texts from which we can draw a nice discussion as a follow-up activity to simple reading. We teachers will help them join what read with their own lives. My experience at teaching English is that we can provide our students with texts that have an interdisciplinary nature: English plus history, English plus short biographies, English plus human-interest texts, etc. In some way yesterday I wrote about a transcendent view of human beings, something like: If you love you’ll be loved. I don’t mean we should love to seek being loved in a selfish way: love is generosity, love is giving yourself to the loved person, love is benevolence love – wishing what’s good, and is there anything better than God himself? Anyway…

3180. Are We Happy?

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When are we happy, as philosophers put it? When we generously give ourselves to other people, in full service. And we can carry out this way by means of fulfilling our professional work in a nice and competent way plus serving others. When we conduct in that way we’re making ourselves susceptible of being happy. The first premise is giving ourselves to God: that transcendent way of acting makes our lives become precisely that, transcendent, able to go beyond, which is the meaning of “transcendent”. If every single day we go to the office or wherever else to fulfill our duties in a clean way, we’re making ourselves able to be transcendent, because we overwhelm our possible selfishness. And then we can smile in an honest way. And we’ll find ourselves loving everybody else. With benevolence love, which means wishing what’s good to the others. I’ve seen it in several lives. This is my opinion. / Photo from: executive-looking-through-the-window-with-the-mobile-phone_1098-3569 Freepik

3179. What Can You See? - You Look Admired!

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You all have seen that my methodology for teaching and learning English is communicative. Okay then, one activity which is very appropriate for naturalistic communication in the classroom is for the students – and for the teacher too! – to describe pictures. I bring to the classroom, in my bag, usually a magazine with many varied pictures, National Geographic namely. It has pictures of landscapes, people, animals in the wild and nature… My students particularly like this activity, which I try not to repeat too much, on the other hand. Usually one of my students has got to describe a picture that I chose for him while his classmates cannot see it. After the description the magazine runs through the classroom, for the rest of the students to see the described photo. Except for the describer the other students have been imagining and making out the picture, and often the reality is better than their imaginations. I’ve got to recognize that those guys of National Geographic make and selec…

3178. Only If You Are a Committed Teacher!

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Every one of us teachers would like to be a good one, is that so? It is evident and obvious. We can improve a lot by reading. Just by reading appropriate texts. Reading correct education books and websites, teaching books, blogs alike… all that’s great and necessary. What we read stays in our mind and remains for long, because it has made us think in one specific way. Reading transforms us and makes us better teachers. Also all this can be said for our students. One could think that what’s read is forgotten, but the core stays and remains for pretty long, even for all our career as teachers. We need to form and educate ourselves as committed and competent teachers and educators. Is that so? / Photo from: watching-laptop advanced-television com

3177. Communication Has Been Set!

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I can tell you all of you that for setting a communicative approach to my English-language lessons I foster communication between my students and me, and among themselves. Also I foster discussions. Discussions are great for improving my students’ communicative competence. We exploit texts I hand them out. Even from a small point inside one of the texts we can start a nice discussion about a topic, or after having worked on a text we can talk about the topic of its. With some imagination you can get a lot from a text, both talking about the general topic or from smaller points inside it. Usually I hand out my students worksheets with two texts: one is B1 level and the second is C1 level of English. B1 is intermediate and C1 advanced. I include these two levels because my students have varied levels of English, but they’re able to get a lot from both texts, admirably. As well discussions make people think and learn how to think. Moreover it opens up chances of talking in English, our c…

3176. How to Treat High-Achiever Students

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I see you teachers are enthused with teaching. Enthusiasm plus optimism plus seeing things from a positive viewpoint is great. Remember that my optimism is also hope: the foundation is God himself plus the great potentialities of the human person. This transcendent view of things also provides a rope to grasp for nice and positive everyday living. God has a superior and great love to us all. The one like all dads and moms on earth can have. And about human potentialities I’ve seen it along my career as a teacher. When we treat our students as better than they are or seem to be they become greater. Now I’m thinking of high-achiever students: in English – the subject I teach – you have to think of them very much because they could become bored in the lessons if you don’t give them superior activities. All this without forgetting our low-achievers. High-achievers can help low-achievers: they can repeat a question or prompt from the teacher in their own words in English… which sometimes a…

3175. Communicating in the Classroom?

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I just came across a definition of communicative approach to learning a foreign or second language that I think is just great: The communicative approach is based on the idea that learning language successfully comes through having to communicate real meaning. When learners are involved in real communication, their natural strategies for language acquisition will be used, and this will allow them to learn to use the language. It was taken from also great BBC website www.teachingenglish.org.uk

3174. When Our Students Are Great Again!

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I read it in Pope Francis some time ago. He proposed not to talk bad about anybody. I liked it and think it’s okay with the school too. Somebody told me also not to talk bad about anybody at the school. Or otherwise it’d be better to correct what’s wrong personally to the person who did it wrong. We can teach our students to conduct in that way. It has to do with bullying. The point is teaching them to be honest and honorable with everybody else. It would be much better for them to correct things to their classmates, in a peaceful and not humiliating way, plus aside and apart. For example when they detect there’s a bullying thing arising they could turn to the offender and tell him not to carry on in that way. Experts say that bullying must be stopped by students themselves. And how can the teacher find out something ugly is starting to arise among students? I learned something in the school where I worked until 2002. We teachers in charge of a class had a council of three or four stu…

3173. More Satisfied

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Lately I’ve thought again that when you give yourself to other people, you may more likely be happy. And we teachers have so many chances to give ourselves to our students. But not only. I mean that we also have to offer our help to the parents and families, and to our colleague teachers as well. I know you all are committed teachers and will understand this. Some people have told me about this experience: when you think of other people you eventually forget about your daily problems and the like. I’ve met teachers who have devoted themselves to their students and ultimately they’ve felt better. I don’t mean we have to help out to seek our selfish welfare. When we think of our students’ troubles we have less time to think of our own problems, to which ones also we will pay attention to, of course. I’ve met people who felt happy and ultimately they had given themselves to the parents, teachers and students, and precisely in that order. / Photo from: jg consultation

With You All Again

I'm posting again pretty soon!