Friday, June 30, 2017

3224. At the Summer Break!

Teaching. Something great. I like it. It is a call or vocation, or at least we say so in Spanish.
I have a summer camp for boys in a few days. I’ll be the link between the teachers and the rest of the monitors and staff.
Teaching as something pretty great, I was saying. The boys’ lives and biographies are in my hands. I will try to teach them how to be men, thorough ones. I pray for them, their families and my mission. I’ll also be having interviews and tutorials in English with those kids. Because it is an English camp. I’ve been there since 1991, with some stops in between. At the same school, in Spanish Costa del Sol.
But you Americans and other readers seek pragmatic and practical stuff, right? Okay then, I’m saying that because of my function at that camp I’ve got to combine being serious with those boys plus smiling and being, how do you say it? Nice and kind. Those are the words. Nice and kind.
And as well I have got to plan the excursion to Gibraltar, because I guess also this year we’re going there. The kids could practice their English with the store assistants, but the thing is that they also speak Spanish perfectly. For those of you who don’t know it, Gibraltar is kind of a colony or protectorate which is British, although it is placed in Spain, or what Spain was until the 18th century. And right opposite Africa.
We’ll be shopping and getting something for their families when back home. For me also it’s a nice place because there are bookshops with plenty of books in English! Maybe I’ll get something by great old Dickens. I’ll let you know about this nice English camp. / Photo from: 400_1186714365_futbol fondosgratis com mx. The picture is just an illustration: we do massive sport at that camp and soccer is the king of sports among kids.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

3223. Students Need to Show Themselves as They Are!

So geniuses we were talking about. But they’re born as geniuses or they make themselves? I would say both. They find genius ideas, fine creations, they have brilliant and bright findings! And they may be encountered among our dear students...
We have to facilitate creative thinking and working. For example we could let our students write compositions or essays, or stories. Or we could be watchful so as to find the genius spark lighting somewhere among our students and their working. We could be watchful so as to discover – how should I say? – any brilliant attitude and aptitude amid our students. You may be thinking of more challenges or chances or opportunities for them to show themselves as geniuses.
Up to some extent any one of our students is great at something. They are! We can find a lot along our lessons and at tutoring sessions with each one of them. But let’s not forget we have to offer creative learning, maybe together with regular learning according to the plan, syllabus or program.
Also let’s remember that brilliant students will need to spend long at work: geniuses have a perfect mixture of bright findings plus constant work, constant and perseverant work: Thomas A. Edison, Isaac Newton, Steve Jobs, Antoni Gaudí...
And obviously tell no one he’s a genius: too much pride can be harmful and ruin everything: just let’s exploit their aptitudes and attitudes, when they both together may make up somebody luminary! / Photo from: Pipes and Drums

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

3222. Geniuses in Our Classroom?

Isaac Newton, Thomas A. Edison, Antoni Gaudí, John Ford, Joan Miró, Alfred Hitchcock, Steve Jobs. Geniuses, right? Well, they all were bad students.
In no way do I intend to tell you that our students have to be bad ones in order to be geniuses. Those people got bored in the classroom or anyway they had problems at studying.
What students of ours can be potential geniuses? Think of it. Maybe we have to discover what is good for the students we have: Have we seen their strong points? Maybe they’re in need of someone discovering their special talent.
In the meanwhile do not stop good students and high-achievers we may have in our classrooms, lest they could get bored too! We need to make tutorials with our individual students, to find out what is okay with them and also to help them learn what the syllabus or program states they have to learn, anyway.
But let’s be prone to discover that that kid is good at that classroom small job, or that other over there could be buff at that other small job over there. Or for such or such classroom intellectual work.
I had a friend that was not pretty good at learning English, and today he’s an ace at communicating in that language and even a nice teacher also of that language. / Photo from: Drive. The picture may show a genius’s concept car design.

