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Showing posts from February, 2018

3345. You May Be an Awesome Teacher Too!

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What is the ideal teacher like? I can tell you about the foreign or second language teacher. He’s an actor, a performer, a prudent showman, a prompter, an assessor, a resource fountain, a presenter, a speaker, a bit of some prudent clown, a serious judge too. He animates his class of students, he encourages them, he directs and conducts his dear students like an orchestra conductor, who knows when he has to extract the best from his pupils. He holds his students at odd and negative dire straits, even he sings –at college I had a professor that explained Anglo-Saxon history and culture by singing when it was appropriate for presenting either the African-American slaves at plantations or other characters I don’t remember now. He was Welsh and sang pretty good. His name is Michael Gronow, from Wales, like I said. Where might he be now? He was my teacher at Seville, south of Spain, and I was studying English philology: literature, linguistics, history, geography… He was awesome! And we le…

3344. Creating a Nice Atmosphere in the Classroom

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So we teachers must create immersion in the target language in the classroom. But I do use our common mother language too! With some of the groups! The ones with lower level of English (the target language). Am I doing wrong? Maybe the key thing is creating an atmosphere where English is widely used and the students are exposed to that marvelous tongue. THERE IS immersion in the target language, indeed. However I’m forced to use Spanish (L1) sometimes – otherwise there would be miscommunication. Besides, for my students to acquire English I have to provide ample input in English, and to clarify some point, some isolated one I might use L1. Do you colleagues agree with me? What do you think? Summing up: there will be immersion in English, though I might turn to Spanish to catapult communication in the classroom. Definitely I’m using Spanish rather little, and that seems okay, right? And all this only for the lower leveled classes. / Photo from: Tintin bedetheque com. Some people learn …

3343. Smartphones in the Future Will Be like...

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I’ve been insisting that the main point about teaching/learning a foreign or second language is for communication. Short ago I’ve also been having a look at the mobile or cell phones evolution. Can you remember the first mobile phones of the 90s? The picture above gives a view to the evolution of those devices that serve the purpose of connecting people for communication. What will smartphones be like within a few years from now? Will they be adaptable to our wrist or they’ll project an image out of nothing or nearly? / Photo from: future-mobile-phones-2020-5g Future Timeline

3342. Have a Nice Break, Teachers!

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The weekend. Nice for resting and relaxing and staying with your family. And friends alike. I know you also pray for your students and their families alike. And that’s pretty good from you! Also you may be planning some lesson or lessons today Saturday. And that may be equally good from you. Yet remember to dedicate enough time for resting: we have a long way yet to the end of the school year. Every school year for me is kind of shorter. Days pass away fast, or rather fast. And the same for weeks, and for months, and February is shorter! We have to make good use of time. For helping our students out and serving them with our nice job as teachers. When I think of the time I have until I’ll retire and look backward… Time flies, man! I don’t want this post be unsubstantial: coming to the head: have some resting with your people and bear your students in mind, so as to face next week with more enthusiasm than ever before. Have a nice weekend, teachers! And remember that we are leaving a t…

3341. Schools Need Flexible Teachers!

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The teacher must be a mature personality, young he may be though. He’s in charge of a class or some classes of students, and he has to find out if they’re demotivated and in need of encouraging. He doesn’t depend too much on his staff and the principal. He has been put in charge of those classes and does what’s best for those people. Also he can realize what feelings his students may be experiencing when teaching them. In some way or in much way that teacher is autonomous: he seeks the best for his students. He dedicates and devotes enough time to lesson planning with his students in mind, that is, real people with real needs. As I said he has been put in charge of some people and takes care of them, with love of benevolence, which means to seek what’s good and appropriate for those learners. He’s mature enough to take the pulse to his students at any moment: he does not confine to just teaching and getting away when finishing the class; even he might stay with his students for longer…

3340. How to Get Your Students Enthused

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If the teacher has confidence in his method he will likely teach fine. Otherwise unless he trusts in his teaching way… more likely he will feel frustrated plus his teaching will not be efficient. In order to find a nice teaching method the teacher has to educate himself at teaching, by maybe studying at college and reading many a website and/or a book on teaching. This is what I’ve done and I can confess it helps me big! Let’s go back to that teacher. As a result of all that said also his students will likely learn quite much. And the teacher will pass on and transmit his enthusiasm about teaching in this or that way. Enthusiasm is something that is contagious, sooner or later. No enthusiasm, no nice teaching. Well, you may not feel enthusiasm right now but the overall teaching way will ‘infect’ your students positively. If the teacher trusts in his method he will teach with authority and enthusiasm, more often than not. This idea has been partially taken from Jeremy Harmer. And his stu…

