Learner Autonomy

“You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself”

Galileo Galilei ( 1564-1642)

In 21st Century, education has been going  through some changes in terms of methods, perspectives, tools, settings etc. In the past, the teacher was the  only authority and the only resource for students to provide information. However; with the advent of internet,  access to information gets easier.  The internet has been growing quite fast in terms of tools, content and resources. So, students have almost everything they need for their education. The question is ”  Are we going to need teachers in the future?”.  The studies and researches show that we need teachers to be a guide or a facilitator. They have to help learners to reach the correct content in a faster way and how to benefit better from the internet etc. Students’ role have to change, as well. They need to be AUTONOMOUS. Continue reading

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Seating Arrangements

Seating arrangements of the classes tell us about approaches and activites that can be used in classes. Ignoring the effect of seating arrangement may cause  boring lessons. Do you think that is there a best arrangement for classes? As a teacher, I always change the seating arrangement according to activites and materials. Each pattern has advantages and disadvantages. For instance;

Orderly Rows

Students and teachers have a clear view of each other.

Enabling the teacher making eye contact with people.

The teacher working with the whole class.

Some activites are especially suitable for this organisation such as explaining grammar rules, watching videos or powepoint presentations. However,  some students in the back can make noise.  In this pattern, it is not easy to create a good class dynamic. Teachers have to keep these students involve the lesson.

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Challanges of non native speakers

Since English became Lingua Franca of the World, people who do not share the same language and  for whom English is not their mother tongue has been trying to speak English in anywhere of the world with each other. Sometimes we can see some surprising characteristics of these conversations. Barbara Seidhofler  at the university of Vienna  has noted some of them, including:

  • No use of third person present simple tense -s ( she look ver sad)
  • Interchangeable use of the relative pronouns who and which ( a book who, a person which)
  • Definite and indefinite articles where they are obligatory in native speaker English
  • Use of all purpose of tag questions such as isn’t it? Or no?  instead of shouldn’t they. (They should arrive soon, shouldn’t they?)
  • Heavy reliance on certain verbs  such as do, have, make, put, take
  • Pluralisation of uncountable nouns ( informations, staffs, advices)

Non native speakers are not conforming to a English standard. Actually, they seem to get along well despite missing some things.

Warm up

Teachers have to start the lesson with a warmer to calm down kids and get them focussed on a lesson. It is the essential part of teaching. Since it is the first activity of the lesson, the warm up sets the tone for the next hour. It should be 3 to 5 minutes with an engaging, fun activity.  It doesn’t require time consuming planning in advance. You can use songs, flash cards, mimics, puzzles, games like bingo etc. Continue reading

Connect with English

Connect with English is a website for English language teachers.  It helps students learn the language in different contexts. It is a story of Rebecca Casey, a young woman who lives in Boston. It has 48 episodes under four differet sections. Videos are very engaging. Every episode includes interactive activities. Also, the website is free. You can integrate the videos into your plans according to your topics.

Learner Strategy

The text below is from a student in Hong Kong. It is a good example how learning strategies affect students. What do you think about the case below? What kind of learning strategies do your students use?

“When I was in secondary school, I seldom asked questions. The reason was that the teacher always tried to explain the stuffs as detailed as possible, leaving no queries among students. Only the most curious student will ask questions. This method is well-known as the spoon-feeding education system in which we are fed with piles of notes and text books. Continue reading

Canva

Canva is a tool for teachers and students to create posters, cards, infographics, certificates. It allows students to use their creativity to  show their knowledge.It is very popular website, which has milions of users around the World.  In the website, there are millions of images and also you can upload your own pictures and images, as well. Furthermore, photos can be edited by using filters or advanced edit tools. Free icons and shapes with different fonts can be used for your designs. It is available in eight different languages.  I usually use it to design my own certificates for kids and give assignments to students to create multimedia posters in some specific topics. Continue reading

Wizer.me

Wizer.me is an online platform for teachers to create interactive worksheets. It allows teachers to create quickly different types of questions; open questions, multiple choice, matching, fill in the blank etc. The content depends on teachers. For example, I prepare vocabulary quizzes for my EFL classrooms. Students enjoy it. Teachers can add different themes and background pictures to worksheets, which makes it fun for studens. Teachers can also put videos and multimedia materials to worksheets easily. It can be assigned to students via Google Classroom ,Edmodo a link or a code. If you prepare the answers  beforehand, papers are automatically  marked , which saves time for teachers.

Google Classroom

Google Classroom is a website for teachers and students. It takes some of the work  from classes to online platform. It allows teachers to create classes and add students in the website and creat quizes, send homeworks or announcements online. It’s going to let teachers have more time in classes. It is a kind of flipped classroom.  It has a really useful and easy interface. You can easily add students, send assignments, check them, switch classes etc. Also, apps for mobile phones are available. For more detailed information about how to use it, you should watch the video below.

Principled Approach

Our approach of learning and teaching language affects everything that goes on in the classes. It is the cumulative body of knowledge and principles that enable teachers, as “technicians” in the classroom, to diagnose the needs of students, to treat students with successful pedagogical techniques, and to assess the outcome of those treatments. I’ll list some of the most accepted principles which should shape your approach to teaching. Continue reading

Eliciting

Eliciting subject knowledge and ideas… Eliciting is a technique we can use to get learners thinking and saying what they know about a subject. It’s when we ask questions or give learners clues to get learners to say what they know about a subject rather than the teacher giving the explanation.   Continue reading

Communicative Language Teaching

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) is a latest and best approach for English Language Teaching. If we ask teachers what kind of teachers they are, nearly all of them will say they are communicative teachers but, unfortunately most of the language teachers don’t have any idea about CLT. The video below is between Jeremy Harmer and Scott Thornbury, who are the piooners of CLT.  They interview each other and adress some questions about CLT.

Raz-Kids

Raz-Kids is a website that includes hundreds of leveled ebooks with e-quizzes. .  Students have to listen to the books first, then read them and lastly record their voices. Online Records let teachers digitally assess each student, saving valuable classroom time. All books are available 24/7 via the Web. Students can practice reading anytime, anywhere. Teachers can make assignments and track student progress with online assessments and student recordings.  Viewing reports is simple, for individuals, classrooms, schools and even districts!  Continue reading