MOOCs in the developing world – Pros and cons

Several of the challenges cited by sceptics in raising the international profile of MOOCs – how to prevent cheating and improve completion rates, for example – are identical to those faced by Western educators.


An interesting read to consider MOOCs, modular open online courseware.

With so many cultural considerations in different countries, and the difficulty many of us have to get online, MOOCs are something to think about. Unfortunately, professional development with a MOOC is not taken into consideration by my university tenuring system…something to think about……..

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

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Annual Plans

What should an annual plan demonstrate?

An annual plan should share what the students learn through the evidence of learning outcomes, functions and competencies (as noted by the functions and competencies, and what the teacher will do. The accompanying plan covers two months.

Since very few candidates completed an annual plan that shows your competency in planning, please practice with this BIMONTHLY PLAN. It is a SEP-approved format and is currently in use in one of the largest secondary schools in the city.

Download and print the two-page plan and do the following:

1. Combining the competencies and learning evidences, write your ideas for three alternative assessments during this time period which could be used for evaluation, right on the pages themselves.

2. Add three more functions related to the ALTE can-do statements that relate to this level of language learner and to the material that is being covered.

We will compare your ideas in class first thing.


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Would you like to be in your classroom?

As we begin the home stretch in our last module on classroom management, think about what your classroom looks like, or think of how you felt as a student in your last EFL class. What do you most remember and why? Are your most memorable moments positive, or negative? As teachers and soon-to-be teachers, you might ask yourself, “Would you want to be in your class?”

In her blog, Edna analizes classroom rules and regulations. What has been your personal experience? Share her analysis at this post. Do you agree with her?

Now that we are in Module 3, we will delve into classroom management. Have you ever heard a song sung by Billie Holiday called, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it?” What teachers say and do will affect student learning outcomes more than any other factor in our passive students who are accustomed to traditional classrooms.

1. Read this article as a synopsis of the book Tools for Teaching by Dr. Fred Jones, often coined the King of Classroom Management, on how educators can use body language, calmness and silence to reduce back talking and other attitude interruptions. Remember that discipline management has to happen before academics can be learned.

While you read, think about the word discipline. What is its true definition? Who has or exercises discipline? Why would there be breaches of discipline?
2. Assignment: On your blog you will address these questions as you talk about a time you saw a student back talking in the classroom. What did the teacher do? What did the other students do? What could have happened? Write about your experience and how it could have been avoided on your blog. Read three other people’s stories and comment on their experiences.

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TKT exams: aviso de extensión de pago

En un circular pegado a los corchos en el Departamento de Idiomas, el mensaje es así:

Aun puedes inscribir hasta el martes, 25 de noviembre para presentar los exámenes TKT, FCE y CAE, de CAMBRIDGE en enero!

Pasa a coordinación del área de inglés por su ficha o bájala de este sitio. Cualquier pregunta dirígese con la coordiinación de inglés en idiomas.




Onions and Learning Situations

In the past I have made the analogy between onions and learning situations. Not just any onions: the big, round sweet Spanish onions that saute up so sweet. When you eat them before they are ripe, they are strong and have a sharp, unpleasant taste, but left to grow layer upon layer of sweet goodness, they grow into a delicious tasty treat.

After having class on the Moodle platform, I wanted to share the onion analogy with you. Having the opportunity to work in a variety of contexts provides different levels of engagement with students just like the layers in an onion.
- Those that run away from technology have the opportunity of working with the pages in the Anthology dedicated to the Learning Theorists.
- Those that missed class could use the Moodle platform to access the class and not miss important information, although they miss important face to face discussion. Discussion could be facilitated through other contexts, such as through the blogs, and discussion forums in a classroom that are set up for a mufti-layered delivery.
- Those that like to work online worked at their own pace.
- Those that like to work in groups and do not like technology are able to work supported in small groups to access the information and draw conclusions by filling in their matrix.
- Those that want to look at the information again can do so anytime, as long as they are enrolled in the Moodle course online.

This experience provides a differentiation that is seldom available in our regular four walled classrooms. The contexts in which we work during our online and blended session are multiple and provide a variety of opportunities for all types of learners. We figuratively knock down the classroom walls and open up the classroom to expand our possibilities of learning.

