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There will be days (teacher problems)

  There will be days of  no lesson planning And days of little understanding. There will be days of concerted effort Met with looks of zero engagement. There will be days of top-notch management, And others in need of improvement. There will be days of pure inspiration Nurtured by rapport and personalization. There will be days of internal battles And the need to look peaceful. There will be days of personal reflection Compounded by career depreciation To teach is an act of resistance, to educate a personal stance; And to give our best and persist at it is giving life a chance.  
Recent posts

Why blogging can promote Individualized Learning

  "A method of teaching in which content, instructional technology, and pace of learning are based upon the abilities and interest of each learner."  This defines what we refer to as "Individualized Learning". From the definition, we can see that the process is usually student-oriented and the content often student-generated.  That paves the way for an array of possibilities and opportunities that can be explored by the teacher. What better way to put the student in their element than by encouraging them to create their own blog or to collaborate on a school website with posts, articles, or visual representations of learning: posters, banners, infographics,  stories, flyers and so much more.  Blogging allows students to reflect on learning. The reflection takes place over the course of these stages that lead to a final post: Brainstorming - Discussion - Research - Production. Students or teachers propose a topic (to make the experience as student-centered as possibl

Silly little things called Collocations S02 E06 - In good company?

This post seeks to pose an informal reflection on why certain words seem to always go together (what, in academic terms is referred to as Collocations) and how we can help students become capable of identifying these word combinations. I must confess I had failed to clearly outline what I had hoped to achieve with this blog series, other than discuss fun facts about the topic. A recent comment from a reader turned on a floodlight in my head as to the opportunity to come up with activities and exercises to practice the ideas I share in the posts.  Yes, I did look at how we can raise students' awareness of the company words usually keep (Firth, 1957) in this post , and took a closer look at how the combinations go beyond the lexical realm (what linguists refer to as colligations ). It was while grading students' academic papers that this thought occurred to me: And here is one example to initially support my hypothesis:  The Big Question raises another important issue when it com

Of haboobs and life experiences - All in a day's blog

    I had an absolutely fun time this Friday with my buddy, Priscilla Ramcharan. She kindly invited me to do a Livestream on Facebook to chat about the topics in the cheat sheet above. There were several reasons for the one-hour chat having been so enjoyable. Here they are, not necessarily in ascending or descending order:  Talking with people from my homeland is one way to keep the memories of my childhood, my school days, the people who contributed immensely to my forming the person I have become, alive and pulsating. And seeing that it's been a while since I last set foot in Trinidad and Tobago (years, actually 😢), it works wonders for those bouts of nostalgia, or as they say here in Brazil, saudade.  Chats like these are great opportunities for code switching, i.e. moving from one variety or register to another to meet the demands of the communicative context in which you are in. During the stream, we even pointed out the difference between speaking English and talking Trini.

Where every teacher feels the same

  This may seem so really far off, but when I sat down to write this blog post, part of the chorus of the opening song to the sitcom Cheers came to mind: Where everybody knows your name, And they're always glad you came You want to be where you can see  Our troubles are all the same  You want to be where everybody knows your name. One of the challenges we teachers have always had to navigate is dealing with change, in one form or another. But having a space where can let down our guard, share our fears and show our vulnerable side has become a matter of keeping some sense of mental and emotional sanity. The song, and the sitcom, translated that feeling back then and still sends out that message of belonging, of community, where everyone doesn't only know your name, but respects you and supports you.  Talking about this at a time in which we communicate with friends, family and work relations via instant messaging or social media platforms seems unnecessary. After all, most of

The highs - and lows - of learner motivation

Motivation in (language) learning is becoming a rare commodity nowadays, which is interestingly striking, due to the topic being listed as one of the challenges I should add to the list of those I drew up here . Formal learning is grounded in motivation - be that extrinsic or intrinsic . Ryan and Deci (2000) explain that being motivated means being moved, energized or activated to do something. Every lesson plan, activity, task or idea of a collaborative project hinges on keeping students wanting to learn, DESPITE the difficulties that ARE part and parcel of the process.  Therein lies one of the reasons for unmotivated learners: they are often not reminded of the onuses of acquiring knowledge, the effort that needs to be put in to develop the skills prescribed in the school curricula, plateaus the process lays out along the way and the roller coaster ride of emotions that come all inclusively.   Another issue that could be at the root of this dilemma is the blurry lines that exist bet

Silly little things called Collocations S02E06 - Navigating challenges going forward

The verdict is out. Well, at least for some of us here at one of the many Twitter chats  called New Teachers to Twitter , or NT2T. Our second virtual meet-up after the mid-year break took a look at what has worked so far as teachers and students get back to the physical classrooms and at what needs remedying to push students forward. Some may agree with Hobbes and Hawkins as to the inefficiency of remote learning in this article published here ; others might like to think there is much to be saved from what we have been doing online over the last year or so.  I decided to put together what recurred rather frequently in the exchanges between users who attended the hour-long chat. In so doing, we can identify collocations and Lexical bundles (the latter being the sequences of words that most frequently co-occur) that are useful for language enthusiasts, teachers, and researchers alike.  Before taking a closer look at the language, consider the motivation behind each challenge - the poss