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Category Archives: TKT COURSE

A new webtool…just practicing!

Hello there!

I’ve been very busy during these last days creating and trying to find out new ways to teach grammar and verbs to my kids. I remember the way in which I had to memorize the verbs at school, such as boring way to do it!!!

memorizing

As I’m teaching 6th grade I have to do a lot of things at the same time that I have to cover the curriculum! I’m so tired! However, I really want to achieve one of my goals this year: to help my students to know how to use the verbs in their right VERB TENSE AND FORM!

Even though most of my students had memorized the verbs in their present, past and past participle, most of them don’t know how to use them in context. Moreover, they don’t have an idea how to identify them in a sentence, as a consequence they get bad grades during their quizzes.

I’ve been thinking how to help them.  One way in which we’ve been practicing the verbs at home and during class for these last weeks has been through the use of this app:

 

vocabularyspellingcity-image-1wgep8i

These awesome app has been helping me and my students to practice just those verbs that I want them to practice! There you can find a lot of different ways in which your students can practice their listening, spelling, and writing skills.

Spelling city offers a lot of different ways to practice and have fun with GAMES!!!! My kids have been using it every day at home. However, we also practice these exercises at class. Most of the times we play in teams!

I just wanted to share these great way to practice vocabulary and to encourage your students to play instead of just repeating and memorizing verbs without any interesting way to do it!

I hope you can enjoy these app and use it with your students.

Have fun and practice!

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Posted by on 16/09/2013 in PERSONAL SUBJECTS

 

Being a teacher…such an amazing experience!

Long time ago without writing!!!

One entire year without writing, this was due to my first job as an English teacher!!! I’m really happy because I have finished my first year teaching as better as I could to my little kids in fourth grade.

After I had finished my TKT course, ( well I was almost finishing it) I sent my resume to a college, and after some days I was having my first interview. Then, I was hired!

Oh my God! I remember the first lesson plan that I had to do during my TKT course, it cost me a leg and an arm! I will never forget it, it was so difficult and I spent hours investigating handouts and extra material which I could use with the appropriate topic for each day, I thought I would have to do the same during my job as a Teacher.

However, once I got it I started to feel kind of disappointed. I noticed that sometimes, even though you have the desire to teach your kids as better as possible , the time to cover your curriculum will not be enough!

Besides all the stuff teachers have to cover in a few months.

On the other hand, I had to face a lot of different situations, which most of them were discussed during my TKT course such as working and trying to get along well with your coworkers or trying to make students to show respect and to follow rules in a classroom. How easy was to talk about it, but how hard was to face all of that in a real situation and to deal with it everyday!

fighting

You really need to love your job and get a sack full (not of money) but also of patience.Most of my students were Kinesthetic kids, so I had to start taking vitamins because at 10 am they had already wore me out!  Can you image how I felt?

Most of them were not interested in the English class at the beginning of the course, they were running in the classroom, talking to each other without paying attention to the teacher (who was me), bouncing the soccer ball from one corner of the classroom to the other one,they were writing words or drawing faces on their hands and stomaches with markers, it was a mess! All of that happened during the first classes.

Why students were not interested in their classes? The reason, they were demotivated. Besides, the differenciation that was in my two groups. For that reason, I had to change a lot of times some of my personal aims and lesson plans.

After a period of time I accomplished my goal. I had to push my students to understand me talking during the entire class in English, there was no other way. Furthermore, I had to learn to play and have fun with them, so the warm ups that I used to play with my kids were not just for them, but also for me! It really helped me to get along better with the entire group and to have a special relation with all of them.

 

Even though I had to make a great effort day by day, and keep up with my kids’ energy, I’m really glad of this amazing job. Which are now the results? Do the kids now like the English class? Yes of course. However, my great problem of each day was trying to find a new warm up because they really loved their class for that special moment, each morning they were asking me about the warm up or the content of the day. In addition, they now use much better their English and are able to read and understand much more than at the beginning.

Therefore, the thing that helped me so much to work better with my kids was the LEARNER-CENTRED, this really helped me to make my students to work without the teacher’s attention and pressure. They learned to be more responsible and to get more confidence.

