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April, 2010:

Teaching English in Brazil (by Henrick Oprea)

Brazil is a wonderful country, well known for its hospitable inhabitants, samba, its amazing football squad, and a couple of other traits which make it a great place to spend your vacations in. Most foreigners I’ve talked to would like to visit Rio de Janeiro or the Northeast of the country, famous for its beaches. I’m not fortunate to teach in any of these cities, or anywhere near the beach. I live in Brasília, the capital of Brazil, which is located in the centre of the country. Just so you know, if I want to go to the beach, I need to travel more than 1.000 kilometres. It’s a country with continental dimensions, and being a language teacher in such a place can be difficult at times. But, what do I mean by that?

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30 teachers from 16 countries (and counting!)

Earlier this month, I awoke to a lovely message telling me that Teaching Village was the TEFL Site of the Month. While always thrilled to get an award of any kind, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t sure what this award was for (I’m still sort of new to this blogging business). So, I went over to TEFL.net and learned Teaching Village was being recognized for having developed “a rich community of English teachers from around the world.” (more…)

Teachers or Trainers? (by Marisa Pavan)

I have two nieces and I love taking them to the cinema as I really enjoy watching children’s movies, which are highly inspiring for me as sources of values I can apply in my daily life and in my teaching career. One of the latest I have seen, and particularly enjoyed as it was my first experience in a 3D cinema, is “How to Train Your Dragon”.

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Children are Always Cute (by Esra Girgin Akiskali)

A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”  Forest E. Witcraft

Children are always cute and eager to learn but unfortunately they have very short attention spans and affect each other very quickly. Sometimes you may lose their attention (even if you are playing a game) which means also losing the control of the class. And once you lose their attention, it is really hard to get them to concentrate back on what you were doing. To prevent this, I have ten tips to share with you!

1- Whenever I change activities or the students need to change place (from the table to the cushions for instance) I count slowly up to ten and everybody gets ready. In addition to counting up to ten, you can also rhyme or use a musical instrument (mine is maracas) to make sure they are all ready to start the next activity.

2- When a student wants to go to the toilet, some others also want to go to the toilet not they need to but because it looks fun to go all together. This is also the same for drinking water. When one wants, some others want, too.  So before each class, make sure you have “toilet and water” time.

3-Small children have conflicts, disagree and argue a lot and make complaints about each other. After listening to the problem, make sure they apologize to each other. A simple “I’m sorry!” may be the solution most of the time.

4- Be sure your kids are not hungry, sleepy or thirsty during the class hour. Any of these will detract attention and may spread to all students.

5- Keeping the kids in a row is sometimes really hard. In my class, I take my imaginary magic wand and make a spell that keeps all the kids in a line with imaginary magical glue and it really works!

6- Most of the kids like group work but some may like to work alone. It’s better to let them work on their own for they can disturb others if you force them to do group work. And also, when grouping the kids, take into consideration that kids have different ability levels.  Try to group them as equally as you can.

“My childhood may be over, but that doesn’t mean playtime is.”    Ron Olson

7- As a teacher, you should choose the activities you enjoy as well. If you like what you do in the classroom, your kids will, too. Also be enthusiastic when you are doing your activities. Always keep in mind that a teacher is like a mirror to her/his kids.

8-Immediate feedback will increase the motivation for your lessons. Don’t hesitate to praise your kids with bravos, well-dones, good jobs and fantastics!

9-Balance the energy level in your class by playing both settling and stirring activities during the same class hour. For example after a very exciting  activity ,  I  rhyme “Two hands clap, two hands lap, right click, left click, concentration (eyes closed, take the lotus position), concentration,  concentration… Wake up!” And suddenly, they are quiet and ready to listen to me.

10-Be sure you raise the curiosity especially when you start a new unit.  When children are curious, they explore the language and come up with new ideas.

Above all I mentioned here, the most important thing is to LOVE and RESPECT your kids. Don’t forget that even though they are small kids; they have their own thoughts, personalities and feelings. Let them feel your love and you will see it will return back to you like a boomerang!

As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.” Dr. Haim Ginott

I have been teaching English to “Very Young Learners” for 7 years. I love teaching children as they are always enthusiastic and fun to teach!

Visit me: http://www.esraakiskali.com/

Read me: http://esraakiskali.edublogs.org/

Follow me: @ekamin

The Wonder of Contact! (by Hadley Ferguson)


More on Hadley’s adventures in online collaboration. If you’d like to read the beginning of this adventure, check out “New Friends”

It was a marvelous day for my students when we got to share the learning that went on in our classroom with people living in Japan. Because of the contacts that I made through Twitter with Barbara, the middle school teachers at my school decided to create a Japan Day, using interdisciplinary activities to enhance the connections that we had with people there. The Drama teacher created a lesson on Noh theater; the art teacher and a classroom teacher had a lesson on calligraphy and modern Japanese art; the music teacher led a session on the pentatonic scale and chanting. At another station, we planned for them to learn about the tea ceremony and to then watch a video of one as a silent meditation, with the students sitting silently on the floor, attentive to the sounds and movements of the woman conducting the ceremony. (more…)