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Everybody is talking about 21st Century skills and preparing students for a whole different world. The truth is that our students have become digital and there are a whole lot of educators around the world who are still “analog”. That is why I would like to share my work with my two secondary school groups with as many teachers as possible. Internet and Technology in the Classroom have made a huge change in my daily teaching experience.
My story starts right after my first online presentation for The Future of Education Reform Symposium 2013, (RSCON4) where I was kindly invited to participate by Shelly Sanchez Terrell. Some hours later, I got a message from Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto, who asked me if I would like to write for this High Tech Ideas in the Low Tech Classroom section in Teaching Village. I was flattered, and accepted immediately, but it really took me quite a long time to put ideas together and I thank my dear friend, Rose Bard, for giving me some support.
I teach in an International School in Bangkok. The “internationality” of the school is an interesting term, as there really are two languages spoken here — English and Thai — and not necessarily in that order.
There used to be signs posted around the school saying, “Proud to be an English-speaking only school,” but when I went to find one today, hoping to include a photo of it in this blog post — I couldn’t find any around anymore. Curious. (more…)
Deciding where to send your child to school is arguably one of the hardest decisions a parent has to make. My 4 year old daughter attends a regular school in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The school is not bilingual and offers English as a compulsory subject.
I have been speaking in English to my daughter since she was born. She understands the language and feels very confident. Children at school even thought she came from “Disneyland” because she was fluent in English. (more…)
“To teach is to touch lives forever.”
Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be an English teacher! It was because my mum was my kindergarten teacher. She was so creative, engaging and inspiring that I wanted to be a teacher just like her. I had my own chalkboard at home and I was always the teacher when we played “school” with my friends. I think I’ve always had this huge passion for teaching and, today I have been an English teacher for eight years in Istanbul, Turkey. (more…)
Until a few months ago, I always considered myself an English teacher who specialized in writing. I love writing, and I love helping others realize that their stories and ideas are worth sharing in more than one language. Recently, however, I’ve been drawn to another area of the English language. I have a whole new outlook on teaching pronunciation, and it’s all thanks to the Internet. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that teaching pronunciation online is far more interesting and possibly even more effective than teaching pronunciation in a classroom. (more…)
“The problem with our profession is that there is too much teaching and not enough learning”.
I said this recently during a discussion and I think it is such an important point to understand about “teaching” a language – that we have to get away from delivery systems that are teacher directed and more towards models where students are self-paced, self-motivated and learning independently. The future IS learning not teaching. (more…)
Thank you, my beautiful Guest Authors!
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…)
It’s easy these days to get carried away with all the talk about advances in educational technology and what the latest, coolest web-based resource is. The truth for many teachers and students around the world is that they are lucky to have one computer and a projector in class and even luckier to have internet access, which even then is highly likely to be filtered. This is the case in my school: each class has a “teacher’s” computer with projector and, at best, unreliable internet. Therefore, the most commonly used tool in class is PowerPoint. Even then, many teachers dislike it as they feel ‘chained to the computer’ so how can we make sure it’s used effectively?
I teach students between the ages of two- and six-years-old. When you teach young learners you discover how much they love finger plays. The children memorize the English quickly and are able to repeat the words and actions on their own.
Introducing the Finger Play
Finger plays are best used in the classroom with the children watching you and modeling your actions. Try having the children sit in front of you or in a circle. We like to sit on pillows on the floor. You may also want to use a felt board to begin introducing the vocabulary. Put up the characters in the order they will appear in the finger play. Place the name above each character. For example, for the Incy Wincy Spider I put a spider, a water spout, the sun, and the rain. I have the children repeat the words. When possible I also vary the voices for each character. I want the children to visualize the characters in order for them to remember the words that go with that character. (more…)
Is this what Internet access looks like at your school?
Some time back, Anita Kwiatkowska encouraged me to start a new series. I’ve actually been thinking of this idea for a few months, when OUP asked me to do a series of presentations about using technology in teaching young EFL learners. (more…)