Start the School Year with Teaching Students These Four Skills

I recommend teachers help their students develop the following four skills from the very beginning of the school year as they set the tone for powerful, engaging and self-directed learning.

  1. Researching

Tell your students that your main job nowadays is not to give them the information but it is to teach them how to find the information.

  1. Contribution

Encourage students to make meaningful contributions to their surrounding environment. Teach them how to do so. When they have the opportunities to make such contributions they will be motivated and working hard.

  1. Working on projects

Let and help students determine projects that they are passionate about to work on during a certain period of time. Teach them how to plan their projects and provide them with useful resources.

  1. Working together

Help your students build teams or groups. Teach them the rules of teamwork.

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20 Tips to Develop Thinking in the Classroom

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If you want to increase your effectiveness at teaching, the first thing you should do is to encourage your students to think, and then develop their thinking skills. Here, I would like to share with you some actions to do in the classroom to encourage students’ thinking and develop their thinking skills.

  1. Act the role of a facilitator or a guide not a lecturer or a preacher.
  2. Show enthusiasm for challenges and complex tasks that require students to think.
  3. Present your lessons in a logical and organized sequence.
  4. Use the kind of language that invites students to think (e.g. compare, classify, predict, suppose that, etc)
  5. Ask open-ended questions, wh-questions, why do you think so?, what if? and other kinds of questions of higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy that require students to think.
  6. Create problematic situations and encourage students to find creative solutions for them.
  7. Encourage students to ask and answer each other’s questions that provoke thinking.
  8. Encourage students to apply their past knowledge and experience to new situations.
  9. Move around the class and encourage students’ mobility.
  10. Encourage students to interact and cooperate in doing certain projects.
  11. Organize your class in various and different ways for different activities (e.g. pairs, groups, individuals and whole class)
  12. Value thinking and show creative works of students around the class.
  13. Use a variety of visual media to facilitate learning and encourage thinking (e.g. charts, wall sheets, videos, maps, pictures, flash cards, body language, etc)
  14. Encourage students to respond in any way without fearing of making mistakes and give supportive comments on incorrect responses.
  15. Create various and different evaluation activities.
  16. Always ask students to clarify and justify their answers.
  17. Always ask for alternatives or different points of view.
  18. Ask students to expand their answers adding more points.
  19. Encourage students to reflect on their thoughts or points of view.
  20. Ask students for clear and realistic ideas and asking about how to apply them to everyday life.

Hard but not impossible

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Learning a new language is not easy. It is hard for adults and busy people to learn a new language that sounds differently from their mother tongue and that they don’t use outside the classroom.

It is really hard, but not impossible. Recent studies suggest that you can get better at a foreign language simply by listening to it, without speaking it yourself.

In other words, if you listen regularly to podcasts in the language you’re trying to learn, you will learn it at the end.

One hour listening practice a day following with some simple tasks is a good start to improve your listening comprehension and increase your ability to distinguish sounds.

Also, it is recommended to watch TV shows or short video clips and read material written in the language you are learning.

The goal is to be surrounded by the target language at all times and immerse yourself in it. Still, you should be both passive and active when you learn a foreign language, that is to listen and speak, read and write. In other words you should receive and produce something in the language you are learning EVERY DAY.

 

20 Tips to Foster Motivation in Your Students

motivate ur students

1. Create a supportive environment where students are respected and feel a sense of belonging.

2. Believe in the ability of each student to learn.

3. Set up clear classroom rules from the very beginning and appreciate who follow them.

4. Be aware of the strengths of each student and focus on them not on their weaknesses.

5. Use your students’ interests, talents and goals to encourage them to learn.

6. Maintain disciplined, organized and calm classroom to increase your students’ concentration.

7. Vary your teaching methods and make the lessons interesting and enjoyable.

8. Adapt your lessons to your students life and needs.

9. Let students be aware of the objectives of each lesson so that they can realize the feeling of achievement.

10. Teach your students how to prepare and study their lessons, help them acquire good study habits at home.

11. Always provide positive feedback. Never embarrass or ridicule a student.

12. Assign homework that is specific and clearly related to the objectives of each lesson.

13. Emphasize cooperation rather than competition; support pair work and group work to create opportunities for students to help each other.

14. Teach students how to find solutions to the problems they may face.

15. Avoid practices or exercises that can cause frustration, instead adapt them to students’ level.

16. Provide rewards for unusual effort and success.

17. Establish a close relationship with students’ parents to assist their children in forming good habits at home so that they will be ready to learn at school.

18. Give your students the chance to lead a classroom activity.

19. Treat each student fairly, show no favoritism.

20. Discover your strengths, learn from mistakes and concentrate on doing your best.

Learning Strategies & Learning Styles

strategies and stylesLearning strategies vs. learning styles:

* Broadly speaking, learning styles can be defined as general approaches to language learning, while learning strategies are specific ways learners choose to cope with language tasks in particular contexts.