3339. Teachers that Motivate Their Students

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Kids and adults learn if they’re motivated. Motivated in this or that way, but motivated anyway. And we teachers can do a great deal to have our students motivated. If those people, either kids or adults, can see you their teacher have a lot of enthusiasm about your teaching, you’ll get your students highly motivated. I have seen it. I have seen that teachers that are enthused in this or that way they draw their students to high standards of learning. I have seen teachers that take their work so seriously that they transmit and pass on the like for their school subject: math, history, English as a foreign language, religion, sports, science, economics… Motivation among students has a lot to do with their teacher’s attitude to teaching and learning, according to Jeremy Harmer. Well, you the teacher may somehow be not very enthused now about your teaching, but ultimately and if you carry out your work in a fine way and improving every single day, you will get your students motivated. / …

3338. How to Face a New Week in a Nice Way

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I know you committed and concerned teachers are even excited at teaching. And as well I know that you seek more than just teaching math, science, history, law, economics, religion, sports… I guess you every morning rise with the desire of teaching your kids or adults. Well maybe that’s not the first thought that comes to mind early in the morning but you wish to teach those knowledge areas in a fine way. Is that so, is that correct? And also you seek to educate men and women that are upright and honorable citizens. Even more you seek to educate leaders, right? I also think all these ideas are okay to start a new week, a new work week tomorrow morning. Oh, we should also remember and bear in mind that the first way to educate those kids and adults is by setting a nice example. So let’s try to teach and educate with the best way ever, better than yesterday but less good than tomorrow: every single day we must recycle and try and teach with human perfectness or perfection. And even we tr…

3337. Teachers that Are Doing Great!

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Some days ago I wrote, “The teacher’s creativity. He’s the main source and resource. He knows the kids at hand and knows what’s better for them. As the best musical instrument is the voice, the best resource is himself.” And I have little else to say today. Most teachers have some great and nice creativity, and can give their classes a nice touch of creativity. At least I’ve seen this in most of the teachers I’ve come across. They’re simply great. It may be worth to stop to talk with each one of them! Teachers, you’re doing great! Congratulations! I try and not be naïve anyway: some (rather few) teachers use their yellowish notes over and over, but like I said, most of the teachers I’ve come across are creative and concerned about their students’ learning processes. / Photo from: La-Dehesa-de-la-Villa Parques de Madrid. I posted a beautiful picture.

3336. I Keep On Being Optimistic!

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Yesterday I told you that we had problems with some kids at the school I worked at, some years ago. But I was optimistic anyway and I am so today too. We had tutoring sessions with each kid, and those conversations were great often, more often than not. We could help out each kid and his family alike, at other tutoring sessions with these later ones too. So let’s put in a kid’s shoes: You have an adult that teaches you and has time to dedicate to listening to you! He’s sitting with you to just listen to you! Well and he can give you great and useful advice. He does know kids and their world, their anxieties and expectations, their concerns and joys. He can give you advice about those subjects you may have problems with: math, science, literature, economics… Even he can tell other teachers about you if you wish. He gets to know kids or he tries hard. That’s simply great. Those conversations took place every two weeks, maybe three, depending on the number of students you had in charge. A…

3335. Affection Is Necessary!

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More often than not there’re some few cases of conflictive kids in Spain, not only at school but also at home. By no means do I intend to be negative anyway. Because we can appreciate many cases of kids that are being educated nice, in our classrooms. Coming back to the first cases, some days ago I read on the paper that a psychologist has recently said that we have to educate those problematic kids to be generous, with solidarity and concerned about other people. In a word they must learn to help other people. Otherwise they’re going to be tyrants. And I was thinking of our classrooms. Thank God our kids conduct in some nice way, and when there’re problems, these ones are minimized thanks to tutoring sessions, where those kids can give vents to their problems, for example at home. But remember, also we have problems. I remember there was a summer course in a school where the kids lived. It was a program to train them for their examinations and to become better students. I’m referring …

3334. Motivating in a Positive Way Is Great!

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The teacher has to encourage his students always. He must be encouraging. And should accept all the replies and answers from his students that are okay. Sometimes we could be too demanding, and that’s not correct I think. This is compatible with being accurately and adequately demanding. If we can exact and demand a lot from our students, let’s do in that way: we would be dull and torpid if we didn’t demand what is correct from them. If we can obtain four from them we should not demand only one. Where is the exact measure? That depends on the teacher’s discernment. And that discernment is gotten over time, with experience, with advice from other veteran teachers. The school should run talks and workshops from time to time to educate his dear teachers. I’ve known this and I think it’s the correct thing to do. So we must be encouraging and accept what our students can give. If we accept their answers and replies – because they’re right – let’s conduct in that way: we’ll be educating our…

