Tag Archives: thoughts

How LANGUAGE shapes the way we THINK

11 Feb

As I was watching the video I was thinking to myself “that’s true, depending on the language I am speaking I have to adapt to it”. I speak 3 latin languages and 1 germanic language, and the biggest difference always comes when speaking the latter. However, I also have to adapt the way I say certain things when talking one of the latin languages since each one has got its own particularities.

Languages are so magic and I am so grateful to be able to speak more than one! They do broaden your mind a lot 🙂

// Collaborative Learning \\

31 Jan

 

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So I was on Twitter this morning and I saw this great article by Edutopia. Why did it catch my attention? Well, as I was reading I felt very related to most of what it says about certain schools that have left behind the traditional method. I am very lucky to work in a school very similar to the ones mentioned in the article and it is amazing to see how your students get involved in their own learning process.

If your school is trying to find new ways to engage your students and actually see them learn by doing, this article is perfect for you!

 

click on the image to read the whole article

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Classroom Tips for new ESL teachers

28 Aug

Resultat d'imatges de esl teacher image

Some of you are already back to school, others like me are enjoying our last holiday days. Which means I am getting mentally ready for “La RentrĂ©e” by organizing my own thoughts.

Next, there are some tips I would like to share with those starting this adventurous career.

1- Classroom rules:

It’s a good idea in the first class to establish the ground rules. The key to this is being consistent and fair. For instance, it is a good idea to set up a points system with a reward for the winning team (for example at the end of term). You can allocate points for winning games, being active, speaking in English, behaving well, etc. By putting students into groups for this, students will be encouraged to take responsibility for their classmates’ behaviour as well as their own – thus relieving some of the pressure on the teacher!

2- Dealing with fast finishers:

It’s always good to have supplementary materials at hand such as crosswords, word searches and general vocabulary exercises, such as matching words to pictures etc. This way your students won’t be wasting time doing nothing, or worse still disrupting others. Another option I really like (and they seem to like it, too) is to let them help other classmates, it works very well!

3- Group work and pair work:

It is important to use a mixture of pair work and group work. Your students may proclaim that they are too tired to move and that they would prefer to stay in groups with their friends. However, getting students to work with different people not only helps to improve their English, but it also keeps things interesting. You may choose to put stronger students with weaker students and at other times you may wish to put the stronger students into a group so you can work with the weaker students more closely. Be aware of the dynamics of your group and take note of who works well with whom. Sometimes it is necessary to keep some students apart if their personalities clash!

4- Using their L1 and English:

At an elementary level, students will of course need to use some of their own language in the classroom in general. However, in controlled practice activities and freer practice activities, students should be using only English. You will therefore need to make it clear to students that in these activities they must only use English. It is a good idea here to implement the points system whereby students can lose points for their team if they don’t use English (you could appoint some monitors to help you catch naughty students out).

5- Giving instructions:

One of the biggest challenges of teaching elementary students lies in setting up activities. As students know barely any English, giving instructions becomes a difficult task! It’s a good idea to demonstrate activities with one pair/group first (choose strong students to do this). Also getting the students to repeat directions back to you is a good way of checking students’ understanding.

First time teaching ESL to very young children?

5 Aug

Teaching very young children can be either the best experience in the world or the worst, it all depends on you and what your expectations as their teacher are.

I have to admit that when I started teaching ESL to 3-5 year old children I was only 21 years old and I had no experience with them at all. Not just as a teacher but neither in my personal life. I did not have any young siblings or cousins and I had never worked as a babysitter during my teen years.

However, I found out it was easy for me to connect with them and they seemed to like me and enjoy my company. I am aware I was very lucky because it could have been a desastre due to my lack of experience with very young learners. I always say to myself this is a gift given to me and I am very grateful for that.

During my first years teaching I learned a lot from my experienced workmates and from my pupils. This is why I would like to share with those teaching ESL/EFL to very young learners for the first time some of tips so you avoid frustration thinking you are not a good teacher.

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TIPS FOR ESL/EFL TEACHERS DEALING WITH VERY YOUNG LEARNERS FOR THE FIRST TIME:

  • For many of them it may be the first time they hear a person speaking in English. Do not take it personal if they ignore you at first.
  • Some pupils may not be keen on joining you when you suggest activities and that is ok. Whenever they feel ready they will join you.
  • Using soft toys or puppets as your “teacher helper” will be very useful because they can relate to them.
  • Praise them as much as you can, even if it is for very little things they have achieved (e.g. understanding commands, listening to a story, dancing to a song, …)
  • Little children love having classroom routines, it makes them feel secure. Therefore, it is important you always start and finish the lesson the same way. (e.g singing a Hello Song and a Goodbye Song, greeting each other, speaking about the weather, counting how many we are in the class, …)
  • When your pupils are able to follow the classroom routines without you having to say anything, it already means a lot!
  • Do not expect them to express themseleves in English, they will probably use their mother tongue and that is ok. Little by little they will add English words and short sentences in their vocabulary.
  • The more movement activities you add into your lesson plans the better. In general, pupils spend many hours in class sitting down and they will appreciate the chance to move around.
  • Storytelling is essential and I have not met a single child who does not like listening to stories.  It is magic to see how they are able to follow sequences of events and get the general picture of what is going on (having visual support is basic).
  • Little children love partying, this is a good excuse to help them learn a little bit about the English culture through celebrating some festivities as part of the lesson plan.

 

I remember panicking the previous days to my first teaching experience, so I hope to be helping some fellow teachers who feel as lost as I was. We have a lovely profession but it can be very taugh, too. Therefore, I try to help as much as I can sharing my knowledge and experience 🙂

 

{Benefits of CrEaTiViTy}

6 Nov

The People vs. The School System

12 Oct

I just bumped into this video called “I just sued the school system”. A video full of truth!

{A typical Teaching Day}

29 Aug

Now that we are back to work or enjoying our last days off… this is a good image to have in mind 🙂

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