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Showing posts from September, 2017

3270. Creating Autonomous Learners

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I wrote about a very good Spanish school on the last post. That school sets a nice example to us teachers. It has so many valuable things. Many ones. I was thinking of the main point, like a summary of its advantages. I would signal and point out that the main point is that the students are autonomous learners, up to some extent. The teachers teach their students to be extra good learners. Those kids are like their own teachers. They plan their learning and their assessing and evaluation. Some kids will pass their grades in May, others in June, but all of them will for sure reach the objectives. Each student has his teacher, sort of one teacher per one student. I don’t mean there are as many teachers as students, but the final result is like the kids had their tutors-teachers. Each student learn because he wishes so. They can tell you what they’re learning, how they’re learning and why they’re learning, awesome! The school is at the same level as the best ones in the USA, Finland, UK,…

3269. Motivation Plus Autonomous Learners!

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Today I’ve read about a school in Spain that has nothing to envy the best schools for example from Finland – which are among the best ones, not to mention also there’re quite many brilliant schools in the USA... I’d like to read the article from the paper for longer and I could let you know about my findings. The point, the main point is that… well, it’s twofold: the education there is absolutely personalized and individualized. And the second point is that there, at that school, they teach the kids to learn how to learn. Any kid there, tentatively, could tell anyone who’s asking around what they’re learning, how they’re learning it, and why they’re learning that. That said I have mentioned the main core points about that school. On coming days I’ll tell you more findings by me about the article. Think of those key things: personalized education plus learning to learn – anyway all this can be something you’re already doing in your schools, because my readers, many of them, most of you…

3268. Have We Realized How Teens Really Are?

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As I said on the previous post young people, like our students, are capable of all that is great. They’re at the age when they can contain great ideals and some big generosity. Sometimes we may think they’re rather troublesome but if we adults help them in the right way, they can become great people, great persons. We can take advantage of individual tutoring sessions in order to help them take what they have in their inner being and heart. But we grown-ups must set an example. For instance they have the idea of justice very deep inside, and they don’t tolerate we could be more inclined to some students. Some nice exercise we can do when they’re teens is setting the task of writing about themselves. It’s original. And tell them you’re going to read their essays. You for sure will get amazed at what they’ve written and will see many different things and lives. Even you could learn something useful for your daily teaching and treating them. By the way, they’re naturally open to the tran…

3267. Writing Stories with Love and Greatness

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Pheeew! We’re starting the new school year and we need some help, for example by visiting Angela Watson’s blogs. Today I wanted to write a bit about our youngsters. Although sometimes we might think otherwise, young people are passing through an age prone to high ideals. They’re capable of all that is great. They’re generous enough to face great ideals. We should not forget this point. And when talking with them we should pull from the strokes that show they’re capable of those big things in life. I think I’m writing about this issue later or even tomorrow. But please bear in mind about this point: young people can be determined and prone to great ideals. And you may think of the many volunteers who enroll in big enterprises in favor of refugees, or the poor, or the illiterate, or the elderly… or just they’re great citizens or might be so, who can make our countries great too! / Photo from: Police helicopter ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation

3266. Do You Ever Feel Anxiety?

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We’ve already started the new school year. Things are developing. We try and do our best, is that so? I guess so, because you’re committed teachers. Nevertheless we may be a bit anxious. Yes, because we may feel like we were not doing our best, and thus we may feel this anxiety. Some posts ago I told you all that it is sensible to specify a goal per class. Just a goal. A realistic one, and not naïve, because we may be somewhat experienced teachers. Think of a goal that is suitable to your students. And which one will boost their learning process at least for a bit. Many bits together make up a lot, quite a lot, right? Something else today. If we’re second or foreign language teachers we should vocalize in the classroom to convey clear messages, and at a level which is a bit above the students’ one but not too much above: the class is a chance for our students to learn and advance and not to show off how much English we know! Our students are also protagonists. And they must learn and …

3265. Educating Personalities Is Great and Demanding!

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We teachers have to help our students’ families at the duty of educating their children’s personalities. And we’ll achieve this in the classroom, but individual tutoring sessions are indispensable too. Treating each kid is necessary. Better if male teachers talk with male students and the same with women, because personal, very personal aspects are treated and dealt with and you make friends. This is my experience and it seems okay. Schools should devote enough time for individual tutoring sessions with the kids. We have to help our students face life’s aspects. And all that has to do with educating their personalities. We won’t only confine our work to teaching math, history, English… but we should educate our students in a thorough way, and in accordance with their families. We have the beautiful duty of educating our students in an integral and complete way, if their parents agree, and this is very important. I repeat on purpose: if their parents agree. Now that we have their permi…

