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What’s your future perfect? (by Jen Brummer)

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Hi, everyone. Let’s do a quick grammar activity before you begin reading my blog post. Please answer the questions below. I will provide an example of each for you.

1) Give an example of the present perfect tense in a sentence about your professional life.

  • I have taught ESOL to children and adults.

2) Give an example of the past perfect tense in a sentence about your professional life.

  • Before I taught ESOL, I had earned a CELTA.

3) Give an example of the future perfect tense in a sentence about your professional life.

  • By the time I retire, I will have ________.

Okay, okay – I know I said I’d give an example of each but the truth is I have no idea what past participles I might use to complete my future perfect sentence. Could it be:

  • published a book on my experiences as an English Language Teacher?
  • developed content for a famous publishing company?
  • gone back to school for a PhD in TESOL?
  • became a prestigious university professor?
  • lived in at least 5 different countries around the world?

My list could go on for pages and pages, but you get the idea. In fact, I can almost guarantee that you are in the same boat as me.  You’ve completed at least a small handful of accomplishments within the TESOL field and you’re unsure where the road ahead may lead you. How do I know this? Well, if you are somewhere between beginning your first teaching job and retirement, you’re right there with me. Am I right?

I can just imagine us, me and you. We are two Xs on that good old grammar timeline that we love to draw on the whiteboard for our students: right above the word “now.” We are experts at what’s to the left of us, but we have no idea what’s to the right of us.

 

Jen blog graphic

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just walk into a crowded room filled with experienced TESOL professionals and pick their brains with all our questions about our current classes and future ambitions?  Imagine hundreds of teachers, professors, writers, publishers, and world travellers – all just sitting there in this magical staff room, waiting for you to ask them something. Eager to speak with you, to give you guidance, to share their experiences with you.

Wouldn’t it also be nice if, in that same room, people just starting off in the ESOL field were seeking out your professional input and advice? As a teacher, I know you love helping others. What if you could change another teacher’s life simply by sharing a few teaching resources, words of advice, or stories that got you to where you are today?

 

linked arms (MTSOfan)

Flickr: MTSOfan

One night, my son woke me up at 3 AM and I couldn’t fall back to sleep. The idea of this crowded, helpful, magical international ESOL staff room crept into my brain and I couldn’t shake it.  I then proceeded to do what I normally do at 3 AM when I can’t sleep: I checked my Facebook. By 5 AM, I made the decision to materialize my idea in the form of a Facebook group. By 6 AM I had drafted the group’s guidelines, and by 7 AM, my son woke up and I got him a bottle.

My good friend and former teaching colleague, Shaza Mahmood, agreed to help me manage the group – and the rest, as they say, is history. After just about two month of the group’s existence and 2500+ new members joining us from all over the world, I have to say I am quite pleased with the outcome of the group so far.

No matter where your X is on that good old grammar timeline, I know you’ll enjoy this group. You can pick the brains of all sorts of ELT professionals and at the same time, help out those with goals similar to what you’ve already achieved. You can share teaching resources and ideas, and make connections with people all over the world. You can share your past and present perfect sentences and get one step closer to discovering the past participle of your future perfect sentence.

We welcome all ESOL teachers (and those in a related field) with open arms and hope to see you in the group.

www.facebook.com/groups/ESOLTeachersWorldwide

Jen’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/jenbrummerESOL

Shaza’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/shazamahmoodESOL

 

Jen BrummerJen Brummer is an American ESOL teacher who has taught English in Japan, Kenya, England, the USA, and online through the wonderful world of Skype. She really appreciates the power of social media for connecting with other teachers for support and learning. She is the founder and co-administrator of the Facebook group ESOL Teachers Worldwide.

Tools for 21st Century Teachers (by Nour Alkhalidy)

Living in a complex, rapid, digital environment, and having a digital-savvy generation that has grown up in this environment, requires us as educators to be aware of changes and challenges and to bring new tools and technologies into our classrooms.

Implementing web 2.0 tools in the classroom can be the key to preparing our students and preparing ourselves as learners to be ready for these changes. (more…)

The Fun Theory in Language Learning

This morning, a friend shared this video on facebook. It’s one of the entries for the Fun Theory award, which recognizes ideas and inventions that prove that fun is the easiest way to change behavior for the better. Wouldn’t you want to take the stairs if they were this much fun?

Of course, I immediately shared the video with my friends on Facebook and Twitter :-)

I wasn’t the only one who thought about what the Fun Theory could do for English class.

Just think. No matter how you package it, it’s hard to gain much fluency in a foreign language without a lot of repetition, which students often see as the learning equivalent of taking the stairs. Given the chance, students will choose the escalator every time. But, if repetition were fun, would students beg for more? Probably.

Of course, in the back of my mind I was thinking that applying the Fun Theory to learning tasks could mean a lot more work for already busy teachers.

Kim Takeda came up with a wonderful solution:

What a brilliant idea! Let the students solve their own problems! The process itself could be an excellent language task. Students can identify which tasks they dislike, and suggest ways to make them more fun (but still as effective). It would be interesting to see how students and teachers see the same tasks.

Do you think your students would change anything? If so, what?

What I’ve Learned From My PLN (September 1, 2009)

This week was about motivation–both mine and my students’. It started with an #edchat conversation on Twitter about the value of homework. Alfie Kohn (a man decidedly against homework!) shared an article from the journal Theory and Research in Education about self-determination theory as regards motivation. While the article was interesting enough, what really got me excited was discovering that ALL of the articles from the “Symposium on self-determination theory” were available for free download. I particularly enjoyed “Virtual worlds and the learner hero: how today’s video games can inform tomorrow’s learning environments.” In terms of motivation (at least from the self-determination point of view), the qualities that cause engagement in games–relatedness, autonomy and competence–can also create engagement in learning.

(more…)