I’d like to share this article from an online e-zine in which educators share their views on flattening the classroom walls, or as they say in this article, flipping the classroom:
Favorite Strategies for engaging students in class discussions

Then to wrap up the topic of motivation, I’d like to share a post from one of the teachers on my international PLN (personal and professional learning network) who posted a reflective entry after her visit to IATEFL last year.
Please check out Eva’s blog..
Eva, thank you. I couldn’t have summed it up better.

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TKT Test Information

If you are interested in taking the TKT modules 1, 2, or 3, here is the latest information for you.

Test Date January 24 Payment date: November 9

1. Make your payment in the bank. Here is information for payment:

Cta: 7208484
Suc:  91
CLABE: 002680009172084849
A nombre de:  Alejandra García Nieto

Si requieres factura, debes agregar el 16% al costo del examen y hacer el depósito a la siguiente cuenta:
Cta:  69823
Suc:  4372
CLABE: 002680437200698232
A nombre de:  International House Querétaro S.C.
Es importante hacer el pago en la cuenta correcta, pues una vez depositado el dinero no se pueden hacer cambios.

Una vez realizado tu pago deberás entregar el original y una copia del mismo con Angela Hunter, la coordinador del inglés antes de la fecha limite de pago en el horario de 8am a 12pm y 1pm a 2pm en el departamento de Idiomas de la Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo.

Download the formato CAMBRIDGE and print it to hand in with your deposit proof. Bring your deposit slip and completed registration form to Angela Hunter, Coordinator of English in the Department of Idiomas in CU.




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Module 2: Lesson Planning

Supposedly it all comes together in one place: the classroom.
We take our planned lesson, enrich it with materials, use aids in the classroom and research using resources to bring more resources for our students. Everything we do has a purpose. Lesson planning does not have to be difficult. Check out Writing lesson plans does not have to be difficult document for help.

Many people often leave out the assessment or evaluation from the lesson plan, thinking that it refers to formal evaluation. Summative, or formative, you need to make sure that your students have achieved the lesson aims and specific objectives. Plan to gather some evidence in the form of student work. You may include a rubric based on the lesson aims. Students might repeat some activities from the lesson without the teacher’s guidance as assessment. Evidence doesn’t always need to be a quiz.

Writing lesson plans is an integral part of teaching. Too many beginning teachers and veterans consider lesson plans a tedious and unnecessary chore which they must do for their supervisors. Once they are working, they resort to lesson plans only when they will be observed or if asked to produce them for revision.

Frustration with lesson plans results from three sources:
1. They do not understand the need: the purpose and rationale, although explained to them, is not felt or shared.
2. Trainees find it difficult to write measurable objectives.
3. Trainees find formats vague or of little help. They struggle to make the plan fit the format instead of the other way around.

To address these frustrations, this post will address these sources.
What will well-planned lessons do for you?
1. Focus you.
2. Provide you with a plan and a back-up plan.
3. Force you to consider the purpose of the lesson and reason for each step.
4. Establish clear goals for the lesson that are understood by you and the learner.
5. Allow you to predict potential problems.
6. Help you design a coherent and cohesive lesson within a framework of a unit or annual plan.
7. Help you make a smooth transition from one activity to the next.
8. Provide you with a written record of the course.
9. Encourage you to examine the lessons critically and make improvements.
10. Added by Luis Felipe from Maravatio: Having the lesson plan in place helps you to stop worrying about what comes next and helps you focus on observing and monitoring to know better how your students are progressing.
11. Add your own in a comment……

Clip Art and photo courtesy of


HOTS and LOTS and learning to learn

Here in Mexico, traditional teaching methods are still commonly found in most classrooms from kindergarten to university level. Student-centered classes are few and far between, and teachers who guide on the side are often called out by their principals to make less noise.

With teacher-centered classrooms still prevalent, students are given few opportunities to develop critical thinking skills. Many teacher trainees in Mexico know that they would like to help change the status quo, but have not had the experience to know how to make changes.

