Saturday, November 28, 2015

Understanding is key to communicating

The other day I asked my colleague Valerie Lewis to say how she helps language students deal with the 3 functions of speaking (speaking as interaction, speaking as transaction, speaking as performance), she provided a totally new perspective to the topic. She establishes the need to work on receptive skills first as vital for working on expressive skills. Listen to the recording to see if you think if her ideas are doable.

Audio recording and upload >

Based on Valerie's ideas, what does tell us about checking student comprehension before they perform a task and what does comprehension entail?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Teaching the teacher

Tonight I had the preivilege to discuss the task of teaching teachers - what we ofetn refer to as teacher training and teacher development - with five other educators on the Google Hangout Series organized by Edumatch and known as Tweet and Talk. Watch the full episode here.

The talk centered around these four questions:

1.      Teaching teachers is like preaching to the converted: how true is that?
2.      What do teachers really need to learn?
3.      What’s an effective (not necessarily the best) way to show teachers what they have to do?
4.      What is one thing you would never ask a teacher to do?

But there was also much going on in the backchannel Twitter feed, which can be caught here.

Since I am into #microlearning, here's one lesson I am taking away from the disucssion.
We need to understand that learning goes the same way for all of us - teachers or students. They come with something to offer - procedural knowledge, learning styles, intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Their Proximal Development Zones vary and are activated on their own time. We have to be sensitive to what is known as #Readinesstolearn; since this disposition can happen at any time, we have to be AVAILABLE and ON CUE when they come to us. In other words, #readinesstoteach. Are you ready?

Friday, November 6, 2015


Blogging has been around for some time. Seen as a way getting your ideas out on the Web, it has ridden waves of popularity with every tide that washes in the latest social media trend. 

Often when I tell people I keep a blog (in the plural, I must confess), the reactions flood in as fast as or faster than a live Facebook or Twitter chat: Nobody reads blogs anymore! I try to convince them and myself otherwise, but even with empirical data they'll most likely question me all the same. 

What's in now is to vlog: have a YouTube channel, get millions of views and then land a licensing contract and start collecting the dough. You name the topic and target group, there's a vlog qualified for the job.

So why waste to blog this, you might ask? Well, you ARE reading this, right?

My attention turns to education: how do teachers (and students) use blogs in the name of learning? Invariably, the aim is to work on writing skills, but blogs go beyond the traditional model we use in the classroom: assign a task, students (sometimes) hand it in, teachers correct it and return it, students keep them in their books and life goes on. 

Blogs offer a.chance of a real audience and a chance to foster an ongoing conversation about what is written. 

They promote reflection, responsibility and citizenship in all its forms. 

They work on the four C's: Communication, Creativity, Collaboration and Critical thinking. 

They qualify the user as author, editor layout designer, illustrator, curator and agent. 

For these reasons and more, we might not be wrong in saying that #BloggingistheNuWriting. All in favor?

Wanna read some more on the topic? Join me in the quest for knowledge as we share ideas around the virtual world with blogs! 

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