miércoles, 22 de agosto de 2012

Catering in the classroom

The last computing lesson before winter holidays was very interesting and enriching and I realized the importance of catering for students interests and needs. Andy was delivering a lesson on hacking which aim was not to make them feel afraid or worried, but to inform and prevent. He created a game with a padlock to show the kids how difficult it is to hack an account so that they realized that in order not to have problems with social networks or e-mail accounts was to always log out correctly and never using personal information in passwords. The amazing thing for me was that he brought an example of "hacking" or forgetting to log out for the girls and for the boys: a friend of him who relized that her ex-girlfriend was in love with him because she still used the same password in her e-mail account (their names) and another friend who cheated a boy in an online game about football. All the kids were amazed, they had fun but at the same time they learned about these important tips for preventing problems on line.

jueves, 21 de junio de 2012


Let's build meaning together!
   I've always liked teamwork at school, at the prof, nowadays co-working with Patsy and of course, in life. I really enjoy sharing opinions, giving/receiving pieces of advice, creating texts, plannings, material, whatever with someone else. I strongly believe that this is the only way to grow proffessionally and personally.
   Last Friday Patsy and I shared the last assembly of our mini-project called "June 20: Flag day". Although monitoring the work of 40 students at the beginning was difficult because they were quite noisy, when the class finished we felt so proud and happy for the kids since they could solve the tasks as a team with all the resourses available (netbooks, dictionaries and the materials for making the posters and flags). Another good decision was to mix up the two classes so they could interact with other mates.
     After this result we decided to make these type of assemblies more often. Next time we´re going to share a workshop on BULLYING and CYBERBULLYING in which we´re going to reflect together about this social issue and we´ll try to find solutions to it and of course we want mixed groups again! If you´re interested in the text that triggers all the analysis and the reflections you can have a look at it in the net, it is a piece of "digital literature". Maybe you like it and you can show it to your learners.


Bully for You: Mother's Profile, by C. Joseph

domingo, 20 de mayo de 2012

Homogeneous classrooms and weak students

Reminder: students are not native speakers

We really forget too often that our CLIL students are learning in a second language. Fluency is something we almost take for granted with our students who have a good/very good/excellent ability to speak the target language. Many times you're almost "charmed" by their accents and slight errors, so much so, that you forget that it is our job to  help them as much as possible with the language. When you grade the writing, however, you are sometimes overwhelmed by the errors you see. Deciphering their text can be an arduous task. You always have to consider the objective of your assigment when grading these pieces of work and you must force yourself to reconsider the cultural context in which you find yourself as an educator (...)

Andrew Frzludeen, teacher and CLIL programme manager, Qatar

Scaffolding is essential!
I've highlighted this quotation when I was attending the Licenciatura some Saturdays ago because I felt very identified with these ideas (I have a lot of learners that are excellent speakers but then when I read their pieces of writing I feel overwhelmed by all the mistakes) and I've decided to include it in my May's reflection because in my copybook we talked about that all students are not outstanding and we have to evaluate weak students in a more appropriate way. I have a very homogeneous group as regards level and abilities so I believe that the biggest challenge for me this year is not feel tempted to rush with the stronger students and don't use them as a parameter for evaluating the others: each learner has his/her own pace and may have differents needs, skills and interests. As regards writing I strongly agree with Andrew F in that we have to be very objective with corrections: if in the success criteria we stated that we'll concentrate on punctuation, capital letter and for example include a nunber of new vocabulary we have to stick to that: if we correct too many things at a time kids may feel threatened or insecure. Working with creative writing is excellent for providing students with scaffolding since you can correct mistakes or improve their writings gradually.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Mehisto P., Frigols M. Marsh D.(2008), Uncovering CLIL, Macmillan

domingo, 22 de abril de 2012

Solidarity and self-esteem

"Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort than a solo race. Good learning, like good work, is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Working with others often increases involvement in learning. Sharing one's ideas and responding to others improves thinking and deepens understanding." 

                                                                                                                      Chickering & Gamson (1997)                                                                             

I've always knew that helping is important in the classroom, but since I've made cooperation "explicit" through the implementation of a tutors' system I can see results and I'm very proud of my learners. It's great to see how stronger students support and guide weaker students. In this process both the tutor and the helped student grow and learn from each other. 
I strongly believe that self-esteem is raised in both sides since the tutor feels helpful and the weak learner feels supported and cared for. What's more, sometimes students may feel more comfortable or will learn best if a peer helps him/her since they have the same age, interests and needs
I'm glad because in general I've received a positive response from parents, tutors and the helped students. I feel so happy when some tutors praise their mates for making an interesting comment or having a bright idea or when they let me know that kids are doing fine. Although the system is working well I´ll plan a brief meeting with the tutors to talk about their responsibilities, to give them some feedback, to make them do a guided self-assessment of their role and to listen to their opinions. I think that controlling these things from time to time is crucial for the system's effectiveness.

Chickering, A. W, and Gamson, Z. F (eds.), Applying the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no.47. San Francisco: JosseyBass, 1991.

jueves, 22 de marzo de 2012

My teaching philosophy

In my first publication of my blog I would like to talk about some of my beliefs as an educator. We as teachers have our own teaching styles because of our experiences as students and the theoretical background we received during our training. We all teach in different ways, and when we plan or make a decision we do not stop to think “why am I doing this?”, “why did I choose that activity?”. However, we all have our own philosophy of teaching that guides our performance and development in the classroom. Our philosophy changes over the years because of the experience we gain and the situations we go through in life. I do not have much experience yet, and although my philosophy of teaching is not that mature, I am sure about some of my beliefs.

1) Creating a safe environment is essential: from my experience as a student and the theoretical framework that I have received at the teaching training college I can state that if the student feels intimidated by the teacher or is corrected all the time when speaking he will not participate and this will hinder learning.

2) Experience and background knowledge are part of our student: they do not enter the classroom with their minds empty. We as teachers have to profit from this prior knowledge to create an atmosphere in which learners can share what they know with the others. Consequently, this can be a very fruitful experience which changes the traditional, teacher-led model of learning.
3) Teachers have multiple roles: we should not consider ourselves as being the providers only, because in this way we will not consider that our students are autonomous and that they have knowledge to share with us. On the contrary, we should think of ourselves as having different roles depending on the moment of the class. We can assume the role of motivator, monitor, guide, instructor and a chair-person. If we constantly shift roles, we will give our students the opportunity to learn in different ways and to be independent.

I can affirm that every teacher has his or her own philosophy. These is my own and I hope that throughout the years it will evolve to help me become a better teacher!