Authentic Material – Big deal for teachers and learners.

 

keep-it-real

Hello There,

I would like to share with you some great lessons that it was a huge success in two groups of students during this month. Actually, I’m always on facebook or twitter looking for activities that could engage my small group of students.  This time I was searching for something different from their coursebooks. Needless to say, I have to follow the school curriculum but this semester, we are allowed to engage our teenagers with different kind of materials, I mean authentic ones.

The first time, I worked with these kind of materials, it was with my adult class in 2010, specially conversation class (A2-B2). That time, I usually started with something that they had already learned in their coursebook, and then I used to engage them in  warm-up or review activities.  There were articles, videos, ad from American and British tvs, some podcasts and so on.  Some of my students were really afraid of trying this new things. They couldn’t realize that things like ‘Friends’ , it was  a real moment of learning. Because there  are some myths towards Brazilian learners that ‘if you don’t learn from a book, you didn’t learn at all’. It took some patience and time to reconstruct this point of view, but finally, after some lessons they got the idea and, it worked pretty well.

Then, I decided to work with my very young learners projects using this book  ‘Pete, The Cat’ , it was a huge success. The kids simply adored him (Pete) and we had a lot of fun. It was the moment that, I brought the concept of adapting materials for students with special needs to my institution. Besides, adapting the material was a perfect moment to work with an inclusive curriculum and environment, my students were able to interact with all during the school time and why not saying outside as well.

Thus, most of these materials were there, ready to be use and it was not difficult to find them. Today we have many sources and platforms that are available to help us in our classes. Actually, all those materials I have been using with in my classes are on twitter and facebook too. Just a big deal!

Once I caught myself wondering, how my teachers used to prepare their lessons? Teaching english as a second language nowadays in Brazil is not the same way that I learned 30 years ago. Back in the 80’s , I used to have penpal friends from England and USA, it was suggested by one of my favorite teachers that time. It was amazing the feeling of those letters arriving in my home.  They used to describe their lifestyles and so did I – it was a kind of authentic material that time. There were no internet, just the traditional post office! And surprise (I still have two postcards from them). To tell the truth, both experiences had helped me a lot to understand about culture, language and friendship.

Today, when I am in class, I can relate some situation within my students. The use of technology has helped us a lot to use what is surround us – The more we use our reality, the more we create opportunity to learn. That is why authentic material are made for. Thus, I would like to suggest you two great people who create amazing things to improve and motivate our students.

#1 – Phil Wade creation :

Since He has started to share his #minilessons, I have been using quite a lot. His materials 14199367_323865964625586_8782023895156632105_nare really great to lead a good conversation class (from music to divergent topic as refugees). Instead of using games all the time, I decided to work with his minilessons because of the skills (speaking and writing) presented there and of course my students’ needs. Our free lessons happens once in a month, so I was supossed to bring some fun to them, using things about the target language. That was the moment that I saw his post on facebook and voilà. It has been my #1 sources this semester.

#2 – Natural English :

I was tweeting some ideas and activities, when I came across this won14455827_10202355767332174_1395091194_oderful material and I got really impressed with its lesson. First of all, we had worked with the target language presented previously on the lesson and the title  caught my attention ‘Sometimes Bad Things happen to good Robots’  (it is a full sample). In fact, I couldn’t use the whole lesson, but I worked with the video and also the text. During the class we saw the video in pairs, my students discussed about the video and then in a different peer group, they read the text. We did the exercise 4 about vocabulary. However, I didn’t use all the lesson, I didn’t have enough time for it. So, I selected to work with them just some parts, otherwise we couldn’t have time to explore some words in the vocabulary part that it was new for them. Besides,  exercise 6 – as suggested by Natural English it was not appropriate to my group (13-14 years old). This lesson worked during 1:15min. I assigned them the homework part to hand me back in a week. They described some things that happened with their family members and friends. I decided not publish here on the blog their composition, because it was too personal. Anyway, It was a wonderful lesson that raised some very important issues that many people have faced in life, unfortunately.

