Why use technology?

Ah yes here is one of the thought provoking posts that I like to send out to you every so often. Through my twitter network of supporters, teachers and learners, I found this great commentary and review on an article which was published in the NY Times not too long ago. Check it out.

Collision Detection

It explains in clear language how technology enhances learning, and demonstrates different ways of applying wordles in academic situations, even in a second language classroom!

, ,


A student-centered TPR application: Imperative forms

As teachers we are always looking for a way to improve our classes so learners engage with their learning process. Recently we were studying the different approaches to teaching English. I would like to share this post and incredible blog Movie Segments to assess Grammar Goals from Claudio in Brasil.  Claudio offers a truly student-centered approach to reinforcing and providing practice with grammar structures.

This is one more way in which technology can work for us to help engage our students. Check out this lesson and post what you think. Has anyone seen this movie?


A great class to watch

In her post comparing a TEFL class online with her own suggestions, Adriana, a past TKT candidate, has shared a GREAT class that I recommend watching because it uses many motivational techniques that work. It is a task-based class, so the learning focus is centered on the students, not on the teacher, and involves the students on many levels.

Check out Adriana’s blog at http://arh1980.wordpress.com/

, , , , ,

1 Comment

Differentiation for different learners

After knowing our personal learning styles and exploring out multiple intelligences, we might come to the conclusion that we need to create lessons with several approaches to provide interest and variety in our classes.

For those of us who enjoy looking at photos, and remember that a photo is worth 1,000 words, here is a link to Ian James’ site where he shares a great lesson for questioning and answering based on photo-study, which addresses many multiple intelligences and learning styles.

Check it out.The Who What Where When and Why of Photos

, , , , , , , , , , ,


Don’t Motivate your Students

You are probably wondering what I am saying…and I mean it, don’t motivate your students. If you motivate your students, you are still doing the work for them of getting them interested. Instead, engage your students. Involve your students. Let them have control of their learning. How?

Let them make decisions about their knowledge. Let them set their own goals. Stop trying to control them, let them control their learning processes.

I recently took a good hard look at the typical school classroom in most schools in the town where  I live. In every classroom, the seats are lined up to face the front facing the teacher, the center of attention.

Students sit and listen while professors drone on, and once in a while students get to speak during pair work. Students in Mexican universities are required to study English in order to graduate, so they come in thousands (five thousand students registered this past semester in our Language Department and at times, hundreds are turned away!). There are no discipline problems, this is university level studies and they take it seriously.

So, what does engaging your students mean? This is what I think:

  • Asking them to reflect,
  • to evaluate,
  • to stand back and observe what they are doing,
  • to learn not only from their product but also from their process. If we say that life is the journey you travel to get to your destination, and the fun is in how you get there, then why do we place so much emphasis on the product?

ASCD author and Annual Conference presenter Bob Sullo says that educators could be more successful with their teaching if they invited their students to be collaborators in their own learning in this video.

Point in case: I asked my advanced level students to bring in their portfolio of written work they had done in the past year after doing an analysis of sentence structure (complex, compound and simple sentences). They were able to observe their progress and note where they needed to make improvements. Most of them had never had the opportunity to sit and reflect where they have been to see where they could go. The AHA moment was tangible as everyone learned and set new personal goals for their writing during the semester. Now that was engagement.

  • How would you place more emphasis on the process of learning?
  • Would you let your students design their own rubrics? Share expectations?
  • Give them a choice and so create ownership?
  • Go beyond the classroom walls?

What ideas do you have?

Original Toondo cartoon by author.

, , , , , ,


Excellent videos to see


In class we were unable to view two very important videos:

Genie (secret of the wild child)  Watch this one for at least ten minutes. You will want to watch the complete documentary.        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmdycJQi4QA    

This video is a must-see: The Linguistic Genius of Babies. It shows what  really goes on when we learn language.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2XBIkHW954

Here is a recommendation for a great video: Miguel Angel found a Genke video to use with his Venn diagram, and it is well worth seeing. However, I happen to know that using this much energy during a class as does Genke English is impossible to do for many years, and I hope that the teacher finds another way to engage his students instead of being very active. Check out his blog.

Finally, Jessica posted her learning theories matrix with videos and a great synthesis of how each theory affects metacognition in learning. Check out Jessica’s blog for a job well done. congratulations Jessica!



, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Four Skills Great Ideas Post

I’d love to use this post as a forum for the great ideas you all have. From your experiences in the ESL/EFL (or French, Italian, German, or Japanese) teaching/learning world, recommend another blog, site or page where English teachers can go for extra support in the four skills. I’m sure that everyone has something to contribute.
I would like to recommend a visit to songs-to-teach-grammar this blog about songs to teach grammar where you can find lots of suggestions and other sites for finding and using songs to teach grammar.
Busy Prepositions from Schoolhouse Rock is one of my favorite videos to teach a difficult concept, prepositional phrases, from Schoolhouse Rock, 2007, found on Youtube. I find it useful to help students distinguish between phrases and clauses.

Here is a great link to a blog, all about making writing lessons meaningful for ESL/EFL students to give you some ideas to use in your classrooms.

To work on stress and intonation in speaking, here is Carolyn Graham’s Jazz Chants.<a href=”Teaching Jazz Chants“>Teaching Jazz Chants

Here are some techniques for teaching speaking in big classes BBC Teaching Speaking

Specific sites such as these provide specific aids for busy teachers who can inject fun and creativity into their classrooms while helping their students learn.


10 Podcasting Projects Every Teacher Should Try

See on Scoop.itI can do this, even with technology.

Now that teachers have easy access to tools like Garage Band and iPods that make recording a breeze, podcasting is quickly becoming the latest creative mode of learning and presenting in schools.  Here are ten ideas to try in your classroom today.

Ellen Graber‘s insight:

Students have many opportunities to speak in their target language. We need to know about those opportunities to get them speaking!

Great ideas here.

See on www.weareteachers.com

1 Comment

Literature Circles

literature circles

Reading is a complex activity and we know that many of our learners are not accustomed to reading in their first language, let alone reading in the target language. When we create a collaborative communicative context for students to work on subskills in the target language, we begin to promote not only reading subskills, but we also promote collaboration, speaking skills, writing skills and listening skills.

It is difficult to separately work with any language skill, out of context with the other language skills. Literacy circles provides students with authentic reasons to communicate, a supportive learning environment and breaks down the tasks that students must do in order to practice and become proficient at reading skills.

Look at the Literature_Circles written by past students of the TKT course.
What is your opinion of Literature Circles? Can they help promote reading in L1 or L2 in your learning/teaching situation? For foreign language learners are they especially helpful? Why? Think about these questions as you investigate more about Literature Circles.
How would you use them in your classes? Investigate the links included in the PPT for more information.

, , , , , , , , , ,


Standards in Teaching and Learning Language through the classification of can do statements..or functions!

What words most stand out here?
That’s right, information, capacity, communicate, and level. ALTE and CEFR unify criteria and standardizes the learning and teaching of languages for learners and teachers. If we are studying for a standardized exam, the TKT, that is recognized throughout the world, then so are our learners with the use of ALTE and CEFR.

So far, your posts have been very reflective and very astute.
Here is a chart for you to see the relationship between the two standards of language teaching in Europe.

From the British Council Examinations Services in Bogota, http://www.britishcouncil.org/colombia-exams-ielts-common-european-framework-cambridge-esol-and-alte.pdf

, , , ,



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,521 other followers