3221. A Student Council to Govern the Classroom?

Should students in some way decide about the class of students’ internal affairs?
In a former school I taught there was something nice, kind of a student council, and I think that was okay. The members, three students, have some decision-making competences. They were chosen by their classmates, at the beginning of the school year.
So they were kind of three representatives. They met with their head teacher or a class teacher every two weeks or so to deal with students’ stuff they could help out at. Since they had a vision the teacher hardly had they were useful to govern a class and help out their classmates.
For example they used to talk, at those meetings, about kids they could see they had some academic problems, or about some insane atmosphere there could be among the students, from time to time. Or they collected their classmates’ distress about any school subject way of conducting by any teacher. The rest of students knew and agreed those points would be talked about at the council meetings. The point was helping one another. Just that.
In that way some bad atmosphere, bad rumors or hearsays were cut off: the students had a channel to elevate their demands to the head teacher or teacher in charge of a class of students.
As well they commented on the way some small jobs were or were not being fulfilled by the students in charge of those small jobs. And they could help some student that could be not fulfilling his small job. Every student had his own small job in the classroom or in the school.
Not to say in what a marvelous way those kids matured with those small jobs or council membership. And this is important: if a council member said something bad about another kid, he was told to talk to that kid, personally, aside and in a nice way. The point was to prevent from mere talking bad about someone else.
Their classmates knew their things and stuff could be dealt with at the council meetings. And they agreed. They just wanted to help one another. / Photo from: Teacher-Lajevardi-in-class-hr calstate fullerton edu

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

3220. You Committed Teachers Are Great!

The efficient teacher… is not born, he’s a self-made man – plus the help he has received from his colleagues.
He is able to make his students work and learn nice. He knows how to motivate them. And his students respect and love him, ultimately. He knows how to set a nice discipline in the classroom.
But sometimes there are behavior problems – well, remember his students are kids, maybe adolescents, which means “they lack maturity yet”. When he has to apply some punishment, some nice punishment, it isn’t a revenge claim but something fair, and directed to make those teens grow and mature.
He’s an expert at his knowledge area, and he achieves to present his knowledge within an ampler view of things, useful to his students for life.
He’s a guy that thinks of his students, about what’s good to them. Because of that his students appreciate the care he dispenses and gives to them. He plans his lessons, each and every one, and his students recognize that work and appreciate it, ultimately.
He has potestas but also auctoritas, because he has gotten this latter one for his nice attention to those kids.
Potestas is when you exert your power as a teacher in order to manage the classroom, but auctoritas, as ancient scholars put, is the one you gain over time, the authority, by using another word. And potestas is power, rather a dry and stiff one, which must be accompanied with authority, so as to accomplish something human and humane. And educative. Remember he works with people, with persons, and not with screws – I have nothing against technicians. / Photo from:  blind-pilot_jpg-900x540 Sunday Post. The picture is a nice illustration.

Monday, June 26, 2017

3219. Are You a Great Teacher?

Uniqueness, I told you about it on last post: every student is unique, and that’s okay. Every teacher is unique too. Is that so?
And you, for certain, have much to give to your students, even now, if you’re in the summer break. Take care of you, teacher. And try and be honest, honorable and upright, because we teachers give our dear students whatever we are. We transmit what we are, ultimately. Even from our private lives.
Whatever we do, whatever we don’t, is transmitted to our dear students. And we cannot give what we don’t have. If we want our students to be honest, honorable and upright, we have to go overhead. Do you say “overhead”, because I mean we teachers have to lead our students’ way by going before them, and by setting nice examples. Maybe the right word is “ahead”.
Sometimes we teachers may be tired and hectic: let’s be careful because at those times we could give a snap and bad answer to one of our students, or to all the class of students, and we might regret it after that, after the storm.
We have to know ourselves, and learn how to have a small laugh at ourselves. Psychiatrists say it means you’re okay if you know how to laugh at yourself, in a nice and delicate way, not a harsh one, of course.
Now in the summer dedicate to God, to your family, to friends, to pleasantly thinking of your students, to reading, to have a beer maybe with other teachers or friends, maybe to swimming or any sport, to strolling, to traveling or trekking, to making yourself a nice and efficient teacher by reading any fine book about teachers or education… / Photo from: 13-things-your-pilot-wont-tell-you-airplane

