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!

 

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What I like and what I dislike

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Source: http://easysketchproreview.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/thumbs02.gif

About two days ago I was reading a book for my son before going to bed. Very famous Russian ‘Denis’s stories’ by V. Dragunskiy. I absolutely adore this kind of stories for children, because they are full of emotions and there are so many good things to show to my son: how to behave oneself, how to be fair and honest, how to love people and respect their labor and work. This is very Sovietic book, but despite this fact it is very actual for nowadays.

Among many thought-provoking short stories are two ones with simple titles: ‘What I like’ and ‘What I don’t like’. They are definitely very sincere and touching from the point of view of a boy aged 6-7, who simply explains things or people which surround him and why he likes them or not.

My Intermediate students now are learning how to talk about work-life balance and their leisure time. As for the material in the textbook, it goes without saying that they are introduced with vocabulary about interests and hobbies, and verbs and collocations helping them to express their likes and dislikes. I wrote about likes and dislikes here, and personally I enjoy working with this vocabulary, and it was time to introduce this useful vocabulary to Intermediates to talk about their leisure time. Moreover, I decided to give them a written assignment for hometask. My post today is going to be an example of how to write about likes and dislikes, I’ll send them a link to my blog and after reading and analyzing they are going to write on their own. So…

Today I’m going to write about things that make me happy and things I’m not crazy about.

As you may know, I’m a very artistic person and I prefer doing unusual things. To begin with, I love trying new styles. Today I’m a sporty lady with white sketchers on my feet, tomorrow I’m a romantic woman in pink. Also I absolutely adore different accessories like bracelets, earrings, rings and necklaces. I sometimes order them from trade-masters from abroad, for example, from Israel or from India. These things are gorgeous and nice to use.

I love singing. I’ve been taking part in a choir since 2010. There are 8 ladies (4 of them are Annas :)) and we’ve participated in many concerts so far. I can’t say that our rehearsals are very frequent, but I simply can’t help admiring all the girls in the choir who always encourage me. We are happy to sing, we are united with one idea – to bring warmth and love to people’s hearts. We are winners of many festivals and song contests and for me it is not easy to say whether I like it or not. On the one hand, it is time-consuming and rather demanding thing, because we all have our children and families and can’t leave them for a long period of time, but on the other hand, is is very rewarding thing to participate and I love it very much.

I enjoy travelling. I should say I haven’t visited many foreign countries, but I’m fond of travelling, that’s true. My number one place is the Crimea. I’ve started going there since 2002 and now every year I try to find time for going there with my family. I’m pleased with the fact that my little son Yaroslav is also fond of travelling and he shares my interests. Among places in Russia, I prefer vising Saint Petersburg, this city is incredible. I would love to live there someday…

As for things that don’t make me happy… To begin with, I hate boring weekends. Of course, that depends on me whether to consider a weekend boring or not, but I hate just sitting at home when the sun is shining and the weather is fine for walking and for visiting some interesting places.

On the other hand, I hate this situation when I should create something for every weekend. Why not just relax and find something interesting in this meditating practice? Why run somewhere and spend time on things that don’t interest or bother me? Perhaps, it is just that I can’t relax and keep quite. That’s a thing I would like to change someday. I believe, it’s better to feel internal harmony even with such a dissonance in your soul J

As for my job, I sometimes can’t stand minutes when I’m empty and no idea springs in my mind, especially it relates to preparation for lessons. Just imagine a situation when I ‘m sitting at my desk at work, with a pen in a hand and a blank sheet of paper ready to be competed with some fine ideas… but nothing happens and I just sit and wait. It’s awful! But I try to change methods of doing this, and I’ve achieved some results here: I gave up waiting and started doing something very different. For instance, I call somebody or visit a social network page or talk to someone on the phone for a very short period of time, and the ideas visit me. Not that fast, I should admit, but they are ready to come when I’m relaxed and keep calm.

God Almighty! It turned out to be challenging to write about my likes and dislikes. But at least I tried to be in my students’ shoes when they are supposed to provide me with a well-done written assignment and I’m looking forward to reading them.

Thanks for stopping by!

Looking forward to hearing from you soon…

What makes me happy?

A very psycological question. Not even just psychological, but very personal, imprinting my own ideas and thoughts on what I am going to consider things making me happy.

  1. Preparing for my classes. I adore this part of my work, when it’s up to me to decide what to give to students, what to introduce at the lesson, what to talk about. Of course, that does not mean we don’t use any textbooks, but even with a textbook and an area you would like to work on with your students it’s up to the Teacher to create a lesson plan. I would like to admit, I prefer to think that a language lesson is a performance at the theatre, and the teacher is a director, or a conductor. Maybe that’s why in all my reflections I prefer to use word “to conduct” a lesson. And I do believe that preparing is the most important stage of my work.
  2. Making classes funny. That’s not very easy, not at all. You should be a funny person yourself to joke, to make someone laugh and smile. It is not easy to prepare for a funny lesson, but if you’ve got good memory and some anecdotes at hand, you will definitely succeed. I don’t of course always tell anecdotes, but something I’ve recently heard and something hilarious which is appropriate for the lesson and the exact situation.
  3. Reflect on my classes. It’s difficult to say what I prefer more: to prepare or to reflect afterwards. One the one hand, reflections give me a chance to write down my thoughts, on the other hand, reflections are worth having especially when my lesson was not as good as I had expected.
  4. Trying something new. I would never be a successful teacher without ideas and tips I get from my colleagues’ blogs. When I see something that worked for my colleague and it is suitable for my topic, I can adapt it to the level, or to the topic, if possible, and I try to use it as soon as possible. Some ideas seem to be very simple to realize, some not, but in any case, then I can share them with my colleagues, once I tried something new, and I love this part of my job, too.
  5. Reading books. In my childhood I was a fan of reading, but year after year, especially when my son was born, I could not read something serious, and I should admit, once my everyday readings were women-like magazines and cheap novels, because I felt like I was not readt to read something more interesting, I simply did not have a wish. I don’t blame myself for that period of time, let bygones be bygones, but now I am changed, and I want to read every single minute. I read books on my way to and from work, I read books while I travel, I read books to my son and I read them aloud, if possible, because I believe, this kind of thing helps me in mastering of my native language, if I read in Russian.
  6. Learning something new. I can admit, all the things I have mentioned, are about learning something new, be it reading or trying tips of my colleagues. I never know what happens tomorrow, but I do believe, everything done today is my future tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!