3264. Some Hint on Educating to Be Happy

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We teachers maybe tend to teach our students knowledge and skills, and it is okay, of course. However we have to remember that we’re educating people, persons, to be happy, ultimately. And it serves the purpose if we educate people, persons, to be mature. Psychologically mature. Reason and will should dominate affections, feelings and sentiments – these latter ones may be good, of course. A happy person is the one that balances his reason or intelligence with his affections, feelings and sentiments. In other words his reason dominates his affections, feelings and sentiments. It is not enough to teach him to have a nice communicative competence in English (for example, and which is okay, of course), but we must point at educating thorough and accomplished people, persons. Affections, for example, should be oriented to what is rational and in accordance to human dignity. Even more, ultimately toward what makes that person happy. When I say happy I’m not referring to superficial gladness…

3263. How to Relax on the Spot

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Relaxing on the spot? Is it possible? It is, indeed. I’ve told you all about relaxing in bed. We can do the same or similarly when standing in the school! When in bed, and it is something that helps you get asleep, you can do the following operations, in order to relax. Feel your body as if it was so heavy. Relax your arms and legs and your back as if they were rather heavy on bed. Breathe slowly and profoundly. Then relax the muscles of your face, because inadvertently we can have those muscles so tense during the day. Repeat the same operations, slowly, rather slowly. And slow down the rhythm of your thoughts. Also you can try to listen to silence, the one surrounding you, if possible, or at least slow those ideas down. Feel all your body in a more and more relaxing way, by means of those operations. Breathe slowly and profoundly. Over time you will be able to do all this more quickly and more effectively. In a few minutes you’ll achieve to have your body and mind more relaxed. When…

3262. Fall is Approaching with Some Big Hope

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Today is Sunday and I didn’t want to post about teaching and learning English. It’s a day for resting and relaxing and spending longer time with our families. You know, we’re closer and closer to fall. We in southern Spain hope it’ll rain in that season a lot: the reservoirs have not much water now. Let’s hope it’ll rain profusely. I like fall days, when day light is diminishing and it gets dark earlier and earlier. It’s being cool lately but no drop of rain so far. I pray good Lord for raining this fall here in southern Spain. Tomorrow I expect to write on how to relax on regular days, even at work. / Photo from: wallzoa com

3261. Are Our Students Really Learning?

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Obviously it is great we teachers plan our lessons in a thorough way. Okay. Some days ago I read on the newspaper that a college professor said that he strived to teach well but he noted his students got bad grades... When he realized about this point one thing he did was to post videos on YouTube so his students could view them and learn better. He pinpointed his students’ learning processes. So we could ask ourselves: Are my dear students actually learning? Are they grasping and acquiring the knowledge and practical skills that are contained in my school subject? How are they learning? Maybe now it’s the right time to pose this important point. Even something pretty good we could do is posing this point aloud to our students in the classroom, to find out if they’re really learning. Be honest and sincere and talk with your students about the relationship between teaching and learning; even more, tell them that you’re worried and concerned about their actual learning, and give them so…

3260. Our Work Makes Us Better, No Doubt!

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All of us want to work well and carry it out fine at this beginning of the school year, right? And all this blog is about trying to teach effectively and how to learn effectively too. I can assure you that our work makes us better persons. Even and because we have a spiritual part of ourselves we can elevate that work to a transcendent sphere. We can do it with supernatural “lenses”: we can offer it to God our father. As simple as that. And the consequence is that we are transforming that work into something that not only makes us better but also makes us saints in everyday life – remember we have elevated that nice work into something supernatural and we can count on his supernatural help. So we can be happy while working, though we may have some problems, even dire straits. And also we can hold an interior conversation with our dad God while working. I mean, from the ordinary and regular things that occur to us we can tell him about our problems and joys, and in some way or other he…

3259. Sense of Humor Plus Love of Benevolence

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I can see all of you teachers try to do things well. I know so because you view other teachers’ blogs and stuff. For example TeacherLingo. If you try to do things okay, sooner or a bit later you will gain some nice prestige. And that prestige will lead you to good consideration both by your directors and your students. Also by their families. One important point when treating other people is sense of humor, sense of humor plus elegance. I’ve seen it in other teachers: they had success because they treated their students with love, with love of benevolence, which means to wish what’s good for our students. Although sometimes you’ll have to be like a sergeant, the core point is anyway treating those kids politely and respectfully. Always by treating them as intelligent beings and persons that deserve all our respect anyway. / Photo from: police-dogs WonderList. I tried to post a picture that showed a police officer with elegance and smiling. And the dog is okay too anyway.