Teachers, please don’t forget to make something fun of your class instead of just boring dictations and teacher-centred!!!! You can really learn a lot of things from your kids.

 
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Posted by on 05/07/2013 in PERSONAL SUBJECTS

 

Walking along a teaching path….

OMG! After had finished my TKT course I decided to sign up in a new school which is going to help to become a better teacher or at least to learn something else to improve my teaching career…something like that!

Along these last days I have been attending a course before classes start. During it I have seen that teaching is not as easy as I thought, it needs a lot of preparation along the way, teaching needs to be improved day-to-day.

Moreover, become a teacher requires to be an open-minded. During a discussion that I had one of these past days at school, I told my teacher and classmates that as teachers we need to share our information (something that I really appreciate from my teacher Ellen, who taught me that and who practiced it during my TKT course, she really set the example) not just with our students but also with our co-workers. However the teacher’s opinion was another, why? Because he has been living reality, and unfortunately he told me that it is hard to practice it in the teachers’ world.

For example, if you as a teacher improve as much as you can and you become the best teacher in the school, for that reason you will get a better payment and earn much money than your co-workers…

Consequently they will desire to get your place, so they will do whatever they need in order to get yours! Amazing, eh!

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q=tbn:ANd9GcQ-4EbhvqGiXTUFEBquuqb
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That’s why sharing knowledge, techniques, resources is not the most common thing in the teaching path.Planning, writing and talking about it is easy, however practicing it in real life it’s hard!

In my opinion, if you as a teacher don’t want to share your knowledge with your co-workers, at least share it with your students, they will appreciate it along their lives! It’s the best part of working as a teacher…that you will have a chance to change your students’ lives in some way…

That happened to me this last course, and believe me it was the best experience I have ever had in my life!

 
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Posted by on 27/07/2012 in PERSONAL SUBJECTS

 

My next teaching goals…

The first time I entered the Ellen’s class, well the time when we were tested for the TKT course, I didn’t have any idea about what teaching would involve. I remember that I wanted to know what a teacher does and how the teacher teaches. Through the course I noticed so many things; most of them were so amazing, I never thought that a simple class could involve a lot of things! I learned that teachers have a lot of teaching approaches which can help them to improve their classes. But the most interesting about the course is that I learned that a teacher´s job is not just teach, it is beyond than that: teachers can change students’ life!

Now, the most important (besides the strategies that I acquired during this course) it’s try to find out my goals, how I would achieve them, and how these are going to help me along my teaching life, some of my goals are the next ones:

(Obviously, once I had achieved the first goal of my life: get a job as an English teacher! Oh!)

  • To develop my teaching style using TBL more than the PPP approach.
  • While planning my lesson plans, focus on the learner-centre learning.
  • Teaching using variety of materials in order to develop my students’ learning styles.
  • Build rapport since the beginning of the term.
  • Be conscious that if my teaching style is not working well, change it or if the problem is with the lesson plan, be able to change some stages.
  • Show humility if I need help from other teachers.
  • Keep up-to-date with english language (e.g.idioms, vocabulary,etc)
  • Incorporate technology in classes or in homework (e.g.quizes, questionnaires, games, etc).
  • Create a comfortable class environment for my students.
  • Using as many as possible interesting aids to work on classes, e.g. realia, computers, stick wall, posters, pictures, games, etc.

My main goal is to make a change in teaching, I’m willing to learn new things from my students and at the same time I want to learn with them.  Even that we can find a huge amount of aids, methods, and information to teach, it’s amazing that there are still selfish teachers (those teachers who love to be the teacher-centre of the class, those who are not able to change their techniques and those who don’t want to share their knowledge).However excellent teachers are emerging from the beautiful teaching world, changing the same boring teaching style that has been existed since many decades ago! And they are excited to make a change in students’ life and to share their knowledge not only with students but also with new teacher generations. Be part of it!

 
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Posted by on 26/06/2012 in TKT HOMEWORK

 

Backtalk…what should a teacher do?

