Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Making the most of a Christmas story - an idea for YL

I was honoured to be invited by OUP again to do a workshop on teaching YL at the Christmas conference. As I promised to many participants and people from my PLN, in this post I'd like to share the materials of this workshop with the hope that you'll be able to use/adapt them for your own groups too.

In this workshop I decided to use something that would be of immediate value, something that teachers can take away and use next day with their classes, as well as something that gives them an adaptable framework to exploit stories in the classroom.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Assessment that has worked in my teaching

The question of assessment has been raised in many educational forums and platforms, webinars recently, basically my PLN, so I thought I would share my ideas on assessment with you as well.

Assessment
to me is useful if it is part of the learning process, but from a completely different perspective from how it is regarded at the moment in general.
I think assessment is useful if it raises sts' awareness of what they know and what they need to improve on. After sts identify their OWN areas (not the ones I tell them), I guide them towards resources they can use to find their answers from.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Analysing video of teaching Very Young Learners

I have found this video example of a lesson teaching Very Young Learners French. John Bach, from Canada uploaded it on Vimeo for teacher training purposes, but later it was deleted and re-edited a bit by www.learner.org

To help us understand the French lesson, for those of us who are not that good at French, the lesson is also subtitled in English.

I would like to use this video now, as part of the Very Young Learners Course starting today.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Seven Ways of Looking at Grammar

This talk gives teachers a great opportunity to think about how we, EFL teachers, really teach grammar.

Is our view of grammar the one that students can really internalise and apply?
What do students really need to know about grammar in order to communicate?
These were just a couple of questions that occured to me as I started to watch.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Isaac Asimov on education

Here's another interesting interview with Isaac Asimov recorded in 1988! Well-worth watching and thinking about whether much of it has become reality or not after 22 years.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Our children transforming education in action

Last weekend I witnessed a wonderful process that I thought would be interesting to share with you for a lot of reasons. As I pointed out in previous posts there is a lot to learn from our kids. We, teachers have got so blinded in our old education system that it's hard for us to see and accept that there are things the we should be doing differently. We have done it the same way for decades. So why on earth would I want to change this. 'We survived, so our kids will too.' This is a typical quote I hear from teachers, almost day-by-day. However, I'm not goint to get into this, as this is all spelt out very clearly be Sir Ken Robinson here.
Instead, here's the lesson I saw the other day.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Changing Education Paradigms

Another thought-provoking talk by Sir Ken Robinson reanimated.

Gives us lots to think about what we could do in our schools too.

Here's a quote from it:

"We are getting our children through education by anaesthetising them. We should be doing exactly the opposite. We should be waking them up to what is inside of themselves...."

I believe we can do this. It's all up to us.

But I'll let you watch first. So just go on, and click here.

To see the talk in full, about 55 mins, click here. Well-worth watching. It really resonates with what the situation here is. Give it a thought.

Online felkészülés az Euro B2 Nyelvvizsgára


Kedves Tanártársaim!

Azoknak akik angol középfokú nyelvvizsgára készítik fel diákjaikat, íme egy új lehetőség, a hathetes online felkészítő tanfolyam az Euro B2 szintű nyelvvizsgára.

Az online felkészülésnek, felkészítésnek több előnye is van. Ha tanárként használjuk,
  • kitűnő alkalmat ad arra, hogy a diákjainkat a számukra 'menő' felületeken keresztül motiváljuk a tanulásra, manapság az internet használata a mindennapi életük természetes része;
  • változatossá tehetjük diákjaink számára a felkészülést az órán azzal, hogy a tankönyvi felkészítő anyagot online fejlesztő gyakorlatokkal egészítjük ki;
  • interaktív táblával könnyen használható órán, így érdekesebbé tehetjük az általában száraznak tekintett nyelvvizsgafelkészítést;

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hogyan kezdjünk el osztály-blogot írni és miért

Mivel az utóbbi időben egyre többet foglalkozom azzal, hogy miként fordíthatjuk hasznunkra a gyerekek nyelvoktatásában a technika által adott lehetőségeket, meglehetősen belemerültem és sokat tanultam. Például twitteren keresztül, ahol egy csodálatos PLN-em (Személyes tanulási közösségem) alakult ki, több online konferencián és webinar-on vettem részt - amik számomra három hónappal ezelőtt ismeretlen fogalmak voltak). Így módszertani ismereteimet legjobb tudásom szerint építem bele az olyan internetes tanulási eszközökbe, mint például a blogolás.

