I can do this
I teach EFL, Writing, a teacher training class in a public university in Mexico and elaborate materials for a Self Access Center as well as coordinate my own SAC in a Test Coaching Center, in class and online. My passion is learning and facilitating learning. When I am not learning/teaching I love to look at the clouds and the stars, go hiking in the hills and enjoy camping on the beaches of my adopted sunny Mexico in the company of my incredible family.
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!
Do you remember memorizing lists of words, some of them with no apparent relationship? Friday came along, and it was test time! Not only did you have to know the word’s definition, you had to spell it correctly also.
Well, I think those days might be past. There are so many different tools available on the Web 2.0 that memorizing is a thing of the past. Just take a look at this article by the Edblogger, about a new toy…I mean tool called Memrise. You can even adapt the Mural.ly to help review all the glossary terms and show the relationship they have with each other.
Since part of this course is learning about the terminology that unites us English teachers around the world, and some of you are advanced in your tech knowledge, I invite you to set up a section for TKT glossary vocabulary for public sharing, using Memrise or to set up a mural with Mural.ly. It could be a great way to study yourself!
If we remember Maslow’s Theory of the Hierarchy of Needs, we recall that the need to belong, the third level of the hierarchy, might help explain teenagers’ love of socializing. When teens confront English in school, they are often introduced to mere grammatical phrases that have nothing to do with their ‘real’ life.
In the context of teaching language, whether it be EFL or ESL, by providing students with a social context in which they can practice their new language skills, teachers can help students engage in their studies by working in social groups to determine grammar rules and practice the four language skills in collaborate groups while they are learning.
Larry Ferlazzo, who runs a blog in which he compiles great sites for EFL and ESL teachers, has compiled a great list and an article which I consider to be mandatory reading for any teacher who works with adolescents. You can find it here.
Posted in Uncategorized on September 28, 2017
Hello TKT Candidates,
If we look back at the different sections we have studied in our diploma course, we can see that we have progressed from a very wide knowledge base about how people learn language to how to teach language. On the way we have had a moment or two to do some self-study about our own learning preferences so we can understand better how our students process the information we share with them.
Our next task will be to examine and compare the many different approaches we can use to help our students learn.
Before we can really do that in depth, I would like to be able to have all of you compare your own learning styles and intelligences and reflect about how you learn. I am looking forward to seeing your test results and reflections on your blogs.
We can determine the identifying characteristics that make each class unique. In the process, we have even found several different methodologies in classrooms and lessons that might look just like yours.
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/
You are probably wondering what that means…and I really mean it, don’t motivate your students. If you motivate your students, you are still doing work for them that THEY should be doing. Motivating. 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
- 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: A secondary level teacher once gave the final bimester exam at the beginning of the bimester…but disguised as a diagnostic exam. The students got their exams back on the day of their bimester exam. Their task was to correct all of the mistakes they had made previously, and based on their corrections, they got their exam grade…now isn’t that extraordinary? After the first time, the students caught on that what they were viewing was their study guide, which was given to them at the beginning of the marking period. The AHA moment was tangible as everyone learned what they were going to study at the beginning, and set new personal goals for themselves during the next bimester. 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.
Posted in Uncategorized on September 23, 2017
Kahoot is a game-based digital platform. It can be used both to introduce topics and to check on learners’ understanding of a topic. As a coach, you can create your own quizzes to use in class. There are also lots of public options you can use. It is really interactive and fun to use in your classroom. To do it, you need to create an account. Just follow these simple steps:
Open the link on the platform or go to the suggested app.
Tap sign up if you don’t have an account.
3. Tap Use as a teacher. Sign up with your email. Google is a good option if you have an account. Follow the steps and fill out all the required information. You will now have access to a massive selection of public kahoots, and have the option to create your own quizzes.
4. Tap New K to create your own kahoot and tap quiz. Give your quiz a title and complete all required information. Tap OK, go. Finally, start adding questions to your quiz.
5. When you have added all the questions, tap Save and I’m done. When you are ready to use your quiz, tap Play, choose your mode (teams or individual), and project it so learners can see the Game PIN. Learners will need to open the app, so add the game PIN and name.
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.
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.
Here are the Four Skills and Subskills Cards that you played with in class.
Teaching vocabulary can be tricky, but not if you relate it to contexts which students can associate with. Remember:
- Provide students with continuous opportunities for applying words in receptive and productive situations
- Recycle often, even if doing so isn’t included in the textbook
- Give your students more than the basic vocabulary: gradual expansion is the key
- Organize words to help students organize their knowledge.
- cultural considerations with connotations
- word changes through form.
Look at this slideshare presentation, Teaching Vocabulary. Did you learn anything new?
The Internet is full of activities that students can practice and play vocabulary on. Look at the slideshare presentation ICT Tools for Teaching Vocabulary. What game, worksheet, interactive Web tool or just plain fun activity did you like from this presentation or any other space? Which You can use any of these ideas or tools to share on your blog. Set up your own game using the words that you must learn from the TKT glossary and create and play with your own game.
Write your ideas in a reflection for your blog and link us to the site you recommend. Include: Why do you recommend this tool? How would you use it with your learners?
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 work with any language skill without integratiang it. Working with just one skill causes language to be unnatural and out of context with the other language skills. Literacy circles gives students authentic reasons to communicate, provides 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. I recommend this video about L.Circles. The class that is represented in the video is in middle school and the students were not aware that they were being filmed.
Investigate the links included in the PPT for more information or conduct your own search.
And now the big question: How would you use them in your classes?