Friday, June 23, 2017

3218. Every Single Student Is Unique!

Uniqueness. Every single student of ours is unique. They are not a mass I have to master. I have to think of each one, they may be many though.
People need to feel they are loved, whatever they are like, not because of what they have or because they’re good at learning English. We feel strong and supported when we know we are loved not conditionally, according to Jutta Burggraf (2007).
And this love is love of benevolence: we want and wish to do what’s good for them. I don’t confine my work to mere teaching, but also to being at my students’ disposal, if they want to talk with me.
I knew a female teacher whose female students turned to her between lessons, just to tell her something of their own. And in that way we teachers do what’s good for our students. We should dedicate some time to think of our students, to pray for them and their families, to think about their potentialities. We are not going to be paid for that but it is part of our work as teachers. I think that way.
And that benevolence love will be transmitted in the classroom: we will see not mere learners or students but people, persons with a name and a family name, and a biography.
And sooner or later our students will turn to us, to tell us their things, like that teacher I told you about. Better if male students turn to male teachers and the same with female students and female teachers: those students could tell us personal concerns and worries, and joys too! Your students will learn from you, not only English or math but from what you are, and that’s a great responsibility.
Furthermore you yourself should know you can turn to your colleagues for advice and help, as I told you yesterday on post #3217. Plus always consider that you can count on the Other, on God I mean. I can remember how my colleagues used to help me when I was starting my career. It was great! / Photo from: My English Language

Thursday, June 22, 2017

3217. Teachers Working Together like a Fist!

I usually write about what we teachers can do in the classroom, and that seems okay, right? But we should also consider we are not alone before our nice hard-though work.
We can count on other colleagues and companions. I do know there can be teachers who hinder and trip up other colleagues, but as well I know we can count on others for fulfilling our nice work. Also we often can count on the department head.
I could tell you about when I was starting my career as a teacher: I could count on the teacher head, the principal, one foreign language coordinator we had, some colleagues with more experience: had I listened to them more carefully, I would have improved much better.
Alike we always can count on the Other, on God himself. I could also tell you about this point, only if my experience were not so personal and interior. With our companions and with God we can reach farther. Remember we are not alone at school. We can count on our comrades. Hopefully!
We together can reach and go farther. I’d also tell you something if you’re the department head: take care of your workers and listen to them and guess what they might be suffering, above all at somebody’s starting career. I had a friend and colleague that told me: the first school year you suffer a lot, less the second year, and things may go fine in the third year. The thing took me longer than merely three years anyway.
And now if you’re a simple teacher and you’ve got a department head: don’t confine to silence if you think you have some idea(s) you think they could improve the school or the lessons: do not shut up and remember a teacher’s success often depends on a team work!
Oh, and remember to turn to your Father God, both if there’s a school chapel or not. Remember also that He has a never-ending love like all dads and moms together, and even more, limitless. He’s always close to you. / Photo from: NYC gov. The picture may show a tender and affectionate love a dad has to his baby, like God’s one to each of us.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

3216. Staying Easy before Exams!

A second or foreign language teacher can become mad as a hatter regarding getting communication in that language in the classroom, but let’s consider that we’re referring to communication among people, among persons.
We have to take care of that communication: we have to treat people in a nice way, in a human and humane way: our communication must have human nicety.
For that language teacher it is paramount to create communication in the classroom, but he should consider that he’s creating communication for real people.
For example beside drills and other exercises he should communicate in English – the target language – for the actual conducting and leading the lesson. In other words he should give announcements in that language. For his students to understand him he should explain with rather massive language, until he considers his students understood him well.
For example if I was to implement exams or tests next school year I should explain it clearly to my dear students. In case I had the purpose of introducing exams I should set clear that those tests would be for me to learn about their progress and not much else, and also for them my students to also learn how they’re advancing and progressing.
You may remember I have senior students, and all of them deserve very positive grades, because of their perseverance, their attending the lessons and all the effort they invest in a pleasant and free way. About those exams or tests I don’t know yet if I’m going to apply them or not. In any case it should be for their beneficial learning: they should stay easy because those tests will not infer they’ll have to do much more than they have been doing this far. Those exams will not be traumatic at all. / Photo from: hang-gliding-in-sikkim1 Trekking in Sikkin. The picture is a nice illustration.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

