Since in my EFL classes we are studying a unit called “Education” I decided to ask my advanced students what words they associated with their lives as students. I gave them markers, cut papers and asked them to post words they associated with Student Life.
I was flabbergasted by the results. I asked them to classify the words they had posted into positive or negative categories. This is what they came up with:
party, intelligence, learning, party, having friends, conferences, really caring about learning (I love this student), vacation, fun.
responsibilities, books, junk food, projects, hunger, headaches, hard work, exams, more exams, studying, homework, tests, reading, writing, paying attention, studying, more homework, stress, questions, reading and not understanding, homework, no social life, sacrifice, tests, no sleeping.
As I read their cards, my students noticed that I became more and more interested in their point of view. They quickly reassured me that they were referring to their life in general and that their class with me was the first time they had ever been able to express themselves with the truth.
My students have mostly been schooled in traditional settings in which the teachers own the knowledge and “transmit” this to the students in little controlled chunks.
Many traditional teachers (the majority) believe that our students in Mexico are accustomed to the traditional passive receptive learning model and that we should not change. What my students expressed voices just the opposite. I have been making baby steps towards change in classrooms in my area through this teacher training course, but we definitely need to spread the student’s point of view. We are no longer teaching them effectively. It is time to change.
Be active. Stand up. Create a real life context which begs answers.
As we are studying the third module in our TKT course, we have been seeking ways to help students become engaged in the classroom. This article shares how it is much more than just appearing to be involved in school projects, showing up for class and participating. It is also how students feel and think about what they are learning that help to make a difference in how they learn.
I came across this article from the University of Pittsburgh that I’d like to share with you”
Getting students involved also means getting to know how they think and feel…and helping them to access how they think and feel. Having students get in touch with their feelings and thoughts is the first step to helping them change their mental representations to help them become better learners as independent learners.
Enjoy the article!
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 Sackson posted 10 questions which every one who pretends to call themselves a good teacher, now or in the future, might ask themselves. Reflecting about these teaching practices made me stop…drop…and analyze!
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.
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?
Assignment: On your blog talk about a time you saw a student back talking in the classroom. What did the teacher do? What did the 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.
If you are interested in taking the TKT modules 1, 2, or 3, here is the latest information for you. Fechas Cambridge 2013-2014
As you can see, December 2 is the next latest due date for payment for the exams on January 25, 2014.
1. Make your payment in the bank. Here is information for payment:
PAGOS A INTERNATIONAL HOUSE
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:
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.
If you have a high level of English ( higher than 600 on the TOEFL) then you might be interested in teaching TOEFL test taking strategies to other TOEFL candidates in TOEFL preparation courses based on self access and independent study.
Training happens during the preliminary course itself now being offered at the Centro de Capacitacion y Certificacion Eva Cernas as you study techniques on teaching strategies for test taking that most TOEFL trainers gloss over. Future groups will form and once you learn the process and methodology, the you will be ready to begin your own group. This is a course, where each candidate proceeds ata his or her own pace; this is not just a class, nd that is what makes the difference. YOU get to choose what you work on and in what order as you get to now the whole course and its components, and even add to them with your own ideas.
Knowing that the TOEFL is now being used as a standard to measure your language proficiency for teachers and student teachers makes this a dynamic possibility. Please get in touch with the Centro de Capacitacion y Certificacion Eva Cerna if you are interested in training to be a group tutor.
phone: 443 102 4808
Allende 1051, colonia Centro en Morelia is our main branch. Your branch is waiting to be formed.
Schedule for this semester: Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30-12:00 mornings and 6:00-7:30 evenings
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 wiki.itap.purdue.edu
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:
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, http://yesyhd.wordpress.com/ 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 http://whatedsaid.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/learning-isnt-linear/. Please read and share what you feel about the development of critical thinking skills today in Mexico. We welcome your comments.
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
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.
Professor Hofstede’s five intercultural dimensions are
- Power Distance : Measures inequality
- Individualism: is the degree to which individuals are integrated into groups
- Uncertainty Avoidance: indicates to what extent people feel either uncomfortable orcomfortable in unstructured situations.
- Masculinity: Masculinity versus femininity, refers to the distribution of emotional roles between the genders
- 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
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.