But deeper understanding can only occur with the ability to reflect: to review, to notice, and to think carefully about what had taken place. This is true for our students and is certainly true for us teachers looking to improve our practice.
But how can we become more reflective teachers?
1. Formal Observations
Many schools have a Director of Studies observing a teacher when they are newly employed, and subsequently, once every 6 months or more. Such observations often have an evaluative function.
I recently started to brush up my German. I last studied German many years ago at school and I can’t say that it was a great success. In fact, I failed the exam and had to retake it. Hardly surprising, as I seem to remember spending a good portion of the exam time writing out David Bowie lyrics!
Just as individuals identify themselves with a nationality likewise their being with a language. Languages help people associate with cultural, ideological, religious or ethnic characteristics. In today’s global era where impetus is on ‘one world one language,’ it becomes all the more necessary to celebrate languages.
Why do we need to celebrate?
Reading habits are directly proportional to vocabulary growth. Reading is mainly categorized into two types: Extensive and Intensive. Both of these types are helpful in developing and strengthening vocabulary skills. Extensive reading (e.g. reading magazines and blogs) is reading for enjoyment with no tight boundaries, and the latter type (e.g. comprehension passages) is based on specific course objectives and tasks. We can include both of the types in the vocabulary lesson plan for maximum benefit.
Ensuring participation of all learners in a classroom is an accepted challenge in online classrooms. Since learners are in remote locations, the teacher lacks a number of advantages possessed by traditional classrooms. For example, in an online classroom, a teacher cannot physically verify if a learner is actually doing classwork or paying attention. Remote learning has flattened the three dimensional physical space and multidimensional intellectual and affective space into a one dimensional flat screen.
Should we read to children? If yes, when do we start? Is it at all important to have students read any texts? Should we try to introduce reading aloud in class? Can reading in all its forms be incorporated into an online lesson?
Teaching vocabulary is a really fun aspect of teaching English. Many English teachers have several effective methods to teach new vocabulary. But it is still one of the most difficult pieces. Particularly keeping track of how well students remember what they've studied and how well they use new vocabulary. What is the most powerful method of teaching vocabulary such that students do not feel as if they have forgotten all the terms immediately after the exam? There isn't any one magical way to do it, of course. So I strive in certain respects to inspire you.
So this year I was particularly happy that my students are taking an exam that actually requires reading a book and talking / writing about it. I knew that they were not going to read it themselves and of course I was not going to write the summary and the characters' description all by myself, so I decided to devote 15- 20 minutes in each lesson to read a chapter, stopping in some points and asking my students what would happen next and talk about the characters. My students in return had to write a small summary as homework.
A Celebration of Languages. Nina Koptyug, Ph.D.
April 23 and June 6 are the two days which I observe every year. I would say that anybody who ever came in contact with me, and that means thousands of people, know those dates too.
I was not quite Spanish nor totally Irish, and yet, I was never able to get rid of that feeling of homesickness whichever of the two countries I was in.
I believe my two languages really define who I was as a child, and who I became as an adult, as language comes with a whole set of values, beliefs and a history of its own. Language is culture.