Persze, ez most mind szépnek és jónak tűnik, és ezrével jelennek meg írások, blog bejegyzések arról, hogy miként lehet ezeket használni, példákkal alátámasztva, de ezek nagy átlagban angol anyanyelvi diákok részére készültek, akiknek nem a nyelvtanulás a fő cél. Ezért gondoltam, hogy mint kezdő 'blogger' (úristen, már ez a szó is bekerült a szókincsembe), tovább adom eddigi tapasztalataimat, amik az angol nyelv elsajátítását célozzák meg.

A mi csoportunkban hihetetlen módon motiválta őket. Borzasztóan sajnálom, hogy nem filmeztem le őket, amint tízszer visszanézték a példát, ami szerint az ő alkotásukat leírhatják, hogy magukban többször ismételgették a saját leíró szövegeiket, mert ŐK AKARTÁK. Nekem semmi más dolgom nem volt, mint irányítani és segíteni, a kérték. Mert belső motiváció hajtotta őket. Szóval ez az élmény annyira lenyűgözött, hogy gondoltam megosztom a folyamatot, ami idevezetett. Hátha ti is kedvet kaptok az osztály-blogozásra :-)


Friday, October 8, 2010

Analysing video of teaching Very Young Learners

I have found this video example of a lesson teaching Very Young Learners French. John Bach, from Canada uploaded it on Vimeo for teacher training purposes, so THANK YOU John!

To help us understand the French lesson, for those of us who are not that good at French, the lesson is also subtitled in English.

I would like to use this video now, as part of the Very Young Learners Course starting today.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Türelem angolt terem - szülőknek és tanároknak

Bizonyára ismerős az a mondat, hogy „A gyerek egyszer tanuljon meg rendesen az anyanyelvén, majd az iskolában ráér idegen nyelvet tanulni!” Én is hasonlót mondogattam érdeklődő szülőknek: „Majd ráér.Mindez addig tartott míg az óvodás lányaim természetes kíváncsíságától hajtva, egy angolovis csoportot verbuváltam, amin keresztül a gyerekek bebizonyították mennyire érdemes az angol nyelvvel foglalkozni már óvodás korban is.
Az alábbiakban a foglalkozások alatt gyűjtött tapasztalataimat összegzem és néhány gyakran feltett szülői kérdésekre adok választ, illetve gyakorlatias útmutatót a szülők részére, akik támogatni szeretnék gyerekeiket „angoloviséletükben is.
Miért kezdje el a gyerekem az „angolozást” már óvodás korban?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Where good ideas come from

Here's a great video by Steven Johnson on where good ideas come from.

Funny and enjoyable way of making us realise what we could do instead of sitting at home alone, thinking that there's nothing we can do in this system. As a result, we just go with a flow, sinking comfortably into our secure "this is hopeless" feeling ... (I wonder where this may come from.)

Well, here's what we can do. Just watch:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Some great teaching tips

I just stumbled upon a great youtube video of Colin Granger, a teacher, teacher trainer, an ELT textbook writer and also a theatre director. He gives excellent tips on how we can make our teaching better.

He speaks about
  • how to start a lesson and what to avoid at this stage;
  • how to hold students' attention;
  • how to involve students;
  • why it's not a good idea to keep saying "That's wrong";
  • what everybody should have with them in class, the students as well as the teacher..

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sugata Mitra on Child-driven education

"A teacher who can be replaced by a machine, should be."

"If children have interest, then education happens."



What is your view on this? Let us know what YOU think :-).

Grading OR the world of possiblity

At the OUP training days as part of the Team-building sessions I described in an earlier post I told teachers about one of my passions: playing the piano. The idea to build such a task into your lessons or the whole school activity came from George Couros, from his presentation on Identity Day through Elluminate (see the upcoming free webinars here), which I also told you about earlier. So basically, at the end of my mini-presentation using some simple photos I said the following: "If I could choose my music teacher, it would be Booby McFerrin.", and I played some of his music then to the teachers, giving them youtube links they could watch to try and find out why I'd love him to teach me.

Well, now I must admit, I have found another teacher, Benjamin Zander, who I would choose, and although, I guess, I must be quite picky about such things, as music teachers :-), I believe there would be many others like him, whom I would love to learn from.

Anyway, the point I'd like to make now is very much relevant in Hungary, and it is about bringing back the grading system (1 to 5) in primary schools, and the whole attitude and trend in the education system that is built on competition, causing anxiety and stress to all kids.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Shouting well

Some of you know that this September is quite an experience for me because of great changes in the life of my daughters. Alma (6 and 1/2) just started school and Kamó (5) was left without her sister and quite a few good friends at kindergarten, where she advanced to the colour yellow. At this kindergarten, Gyöngyharmat, in Dunakeszi, they are organised in different colour groups depending on their age, to be more precise, the date of their birth. This is quite important for Kamó as she has missed the last colour she could have received in the kindergarten, red, by eight days. Can you imagine how important this is for her and for us?

Problems with English

I found Arjana on twitter and she found some hilarious youtube videos in both American and English version just for your students. In her blog post below she also added the links with worksheets for these videos for pre-int, intermediate and advanced students. Absolute MUST watch if you want to have a few good laughs.

I had a great time watching them :-)).
Thank you Arjana!

Follow Arjana on twitter on http://twitter.com/abfromz

and her fabulous blog post:

Problems with English

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ideas collected during the OUP training days - Part 1

At the end of August I was honoured to be invited to do some sessions at the annual OUP training days in Budapest. It was a phenomenal experience to be working with so many teachers, a good hundred in the three groups of the 'Pre-school/Primary' section, so intensively.

One of the sessions I did was on 'Team-building' in which I also presented five case studies for teachers to discuss what they thought the source of the problems were, and offer some practical solutions to the teacher.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution! | Video on TED.com

This is simply a MUST watch for all educators. The reason why I'm quickly putting it on now is that it echoes what teachers at the August OUP training days came up with. Actually, in one of the groups of about thirty eight teachers, if you'd been present when we were fuming about too much homework, the grading system, the focus on passing tests and 'achieving results'... long list, you would have smelt the air burning. That's how strongly these English teachers felt about it. And the process continued in the other two groups of teachers - so Sir Ken Robinson is speaking on behalf of the 100 plus teachers I worked with this week. Hurray!

For those of you who are not yet familiar with TED talks, here's a quick tip. You can choose to watch it with subtitles either in Hungarian or in English, as you wish.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Feedback on the OUP training days and conference

After three days of intensive in-service teacher training and another conference day on Word Skills organised by Oxford University Press for teachers in Hungary I was walking down the stairs with my hands full of equipment: laptop, speakers, flashcards and bags full of "trainer stuff". - Yes, I do have five hands to carry all of this :-) -
I must admit I was exhausted by that time just as anyone else, I thought, who either presented or participated in the sessions during these four intensive days.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Developing a Learning Society

I watched this wonderful and thought-provoking YouTube video a minute ago. Well, of course, I received it through Twitter, where else. So, anyway, it immediately gave me an idea of how I would use it during the induction week with my teachers and I'd like to share this with you, just as I believe in sharing, learning and shaping our teaching together with the whole school staff.

Before you go on reading, it would be great if you watched the YouTube video first and thought about how YOU could/would use it in your school at the beginning of the year.

Monday, August 2, 2010

"Teach kids first and curriculum second"


I can't agree more with George Couros! What they did at their school is amazing and inspiring. The idea that he presented at the 2010 Reform Symposium , is something that could be and should be used in any school: organising an 'Identity Day'. Listen and watch to find out how kids and teachers share their passion, something that is unique about them, something they would like to share with everyone: their school-mates, all the teachers in the school and parents. Involving parents in this process must have been rewarding as well. This is something that can be done as part of the English classes as well, not just as a school. "You can't teach a child if you don't know them", is another quote I keep highlighting myself whenever opportunity arises.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Teacher Development through Elluminate

I first found out about this learning platform from Tamás Lőrincz. He took his time to show a couple of us what it was, but I didn't quite get into it at that time because I wasn't quite sure why this would benefit me. He was also the one who introduced me to Twitter. This was about a month ago. It didn't take long for me to realise how much I could learn from tweets and Elluminate sessions. Tamás, I owe you a great BIG THANKS, as you made my professional self-development possible. I truly hope that many more teachers will be 'infected' by these learning platforms. This, I feel is very important, especially in times when teachers in Hungary get such little support to develop in their teaching career.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Teaching kids to take charge

This is how Kiran Bir Sethi teaches kids to take charge and this is what we need to do in Hungarian education as well. I'll let you watch and contemplate what it might mean to you. Try to translate it to your own teaching situation. What would it take to achieve the same feeling of 'I CAN' amongst the kids you are teaching?

I'm sure you'll be able to come up with concrete ideas of how we can make children become aware, enable them and then empower them when teaching English, or other subjects for that matter. Share your ideas with us.

Monday, July 12, 2010

My dream ...

of how we could...should teach English as a Second Language in school. This video is a great example of that. I know it needs more than just a youtube video. I'll come back to it later in a lot more detail, but it really made my day. Thank you 5th graders and teachers!

I have experienced as a child how much more successful language learning can be IF it happens through engaging and interesting ways of doing, making, discovering things for yourself. Isn't the experience itself more important for kids at this age than , say, the grammatical structures, forming correct sentences, knowing the equivalent of English words in L1. Mind you, how far is this possible without a context?

Anyway, before I go rambling on, have a nice summer, my dear reader and I promise, I'll be back.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Amit a szülőknek is tudniuk kell a nyelvtanfolyam előtt

Bizonyára ti is megtapasztaltátok, mennyire fontos, hogy a szülőket is bevonjátok az angol oktatásotok folyamatába, és ha ez megtörténik, milyen jó hatással van a gyerekek hozzáállására az idegen nyelv iránt.

Alább összegyűjtöttem egy néhány dolgot, amit érdemes a szülőkkel a tanfolyam elkezdése előtt megbeszélni, tudatosítani bennük egy olyan fórumon keresztül, ahol elkezdődhet az oktatás folyamán is olyannyira nélkülözhetetlen együttműködés.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Going online in the classroom and in my life

This is an article I wrote for the mELTing pot Extra, the IATEFL-Hungary magazine published for the IATEFL conference 2009.

It was interesting to read it again. I would probably change a few ideas here and there. I'm on twitter, Mark :-) and I'm loving it! Not to mention the blog I'm writing at this very minute.
Mind you, we just had 3 days of no internet access again, and it made me realise how much I missed following tweets and reading blogs and ...see what's out there and get new ideas.

I have just found an interesting article that supports the idea I wrote in the last paragraph a year ago. Although it is on education in the US, it's definitely true for Hungary as well as Eastern Europe, I think. So educators, can we do something about this?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hogyan tanítsuk meg a gyerekeket a visszajelzésre

Egy korábbi bejegyzésemben erről már szót ejtettem. Igazából abbéli aggodalmamnak adtam hangot, hogy a mai iskolai oktatás elvárásai miatt - és most jön egy NAGY általánosítás - a gyerekekből, akarva-akaratlanul, kiöljük az visszajelés adásának még a lehetőségét is. Természetesen, ennek következményeként, még felnőtt korukban sem tudnak konstruktív visszajelzést adni. Ezt tapasztaltam tanulmányi igazgatóként is az International House Nyelviskolában, ahol feladatom részeként havonta több-száz felnőtt diákok által írt "feedback"-et olvastam. Úgy érzem, sok feladat vár az iskolaigazgatókra és az oktatókra e téren, és természetesen az oktatási reform részeként is.

Dilbert.com

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hogyan tudjunk meg többet az ovis angolnyelvoktatás módszertanáról?

Mint minden angol nyelvtanár és egyben anyuka, nálunk is eljött az ideje annak, amikor az ovis lányaim folyton azzal nyagattak, hogy "Anya, most mit mondtál a telefonba angolul? És kivel beszéltél? Miért?" Így kezdődött el az "angolovi", ovis barátokkal, mert ugye, így az igazi. Különben is, hogy lehetne ovi ovisok nélkül. Tehát csoport kellett, és összejött.

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