3215. Our Students as Able to Communicate Naturally

We second or foreign language teachers must help our students reach communicative competences. In that target language. We don’t confine our work to teaching language facts but we target our students’ communicative skills. We target our energies toward our students would get those abilities to communicate with other people.
So we do not just assess and test and evaluate our students’ concepts about that target language. Thus our exams and tests will be predominately practical, although we might also wish to assess their language knowledge.
If we assess our students’ communication skills we should plan and prepare tests that should have similar, very similar, activities as the ones we have carried out along lessons: our students shouldn’t find activities they have never done, as it happened to me at the beginning of my career as a teacher: I then expected the students could abstract their knowledge to carry out activities they had never done, because I thought they would be able to solve those exercises: I had recently finished my college degree and I was used to doing college exams, which exacted an demanded abstract operations.
I’m referring to the very first exam I carried out, close to twenty-five years ago. Even my best students failed at that test.
As I was saying at the beginning of this article we teachers have to help, show, teach, and train our students to gain the capability of talking with another person out of the school in English – if that’s the target language, as it is my case. Can our students communicate, orally or by writing, with a person out of the school, with any person out of the school? And that’s our target. And not other: we teach using and employing a language.
And we have to accomplish that goal by creating immersion in that target tongue, but this can be explained on another post, and I’ve written about it: you can click on the “immersion” label, on the right column of this blog. / Photo from: woman-talking-to-friends Mother's Circle. On the picture you can see people naturally communicating with one another.

Monday, June 19, 2017

3214. Our Kids Are Just Great We May Assume

Psychologist Leonard Sax states that it might be dangerous and hurting to treat young people or kids as if they were grown-ups, and I wrote something about this on post #3212.
You know, I think that in some way we could treat our young students as they are, in accordance with their age, okay, but a bit older than they really are. In that way we foster their freedom and responsibility. Even we could treat them a bit better that they really are – otherwise they will become even worse...
We can assign them small jobs in the classroom, of course.
My experience says that we can treat kids by counting on them and trusting them somewhat even quite a lot. We can also talk to and with them by recognizing they’re intelligent persons, persons with some discernment, some growing discernment.
They can’t direct the syllabus, the program and the rhythm of teaching but we can demand from them to get nice grades. We teachers must appeal their responsibility and we’ll gain quite much, I mean it.
So let’s treat them a bit more than their age, a bit older, not much older, of course. On this point I coincide with that psychologist – and I bet many of you too – we can’t treat them as grown-ups, for sure! Ultimately I think the same as Leonard Sax I guess. / Photo from: StanfordNews. The picture might show a dad talking with one of his children.

Friday, June 16, 2017

3213. Getting Enthused Students Too

The teacher should manage the classroom and the students’ behavior, but ultimately these people should have prevalent freedom to behave as they think better. We’ll teach and show them what is better.
If we achieve to love them they will respect us teachers, more likely than not. Otherwise with a “terror regime” they could obey us but they will not develop as persons.
Thus sensible authority must be exerted with respect and love toward the students; otherwise they will obey but not as free persons. We teachers have to teach our students why behaving nice is good for them. We have got several reasons: respect toward the teacher, who is an adult person; respect toward one another, who have to work at their now-professional work, which is learning and studying; respect toward their parents and families, who ultimately are paying their taxes to have nice schools all over the nation; and last but not least, respect toward God – with transcendent views it is easier and simpler to have ethics and moral.
Before starting to teach, the students should be prone and ready to listen, both to their teacher’s instructions how to work and listen also to his presentation. And then when proceeding into his speaking and presenting he should gaze and stare at popping-up misbehavior outbreaks.
There is one golden rule: if we get our students should be working, we will have fewer behavior problems.
Even something more practical: let’s implement a dictation and so we’ll have them focused on writing and listening to us.
Coming to the head and to the beginning of this article: we, little by little, have to accomplish our students should respect and love us: they eventually will behave nice. And we will have some moral authority and prestige too.
Something also concrete and specific: have them sitting nice at their desks: posture helps behave better. Otherwise if they sit lazily on their desks they cannot work nice, even think: they’ll otherwise be drowsy.
And let’s be firm at setting and following and fulfilling some rules, with respect but firm anyway, and then they will recognize we take care of them and they’ll be able to respect us their teachers. / Photo from: independent traveler. To pilot a plane the crew must have nice discipline.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

3212. The Collapse of Parenting?

We want to educate our young people and we’re after it, okay. We want young people to be free and responsible, and that’s okay too. We put them in charge of small jobs in the classroom and in the whole school, and that seems nice too.