By relying on the HOTS of Bloom’s Taxonomy, teachers help students go beyond simple repetition to using target language and vocabulary in complex tasks which promote the use of critical thinking. The addition of reflection activities also provides many meta-cognitive experiences for learners. Find out more about Bloom’s Taxonomy in these Scoop it pages:

His life
A description of the taxonomy
learning outcomes and assessments

Teacher trainees in the Universidad Michoacana were given the task to design learning outcomes for the different levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. A great example of their work can be found on Yesy’s Blog, and and on Malena’s blog . Please have a look to see what we are doing.

Another blogging educator from Melbourne, Australia just published an interesting post on her blog. I invite you to read Edna’s post at Please read and share what you feel about the development of critical thinking skills today in Mexico. We welcome your comments.

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Flipping Bloom’s Taxonomy

As one of my mentors, Shelley Wright has a lot to say and has done even more. Besides writing several books and organizing and promoting Connected Educators Month (August, 2013) and maintaining a Powerful Learning Practices site, she constantly is formulating ideas that make me think.

Since our foray into Bloom’s Taxonomy and your responses on your own blogs, I have felt that we had left Bloom with a lot more to investigate. During 2012, Shelley wrote a blog post that I would like to share with you here, so you can savor the flavor of new ways of thinking, of teaching and of learning.

Please note that Shelley’s post fomented 98 comments. Have a good read with less teacher, more student, Flipping Bloom’s Taxonomy.

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Is lesson planning a part of Mexican culture? A question asked by disgruntled teachers doing lesson-planning every Sunday evening

Hofstede’s Five Intercultural Dimensions

Do you consider the activity of planning lessons to be especially difficult?  Put your idea

about lesson planning on this poll.

The idea of planning ahead might not be native to Mexican culture on the whole. Most people nowadays do not create the equivalent of IRAs for retirement; nor do most go on vacation creating an itinerary, nor do newlyweds start to put away savings for their future children’s college education. How many people actually make travel arrangements or hotel reservations months ahead of time? Have you ever considered that planning for the future might not be a large part of Mexican culture? Therefore, as teachers, planning lessons may be a difficult skill to acquire, but a necessary task to perform. Have you ever considered that lesson planning may be a cultural teaching skill imported from different educational cultures?

With the world becoming increasingly global and connected, it is important to develop cultural awareness and how that may enable or disable learning. Cultural awareness may be described as a person’s capability to function effectively in situations characterized by cultural diversity. This critical capability enhances effectiveness in learning as well as interpersonal interactions in a wide range of social contexts.

As an educator from one country (USA) living in another country (Mexico), I find myself in crosshairs of cultural diversity every day. Even my interest in facilitating online learning has sparked cultural diversity issues in my teaching situation where most people through fear of mistaking and avoidance of the unknown refuse to learn about incorporating technology into their classrooms or do so with reluctance. Most people working with cross-cultural communication and intercultural training and coaching have heard about Hofstede’s Five Intercultural Dimensions.

Culture may be likened to the “collective programming of the mind,” making distinctions from one group of people (nations, regions, religions, jobs, governments, ethnicities as examples) to another.

What Are  Hofstede’s Five Intercultural Dimensions?

Professor Hofstede’s five intercultural dimensions are

  1. Power Distance : Measures inequality
  2. Individualism: is the degree to which individuals are integrated into groups
  3. Uncertainty Avoidance: indicates to what extent people  feel either uncomfortable orcomfortable in unstructured situations.
  4. Masculinity: Masculinity versus femininity, refers to the distribution of emotional roles between the genders
  5. Long-Term Orientation: Long term oriented societies foster pragmatic virtues oriented towards future rewards, in particular saving, persistence, and adapting to changing circumstances. Short-term oriented societies foster virtues related to the past and present such as national pride, respect for tradition, preservation of “face”,  and fulfilling social obligations.


It is important to understand that the tool developed by Hofstede is just a support which may be used to stimulate questions and help people from different cultures to share information and discuss about meta-communication (communication about the communication process). It is not a way to judge since there are no good or bad intercultural dimensions. The tool may increase awareness about our own culture and others and help identify specific skills needed for candidates for expatriation or identify skills to develop to participate in means of communication inherent in other cultures.

So, does that help explain why lesson planning is so difficult to start doing when it is 7pm on a Sunday evening?

ClipArt by Alabama Learning Exchange



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