張瀞仁這本書雖然是寫給內向者的工作指引，但老實說對已在職場上的人是一種提醒，對於大學生或是初出社會的青年這樣ㄧ步步手把手解釋引導，真是佛心來著，我尤其推薦書裡解釋 Small Talk 的篇章。 對於還在英語學習階段，即將邁入雙語或是英語教學的學生們，這真的是寶典！哈哈哈哈！
Small talk, 對外國的孩子可能相當習以爲常，但對於臺灣的孩子（起碼對我來說），尤其是要自在的以英語進行small talk ，的確是ㄧ個需要學習的技能。
真實的經驗是，我也是個太小心謹慎的人。第一次的國外小旅行，當地朋友開心聊完自己，回頭問了我： So, what’ your story? 我驚嚇的當場逃走！
If I can do it again, I would definitely have lots to share and say about me, my country and my great experience in that trip.
Our education bureau is developing modules on PE lessons for teachers to learn to teach PE. I think this is a great idea. Simple and effective in terms of in-service teacher training. I actually benefited it a lot when I first started in 2017. Attending the second time this year, it feels that the model is more clear and easier to execute for novice PE teachers. Having the opportunity to learn from the experienced and the best is a blessing.
The model is GBODY. I don’t know where they got this acronym but it’s easy to remember.
G stands for warm up and preparation.
B stands for skills building.
O refers to communication and modification with the students.
D means differentiation.
Y is the final wrap up and cleaning up.
Easy to remember now, but it took me a long time to figure out the teaching process in 2017.
For lower graders, the lessons were contextualized with their world experience, such as animals imitation and road safety. I think the idea of road safety is fun to play with. Kids love the game of 紅綠燈 - red light and green light. For CLIL lessons, it’s also easier to develop chants and interaction when introducing this idea. Here is an example.
Red light, stop.
Green light, go.
Yellow, yellow, keep an eye out.
The lesson can then incorporate various animal walks and skips. Here is a screenshot of the differentiated stage (D) of GBODY.
The same process can also be used to teach gymnastic rolling, like how the panda rolls in the video clip.
Teaching lower grade PE is just too much fun!
This semester I start teaching third grade international Culture Education(ICE). Totally clues.
For one, I know very little where they are cognitively. Every year, the maturity of kids seem differ in some way. It’s easy to chat with them about daily routines, friends and school work. But how to really extend their knowing to a bigger context without having the sense of delivering bookish knowledge. It’s hard.
Secondly, I have completely no idea what are the big ideas behind the stories or texts I prepared for the kids at this point. It feels that we are just chitchatting in the class about recent news. But where am I taking them? Or do I even need to take them anywhere? Perhaps the purpose is to give them a different adult perspective on current issues.
On a note discussing with my fellow colleagues, their views struck a chord. We are teaching public school children. A lot of them may have never experienced having a decent conversation about the world or the country they live in with adults. This is a great opportunity for them to experience such and perhaps hearing various viewpoints from people other than their family. I am not sure whether it’s a public school thing or not. I could have gone to a private school when I was little, I remember my parents were busy and we hardly had time to have such discussion as well. So I guess just discussing may be good enough at this age.
Compared with IT, PE and English class, where the objectives are sound and clear, ICE at school seems fluid. I know the kids have to achieve a certain goal and obtain certain skill sets. But what are they? Children at this age do not yet have enough world experience to discuss National matters. (?) I am totally blind here.
It’s week 8. I am still learning. We have completed interesting topics, such as the Fukushima nuclear plant water release and the Asian Game. Space competition is our current topic. Kids are very responsive and amazingly talkative. They are inquisitive and creative with solutions. I wish I could have time in class to address to their questions individually. Discussions are fun. I am not sure whether I am on the right track but I hope they at least learned some facts and at had fun.
Elina is a great art teacher from Finland. Her demo teaching blew my mind.
We met through a Fulbright exchange program where she represented distinguished educators from Finland. Needless to say, it sparked a lot of curiosities in me and also teachers from other countries. I had the privilege to be placed in the same group with her, learning her teaching philosophy and saw her teach first hand.
Long story short, after long discussion and observing her lessons, I found that self-paced learning is deeply ingrained in her teaching beliefs, or perhaps in her beliefs in general. How human beings learn or acquire knowledge throughout one’s life is different and therefore our teaching shall reflect that nature. That, is manifested in this teacher’s every move in the classroom, her words and design of the lesson.