But we grown-ups have to remember that they still need our guidelines and clear prescriptions, they need some clear vision of life from us adults. We may want to educate them inside the flipped-classroom model but they need our criteria to research and orientations to find the right material as well – well, a correct flipped-classroom model anyway presupposes and assumes our adult help and supervision.

And all that because they don’t have firm criteria yet: they’re making them. If they have clear vision of the “game”, we can allow them conduct on their own, but up to some extent: as I said they still need our adults’ firm and clear criteria, and they expect a lot from us: orientation, in a word.

They should not decide yet what the subject syllabuses and programs should be. We can let them conduct and research on their own, but they expect and need our orientation.

According to American psychologist Leonard Sax we even might hurt our young people if we treat them like they were grown-ups. And that’s very clear in the parents’ case: they cannot transfer their authority to them – otherwise they could even hurt them.

We can let them have ample discretion at small jobs in the classroom and the school but we adults need to supervise and orientate them and their charges and duties alike. Parents today need to revalorize and increase the value of their authority. Kids have to learn how to respect grown-ups, when often they might be watching movies and TV shows where adults and parents are disregarded and mocked at.

Our kids should not decide yet upon syllabus rhythms and contents, when they don’t have critic judgment capabilities – we’re after it, after providing them with those analysis capabilities. Kids should have creativity but they shouldn’t decide what the subject program or syllabus should be like.

Parents cannot give up at educating their kids. Leonard Sax may seem somehow kind of hard at his vision but we grown-ups should think up to what extent we can let our kids decide on what they cannot thoroughly decide yet.

In few words, we have to make them responsible at their working and learning, even somewhat autonomous learners but under our supervision and advice: I mean those supervision and advice are positive values, not despotic ones: we’re helping them grow more and more responsible. And ultimately happy.

We have to combine freedom and responsibility, freedom and discernment, freedom and critic judgment capability. And all that is something positive. / The photo above is just a nice illustration.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

3211. Reading Literature as Something Great!

Reading is something great for learning a language. Not enough but great anyway. We have to cultivate the other language skills: listening (oh listening, how much I have to improve here!), speaking and writing. Reading: you can do it you alone, on your own.
When reading fiction or nonfiction you will encounter new words: a nice chance to learn them or some of them… Try and guess the meaning of the new words, from the context, but also use a dictionary, maybe an online one.
Focus on those new words and try and guess their meaning from context, as I said. It is actual guessing but with some foundation, a somehow firm one: the context.
While reading you’re learning and acquiring too: some words will get stuck in memory, in an aware way and mode. You’ll be piling up new words! And you’re thinking in English! (Remember English is my target language). That language will be like a second one, part of your nature!
Each book means a firm step forward. As well try and learn some of those words you understood from the context, or you think you understood. Try guess meaning from context and from other words you already know in that tongue.
And retain the words you learn. Study the sentences where those words show up and appear. You’ll be making up a nice store of words into your memory. The more words you learn and the longer you read the more your memory will be able to learn and acquire words. It is worth the effort… / Photo from: YouTube. The picture is a nice illustration. It’s a mini-submarine. It might have to do with the plot of a novel...

Monday, June 12, 2017

3210. How to Use Technologies in the Classroom

I confess I have to learn how to use the technologies in the classroom. Because of that today I copy and paste a nice comment from the website of The British council and BBC, whose link is  You can visit the site because the comment continues.

