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Blimage - Amazement

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A boost to our learning

Language learning, and teaching, rely on the information given as a reaction to a product to a person's performance in the attempt of providing improvement. Our reactions can be spontaneous or calculated, and serve to inform our interlocutor on how well/badly they are doing and gives us hints as to what to do next in order to improve, or why not, make it better (because, yes, we can always deliver a little bit more and go beyond what is expected or required.
This played out marvelously recently with some students of mine - as they begin to come to that awareness of the need to take risks as an autonomous learner. Oh, and in case you haven't latched on to the word I am talking about yet is Feedback, and its related terms - debriefing, motivation, external stimulus, constant and multiple assessment - to name a few. While revising for their written text, look at what one of them wrote as a self evaluation:

Apologetic as she might have been, I made it a point to laud their efforts a…

Something about the teacher

Celebrating International Teacher's Day last October 5 and revving up for Teacher Appreciation Day on October 15, I pose the question below and get as many responses as possible.Can you help? 

#makesmefeel  #teachersday 

Perhaps I should rephrase the question:

A blind eye

I pride myself on being able to blend in to different groups; to quickly establish rapport with those who cross my path. This mutability, however, has numbed my senses to issues like the one in this post. Funny, I usually joke with my students about the fact that when people hear my full name, they imagine someone white skin and blue eyes, probably of European origin, only to meet a fellow who looks as Brazilian as one can get. A llight-hearted way to look at assumptions about racial equity and native speakerism. I confess I have never felt discriminated against for being a "non-white native speaker of English (or maybe I have been blind as a bat to it all along). Yet, the post got me thinking if I would have been given the same opportunities if I were a native Brazilian.

Always on rewind

If you are an English teacher, then you have had the chance of dealing with the Present Perfect, a tense that boggles the mind of 99.99% of English learners, and whose existence native speakers are usually unaware of. Getting students to understand why we use it instead of a Simple Past form in explanation that makes sense to us teachers/users of the language is the million-dollar challenge, especially in sentences like these:
I've known my best friend ever since we were in primary school. 
I haven't bought another car since I sold the last one four years ago. 
The run of the mill explanation is that we use the form "have + past participle" to indicate something started some time in the past and continues till the present moment. The fact is the adverbial phrases already reveal the connection with the past (we know that I met my friend when we were in primary school and that I sold my last car four years ago). The use of the verb tense seems to serve more of a nostalgic…

When the Box is a Good thing

"The box" has become synonymous with something traditional or old-fashioned, representing the status quo or an age-old, undisputed ideal. It is seen as the buzzkill to innovative practice or critical thinking, limiting us to pre-established models that seem unable to meet the needs of a society under constant change. 
The info on the box in the image, got me thinking as to the importance of the "box" in our lives. Here, it guarantees the quality of a given product and makes the user aware of what they should pay attention to and demand from the manufacturer. It represents the paradigm, the benchmark, the theoretical and practical frameworks needed to validate research and foster new ideas. Thus the importance of grounding our work in set theory and tested research. 
Without the box, there is no thinking; in or out of it. 

A patchwork of diverse-ELT

Our diversity as individuals is made very clearly when the topic is learning and how to learn. In the middle of a conversation, I overheard at the hotel reception the attendant saying how he had learned English, though with the help of many friends: watching TV shows and movies in Englishdoing exercises/HW at homespeaking to others (native or non-native) in Englishrecording yourself setting your own pace keeping a diary or logplaying video gameslistening to lyricsuse of visual clues and name tags    Learni So, what motivates us to learn and pushes us to do things ON OUR OWN? 

Teach them the way, and let them design the path

Picking up from last week's post, and answering the third question on the list (the order does not really matter right now), the fact that some adult learners immediately bought into the idea of creating and collaborating on online language flashcards to consolidate the extensive amount of new words and expressions they have been exposed to this year. When I decided to use Quizlet in the classroom with them, little did I know they would so quickly find it useful and so willingly take to using it. Ten hours after, two of them had already created lists and invited the others to do the same. I am really excited to see where this will go. 

It goes to show that learners can be proactive and engaged, as Ryan and Deci (2004) put it, as a direct result of the social conditions in which they are encouraged to learn. But the ONUS is on the learner to conceptualize, design, conduct and evaluate the process, a process Brookfield (2009) describes as self-drected learning.  

Brookfield, Stephen D…