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Good feedback, greater rapport

It's common knowledge that we learn better with the people we feel more comfortable with. In formal education, the person we normally connect with is the teacher. We teachers play a vital role in ensuring that students believe they can simply because we show them how. As Brad Henry once said, a good teacher can "inspire hope, ignite the imagination and instill a love of learning." One way of doing that is showing how committed we are to the success of their learning through personal, sincere feedback. This couldn't be clearer in the two messages I received this week from two students of mine after sending them back my assessment of their oral production:

Oftentimes we think students hardly take the time to read the comments we send back to them, or to reflect on that smiley we added below the grade. They DO know how committed to their sense of progress and they DO feel motivated to keep learning, no matter the difficulties that come along the way. That is RAPPORT. THA…

Freeloading off of someone else's calamity - where is the love?

Why do some people use the calamity of others to gain financial benefit?
It's always moving and inspirational to see individuals willingly giving their time, energy and money to help people in distress or to aid victims of major disasters. 
As the search for bodies, and hopefully, survivors of Brazil's worst company-generated tragedy in Brumadinho continues, what do these images remind us of?

Sadly, there is another type of individual who sees a tragedy like the one taking place before our eyes in Minas Gerais, Brazil as an opportunity to take advantage of this moment of fragility and vulnerability to con people out of money by creating false donation campaigns on instant messenger groups or by burgling the properties of people who have had to evacuate due to a risk of a second dam bursting.  

Someone who consciously takes advantages of another person's misfortune to make money is what we call a FREELOADER. According to the Cambridge English dictionary, to freeload is to use m…

Using the #10yearchallenge

Thought I would take a look at the latest social media trend - the #10yearchallenge.
A quick internet search will give you stories of how the trend is a ploy to help train Facebook's facial recognition algorithm, or of how it isn't actually helping Big Data surveillance programs. It has even sparked interest in the grammar rule regarding the omission of the "s" in movie titles like "The Four Year Plan" or "The Forty-Year-Old Virgin" and some neat explanations on InstaStories like Carol Fabrini's post here: (don't know if the story is still available). 

The hype has prompted me to think about how we could use it in the classroom with different levels from beginners to advanced and thought I could come up with my own #10yearchallengeclassroomideas. 
Since most posts with the hashtag pit two pictures of the same person or persons, here's what I thought:
1. Find seven Students identify as many differences as possible in the pictures: color, fac…

All-inclusive plus all-adaptive means all aboard!

A recent news report talks about the move to standardize clothes sizes for women in Brazil. Don't know if it has already taken place in other countries (would love to hear from someone in other countries), but the topic has been on the front burner for some time here, as seen in this article and this news post (all in Portuguese, FYI). This seems to go against the tide of personalization and adaptation in all areas of life - from home design to home entertainment, everyone jumps at the chance to have things just they way they want, even if they have to pay a little more for it. The most important lesson learned in all of this is that 

In language learning, there is also a lot of talk about personalizing the learning experience and promoting student-centered lessons. If the motto truly is "Less us, more them", and if you are a student reading this, I ask you: Do you understand that what works for others might not help you learn the language? If so, are you willing to take t…

Change or Exchange? Part 2

Last time we learnt that we EXCHANGE gifts with friends and family in the period prior to and on Christmas day, and that we CHANGE the ones that we don't like (for whatever reason). We also learned that the idea of changing gifts probably didn't date to the time when the baby Jesus was born.
A new year is already in full swing, which means most of us have made our traditional list of resolutions to complete till the next December 31st. Which brings us to the topic of the post: When we make a resolution, do we CHANGE or EXCHANGE something we normally do? In this context, the question seems like a NO-BRAINER (if you don't know what this means, see if you can get the idea by watching this DJ Khaled/Justin Bieber collaboration or check this definition).
But it's worth taking a look at some of the most common collocations to understand when we use o or the other: We CHANGE habits that do us no good
We EXCHANGE experiences with friends, family (and with anyone who we meet on so…

Change or Exchange? Part 1

And so it is Christmas, and what have you done?
Hey, everyone it's the Roving Rapporter once again, this time to talk about something traditional at this time of the year - giving and receiving gifts. According to the nativity story, the baby Jesus was the first person to receive gifts from the three wise men - gold, frankincense and myrrh. And traditionally, the day after the festivities is reserved for the rush to stores to change the gifts they don't want (not to be mistaken with the holdiay in countries like the UK, Canada, Australia, the Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago known as Boxing Day, celebrated every December 26th).
Yep, you guessed it - let's talk about the difference between the verbs Change and Exchange. Let's use the Christmas season to exemplify: in parties and family gatherings we often play games like Secret Santa in which we exchange gifts with each other. It's when we SHARE and socialize. The day after the get together, we realize the gift we g…

What's in a seat?

Continuing my proposition from last week about studying the English verb system in an integrated manner, here is a short paragraph to illustrate how we move back and forth in our time references. The aim is to complete the text using the verb "sit".  Wanna give it a try?