Monday, 25 June 2012

yteach. A page to order your lessons

I have been  testing this page Yteach the last days. Actually, I have been testing the spanish version of this page. And although, I haven't been able to check every one of its tools, it seems to be a good resource for teachers.
Let me tell you what I have learnt from it.
Yteach is a page designed for teachers. Imagine that you can upload your own activities or if you want, you can have access to plenty of other materials shared by other people. In addition, you can create your own material and share it too.
With yteach, you can find the material you need for your classes, but at the same time, you can choose material from other sources like youtube, or other pages.
Your students can practice at home with activities and tests that you give for them in this page too.
I think, it has a great potential. But until now, I have found some problems with this page.
I haven't found all the information and content I needed. Most of them seems to be as a demo version, probably, because my account doesn't allow me to have the full content.
It is not a hard page to work with, but I feel it could be easier than it is now.

Now it is your turn to check this page and share your opinion.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Contradictions when evaluating

The problem is simple. Children are taught in the schools in order to know how to communicate in English. For that, most of the material are prepared to improve the reading and listening comprehension and written expression. Few is done for the oral expression.
The curriculum wants to improve these abilities. But we are said that we must put special attention to speaking and listening English. But the students are evaluated in reading and writing.
Another problem is that we end up teaching one thing, but the test used to evaluate the students is using a different way to evaluate.
In order words, an international test is designed to measure how much students can do withe their level of English. But the way they learn is different from school to school, and in addition, most of them don't even know how it is the test.
Unfortunatly, at the end, we teach English to have a good result in that test, but not to really use English as a tool.
Vices of the system.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

what do you really need to learn from English?

Imagine that you feel hungry, and you are in a buffet. What will you choose for eating? Hard decision, right? But I know what you will choose.
The answer is really easy, you will choose something that you like, and you like it because you have tried that before. You won't try something new, because you have the idea that it is not good, and you will lose your money buying something that you won't eat. But you will try something new, just if someone recommends it for you.
Now, try to think about this example but in the school.
Students won't learn something new, because they don't feel attracted by the new knowledge. And because they feel it won't help them at all. And in addition, they don't see the point in studying something that they don't understand. There are more important things to be learnt than a rule of grammar, or the pronunciation of a new word.

If the food looks great, you will try it, but if it looks ugly, then you will need someone to tell you that it is good for your health. And maybe, in that moment you will think in eating a new dish.

Our role as teachers is helping the students to discover the properties and the advantages of learning new topics. But there is another relevant point to keep in mind. Not every dish is suitable for every student. So as teachers, we must discover which is the real reason by which our students would learn a new language.
To do so, try to talk with them more often. Share with them, not just inside the class, but also in break times, deliver polls, don't leave them alone, be with them as much as you can. Of course you must give their own space.
But the only way to know what they really like and want is by sharing more time with them. Once you have learnt what they want, then you can know which is the best way to show them why they have learnt new things.

Friday, 1 June 2012

I love studying, Why you don't??

I have many doubts about this topic. Because when I think about studying or learning something new, even though I know it will take time and effort, I feel it is interesting. But for some reasons, students don't see the beauty of learning new things. Probably the way they learn is boring and unattractive. For sure. But sometimes I feel that even the least effort is annoying, even  if we know that it is something good for us.
Is it a matter related with the culture? Because as far as we know, in asian countries, and in some european countries, education is not a problem. They could be studying many hours or few hours, but always knowing that is something they have to do it, as part of life.
What I mean to say is, why in some cultures, education, or studying is a symbol of prestige or importance, but in some other countries, education is not appreciated.
It is sad to see that some students don't value their own education, and some of them just give up and quit. Why is like that? why do they lose motivation to continue studying?

I don't want to give real reasons, because I really don't understand, but I feel that there are some reasons that we can't avoid.
I feel that the image they have about schools is the worst. Where the respect is almost zero, and where they don't feel they are appreciated by the way they are, and for that reason there is discrimination, racism, bullying and many other vices we still have in our cultures.
I feel that the role of the family is getting lost. It is easy to see who is the boss in the house, and unfortunately, it is not the father or the mother. The control and motivation for studying is lost.
I feel that schools lack of enough tools to attract the interest of the students. They don't feel schools as a home. Everywhere else is better.
I feel that idleness is stuck in the minds of the young people. Of course not all of them, but the majority of them don't feel working or doing a task for the mere pleasure of doing it.

Something is not right, and the solution is out there. If you have an idea of how to motivate students, and make them love learning and studying, leave a comment, I will appreciate your opinion.
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