I would like to thank Phil Wade and Natural English for taking the time to prepare such great lessons. I  hope this post can help other teachers to understand and how authentic materials can improve their way of teaching . A hint for newbie teachers – try to introduce little by little in your classes, starts as a warm up then you will be giving an entire lesson.

sources:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/philwadecreations/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TEFLLessons

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Pete-Cat-Love-White-Shoes/dp/0061906220

 

 

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Indiscipline – Hey Teacher, come on…

 

“Creativity dies in an indisciplined environment.”  Jim Collins

 

Hello there,

I have been working hard on my research for my MA project, during these 3 months I could observe that many teachers are facing difficult time with indiscipline during their classes. It might sound strange for some people in other countries. However, tumblr_nauopi7nyr1ro49vxo1_250there are many studies and surveys in this area going on in Brazil. Actually, They have shown that teachers have spent more than 20 minutes to calm down their students to start their classes. So, it is not an easy task and, imagine how frustrating it can be.

It is not a lack of classroom management. Most of the time, it’s something that go beyond us. There are situations of chaos, and some teachers simply do not know how to deal with.

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine on facebook posted pictures of happy classes – the students were such as Michelangelo angels; the teacher – a beautiful blonde young lady in her 30 with a stunning smiles… Anyway, I am not saying that, those pictures are unreal, but it was so far from our reality. Of course, teachers including myself go to school happy, excited to teach lesson plans in which usually take hours to be prepared. And when we go to school, we can not teach because of bad behavior, so ‘ who is to blame? 

I love searching words on dictionary. According to oxford american dictionary the word discipline is a way of training your mind and body so that you control your actions and obey the rules. However, what caught my attention was the example “a good teacher must be able to maintain discipline in the classroom” – wow! It is really annoying, isn’t it?

I have been observing many teachers and, I can assure you that they were doing very well their job. In fact, the problem was not only the students, but some aspects that the school could have helped those teachers (unfortunately it didn’t). Therefore, there are some reasons why teachers are giving up on teaching or having burn-outs during the semester.

Many of these issues are bullying, peer pressure, physical violence and in some schools where we have special needs students – Meltdown (in case of autism) and so on.

When some teachers do not have any support from their school and decide to ignore an indisciplined student does not take away the problem; it worsens the situation. In fact bad behavior will encourage other students do the same.  There are some ideas in this post by changing minds might help us to respond some bad behaviors in our classes.misbehavior

On the other hands when teachers have dialogue between school and parents, the problem with the misbehaving child will lead both side to another level of partnership and collaboration.

 It is not a piece of cake to handle indiscipline in our classroom. Even though, we have been prepared for classroom managment, including trainings, workshops – this will happen to us once! This is a kind of situation that it will be out of control, and we will ask this question forever ‘what was wrong with that class?’ so, I suggest you do not take misbehavior personally. Indiscipline is not the teacher’s problem, it is everybody’s problem.

Do not be afraid of reporting this issue to your school. Apparently,  this kind of behavior happens out of school and some parents avoid telling the truth to the teachers during parents meeting.

Sharing what is going on in your classroom with your colleagues, mentors and friends, it might be helpful for you. Because some of them have faced the same problem at once and, they might help you – giving ideas, advice and suggestions how to work and engage your students in some properly activities.

Since I have been teaching english in some schools and institutions in Brazil. I have shared some difficulties and challenges with some friends every so often. Their experiences have helped me a lot when it comes to dealing with different kind of behaviors and moods. I had almost forgotten another good hint – Do not isolate yourself, all of us have walked through the fire (I mean the classroom).

To sum up, I would like to share with you this article from CNN ‘What teachers really want to tell parents’  I read it a couple of years ago, but it is still updated. I hope you like my reflection about indicipline and misbehaviour. Thanks for dropping by.

Sources:

The Malta Independent – http://www.independent.com.mt/

Autism Speaks – https://www.autismspeaks.org

Changing Minds – http://changingminds.org/

CNN.com – http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/06/living/teachers-want-to-tell-parents/

Photos credit

1- http://everythinghardcoremusic.tumblr.com/

2 – http://scils-synergetic.pbworks.com/w/page/11077238/Misbehavior