How my students once surprised me…

        Since I started my own ELT blog last year, a tremendous lot of inspiring heartbreaking ideas came to my teaching practice and most of them changed my own teaching style, and I’m really grateful to those who accidentally did it with me. Talking about the ideas, one of them was to create a group blog where students could  share their thoughts with each other, leave comments, complete written assignments and share funny pics and memes. I wanted to make this rule obligatory for every group I was teaching and I almost succeeded. In fact, all my groups DO have their group blogs, but tastes differ: some of the students are not at all interested in social networks (in this case, a group blog IS considered as a social network), and they are not at all excited about sharing anything or leaving comments. I would say, with some of the groups the group blogs work well, the students are quite active there and they are inspired to share and to collaborate using it. With some not, but it’s not a problem, we’re trying to find different options to make the process more engaging for everybody.

      But seems I was not too confident in my students (and it’s one of my weaknesses, really). When I started teaching Elementary group back in December 2015, I created a group blog in vk.com (Russian network) and introduced it to my students, they were extremely engaged, because all of them seem to be active PC users. I was surprised last week when they told they had created private community in the net consisting only of members of the group, where they (!) shared photos of the whiteboard and documents, along with tables and schemes, pictures and vocabulary and functional language lists. Truth be told, I was pleasantly shocked. The group works and lives its own life. The students are sharing music, they are chatting there and discussing stuff, which is an incredibly useful action for Elementaries. Of course, I asked a permission to join and now I see how they perform. I’m trying to be an observer, because I’m quite active as a teacher in our ‘official’ group and now I let them do what they want. I hope my participation will never confuse them and never make them less confident.

Do you have group blogs with your students? If yes, could you share, how successful they are? What do you share? What do they share? Or probably it is a completely different format? I would love to see your comments.

Thanks for reading!

Enjoy spring!

 

Top 25 favorite ELT blogs

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Hello everyone!

A nice morning, isnt´t it? I hope you’re having a productive working week. As promised, here is a list of 25 ELT blogs, which some of you mentioned in comments to my “A Plea for Help”. I was touched by your attitude to my request and by your comments as well. It really helped me to structure a wonderful presentation and present your ideas like something very important in terms of professional development. So, here comes:

  1. Rose Bard
  2. Mike Griffin
  3. Anna Loseva
  4. Hana Tichá
  5. Dreamreader.net
  6. Kevin Stein
  7. Sandy Millin
  8. Joanna Malefaki
  9. Fab English Ideas
  10. Anthony Ash
  11. Film-English
  12. Scholarly Kitchen
  13. Tyson Seburn
  14. Nathan Hall
  15. Hugh Dellar
  16. Scott Thornbury
  17. Marisa Constantinides
  18. Sue Waters
  19. Sylvia Guinan
  20. Zhenya Polosatova
  21. Olya Sergeeva
  22. Rachael Roberts
  23. Svetlana Kandibovich
  24. Vedrana Vojković
  25. Tekhnologic

While posting this list I found those who I’m not following right now, but I’d love to. Thanks a lot again!

Have a wonderful working week!

Photo credit: https://blog.slideshare.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Screen-Shot-2015-05-07-at-5.31.15-PM1.png

A “thank you” post and a “to do” list

Hi everyone!

Today is Monday (thanks, Cap) and this means the new working week has just started. This also means that my business trip is over and now I’m sitting at my desk in the office, having only several minutes to create this blog-post. It’s not easy to write after 3 amazing days of networking and socializing with teachers from my company; after being introduced with new extremely interesting ideas to do in the classroom; not easy because my thoughts are still somewhere and there’s nothing I can do. I just need some time to get them collected and expressed.

But today I would like to thank teachers around the world who helped me with my survey (A plea for help). It was amazing to get so many responses and comments and to be sure everyone is ready to share something useful. Thank you Joanna, Marc, Sandy, Rachel, Vedrana, Rose, Olya, Anya and others. Your blogging experience has helped a lot with presenting the idea of blogging as one of the ways of teachers’ development.

These days I’m short of time because of workload, but there’s something I want to do this week.

  1. To collect ”your favourite blogs” and create a separate blog-post.
  2. To post “Blog Challenge Part 2” (see part 1 here).
  3. Carry on sharing my ideas and things that worked because this is the essence of my blogging experience.

I remember my favourite quotation of charming Audrey Hepburn.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping others, the other for helping yourself.

I’d add: you also have your blog.

Thanks for reading!

thanks

“Blog Challenge”, or how I dropped upon my friend. Part 1

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One of my friends used to say that people all over the world get necessary information from the common information field; and if there’s something you need rather quickly, you’ll get it from this field. For example, you’re dreaming about traveling to Egypt, and your child is switching the channels on TV when you´re finally running across a TV show about the pyramids…

information field

Yesterday I was not dreaming about traveling somewhere, because I was too busy with my presentation about blogging, so even walking home I was thinking about it. But I ran across my friend from the university. Felix. A rare name for a Russian guy. We haven´t met since we graduated from the university in 2006, so we had a looooot of things to talk about yesterday. He was not busy, me neither, so we sat in the café and chatted for an hour.

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Thank you, Felix, I should say. You can´t even imagine what you´ve done to me. Firstly, it was an unexpected ‘encuentro’ after a long period of silence. And… secondly, Felix was so interested in what I did in my life that he was bombarding me with questions and I hardly could be successful in answering all of them (because I had to leave very soon).