Using technology in the 21st century classroom is I think a sine qua non. Students are digital natives. They are born in technology, they use technology daily and different devices are part of their everyday lives. From a very young age they know how to use a tablet for example and how to find videos that interest them or even apps that are entertaining for them. Not including technology in the teaching procedure is like speaking to them in a different language. The benefits of using it in the classroom are numerous. First of all, students are motivated. They are excited for the lesson and about discovering what the teacher has prepared for them this time. Secondly, they are taught that the different devices they have, like smartphones, tablets, laptops are not only meant for entertainment but they can be vehicles of knowledge. In addition to these, the lesson becomes more interactive because the teacher can create polls or use different apps and have all students answering a question. Everybody is part of the teaching procedure and no one is excluded. Shy students do not have to expose themselves in front of the whole class and this way they are more willing to participate in the lesson. Furthermore, the lesson is much more interactive with the use of videos, podcasts, music and is not confined to books or slides. Finally, the teacher becomes a facilitator of knowledge and not the omnipotent figure who can answer everything. This way knowledge becomes a discovery process and a very personal procedure and sticks with the students much longer than with the traditional methods.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

3209. On an Enthused Teacher

The enthused teacher who teaches with enthusiasm makes what he teaches into something easier to learn.
He will pass on and transmit that enthusiasm to his dear students. I’ve seen this in various occasions. If he’s a second or foreign language teacher he will make his dear students will also love English (the foreign language) and learning it. And not only learning but also unaware acquiring.
Even his students will in some way look forward to having that lesson, or at least they will enjoy that lesson. And as well he will have fewer behavior problems: he passes on his enthusiasm for learning to those kids.
Even he can be learning that language. And from his experience at learning he will be giving clues and hints to his students for them to learn and acquire the taught tongue.
And the other way round: if the teacher dislikes his school subject and he’s in the classroom as a convict sent to row in the sea, like the slaves who were enrolled in large ships to row as a punishment, he will have more difficulties to teach his subject.
We could have a teacher who has to teach something he doesn’t like, but he can invest nice efforts at teaching and over time, with time passing, he will like his assigned subject more and more. And this latter case is honorable and worth to praise. He will also pass on his growing enthusiasm to his students. / Photo from: De-dónde-proviene-el-término-‘chusma’-con-el-que-se-denomina-a-la-gente-vulgar

Friday, June 9, 2017

3208. How Our Students Can Be Happy!

I wrote about good and autonomous students on last post, #3207. Something else can be said.
When students become good ones, because they have adequate learning strategies and they’re aware they’re competent students, they become happier. Okay, then they may also become good helpers and they can assist their classmates in a more thorough way. And they become happier, and you can see this on regular days.
Someone is happier when he’s open to help his fellow people. It is also something you can see and spot on regular days, on any ordinary day, as I said. I’m referring to something that is written inside each person, something natural, some tendency toward that helping others.
In case they’re rather selfish, could we not advise them and suggest them how to help their classmates? If they give that step forward, for sure they’ll become happier.
Something concrete and specific? Put some high-achievers sitting next to low-achievers, in order to assist them. I’ve seen nice examples along my career as a teacher of assisting classmates one another… / Photo from: SLIDER-ASSS-2018-1024x400_c

Thursday, June 8, 2017

3207. Just Autonomous Learners!

Would you like to have autonomous learners? That’s great, indeed.
What’s more, only if we pass on the learning wish to our students we will be able to have them learning, really and actually. If our students apply learning strategies, they for sure will learn. The point is to have them self-direct their actual learning process. In that way they’ll be more aware they’re learning.
The students may reach the point of regulating, planning and assessing their own learning. More specific and concrete: they make up a schedule for studying and working, they exact themselves the fulfilling of that schedule, they ask themselves if they learned what was taught by us teachers.
They also know how to correct their activities, how to prepare and train themselves for exams, some basic techniques of studying and learning, how to plan their work for vacations and weekends. In that way they are not so dependent on their teacher, who is not longer the only motor of the learning: they learn because they really wish to.
They as well know how to control their learning process and they find out if they have to reinforce such or such point. In few words they mature. And we want mature students, according to their age, don’t we? Even they’re happier because they can see their effort has results. They have power over their mind and thinking process. Good students are the ones they know they’re good. / Photo from: American-Rails com. Our students become like their own locomotives!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