* Learning strategies are the ways in which students learn, remember information and study for tests. They refer to the actions and behaviors students use to learn but learning styles refer to the general approaches that students use in acquiring a new language or in learning any other subject.

* The strategies a student uses to learn depend greatly on his/her own learning style.

Learning styles:

Each student has his/her own style of learning. As a result we have different students with different learning styles inside the classroom as shown below:

1. Visual or spatial learners:
They need to see things to fully understand them. They learn best from visual objects such as diagrams, charts, etc. They prefer to write things down.

2. Auditory or musical learners:
They learn mainly through listening so they learn best through discussions and talking. They benefit most from reading texts aloud and using a tape recorder.

3. Physical or kinesthetic or tactile learners:
They learn through using their body, hands and sense of touch. They tend to use their muscles so they can be used well in playing, tidying, cleaning the board, collecting activity books, etc. They learn best through using their hands making things, fitting things together or taking them apart so hands-on activities are ideal to help those students learn best.

4. Social or interpersonal learners:
They prefer to learn in groups or with other people. They have the ability to understand others’ feelings and intentions.

5. Solitary or intrapersonal learners:
They prefer to work alone and use self-study. They have the ability to understand well their feelings, strengths and weaknesses. They tend to write personal diary, achieve independent projects, discuss feelings about certain topics, express likes and dislikes, etc.

6. Verbal or linguistic learners:
They prefer using words, both in speech and writing.

7. Logical or mathematical:
They prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.

Learning strategies:

Many students use learning strategies automatically without any awareness of them. The role of teachers here is to:

* recognize their students’ learning strategies,

* make them explicit to students, bring them to their attention and talk about them.

* encourage students to use them in the classroom

* make them more effective to the learning process,

* base teaching process and techniques on these strategies.

Students use the following learning strategies most often when learning a language:

1. Cognitive strategies which enable the learner to manipulate the language material in direct ways, e.g. through reasoning, analysis, note-taking, and synthesizing

2. Metacognitive strategies which are used to manage the learning process overall, e.g. identifying preferences and the need for planning, monitoring mistakes, and evaluating task success.

3. Memory-related strategies which help learners link one item or concept with another but do not necessarily involve deep understanding, e.g. using acronyms, sound similarities, images, key words.

4. Compensatory strategies which help make up for missing knowledge, e.g. using gestures, miming or guessing the meaning from the context.

5. Affective strategies which help learners manage their emotions, such as identifying one’s mood and anxiety level, talking about feelings, rewarding oneself, and using deep breathing or positive self-talk.

6. Social strategies which enable the learner to learn via interaction with others and understand the target culture, e.g. asking questions, asking for clarification, asking for conversation help, talking with a native-speaking partner, and exploring cultural and social norms.

To be able to use the suitable strategies for you, you should know first your learning style BUT What is your learning style? Click and take a few minutes to do a quiz to be aware of your learning style.

Accuracy and Fluency Activities

fluency vs accuracy

When we focus on accuracy activities we:
* focus on forming correct examples of language use.
* produce language in a controlled way.
* deal with grammar explicitly.
* insist on receiving grammatically correct and complete sentences.
* practice language out of context.
* practice small samples of language.
* do not require authentic communication.

When we focus on fluency activities we:
* reflect natural language use
* deal with grammar implicitly.
* encourage free production of the language.
* reflect automatic performance.
* produce language that is not always predictable.
* require the use of improvising, paraphrasing, repair and reorganization.
* require real communication.

The focus on fluency activities would help learners develop communicative skills but those activities do nothing with linguistic competence. In other words the use of authentic communication particularly in the early stages of learning would help students often develop fluency at the expense of accuracy resulting in learners with good communication skills but a poor command of grammar.

To solve this problem the teacher should do the following during fluency activities:
1. get the learners’ attention to the presence of a linguistic feature in the input.
2. treat with grammatical features explicitly but within context.
3. focus on form but within task-based activities.
4. use various activities that develop the learners’ communicative skills and increase their attention to linguistic forms as well.

Ten Abilities & Skills Primary Teachers of English Need to Have & Develop

primary teachers

1. Understanding and deal well with young learners knowing well their characteristics.

2. Understanding the process of teaching and learning with young learners and overcoming any challenge that may occur sometimes.

3. Creating a relax atmosphere in the classroom and a friendly relationship with the young learners.

4. Speaking English fluently with the correct pronunciation.

5. Creating various & interesting activities and suitable learning environment to get their attention all the time.

6. Selecting & using well the most suitable teaching methods & materials for young learners.

7. Designing suitable assessment tools for young learners and following the right procedures to evaluate them during the language lesson.

8. Encourage, praising and giving a hand to low achievers of young learners.

9. Creating and implementing a remedial programme to raise the level of low achievers.

10. Being an actor, a story-teller, caretaker, mentor to achieve learning objectives with fun.

What else do you think primary teachers of English need to have & develop?