viernes, 14 de febrero de 2014

Week 5 EVO Sessions: Becoming a Business English Teacher

Task 1
Branding, What is it?
For me branding is  My personal set of beliefs as a teacher.  In other words where I stand professionally as an educator.

Task 2
What is your story?

These are my notes on the material posted on the Wiki.
Reflections based on Seth Godin´s interview.
As regards someone´s personal story people will remember our stories rather than facts about ourselves.  Noone owes you their attention or money.  People (or rather our students) will tell their friends interesting things as regards you.  We have to put ourselves in our students shoes and ask ourselves the question: why should they choose me and not the other professionals in my area?

Interviews with entrepreneurs.
Alexandre Inneco, Brazilian musician.
"Necessity is what makes the frog leap." Brazilian saying.
Alexandre is generous, started small and suggests that our product should be fun as well as interesting. He also promotes himself by using his own name.
Henrick Oprea, Brazilian teacher of English.
We both learned English from scratch without travels or native speaker teachers and share our high motivation levels.  We worked in institutions such as language schools.  I agree with him in that we should earn people´s trust by being professional in what we do ie. know your subject, what you are talking about when it comes to language learning/teaching.  You have to tell the truth and believe in what you are saying.  I also believe in the power of networking with inspiring educators, if you receive you should in turn give as well.  Coaching students so that they become gradually independent is also my goal.  I also experienced the power of blogging as a tool to reflect on what you are doing and share your work.  It´s a way of validating what you are doing and keep a record of your professional practice.
Envision,  a language school based in Brazil.
Teachers should empathize with her students and identify their strengths to build from there, to make the L2 your own. There are different approaches to achieve this.  Hands on experience and professional development sessions are sources of professional growth.

My personal story

I told my personal story here in a presentation I did for a workshop at the Argentine Conference of Teachers of English.
In a nutshell:
After having worked for 15 years as a teacher I thought I had lost the magic and I decided to quit to become a photographer.  Then I discovered that the computer was a tool that could be used to connect to knowledge and  other professionals from different parts of the world.  And I re-discovered my vocation. Every day I learn something new by sharing and collaborating with teachers and students, not only mine (who are actually a small number) but other teachers`.  I take advantage of each opportunity for PD offered online for free and give for free as well if I can.  My students benefit from this, since everything I learn is reflected in my practice.  I continually ask myself: how can I use it with my students?  I am in the process of becoming an online teacher, gradually and at my own pace, I experiment and try out new things with my lovely students or with other teachers´students sometimes, or members of my family.   Above all I am having fun!

jueves, 13 de febrero de 2014

My Reflection on Week 5 of Crafting the e-Perfect e-Textbook, EVO Sessions 2014

Learning English, a handbook, by Maria del Carmen Colussa

After navigating the waters of the feeling of loss and frustration at not being able to check each and every amazing link and material put together by the Crafting the e-Perfect e-book EVO team, I finally got down to writing and eventually finished the first chapter of my first e-book.  And I managed to sail away without drowning in the attempt.  There was a reason for this, of course.  Our moderators crafted each stage of the process with a purpose in mind: putting us in the e-book frame of mind.  I have to acknowledge that I struggled with certain things such as templates or e-publishing options, which I will dedicate time to explore further in the near future.  However and thanks to having attended last year Podcasting for the ESL/EFL Classroom session I was able to embed audio to my book as well as image files, this comes from my previous knowledge of digital photography.
  Having gone through the process of crafting my first chapter of an e-book I have to say, no matter how much I till love paper books, a whole new world opens for us as teachers.  The potencial for language teaching use of e-books is amazing in the sense that it allows us to personalize our material, hence make it more memorable to our students by talking about what really matters to them.  I strongly support what Sylvia proposed in her presentation: Destination: Imagination.
This first chapter posed me an exercise of not only imagination but also of leaving behind presupositions which have been with me as a teacher from the very beginning of my career; eg. You can´t teach without a textbook, you should follow the textbook, etc.  In other words it was an invitation to think outside the box.
There´s still a lot of learning I have to do, yet I ´m looking forward to the future of what I strongly believe is the greatest time to be a teacher of English.

jueves, 6 de febrero de 2014

Evo Sessions. Becoming a Business English Teacher

Week 4, Task 2:  SAMR Model for integrating technology.

Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition
           Enhancing                           Transforming

REDEFINITION: The creation of a new task previously unconceivable.

I agree with the use of the SAMR model to evaluate the implementation of web-based tools. Especially in the ever changing world of business and technology we could make use of the tools that have to do with our student´s immediate needs. For example a scheduled Skype session would be very useful for someone who needs to brush up his/her English for a client´s visit. I have used LyricsTrainning successfully with shy beginners with a love for music, but I also have a student who doesn´t listen to ANY type of music, so I resort to different interesting articles taken from online newspapers, which I send via Facebook and we later comment in class. I like knowing what my students´interests are and fish for multimodal content related to their prefereces. In that way I catch their attention and make them practice at the same time. I often search for tv commercials or movie trailers on You Tube and I use them as the basis for later discussion. Last year a even used a short film in Spanish, but because I knew that the content had great discussion potential and I wanted to stimulate discussion in class. 
However I realize that I have to constantly monitor myself not to yield to the temptation to use the amazing material available in the in the internet in the "old school way". I am also aware that the more I reflect about my own teaching, something I do in my blog, the better I become at evaluating the way I use classroom material.

martes, 4 de febrero de 2014

On Globally Connected Learning

It takes a very good reason to make one get up at 4:30 am on a Tuesday during Summer holidays.  A couple of times I did it because I had to go on a trip.  This morning I did it because a friend from Germany had asked me and six other friends from Hello Little World to co-present on our experience working globally with our students.  The presentation was via Google Hangout and the 5 continents were present from the following countries: Russia, Australia, Germany, South Africa and Argentina.
After the initial rush of adrenalin when all of us had tested our technical equipment with the aid of the amazing Steve Sherman, once everything was ready and we started everything seemed to flow and I can assure you I experienced what Sir Ken Robinson calls being in the zone.  A group of educators sharing their global experiences with no other purpose than that.  Only people who have put their feet in the waters of global collaboration understand each other.  The look in our students´faces of amazement and enthusiasm is the fuel that keeps us going.  Thank you Reinhard for taking the time to put all this together.  It was a pleasure to be part of this crowd of educators who went out of their comfort zones to reach out to the world and hopefully enthuse others to follow.

Here´s the link to the recorded presentation session.