The thing is that these questions looked like the ones I was searching for to prepare my presentation. No, it’s not about why people blog or read blog-posts. Apart from that, I was looking for specific questions to ask at the teachers forum (about ELT), so I decided to look through ‘blog challenge’ questions asked and answered in one’s blog. The questions were diverse:

What did you teach last week?

Which areas of ELT are you interested in?

What are your favourite icebreakers?

What does “an ideal lesson” mean for you?

If your students were to label you with three adjectives, what would they be?

What was the most successful lesson you’ve had so far?

Of course, they are too specific. But I was looking for such specific and particular questions to ask the participants. And yesterday Felix was asking me questions which were a) specific and b) personal about my job. It was like an interview which I did perfectly. Personally, I was interested in answering the questions too. I believe, it was a good analysis of what I did, what I do and what I plan to do in future. So, here we go. Next time I’m going to post my answers to his questions.

Thanks for reading!

Have a nice working week!

A plea for help

Hi everyone!

It´s been a while since my last visit here, because after the vacation I was in vague feelings about how to stop being still at the seaside in my thoughts and start working. I hope I´ve returned. And I need your help.

In early October I´m going to participate in an internal event for English teachers in the company where I work. With our Curriculum Manager Olga Sergeeva we have discussed the possibility for me to present there and here we are: I am going to be presenting the topic which has become the most important for me over the last months. Blogging. I’ve been doing it since March ’15 and this is probably the most outstanding thing that has ever happened to me. With my teaching reflections being posted here I also have some responses from real teachers worldwide (e.g. ELT Flash Mob) who support me in my ideas and practical things.

I do believe, blogging considered as a process of self-development is very successful for most of the teachers I know. But it does not only deal with self-development, I believe. But what else? For finding answers to this question I need to analyze three specific things related to blogging. Here they are:

  1. Why do English teachers blog?
  2. Why do English teachers read ELT blogs?
  3. What ELT blog is your favourite one and why?

So, my plea for help goes to real English teachers, my followers or those who are interested in answering. If you leave a comment to my post with answers to these questions above, it would be just wonderful! Lots of thanks!!!
I hope they will be very helpful at the preparation stage and I’m sure I’ll gain new ideas and I’ll share them with you.

Thanks for reading!

Hope to hear from you!

Number one post after the vacation

I love holidays. And I love that exact feeling when I come back to work: I open the door of the office and see my students smiling and sending me their warmest wishes and congratulations regarding my arrival. They know I was missing them, and I know they were missing me and our classes. That’s true. Have you ever had such a feeling?

Today I had a first class after my vacation and it was with Upper-Intermediate students. There were two of them – just because some of students from their group are still on vacation. I hope we’ll soon have the whole group to practice English and to learn something new. These two guys told me it was difficult to start again… I usually ask students when I’m back from vacation: what did you do for improving your skills? They usually say: nothing. Today they told me they learnt some new words and phrasal verbs, they watched new films and read new books.

As for me, it was not difficult at all to come back, and yesterday at night, going to bed, I wanted the new day to come. What about my skills? Frankly, I had quite a few opportunities to have a look at my colleagues’ blog-posts, but I read three books – one by Jojo Moyes (‘Night Music’) and two more by Sophie Kinsella (‘Wedding Night’ and ‘Finding Audrey’) – it is a girlie side of my developing as a teacher (I just wanted to feel like I learn English myself – as a schoolgirl – to read books I like and to relax). Since the past 6 months these books have been the most memorable for me, though they can seem too easy and naive).

Today there’s nothing to blog about. But I was deadly missing my laptop keyboard and ‘Reader’ button in the left corner of the site. I wanna scream out: I’m back and I’m open to everything new.

Right now I’m preparing for the internal teachers’ forum at work, so I’m going to present some ideas and I’m very excited about that. It’s going to be in early October and I will definitely write about my experience in my blog.

Thanks for reading!

Scribbles… or a successful blog?

I remember myself in a rather early age and I always wanted to write. It was not important for me what to write and how, be it a poem or a story about relationship, I always wanted them to be puslished some day. And once I was invited to a local newspaper to write some articles as a part-time journalist. Or it is better to say a newsperson, for I do not want to offend journalists, because my literary trash could not be considered as something outstanding. To be honest, my articles were appraised by the chief editor as something obtaining a personal style of writing, but still they needed to be improved. How? Only by means of writing, exploring specific books, getting in touch with professional journalists, asking them for help. My writing practice almost came to naught when I gave a birth to my son. Writing became unimportant and really impossbile those days.

As for my blogging experience, I want to say I also have some, but in Russian. After my son was born, I was taking notes on livejournal.com about my not very intriguing life. I was writing posts about rare travels, about my very challenging marriage and about how it came to an end one day, about my son, about my charity activities with several guys from Moscow and about our ways of doing charity things with the old. So to tell the truth, I did not have anything attractive to share. A couple of friends were following my blog and that was really it. This March I have made an attempt to start my own blog on WordPress.com and I wanted to devote it to my teaching practice and some reflections. But as it turns out, it is more challenging than I have ever thought…

First of all, I shoud thank those who I had a chance to follow and my associate Olga who supported me in the idea of starting to write my reflections on teaching. I have so much to read and to comment in each blog I came across. Secondly, writing is still a dream for me, though it appears to be very challenging and demanding, and time-consuming as well, and I do not want to share ‘scribbles’ that are competely unwholesome. I do not expect people to comment my every post, and I am honest here, at least with myself. So I will start writing and reflecting on things that happen in my teaching practice. I really want to learn how to write (or to blog) and improve my vocabulary and writing skills.

Thanks for stopping by!