As a student I had seen a lot of back talks along the way. Nevertheless, I hadn’t seen one as awful as some of TKT classmates. By the way, one of the last ones that I remember I have seen was when I was in secondary school (long time ago….) with a teacher’s math. Once the teacher entered the classroom, class was out of control. There was one of my classmates who used to bother the teacher during the entire class and he never told him anything! It made me to feel frustrated, exasperated and discourage. I remember that I used to admire my teacher because I thought that he knew a lot of the subject, however each time that I saw that he couldn’t manage the situation I felt desperate.

Most of the times my troublemaker classmate was whispering during class, throwing things to the teacher’s desk, it was so discouraged. What did my teacher do after or during the class? Nothing! He didn’t even spoke with the boy after the class, he didn’t even do anything during the next times…anything! The classes were out of the control each time my classmate wanted. Dreadful! Surprisingly, one day my troublemaker classmate told my teacher that his classes were awful, that he didn’t like him (at this moment I thought that my teacher would take my classmate to the principal’s office, finally!) but the only words that came out of my teacher’s mouth were:

“Go on, if you don’t like my classes you can leave the classroom! But let us to study here…”

That was it! After that my classmate didn’t say anything, he was as everybody, in shock, because it was the first time that my teacher told him something, what happened next? He didn’t leave the class; it was the first time we could pay attention to the rest of the class!

What do I think the teacher should do since the beginning that he noticed this problem?

I think he should have spoken with the student privately, asked him if he notice how important could be for his classmates the class or to be prepared for the exams, asked him if he realized that school was important or at least asked him if he knew that he could be in trouble if his parents knew that he was misbehaving in classes…at least something like these! My teacher shouldn’t have waited so much to tell him something or to talk with the student. What could have happened if the teacher shouldn’t have told the troublemaker student anything? I think most of my classmates would have followed the leader, who? My troublemaker classmate, they could have seen the chance to do whatever they wanted because it didn’t matter, the teacher would never told them anything, fortunately it didn’t happened!

I can understand that a backtalk is when there is a student’s dialogue and a teacher´s dialogue, and as I told you at the beginning of this article, I have never witnessed one backtalk as terrible as other classmates, however I think the most correct thing to do when you live something like this, is trying to calm yourself (of course, as a teacher), breath, relax and continue with the class for a few minutes then tell the student that you want to talk with him privately, take him out of the classroom,  don’t expose him in front of the entire class, because he can feel eager to yell at you, once you’re in private ask him why he acts in that way, if he needs something in order to feel better at class, what can you do in order to help him…questions like these could show you his needs. Sometimes, students acts in this way because they don’t have as much attention as they would like, they don’t want to bother the teacher because they hate the teacher, it could be because they have problems at home!

One way to vent your anger, as a student( because your parents are not at home with you, because they are always working, because you feel alone, because you want love and patience,because you have needs,etc) is yelling at someone! some students are lack of attention, they only have their teachers to talk with or the majority of the time they spend their live at school,so they don’t know how to communicate, how to deal with their problems, how to show their needs, misbehaving is the way how they do things,then they get wat they want: attention! As teachers we should be careful and take care of our children/students if possible, as teachers we can help them in a huge manner!

 
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Posted by on 20/06/2012 in TKT HOMEWORK

 

The Bloom’s Taxonomy!!!

In order to help students to understand in a widely way the items to be taught as teachers we can use the Bloom’s Taxonomy.

But, what is the Bloom’s Taxonomy?

This “taxonomy” or “classification” provides a useful structure of categorized test questions, these are organized in levels but at the same time they are organized from the hots to the lots (HOTS is an abbreviation for Higher Order Thinking Skills and LOTS for Lower Order Thinking Skills). L2 learners need to be asked questions with all of these levels, these are going to help them to improve their cognitive skills. This Taxonomy has been revised and it has changed in some aspects but with huge differences, here there is the old version and the new one:

As you can see, it has their own steps in order to help students to understand the taught material.Furthermore, each step has its own questions, in order to help us as teachers to asked students about any topic.

QUESTIONS FOR THE REVISED BLOOM‘S TAXONOMY.

