June 28, 2009

More than words…

Teaching vocabulary is far more than just teaching isolated words. Our students may have different ways of acquiring vocabulary and it's our duty to train them in new strategies for doing it. Teaching vocabulary is about making connections and building relations with our words; it is about giving students the tool for mental processing of lexical units.

Teacher who had gone through a Teachers' Training College should be aware of some Language teachers' love for long list of ways of… In a collaborative way, students at the LCB TTC have created a wiki page in which I've made some contributions towards a list that we can call "Ways of Teaching Vocabulary".

You are more than welcome to visit it and leave your comment!!!

"Vocabulary enables us to interpret and to express.

If you have a limited vocabulary,

you will also have a limited vision and a limited future." -

Jim Rohn (Business Philosopher)

Based on Tricia Hedge, Teaching and Learning in Language Classroom, Oxford, 2000
(Chapter 4)

June 14, 2009

Is Independence something we really want to foster???

Before we answer this question, we need to deeply think about ways teachers can promote learner independence and its implications in the classroom organization and course curricula. Dickinson (1992: 2-3) suggested several ways of going about it, from which the following are the ones I’d agree with:

Helping learners to develop learning technique (learning strategies) so that they can exercise their independence

I strongly believe that helping students develop learning strategies should be a key element for a teacher to bear in mind when planning the course program as well as a cross-curriculum item to discuss with teachers from other subjects. Taking these strategies into consideration will shape our way of teaching and our way of organizing the classroom. For instance, if we consider that interaction is one of the strategies to foster, organizing pair work should be a key concept in our class planning.
When choosing the course book and the resources for the class, we need to consider also the degree of independence we want our students to get, i.e. we might encounter students who are exposed to these meta-linguistic concepts for the first time, requiring a more active role from our part in their training of learning techniques. It is important to include our objectives are independence trainers in our global objectives for the course.

Convincing learners that they are capable of greater independence in learning, probably most effectively by giving them successful experiences of independent learning

It is high time to be honest and assume that half of our job is the one of a “top-seller” from the business world, we need to “sell” our views to our students, or as Tricia Hedge says “convince our learners of...” In this particular case, we need to convince them of their own potential and that requires an extra effort on our part since our students are mainly teens or adult who may easily get frustrated. Success oriented experiences are a must in our classes if we professes the independent learning.
The question is if our classes are ready for that. Traditional teacher-centered education would consider self-access training as a way of “disorganizing” classrooms and curriculums; fostering independence can be even threatening for them. So, are we prepared to face the challenge that braking with that traditional viewpoint means? It will demand more time for planning and for organizing different activities; but for sure, it will be a rewarding task!!! :) :)

Based on Tricia Hedge, Teaching and Learning in Language Classroom, Oxford, 2000 (Chapter 3)

June 01, 2009

Who has the power in your classroom?

"It is hard to believe that my first steps given in teaching would be as power-shared as the ones on the class observed, I am afraid I lack self-confidence to deal with classroom management if I resign to the monopoly of decision-making. However, when teaching, besides linguistic and affective objectives, the one of learning how to let go some of the power is one of my personal objectives as teacher, specially in teens’ courses. Hopefully, after several observations I will be better prepare to assume the challenge that this represents for my career."

Come an have a look at my second experience observing a high school lesson... ENJOY IT!

Observation 2 - 3rd year - Colegio C. - Methods2 - 2009