viernes, 26 de abril de 2013

Content Based Instruction Revisited

     After reading Fredricka Stoller´s article on Content Based Instruction I remembered my teacher trainning years, when we were first introduced to the key principles of this methodology.  I actually planned classes based on it, which I later delivered with great enthusiasm.
     CBI would be my ideal approach for a lawyer who comes to me for one to one lessons to help him brush up his English for a presentation he has to deliver in English in seven month´s time.  In this case where I know the learner has some basic grammar knowledge and a specific learning need I could use all the ideas clearly presented in the article.  Technology would certainly facilitate the planning process as well as the production of student generated material.
     As regards the general English courses I am asked to deliver I don´t see myself using CBI, simply because I consider you need to have the knowledge of the content and I am not a science teacher for example.  Concentrating on one particular topic, may have the drawback of not catering for the variety of all students interests.
     Lower level students pose another challenge when trying to implement this methodology.  Charts and diagrams are appropriate here, as well as comprehensible chunks of language for students to use and practice and build from there.
     We always use content to teach languages.  After all the purpose of communication is meaningful interaction, that´s what most of my students are after when they enroll in my classes.

domingo, 14 de abril de 2013

LTMOOC ACTIVITY: Introducing myself

     My name is Maria del Carmen Colussa and I am from Argentina.  I live in a quite small town called Santo Tomé, where I started learning English at the age of 13.  I graduated from Instituto del Profesorado Almirante Brown in Santa Fe city, which is about 14 kilometres away from my city separated by the Salado River.
     After I graduated in 1993, I started teaching English non stop at Liceo Municipal de Santo Tomé Faustino San Juan,  so I returned as a teacher right where I had begun studying several years before.
Back in February 2012 I started exploring the possibilities of using ICT tools in my language teaching practice and I  have been doing that since then.  Always learning something new and meeting likeminded teachers.  As time went by I became interested in the possibilities of working together with other teachers and classes all over the world.  The Skype Community in Edmodo is an attempt to do just that.  I have been having Skype chats (either Mystery or not) with several classes around the world, so my family is used to my  meetings over the internet.  I am also a member of the Hello Little World Teachers Skypers.
     I have concentrated on teaching English to adults for the last 3 or 4 years and I do it as a freelance teacher from home.  However, I have discovered  through my Skype chats that people are interested in learning Spanish and also things about my country, so I found myself sharing those in my native language as well.
     By joining this LTMOOC I hope to get new tools to use in my teaching and I also hope to share practices and experiences with other teachers.   As I stated in the discussion group I am here because of Vance Stevens one of the moderators at the MultiMOOC EVO session last February 2013.  He encouraged several of us to be here and I only have kind words for teachers like him or Miguel Mendoza and his Venezuelan crew, who introduced me to the world of Podcasting during the same sessions. (this blog also contains part of the work produced then)
    As regards my hobbies, I have 3 adolescent children and a husband so I can say that I used to love cooking before I had to do it in large quantities and on a daily basis.  As a result of so much time spent sitting in front of the computer and in order to compensate this, I practice several outdoor activities which vary with the seasons.  These could be: bicycle riding, and an afternoon walk in Winter and wakeboarding and early walks in the Summer. All year round I read (at the moment "What I talk about when I talk about running", by Haruki Murakami), I usually keep about 5 books on my bedside table by Latin American writers (my favourite: García Márquez) or Argentinian ones.(Borges or Cortázar´s short story books)  Several years ago I discovered that I also like photography, so I enrolled on a course and learned a few photo editing techniques.

Here´s my flickr page.
Hello Little World Wiki

jueves, 11 de abril de 2013

On MOOCing. /mu:kin/ 

      Many times I found myself envying my children´s gatherings at home with the excuse of the production of some creative piece for school. I tried to recall when was the last time I gathered with student friends in order to produce a creative piece. It was over twenty years ago in the Teacher Training College. The subject was Language and Communication Workshop. We had decided to record TV programmes: there was a weather report, a newsflash, commercials, music (rap), soap opera, weather forecast. It was an exhausting experience but I still remember how much fun we had.  Teachers and students working together, making original creative things for an audience, which was the rest of the teachers and fellow students. It did not feel like work, we were engaged, we were having fun. It was a success. Then we got our degrees, we got serious and stopped having fun.
      When was the last time I did something just for the sake of enjoying the ride? I have recently signed up in a Language Teaching MOOC in order to look for some fun by sharing teacher stuff with others and in so doing recovering that feeling of togetherness lost in the rush of everyday teaching. We are supposed to teach communication skills. I want to put mine into practice. However I am open to the unexpected. I know I will receive more than what I am expecting to get. We will see. This morning I heard that in order to learn your brain should be engaged.  I am very curious about language teaching.  There is so much going on out there that I will take this opportunity to catch up with what other teachers are doing or struggling with to find myself in others to recover the togetherness lost somewhere between my student years and today.

Interview with Jeremy Harmer
Here´s the schedule in case you want to peep.