June 24, 2010

Instituto Santa Cruz is back to writing!

As part of their process writing development, a group of secondary school students from 2nd year will make use of this blog to communicate their ideas and opinions.

To my students: I hope you enjoy taking part of this experience.

To everyone: You are more than welcome to read or leave comments.


November 25, 2009

Interactive Whiteboards: Friend or Foes? by Gareth Davies

Seminar Report
Permanent Professional Development 2009: Integrating Technology to Language Learning
September, 26th
Interactive Whiteboards: Friend or Foes? by Gareth Davies

According to the presenter, interactive whiteboards are like ordinary whiteboards but with some improvements. He presented several advantages and disadvantages about them. To begin with, he mentioned the positive uses a teacher could give to an Interactive whiteboard, such as encouraging heads up activities, bringing outside world into the class, cutting down on copies and time, and the most important, motivational tool for digital natives. Within the negative aspects mentioned, we could find the fact that if not well used the can be teacher center and if overused, they become less effective. He mentioned that the use of interactive whiteboards required teachers’ training and they need to complement a lesson not determine it. The presenter finally mentioned the use of itools in the EFL classroom and demonstrated the complementing itools for some Oxford books. (http://www.oupeltpromo.com/interactive/oxford_itools.php )
When googling Gareth Davies I’ve found an article he wrote recommending the use of Interactive whiteboards and itool. I’d love to share with you the following link that includes a set of tips for the introduction of this new technology into our classrooms (http://fds.oup.com/www.oup.com/pdf/elt/project/project_iwb_guide.pdf). Even though introducing Interactive whiteboards in the class can be really motivating for our students, we need to keep in mind that in a communicative classroom as the one we would like to foster, the active role of our learners can´t be limited just for the use o technology. It is essential that any new item introduced in the classroom, and even more with the new web 2.0 we need to make more emphasis on developing critical thinking and autonomous learning.

November 19, 2009

“Word DO come easy”… What do we think when we think about writing??

Traditionally, teacher had thought that producing a good piece of writing should have been innate in the students mind. A writing task was seen as a product required to be passed at a certain level in the English class. As we can see in Gladys Baya's presentation, mental blocking and frustration were very common feeling for our students.

There has been a movement for almost twenty years to consider writing within the learning process, and as Tricia Hedge defines in her Teaching and Learning in the language Classroom, writing became "the result of employing strategies to manage the composing process, which is one of gradually developing a text". With this change in the way writing was perceived, we will need to focus on our responsibility as facilitators of the learning process on training our students into process writing and on the new role this skill has acquired, a productive skill for real communication.

Gladys suggests us several techniques for training our students into process writing; ideas that Hedge would categorize as "helping students to generate ideas" and "providing opportunities for planning". She will go a bit further and she will give us tips for correcting and giving feedback to pieces of writing that had gone through the process. It is up to us, encourage our students writing for authentic audiences such us blog readers (have a look at Maria's students writing) or students from other classes in other parts of the world (have a look at Gladys' students interaction with other classes), the more meaningful we can make writing for them, the easier it would be for them to find the words to express themselves.

I invite you to discover all you can learn from this teacher who enabled me as a facilitator for my students own processes. Only by becoming aware of the role we want writing to have in our classes and in our students' lives is that we can change the fossilized image of writing as a static product.

Based on Tricia Hedge, Teaching and Learning in Language Classroom, Oxford, 2000
(Chapter 9)