Showing posts from September, 2009

Class discussion Guidelines

This chart is great to help boost conversation sessions

Class Discussion Guidelines

Student expectations - too high or unrealistic?

How long is it going to take me to speak English fluently?

I've virtually lost count how many times students can ask me this question. The problem is they usually ask not only teachers but administrative staff with whom they come into contact first and in whose information they trust and believe.

Then they come into the classroom and ask the teachers the same question. The answer is normally quite different. To be honest, though, there is no right answer for two main reasons.

First of all, it is hard to truly quantify a student can learn in the space of a year or two: most language schools prognosticate that at the end of X years, student A will be at level Y. And there are countless examples of students having taken the same course and are at very distinct language proficiency levels.

Second, learning a language is an ongoing process. That means even studying five or six years, there is always something you can and will learn, IF you are willing to do just that. There is no end road…

English Collocations

I don't know how valid this is but a student of mine drew my attention to something:

Apparently the word combinations i.e. collocations in English are more restricted than in other languages. For example, we can only make or commit mistakes, in football we can only score a goal.
But what if I say the same thing in Portuguese? Is it okay to say "fazer um erro" or "cometer um erro", and "fazer um gol" or "anotar um gol" or even "marcar um gol"?

Food for thought......

Test nervousness

How could something so simple be so suffocating? As a teacher, you tend to take for granted that taking an oral test - in which you have to ask and answer basic questions - is a breeze. Not necessarily.

But as simple as it may seem, for some just the experience of having to be tested is torture enough, let alone having to ask questions like "What's your name?" and "Where are you from?".

What do you do in a situation like that when the student is visibly falling apart and the butterflies in the stomach have completeley dominated the person?

Yesterday, during a beginner test, one of my students really had a hard time. It wasn't just a case of butterflies in the stomach, she was a nervous wreck!

One more thing: it's a waste of time telling the person to calm down and that everything is gonna be alright. If it was, then the person wouldn't be worried in the first place. Just give the person time to compose herself/himself, and if necessary, give them anoth…

This can happen

Believe it or not:

The Crisis of Credit parts 1 and 2

Just had to post this video - really explanatory! Hats off to Jonathan Jarvis.


Ever thought about the ideal neighbor? My conversation group came up with a neat list:

A good neighbor ....

- is not nosy
- is not noisy
- does not smoke
- one you don't need to know
- can't be a musician, especially a drummer
- has no children
- has no pets, especially barking dogs
- should be a monk
- can't have loudspeakers
- can't do repairs on Sunday morning
- doesn't stay at home
- can't be church or a preacher, or a samba school
- can't be a party animal
- likes reading
- can't argue regularly with his/her partner

To illustrate my point: