Great May blog posts - thank you to everyone who wrote and if you missed any, we encourage you to catch up here!
According to Wikipedia, ‘in education, realia (pronunciation ree-ah-lee-ah) are objects from real life used in classroom instruction by educators to improve students' understanding of other cultures and real life situations’. Some people would include authentic texts in this definition, but, for me, realia has to be a physical, tangible object.
Students judged you by how confidently you could explain different uses of the passive voice, colleagues respected you if you knew your relative clauses, and when the DoS observed you, you would be evaluated on how well you had addressed the focal grammar point.
I was fortunate to have very good teachers, first at school in Siberia, then at Moscow University. Our school teacher taught us a marvelous fact: NONE of the sounds in our native language were the same as those in English. In our second year of school, aged 8, we simply listened carefully and repeated after her. Thus we learned about the great differences between “sink” and “think”, and the importance of “ship or sheep”, to name but a few. We heard her pronounce strings of words like “bat-bet-bed-bad” and “sit-seat-Sid-seed” and carefully chorused after her.
An autonomous learner is one who goes off and does their own thing while an exam very often acts as a constraint on the learning process, focusing everything in towards what is required to get that passing grade. And yet, it is very often the students that sit there waiting to be told by the teacher what they need to do to pass are the ones who have the greatest difficulties and who struggle to achieve the grades they need.
I explain it partly because it is a useful one to know, partly due to the fact that its meaning and usage are slightly different from the original in my native language. Realia is one of the nouns used in the plural form, yet it may be followed by a verb either in the singular or in the plural. It comes from the Latin word “realis” which produced many words with the same root. In the general sense, it means “the realities”. In education, it pertains to objects or activities used by a teacher to relate classroom teaching to real life.
'Have you ever been to Moscow?'
Look! ‘Have you… Have you…’
And there’s more! ‘Have you ever been to Istanbul?’ Yes, Istanbul! Can’t get much more personalised than that!
A few years ago I attended a conference in and a coursebook author was on stage showing us an activity he had written while trying to make a very tenuous connection to the overall conference theme of personalising the language learning process.
Some really interesting blog posts in April - thank you very much to all who contributed, and you can catch up on them all here.
The final state exams are compulsory. During the academic year, various kinds of tests are in place, to assess students’ progress in all the traditional skills, such as reading, writing, speaking and listening, as well as grammar. They are all orientated towards the current children’s age and level. We teachers can be somewhat flexible about it, in that we are not obliged to conduct any one specific kind of test throughout a school year, nor are we restricted in terms of the frequency.