3258. How to Amplify Necessary Vocabulary

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A second or foreign language teacher, unless he’s a native speaker, must learn the language too, together with his students. Also he must learn many words, to be able to communicate with his students in that language, for instance. And he will learn words if he sees them in a context; otherwise he will not gain those words, if they aren’t in a context. Because of that it would be perfect if that teacher would read for example a fiction book in that language, English in my case. Thus learning words directly from a dictionary seems that it’s not appropriate nor sufficient. It's my experience, at least. As well the students will be able to gain more vocabulary if they see those new words also in a context, for example in a simplified and abridged reader or short book. When learning words is a habit then if you read a novel, you also acquire words: they get stuck in your mind inadvertently and when writing for example they come to mind unexpectedly! It is my own experience. You are cr…

3257. Being Creative and Flexible at Teaching the Lessons

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We’ve just started the new school year and we have nice and serious resolutions. And we’d like to improve here and there as well, and this and that and so many other things! I would advise you to have one goal per day. And at the end of the work day we could examine whether we got it or otherwise that must be next day’s goal again. Also we should have one goal per class, per lesson, one goal concerning our students: they need to improve at getting focused on what I’m saying, or they need to improve listening for the gist in English, our target language, or even more specific: Let’s start teaching when I’ve accomplished to get them attentive, maybe by means of a warmer activity, like a dictation for example. One class, one goal. And the objective must be something we can really achieve, not something too utopic and chimeric. In that way we’ll be trained at also advising our students to make up some achievable resolutions when talking with them, both at tutoring sessions and when addres…

3256. How to Motivate Our Students: Some Hint

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Our classes should be interactive. Not just attending them, writing or typing some notes and passing the exam. What about reading something, like a book, journal, article from the Internet, and also discussing about the issue in the classroom? Of course the teacher should present some point, but the students also and this makes them protagonists of the classroom and they can present some point too. This demands some nice effort by them. Okay, you can try and find out what is best for your lessons and students and their needs. However if the students take a positive and active position they will have to use nice learning strategies, like planning their work, summarizing and synthesizing, interacting with their classmates, learning how to talk in public for their classmates and the teacher to be able to understand what they just presented. Thus the class will be some nice discussion about topics and their inherent points, and our students will strive to learn actively. Anyway you should…

3255. How to Treat Our Colleagues and Students

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So remember that we teachers must have some nice rapport both with our colleagues and with our students. In Spanish we say kind of “good chemistry”, but the meaning is the same as in English “rapport”. With all those people, with whom we’re about to spend so many hours together, let’s have and show cordiality and affability. Even more that rapport should be love of benevolence, as Aristotle said. And it means that we have to seek what’s good for the other people. And much of that love is about learning to listen and observe the other people. A teacher must have good ears to listen to his colleagues and students alike. We’re going to spend so many hours together this starting school year. So rapport… with prudence anyway, for we may be also treating persons of the other genre and we do not wish ugly gossip all around nor doing things bad. So prudent rapport it should be, for we’re going to work together pretty many hours. / Photo from: Guardia Civil. That’s a special Spanish police bod…

3254. How to Empathize with Our Students

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I repeat on purpose: our students should be easy and somehow relaxed in the classroom. But at the same time some nice and sane tension helps them learn! They may be eager to participate for example. And some challenge is necessary to learn! Great history deeds by people have been done because of some challenge or problem to solve… In the classroom the atmosphere should be quiet and predisposed for learning, listening, reading and studying. We teachers in some way should be like fine self-help books. In other words we have to have some psychology, often due to experience and learning from other teachers and psychologists. The atmosphere, as I said, should be peaceful. For that objective we teachers should empathize with our students, and also should try and understand them. Last summer I was assisting at an English camp for boys. One of the boys had the disease of solitude. He didn’t like rumors and noise, so frequent at a boys’ camp, right? This kid wanted to be alone and preferred to…

3253. Anxiety and Sense of Humor

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The important point now that we’re starting with the new school year is for our dear students to be happy. That’s not against discipline and some sane classroom management. When the thing is set and we’re teaching nice, at this beginning school-year time, we can use some sense of humor and some more cordiality, which will help us hold some nice treatment with our students. If we’re fair people and honorable or we try to be so, even upright, we’ll get some nice discipline, because we’re serious and delicate teachers. If we work with professionalism and try to be a bit better every single day, more likely our students will respect us. I repeat on purpose: the chief point is for our students to be ultimately happy, deeply happy, which entails some nice anthropology. I try, with God’s help, to behave as I am, a Christian. And that implies some very nice anthropology. My blog is a sample of that. That is compatible with some not too proud position by me: I'm just a regular English-lang…

3252. Content-Based Instruction as Something Great!

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Many of us teachers believe that the communicative approach to teaching/learning a second or foreign language is okay, or among the best ones. But that way of teaching and learning is not confined to just conversation. Wait, wait, conversation is okay, and very necessary and a core point at that approach, but also we should give that way of teaching/learning both a functional and notional stroke too. And it isn’t very difficult. You can think of focusing on ways to express functions, like suggesting, discussing, pleading, etc., plus dealing with topics and their vocabulary: at a restaurant, talking among friends, at the airport, shopping, etc. Think of everyday situations your students will encounter. I insist on purpose: conversation anyway is pretty important for this way of teaching and learning, and if you achieve to have nice conversations in the classroom, that point solves the rub, up to some extent. So as to finish, our role in the classroom is not just patching up, but progra…