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.

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

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.

Tips for Flashcards

Flashcards are important assets for EFL classrooms. Course books come with flashcards and nowadays one can easily find cards in the internet. In my school before I go into the classroom, I always search some cards about the topics.  Most of the teachers use flashcards to teach vocabulary, but we as teachers are not creative about using cards. Here there are some ideas about it

 

Whole Brain Teaching(Power Teaching)

 

We know that yelling and scolding doesn’t work any more. Schools are dangerous places. According to the National Center for Education statistics, in 2007 there were “1.5 million victims of non fatal crimes at school.The behavior of challenging kids cannot be improved by heavier doses of punishment. Punishment makes them more rebellious. Most challenging kids genuinely want to be part of the classroom environment ;this is why they work so hard to get everyone’s attention. Kids want to laugh and play Whole Brain Teaching produces classrooms that are full of orderly fun. Continue reading