3206. How to Be Great at Exams

We second or foreign language teachers should test our students’ communicative competence.
I would advise you to test speaking along lessons, while the other three language skills (listening, reading and writing) can be assessed and tested at regular written tests.
However we should test these three latter skills also along the school year lessons and not only at written tests. What I propose is a continuous testing and assessing, and not only confined to written tests at each “evaluation” or term – I also would propose five (or four) “evaluations” plus the final testing. Only three “evaluations” seem little to me.
The communicative competence should be tested more often. As well remember that our students should not find the test activities unexpected: those activities should have been worked out along the lessons too.
I could carry on by writing about all this testing thing, but what can we do to minimize our students’ anxiety at final tests and at regular tests? Right away with frequent testing and assessing: in that way our students will bear in mind that those punctual tests are not the only ones from which their grades are depending…
I can tell you, from my experience by testing kids that they did not get anxious nor nervous, or not too much. At tutoring sessions I did not find much nervousness near their exams. Precisely all those tutoring sessions were also useful for the kids to give vents to their suffering, if any; well sometimes normal students could feel suffering or conflicts at certain times of their lives.
Those tutoring sessions made up a nice relationship between teachers and students. By conducting so you in some way made friends or something similar with most of the boys. It was nice. / Photo from: chess-player PaperTo Store. Kids can be so great!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

3205. Educating within Liberty

Families are the natural place where our students may grow fine or at least they should. But together with their families our students spend long at our school.
Let’s give an example about what some parents maybe should do with one of their children aged 16. Those parents, both dad and mom can exact from the kid to study his exams to pass them at the June call. If he fails, he will have to pass other exams in September.
Okay then, those parents might have a few serious but nice conversations with their kid in order to specify his goals, his way of studying and making the compulsory essays, and so on. But those dad and mom will in no way super-protect and over-protect him too much: they will let him work on his own.
And then if he fails his exams they will try to make him face his responsibility: Why did you fail? What was wrong? What was your obligation and duty? Think of it, with serenity but with realism, and try and find the solution. Nice and gentle conversations anyway! I don't mean questions like a machine-gun!
The point is not helping the kid “too much” in his studies: it’s him who has to fulfill his duties, and they’re educating his offspring for the future, when he’ll have to face life itself. While he’s studying for June call they might help him somewhat, like for instance by asking him, How are you going with those exams? And the like also, other questions also, to specify something concrete! So, something but not too much, he’s old enough, isn't he?
He should have been educated when younger to carry out his obligations, little by little, combining helping him with letting him free. 
All in a nice way and respecting his ultimate freedom. The point, remember, is educating him for life, and he’s old enough to face his exams. / Photo from: beach-catamaran-hobie16 BoatUS. The pic is just a nice illustration, very summer-like!

Monday, June 5, 2017

3204. Students Usually Love Small Jobs!

Most of us may be convinced that having small jobs in the classroom is beneficial to our students, is this so? I’m persuaded yes.

With those tasks our dear students gain responsibility, and you may agree that all of us desire students be responsible. With those small jobs our students grow inner. Our students may think, Okay this is my business and I have to carry it out. In some way or other they may think so.

We also get a classroom that is neater and tidier if we implement those jobs. They feel the classroom and the school as something of their own. This is something so educative, and besides our students may love those tasks. This is my experience.

We teachers have to learn how to delegate our exhaustive work in our students’ hands: we cannot do everything. As well in that way we construct the classroom with material which is essential for our teaching them. Anyone can think of a nice list of small jobs. Some examples: getting chalk for our still-existing chalkboards, turning off the lights, setting the desks into neat rows, picking up paper balls from the floor, writing the date in English on the board, cleaning the eraser, reading the student list to find out how many kids will stay at the school lunch, watering the plants, deconstructing the noticeboard if necessary…

They may choose or they may have to accept the small job assigned to each one of them. The thing or caboodle (in a positive way I mean it) can rotate or stay the same all the year round. Something else we gain is that they think of others and their welfare. They also get happier. Because they’re more generous. / Photo from: MaxDefense Philippines – blogger. We also educate our nice students in discipline.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

