Dear Students – don’t expect your teacher to be available for you to make up your cancellations any day or time. As you well know time is money. IF you want a 24/7 teacher try AI and be disappointed. #Teaching
We live in times when it’s almost a status symbol to say we don’t have time. We’re constantly in a rush. Sometimes it feels we’re running like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland: “I’m late. I’m late. I’m late for a very important date”!
This week, a student of mine, Rodrigo, was saying that to his defense he hadn’t had time to do his homework. He has 2 young daughters and a wife to care for at home. And his work is very demanding.
It sounded as if I gave him homework as a form of punishment. Actually, I couldn’t care less about it. Do it. Don’t do it. I won’t be any wiser because of that.
The only reasons I give students homework is to give them direction to review what was seen in class, to practice reading and writing and to expand vocabulary.
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Yes, yes, I know… I could say that again… Waiting is HARD. “We twiddle our thumbs, we shuffle our feet, we stifle our yawns, we heave long sighs, we fret inwardly in frustration”.
That’s how a language learner feels… progress is slow. So instead of just moaning, we teachers must encourage our students to actively be in charge of their linguistic progress.
Are they on social media? Great. Encourage them to access accounts on Twitter, or instagram or Facebook …. using the language they’re learning.
As a teacher I know I must help my students develop a positive relationship with the language they’re learning. I must show them the value of that language, increase their interest in the learning process. Stress the relevance of they’re doing and failure is not an option. Signify to them what is done in the language they pursue and what they can do if they commit themselves to learning.
My students are my greatest asset, so I won’t treat them as morons (isn’t it a great new year’s resolution?) They’re my partners not only by paying for their lessons but also by allowing me my professional and personal development with and through them.
May the new year help us all take off to new heights.
What works best for students learning a foreign language online?
It is a broadly well known fact that learners do not get enough exposure /opportunities to practice their new language skills and vocabulary, especially if they’re not located in the area where the language they’re learning is spoken/ used.
By going online foreign language students – Brazilians learning English, Spanish or French, for example, or anywhere else in the world, they can access a practically unlimited source of authentic materials – be they videos, audio, images or text, in addition to hundreds (if not, thousands) of hours of prerecorded lessons, vocabulary and grammar explanations. A notable example is the BBC Learning English app. Also, now there are different online platforms providing live online classes with native speakers or qualified teachers. Some of these platforms are iTalki (www.italki.com) and Soulphia (www.soulphia.com)
Moreover, students are more inclined to repeat tasks online or via an automated system.
However, digital users are reaching some sort of maturity, apps have lost their amazement appeal. Online classes will work well as long as the connection is good abut tends to drain the attention of students, with some anecdotal stories showing that both teacher and students get tired faster when having to focus on a screen for more than 30 minutes.
The best solution would be for students to try to reach a blended learning process, with “in-person lessons” combined with online support, that should speed up their own learning process.
First and foremost, let’s cut that politically correctness crap that anyone can learn a second language and that there are no bad students. That’s not true. I’ve learned it the hard way.
I’m not talking about those individuals who are pure evil… What I’m just saying is that some people should focus their efforts on something attainable.
Let’s face it: some people are great learners. Others are average. Others suck at that. I was great at History/Geography and sucked at Math. Great at English and sucked at Portuguese literature. That depends on:
that is how your brain works.
So… what makes a bad student?
1. Has No realistic goals – expects to be speaking and understanding everything in 6 hours/days/weeks.
2. Passively receives information and believes that the teacher will concoct a magic potion that will make them learn – doesn’t know why they’re learning.
3. Waits for the teacher to present interesting things for him to watch, read and listen to (during class time, of course)
4. Never reviews or records any lesson material
5. Displays weak learning skills – won’t take notes but doesn’t hav learns r-e-a-l-l-y slowly, if ever.
6. Feels Forced to learn
The positive point is that bad learners can be converted into good learners.
First, find out what makes them tick. What motivates them (unless they’re clinically depressed – then advise them to seek medical and psychological care).
Assess their needs and their learning strengths and weaknesses – do they have a good memory? Are they slightly dyslexic? Do they need speech therapy? How’s their hearing?
Provide opportunities for success.