miércoles, 15 de enero de 2014

EVO Sessions, 2014.

This is my list of favourite links I will probably use a LOT in the near future.  They come from my involvement in three sessions of the current EVO.  I have also included my responses to assigned tasks.

EVO Crafting the Perfect E-book Session

Creative Commons Resources

This is my creative commons license

This is the E-Book I need

The E-book I need to create is an interactive online book for my adult students with resources for them to practice English.  Ideally it could be something that they can have access to from home if they feel like practising what we have done in class or it could also be used as a flipped class material bank.  (ie. I could assign a task for them to pre-view/listen/read BEFORE we meet face to face).  However since IDEAL seldom happens, it can also serve as an online "place" for them to make comments, add content, etc when they are unable to attend the class.  (something that happens very frequently at least in my case!)

EVO Developing Business English Teachers Session
Tasks for Week 1

Former teachers who motivated me and what was so special about them that they inspired me

During my 20 (OMG!) year old career I´ve been inspired by many teachers I was lucky enough to come across.
Two of them during my trainning years (unfortunatelly both have passed away) María Isabel Recamán, my phonetics/diction teacher, Daniel Fernández, my methodology/applied linguistics teacher.
After I graduated I did an Adscription to Language II at the Teacher Training College and Adriana Diaz was the teacher there.
Lately I have come across so many AMAZING educators that I can´t begin to name them: Vance Stevens(https://twitter.com/VanceS), Elizabeth Anne (https://twitter.com/eannegrenoble), Anne Mirtschin( https://twitter.com/murcha) and all the people from Hello Little World Teachers Skypers http://hlwskypers.pbworks.com/w/page/36437388/HLWSkypers%20wiki.

Why was I inspired by them? What is special about them?  

Basically their enthusiasm about what they do for a living, what Sir Ken Robinson describes as having found their element, and a feeling I have when I come across these kind of individuals that in spite of being VERY good at what they do, they just don´t brag about their accomplishments, but seek to share what they know.  Another common quality is having a sense of humour, I have laughed a lot when I was in contact with them.  Their capacity to work a lot and stay calm when faced with problems, such as technical ones is also something I also admire in them.

Motivating the Unmotivated, By Jeremy Harmer
My reactions to this article.
Building a successful rapport with my students is KEY for any learning to take place in the classroom.  I have been concentrating on teaching adults lately and take it as a rule to find out what it is that they are passionate about, what their background is, as well as where they hope to or are required to use the language.  Once in the classroom I take special care to choose material that has the right level of challenge and praise their accomplishments.  I am always looking for opportunities for them to do things with the language in a meaningful way.

Roy, talking about reflection in Language Teaching

I was intruduced to the concept of reflection on our practice by Vance Stevens, but before that I was encouraged to write in a blog by Miguel Mendoza and his crew of the Podcasting EVO session in 2013.  Before that I thought I had nothing to reflect about!
Visiting Sonya´s ( https://twitter.com/vanschaijik )blog where she reflected on her learning using the SAMAR model was an eye opener.  I later applied it to my own pathway from a zero beginner in IT to whatever it is that I am now.  Reflection lets you know where you are and where you want to go.  It also helps you focus as Roy very clearly stated in the video.

Two Statements on Reflective Practice, By Roy

Reflecting in Action
Too many times I found myself wondering: Why are you doing this task which is obviously NOT relevant?!  Simply because it was in the coursebook! And the institution I worked in mandated that I should follow the book. The funny thing is that my poor students endured the tasks stoically!   When I started working freelance I noticed this and raised my filters to prevent this from happening.  It was difficult for me at first to question things on coursebooks (that was not a thing I was taught to do in the teacher training college!), until I started to trust my teacher instinct: there was simply no point in doing certain things just because they were there.

Reflecting on Action
Once I had the opportunity to pair up one of my adult students with three adolescents in a skype session.  Skyping with native speakers had proved on many occations to be  a very powerful tool to boost my students´confidence and add a little spice to our classes.    My student would benefit from the interaction and I assumed that she would enjoy the talk being a mother of a 12 year old boy.  However she later expressed that she felt more comfortable talking to adults.  I took notice and nobody died!  I mean: well, I made certain assumptions, took the risk, did the task, evaluated it and will later on take her preferences into account before scheduling another session.  That´s it!  We had enough confience to talk to each other in order to make things better.
We should strive to create in our classrooms an atmosphere of trust where our students know that we are all learning, and that learning is a complex process, could be chaotic but the teacher will be there for them, learning too.

Feedback and Motivation

One thing I have realised after reading about student´s feedback is that I don´t like it!  Why?  Well, it could be because I stopped having it the minute I left the teacher training college.  I am simply not used to having it!  Once you go freelance if a student`s feedback is not taken into account, he simply doesn´t come any more, so I am constantly asking for feedback from my students because not acknowledging my student`s views would mean that I´m not doing things right.


Well, what to say about this session.  It´s like being born again and live my childhood this time with computers!!  Lost and brand newbie in the land of Second Life I had a brief experience in an online tour before my computer crashed or something,  however I REALLY enjoyed the ride to Renaissance Island.  So funny to wait until the world is loaded (the WORLD!) and my clothes are downloaded!  Several of us are waiting for Carol, our moderator to teletransport us! OMG, this is so much fun! And we have barely started!

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