I’ve been reading that some teachers forget to use  this excellent tool in teaching because they used to apply the rubrics or just they allow to be guided by the book’s instructions. However, using this fantastic approach we can extend not only our knowledge but also our student’s knowledge. In my case, I would have liked to be taught in this way because I could have learned better. But, for now it’s my turn to learn it and then practicing it with my future students.

On the link that Ellen gave us, there was an excellent example of how we can use the Bloom’s Taxonomy with everything. It is not a complex thing, you can use a simple Pen and that’s it, you will have a huge resource to make your students speak and analyze! Amazing!

At the beginning I didn’t have an idea about how I could use it, but once your planning your lesson you will have an excellent idea for it!

I haven’t planned any lesson yet, but I hope to follow my own steps once I’ll do it.

Now, let me show you a sample of how I could apply this Bloom’s Taxonomy on my own way, I took an example from a course book that Ellen provided us.

“WHAT IS THE STREET ART?”

Street art is art on the streets. It has lots of different forms: graffiti tags (the artist’s name), spray-paint pictures, stencils, and sticker art. Sometimes street art has words. Sometimes it only has pictures. Often street art has a political message and bright colors.

A street art usually only works in one area, but some put the same tag, stencil or sticker in lots of different cities around the world.

Street art is usually against the law. Artists use buildings, walls or trains-and these usually belong to other people. People often think graffiti is ugly and messy. They don’t think is art.

Sometimes there are special classes for young street artists, like the Youth Together project in Oakland, California. Students learn to create their own style. They tell stories and write messages on walls in the city. They communicate through their art.

This reading belongs to:
(Brookement English Language teaching, Unit 3D, pag28.)
www.brookement-elt.co.uk

After reading the article:

1.Remembering:

  • -Can you recall the different kinds of forms that graffiti has?
  • -Where you can find Street Art?
  • -What is the meaning of some Street Arts?

2.Understanding:

  • -What is the difference between stencils and sticker art?
  • -Explain: why do people think that Street Art is ugly?
  • -Is it valid to use people’s belongings as a place for the Street Art?

3.Applying:

  • -Tell what would happen if Street Artists were given a place to draw?
  • -Identify the differences between the Street Art on a special place and on the streets.
  • -Which factors would you change if you were a Street Artist?

4.Analyzing:

  • -Why do you think Street Art is against the politics?
  • -Why do you think Street Artist communicate through this way?
  • -Is there something that justify the Street Artists’ actions?
  • – What are some of the problems of the Street Art?

5.Evaluating:

  • -Judge the value of the Street Art; do you think it is good or bad thing?
  • -Is there any consequence about providing classes for the Street Artists?
  • -Along the time, who do you think that will gain, the Street Artists who are against the Law or the Law?

6.Creating:

  • -What changes would you make to solve the Street Art on your country or local area?
  • -If you were given an Art class for Street Artists, would you give them some advice?
  • -Would you contribute to change something in the Art Street? How?

I’m in love with the Bloom’s Taxonomy because it helps me to develop the material one-by one. I would like to keep up with this approach while teaching; I hope not to fall in the same way as other teachers. I know, it could be difficult but each time you would have the chance to help your students think more and practice as much as they can, you would never feel disappointed about your hard work with them, because at the end they would not only pass an exam but also they would remember the most things that their teacher taught them through the term! It is encouraging when you help students and they never forget that you were one of those teachers who made their best teaching them!

 
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Posted by on 22/05/2012 in TKT HOMEWORK

 

Unit 18: How you were tested while you were learning?


This part of our learning process has been one of the most difficult for me!

During my entire life I have been tested in some few ways, some of them were with these kind of tests:

  • an achievement tests: is used to see how ell learners have learned the language and skills taught in class, are often at the end of the term or year and test the main points.
  • an objective test : is marked without using the examiner’s opinion, e.g. tru/false questions, multiple-choice questions. There is a clear answer.
  • a summative test: are designed in such a way that the questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent and are administered and scored in a predetermined, standard manner.
Even though there are more than these tests, I just had the chance to practice these ones, let me show you some pictures about these different kinds of tests:
  • PROFICIENCY TEST: is used to see how good learners are at using the target language.
  • PROGRESS TEST: is use during a course in order to assess the learning up to a particular point in the course.

