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Category Archives: TKT HOMEWORK

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

 

Each student with each learning style! Does it matters teachers?

Sometimes we’ve experienced that there are some teachers who used to focus only in one specific language area, e.g. some just focus on reading, others on writing, a few others on grammar, or on listening. Have you ever noticed that on your teachers?

Sometimes it’s kind of complicated find teachers who work in more than one technique or apply their work in more than one learning style, however there are a few of them still. Besides, some of them have been doing their best, in most cases when schools have great teachers they cannot do as much as they would like because of their limit of time which doesn’t allow them to extent the learning areas.

Nevertheless, there are teachers who time is never limited! Are you teaching right now? Or Would you ever teach? How would you like to be remembered as a teacher? As a good one or as a boring one? Are you a teacher who used to speak during the entire class without any students’ participation? I’ve experienced most of these cases and I assured you that you have too. Well, as a teacher, have you already understand that each student has his/her own way to learn?

As teachers we should know how to lead students in their correct learning style. You could argue that time and tools are not enough to teach each student in a different learning style! There’s no enough time for each one! However, how could we achieve one goal like this?

In agreement we can say that there are a lot of activities to do as group or sometimes there is a “no homework time”, this moments are excellent to be approach. For example, if we’re having trouble with some students who have not caught up the grammar, vocabulary or staff like that, so it’s time to let them some extra activities to do at home or to let it to them in an activity at school. Be careful, as teachers we can notice the needs of our students, and most of us have access to any kind of interesting tools for them. If we really want to help them in their learning we’re going to provide them the correct material to study or to work. It wouldn’t be fair for those students who don’t like to work in teamworks, who hate to read, or who prefer to write inside of speak, or for those who prefer to give an explanation, try to crush them only in one boring activity!

So, if you have already lived and experienced these kinds of boring learning techniques you can obviously modified them and try to change them into interesting and helpful tools to let them to your students. Moreover, why not try to role as much techniques on learning styles as possible at class? As a teacher you will have fun and you would never get bored with the same path of working moreover your students will benefit of it!

 
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Posted by on 26/04/2012 in TKT HOMEWORK

 

Discovering your personal learning philosophy!

Hi learners!

During our lives we’ve experienced learning and learning styles too. I’m surprised because I didn’t know that each student develops a new style to learn. However there are a lot of comments about learning styles.

The most interesting for me is that students learn in an own way, it doesn’t matter how many kinds of learning styles are, because each learner can use more than one to learn. For example in my case I test myself (on the next link: http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html here you can find out what kind of learning style you have. This link was taken from the TKT book). And I found out that I’m a visual learner, something like that because I’ve already read about these styles and I notice that I used to pick up some other techniques while learning!

There are nine learning styles in the TKT Book registered; however the most common could be the Visual, the Auditory, and the Kinaesthetic. Well, I found out more videos about those ones that the other ones that are registered on the book.

Now, it’s your turn, try to find out what learner style you are!

In the next Prezi there is a video about these learning styles. I laughed a lot while watching it, I hope you will too. Have fun and enjoy it!

As I told you before, I prefer to learn with tangible things, silent time to think, e.g. after learning new vocabulary, moreover I love to do flash cards, maps, figures that can help me to remember things, games which help me to memorize, and I used to practice as much as possible .  Moreover, sometimes I like to practice English on speaking activities, e.g. group discussions. I think I’ve been using more than just one learning style!

How could it affect your teaching? Will it affect to learners? Yes, of course! It is said that most of the teachers used to teach in the same way that they learned.  Furthermore, let’s consider the Past language learning experience. For example, somebody could learn by practicing writing but if someday he/she joins to another class he/she might have problems if there the teacher doesn’t care about writing and inside of that the teacher prefers to practice by speaking. It will happen in the same path with more than one learner, it is because of the learning experienced they have had.

So, these kind of things will affect each learner and its learning style too!

 
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Posted by on 24/04/2012 in TKT HOMEWORK

 

WORKING IN A TEAMWORK?

WORKING IN A TEAMWORK!

Hmm! I have heard that word since I was a kid (many years ago…)! And being sincere I had never liked this kind of learning technique. In my last TKT class, which was the last March 31, Saturday, Ellen let us to organize in teamworks and she asked each group to work in a specific topic, my team’s topic  was “The Krashen’s Theory of Second Language Acquisition”. What was it? Now I was dealing with a new topic which I had no idea what it was for and as a group we had to divide the information, organize what each of us would search for, when we would add the information without any contact during holydays, organize the introduction and conclusion plus the bibliography among the three of us …Oh! It was horrible!

Moreover, sometimes teamwork doesn’t result as most of us hope! For example, some classmates used to spend less than five minutes searching for the information just cutting and pasting it without reading it, or worst there is always someone who doesn’t care about the work and prefer to pass with a great grade without collaborating! Unbelievable!

Cooperation and Teamwork in Hong Kong, Photo: Philip McMaster_0294

Cooperation and Teamwork in Hong Kong, Photo: Philip McMaster_0294

I have to admit it, it was frustrating it! But finally, after “five hours” (it was just like thirty minutes) of complete pressure Ellen told us that the teamwork wasn’t real! So, we wouldn’t have to search anything in group, or at least work like that. Awesome! I was so relieved! Oh, I almost forget what I’m telling you that I was so happy, plus the frustration of working in teams we had to work with the Google Docs, something that was horrible for me. Some weeks before Ellen provided us a new way to practice the IPA, which would have to be practiced with Google docs, but I had a problem with my computer or with the program (I don’t know) and I could never open it! I felt so frustrated and disappointed because I couldn’t work with it, the worst for me was that I spent more than three days trying to open it, wouldn’t it make you feel exasperated? So, there was again the way to practice and do homework using it.

Nevertheless, Ellen just wanted us to feel the same pressure that students feel when they have to work in this way without any teacher’s instructions or teacher’s help to develop the developing of the work!

She loves to pressure us! Ha!

That was so horrible but understandable!

 
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Posted by on 17/04/2012 in TKT HOMEWORK