3333. What Our Main Concern Should Be

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All we as teachers do every day should help us ourselves teach better. The teacher’s first concern should be himself. He should be ready for the best possible teaching ever. Combining a relaxed and sanely tense way. He should never become lukewarm nor tepid. For that purpose he should be all the time recycling himself as a teacher. He will teach with love - love of benevolence, seeking what's better for his students. All this can be carried out with God's help and for love to Him. In that way nothing will be lost. Our effort will not be lost. He should turn to teaching sources and resources. He should read and learn continuously. And that to avoid becoming tepid or lukewarm, as I said. He should also treat his students as gently as he can. Gently but not in a silly way. Thus he will respect his students when treating them. His main concern or first one will be himself. He has to recycle his teaching methods all the time: he will keep what turns out fine and remove what’s wrong.…

3332. The Amazing Force of Work Well Done!

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I know you’re committed teachers, and good ones too. We must know that work that is carried out well has a special force. Sooner or later this work and this force stand out among our students and that work is respected or will be so, sooner or later, I’d say. Even though we may have disruptive students, which is the case for many teachers in Spain. I’m referring to secondary education, mainly. Even there has been violence in some high school centers. Recently. I’m thinking of a specific school here in the province of Granada. Even there has been some case of maltreating teachers, but in the end peace has arrived. The thing happened among very few students of that center. It was something exceptional and unusual anyway. And yesterday or few days ago I read on the paper that at another school from Spain the students are performing some drama plays, in order to stop bullying. Thus the students become more roped in the center routines. That’s another example of work well done, and not onl…

3331. The Best Learners Ever!

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Who is the learner who succeeds? The one that has a special view of his own learning. For example a learner of a second or foreign language that succeeds is that person that is a powerful motor of his own learning. Also that learner or student finds his own pathway to success. That person will have a special tone that he really wishes to learn. He doesn’t just trust all in his teacher and in his textbook or iPad. But he applies the techniques and ways of learning that show he can learn. By the way, he trusts in himself. Otherwise he will never learn, or he will a little, just a little. Good students are the ones that believe in themselves and apply all the artillery of their own ways of learning or learning strategies. Furthermore they gain the best ways of learning from their classmates too: they also learn from their classmates, better if the teacher – like you, like me! – extracts the best of those techniques in the classroom, and brings them out. / Photo from: Stephen Curry YouTub…

3330. On How to Get Better Pronunciation

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Reading aloud. Just reading aloud. It helps our students get better pronunciation, if we’re teaching a second or foreign language. First we the teachers can mold the sentences by reading ourselves aloud. And then we can have our learners read out, one by one. This latter thing is something we used to do when we were training to achieve the C2 level of English, and we weren’t beginners! That level is the highest one, within the Common European Framework. I prepared myself for that level at University of Granada, south of Spain. If you want to accomplish a good pronunciation of English, you have to read texts out for rather long. And as I said the teacher can firstly mold the sentences by reading himself. Concerning pronunciation I’d say that the first goal is trying our students would gain a clear pronunciation: they should be understood, first of all, then we can have them improve their pronunciation. H. D. Brown, an American expert at learning languages, used to say that it’s fine if…

3329. On Conscience and Happiness

I said on the previous post that it seems okay when we decide to obey.

However we have to obey if what we’re told is not against our conscience, of course. We have to follow our conscience, when it is well formed and educated.

How to educate and form it? I can give an answer from the point that I’m Christian: we can find good sources to form our conscience from Jesus Christ: from our treating with Him, from the gospels, from the consulting upright and honorable people, who we know they want to improve as persons.

Besides we can receive that education by counselling and getting advice from our Mother the Church – I’m Roman Catholic. / Photo from: Sorry but I couldn't post a picture, because there was a small bug or error.

3328. Are Our Students Free and Happy?

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A good friend of mine says he feels very free when he obeys. His option is listening and obeying to what he’s told to do – or suggested to do – by somebody superior. Freedom and obedience are not confronted. That also happens with our students: they may prefer and opt for obeying. Even in anthropological terms the person who decides to obey is the one that may be the freest. And all that is completely related to our students’ initiatives. We have to let our students ultimately be free. It’s the only way we can use to educate them in a thorough way. One school principal made me think once when he told me something like I had to have my students silent and attentive but I should let them be free ultimately. Young people – alike as older ones – develop, better and improve themselves as persons when they’re free, and as well when they’re free to obey. / Photo from: ThoughtCo. Kids and teens may get a superior education through reading adequate books! They can enrich them a great deal!

3327. Please, Tell Me a Story!

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What to do when you have to teach basic English to grown-ups? Because you may have to teach basic things and deal with basic vocabulary sets, and all that may be kind of childish, right? One option is to turn into their mother language and exploit those sets of lexis in a more adult-like way. But you may feel like you should say all in English, the target language... Well, we could ask them questions about those words, in a basic-format way. Also I can tell you that in my case my adult learners don’t feel lessons are childish. I’m referring to basic-English classes. It’s up to the sort of activities we implement. As well I could tell you that quite many of those students attend the following class, which is more advanced level, and in these latter lessons for example I hand out worksheets that contain deeper-content texts: stories I make up, articles on various topics, like history, inventions, science, psychology… Furthermore today many a textbook have interesting topics, which are c…