It’s the last day of 2010, and a good time to reflect on the year that’s nearly done. This is the 110th post since I began this blog in June of 2009. I know that’s not a lot compared to really prolific bloggers, but it’s enough to thrill me. I began this blog as a way to learn more about connecting with teachers online, but wasn’t really sure how well the experiment would work, or what direction it would take. I had a vague idea about creating a community where EFL teachers around the world could share stories about their unique teaching environments and share wisdom garnered from their teaching experiences. (more…)
As an EFL teacher with a long career, I’ve been around the block a few times! I’ve taught all levels from kindergarten to mature adults and I think I’ve learnt one or two things along the way. However, for me, I think the lesson that I learnt quite early in my career remains for me the best and most important and that is; the need, as a teacher, to also be a student. Openness is essential, teachers don’t impart knowledge, they share it and if I can come away from a class, a course or even a lesson with more than I took into it then I believe that I have been successful.
As a manager I interview a lot of teachers. One question I always ask is about reading texts. If you have a short reading text, what are some different ways in which it can be used? I am constantly surprised by the lack of responses I get to this question. Candidates most often give one of two responses
1) I have the students read the text and then I ask them questions about it.
Ok, this is standard and nothing wrong with that. We want to check to see that the students comprehend the text, but this is generally quite boring and is really more of a test than teaching reading skills.
2) I have the students read it out loud.
Sadly, I have seen this used a lot in classes at well. I’m sitting and observing a class of 15 students and the teacher asks one student to read out loud while the others follow along in the book. This has to be one of the worst wastes of time for a class. One student is speaking and the other 14 students are bored out of their mind and not paying attention. Additionally, the one reading isn’t comprehending the text because they are too focused on speaking correctly. The only thing being worked on here is pronunciation of the one student reading the text. (more…)
2008, I returned to the 7th grade Social Studies classroom after a seven-year hiatus in Computer Applications and the Media Center. I wanted back in the classroom where I could work with a smaller number of students and develop a long-term relationship as a teacher and mentor to those who chose to see me this way. (more…)
I’ve been teaching at the primary section of The British School of Rio de Janeiro since 2002. About 80% of our students are Brazilian Portuguese native speakers, and the other 20% come from many continents across the globe, mainly Europe, North and South America. A percentage of the teaching staff are native English speakers who also come from overseas. I am bilingual but I teach all subjects in English, which languagewise makes me feel I’m a full time EFL teacher. My experience working in an international school has reinforced my belief is that language should work as a vehicle for learning, as opposed to being the learning objective by itself. (more…)