  • STANDARIZED TEST:are designed in such a way that the questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent and are administered and scored in a predetermined, standard manner.
  •  PLACEMENT TEST: is often used at the beginning of a course in a language school in order to identify a learner’s level of language and find the best class for them.
  •  SUBJECTIVE TEST: is marked using the examiner’s opinion about the quality of the answer. The answer is not simply right or wrong, e.g. marking written stories, compositions, conversation, story-telling. 
*Some of the pictures are illegibly, so click on the image and you will see it in a full size,moreover I’m so sorry because I couldn’t paste the URL below some images .

During this period of time I used to get a lot of stress because most of these test are graded, so I wanted to pass not to fail. There are some disadvantages about these kind of test:

  • in order to get a great grade, students can feel forced to cheat
  • some students can just memorize what they were taught during that time
  • students are graded only on superficial knowledge
  • teachers can’t notice their students’ needs

So, instead to feel excited about being tested most of the students feel exasperated because of it and the fear to fail the exam.

But, the main question, why most of our teachers test students through this way? Probably because in this way they have some advantages besides they have a period of time to grade more than forty students in only a few months, that’s why our teachers could be in a rush while testing students. Let’s see some opinions about why teachers use these methods of graded test:

  • Convenient
  • Can be adopted and implemented quickly
  • Are scored objectively
  • Can test large numbers of students
  • Curriculum needs to be fulfilled
  • Most of the teachers test in the same way

Even though there are plenty of these opinions, students got bored with the same test’s way. On the other hand, I learned that there are some other ways to assess students during their learning, let me show you some of them:

  • Continuous assessment
  • Diagnostic assessment
  • Formal assessment
  • Formative assessment
  • Informal assessment
  • Peer assessment
  • Performance assessment
  • Portfolio assessment
  • Self-assessment
  • Summative assessment

The ones that are highlighted are the most I would have liked to be tested. These are aimed to grade students through a course, involves feedback and peer feedback, moreover these ways to assess students let the teachers to notice their learners’ needs and if they are progressing well or not. Nevertheless, some of these assessments have disadvantages that could be like the next ones:

  • Time consuming and challenging to evaluate
  • Space and ownership challenges make evaluation difficult
  • Content may vary widely among students
  • Costly in terms of evaluator time and effort

While learning about these assessments I understood why it’s very difficult for some teachers try to achieve their goals while teaching. I understood why most of the teachers use the same techniques while grade.  It’s difficult when teachers have to follow a curriculum and time it is not enough to teach. However, I have had great teachers, even though time’s up, they got a new idea to leave an interesting way to do homework, to practice at home, and to review items on school. Our work as teachers depends on what and how much we what our learners keep on mind instead of learning items by heart before the tests. Unfortunately, some teachers forget to feedback learners through their course or once they have been graded, and this is so important for students that it could change the way they expect their tests.

If I were a teacher I would like to test students along the way, while using different kinds of exercises or activities, practicing by a speaking activity or writing an essay, using rubrics or test them the Informal assessment. Well, it’s the way I would like to test students instead of pressure them to get a good grade because if they not they would fail the course. I really know how much uncomfortable or worried students could feel before the exams and after them, until they receive their grades.

In my opinion, if it’s necessary to apply an exam or a grade in a Summative assessment, because of the curriculum, so go on, but don’t forget the progress during the course that your students have been doing, well or not, you have been part of it!

Now, let’s practice about these assessments’ definitions, click on the next icons!

YOU WILL FIND THE NEXT VOCABULARY ON THE FOLLOW EXERCISE:

Assesmentes tasks: Subjective Assesmentes tasks: Objective Self-assessment Summative assessment
Performance assessment Diagnostic assessment Assessment criteria Peer assessment
Portfolio assessment Continuous assessment Formative assessment Formal assessment
Informal assessment Assessments Subjective test Placement test
Objective test Diagnostic test Progress test Proficiency test
Summative test Achievement test

ASSESSMENTS DEFINITIONS

TESTS DEFINITIONS

 
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Posted by on 17/05/2012 in TKT HOMEWORK, UNIT 18