3203. How to Become a Competent Teacher

The teacher has to be a leader, a leader of the class. Otherwise he cannot influence positively on his students. A leader manages the class nice. Even more: I remember a teacher that said that a class or a classroom with students doesn’t have to be managed. You can manage objects but not students properly, that is: people, persons.
No one can give what he doesn’t have. Because of that a teacher should be ornamented or equipped with good habits and virtues. In that way he IS a leader, and influences on his dear students, and his students respect him. If he’s a competent teacher his doing-things-well influences on his students and more likely they’ll respect him.
Even at his private life he should be honest, honorable and upright: in that way he IS a leader and his students, as I said, will likely respect him and his work with people, with persons.
He with his only presence passes on doing-things-well. Maybe he will have to make himself respected at the beginning but if he’s a competent teacher and upright (and struggles to be so) over time he will pass on and transmit respect and doing-things-well.
Also because he treats his students nice and fair. Also because he loves his students. With benevolence love – remember: he tries to seek what’s good for his students. He isn’t a mercenary but his students are felt like something of his own, and he listens and hears his students when approached and addressed maybe at the school halls, even in a nasty way...
He knows how to hear and listen – all this does not mean he’s naïve or silly… He’s astute and clever. In few words he knows how to gain his students and he puts his students in his pockets, as we say in Spanish. He’s thoroughly in favor of his students. / Photo from: Wooder Ice. The picture might show a competent teacher.

Friday, June 2, 2017

3202. The Hobbit and Not Less!

Lately I'm reading The Hobbit - it's simply great. Also philologist comrade J.R.R. Tolkien is so great. Now famous and close to any spectator by means of the movies. What if I tell you that I'm having a rather big laugh at the people popping up in the book...

It's been for ages that I've been about to read The Lord of the Rings but eventually I did not read it at all. My students love the sequels, also by reading the books. And as well it's so great because the author drinks from many mythology backgrounds as well as from Christian sources. Moreover it's giving me chances to learn many a word... I've borrowed it from my school or center library. / Photo from: Paste Magazine

3201. How to Learn More Vocabulary

Vocabulary and its learning is paramount at learning a second or foreign language, and that’s obvious, okay. The more lexis the learner has learned the more able he’ll be to have a nice communicative competence in English or whatever the target language is.
Because of that my students and I practice in the classroom how to define words in English, our common target tongue. It is an activity my students love, and it is nice for practicing the communicative competence and skill.
Sometimes my dear students answer to my question for defining a word by using the word in Spanish, our mother language. And I tell them Okay, that’s right, but in English it is… Both I and my students try to create an atmosphere where English is the vehicle for our mutual communication and I don’t like much that a very few of them would say the word to define in Spanish…
I was thinking of that some days ago, and today I’ve read in Lynne Cameron (2004) Teaching Languages to Young Learners that one way to define a word is by using another language… Spanish for instance! You know, I should accept that answer, before they define the word in marvelous English. So it’s one more learning strategy! It’s a communicative strategy! I should accept it, as I said.
Great Rebecca Oxford (1990) also accepts using the mother tongue as a learning and communicating strategy. / Photo from: tumblr

Thursday, June 1, 2017

3200. Some Relaxing Now?

Oh, you know, it turned out maybe too serious but I mean it: We teachers are not alone in our daily struggle to teach our students. Among other reasons we can count on the Other, God, and his only beloved Son Jesus Christ. We call this latter the Master, the Teacher, and He’s true God and true man. He can help us.
Well you know, I thought it be right to tell about this point. We aren’t alone and I could tell you fine things about their help. I wish you all a nice break at summer, if you’re at the north hemisphere of the earth. You all need resting and relaxing.
Yesterday I taught my last lesson of the winter season and now I focus on this nice summer. For instance I’ll be assisting at a summer English camp July 18 through 31. I’ll be the link or bridge between the monitor staff and the brilliant English-language native teachers.
By the way and before I forget it: what I wrote about turning to Jesus Christ for help may look too serious a thing or kinda that, like I said, but for me it is an everyday thing.
We may have finished our school year or may be about to finish. I’d advise you to write a simple, useful though report about this school year: on the spot what turned out fine about your lessons, what you want to keep, possible activities you’d like to implement at fall, what turned out dreadful maybe, all on a paper sheet – it’s kind of a summary, besides the one your principal or department head may ask you to make up. So brief I mean it because it must be a useful and helpful thing for you and not something obliged you’ve got to make. Got it? At your entire disposal, my dear colleagues! / Photo from: trekking Radio Zero