In her first 2nd grade sewing class (2nd grade? Sewing? That’s right!), she introduced the learning time line. Each student in the beginning of each lesson set the pace of learning for themselves. They decided when and what they would complete a certain step.
There was no competition but evaluation and discussion of their each decision between the teacher and students - no compliments; no punishment, just a sense of “of course everyone can do it!”
Of course everyone can succeed. It is just a matter of time. Why rush?
Beautifully said, quotes from Chloe and Simon, “seeing us as human beings and as brothers and sisters is to recognize that we are all capable of being good or bad; We cannot be fixed but we can always be better. “
I truly enjoyed this episode with these two great individuals. Their words and actions about love, community and finding common grounds amongst US are uplifting and empowering.
Theory of Enchantment - A bit of Optimism
Although Chloe spoke from the concerns of racism, her central tone is to encourage all to face the demon inside. Instead of othering people, recognizing those needs and wants that we dislike or loathe are not unique but social-emotional complexity existing within every single one of us. As inner psychology lays out: what we do not like is a projection of ourselves. Separation is an illusion. It is always We and Us.
To be WE is not an easy task. Communications and negotiations speaks to from and to our egos. It triggers anger, annoyance, disgust, superiority…and feelings that defines us at that particular moment. Oftentimes, it hurts.
Looking within takes courage because it asks us to confront our own ego. One who chooses to go through that path could experience unpleasant interactions with our own ego.
Indeed, as human beings I’m capable of doing all good and bad. I choose, I mourn, I learn and I choose again. such a lifetime hard work. It can be fun if we simply let it.
I have always wondered how a class that requires intensive interactions and readings of non-verbal cues can work online with little kids. Can it really work? To what extent?
I believe in real human interaction in the K-2 classrooms, where our children learn to respect and cherish one another through their deeds. To me, it’s like a little society they get to experience and experiment the consequences of their own actions. Through discussion, if the teacher is willing, they will bond and acquire a sense of life that they wish when they grow up.
Since the breakout of pandemic, our children and teachers can only interact online through a small window and are refrained from physical engagement. Amongst the teachers, we sometimes jokingly said that our kids absorb everything happening in the class through their skin, not eyes not ears, just like fish in the water. Now that the kids are in a different context, How learning takes place is indeed an interesting phenomenon. Is it still the same kind of learning?
I’m sure there are children truly excited about using “computers” or “tablets,” but I am not sure how the quality of online interactions serves the purpose of learning social skills such as eye-contact, showing physical support with non-verbals or active listening.
Online class/communication, to me, perhaps requires a different set of social rules or etiquette.
Teaching for the years passed by, I have come to realize that giving a demonstration is truly a good way to evaluate what and how I have worked with my students.
In this post, I wish to offer some of my experiences for teachers who are working on a teaching demonstration and for student teachers who wish to gain from observing a lesson. Again, it comes from my own experience and this is not intended for those wishing to see a seemingly energetic and happy 40-minute demo lesson.
As an observer in a language class, I seek to gain insight from the teacher’s orchestration, the learners’ active learning, and the interaction between the teacher and the learners. I wish to see how the teacher structure a particular lesson, where the delivery focus is the concept not the textbook content; where the activities are designed to convey skills and concepts. That is to say, my major concern is how the learners demonstrate their learning of the skills/content/concepts through carefully designed activities.
And no, in the language class we can’t prepare the students for that kind of demonstration within one single lesson - the demonstration period. That particular period should be an accumulation of everything you have taught because this is how language teaching should be, building off what the children already know and move on to something new. It sounds like common sense, but it is a real challenge for a language teacher. Because you are teaching a foreign language to young learners and the learners practically learn almost everything from you and your teaching.
So yes, your demonstration shall not be a fancy 40-minute show, but the real representation of your everyday teaching. And it is not about you. It is about your students - a demonstration of what they have learned and how they learned it: your classroom language (mutual understanding), your content build-up routines (their self-learning skills),
In the language class, it covers practically everything you can think of and everything that facilitates the use of the target language in the classroom, whether it is exchange between the teacher and the students or amongst the students themselves. Language such as commands/requests (pass the paper, please? How many? Turn off ..., please. Turn on ...., please...etc) or attention grabbers.
Aside from the dialogues patterns provided in the textbooks (they are, most of the time, artificial and hard to be recycled in the classroom setting), there are a lot of useful expressions that can be taught to the students. I recommend teachers to find teaching clips available on Youtube to develop a repertoire of their own classroom language and practice how to use it appropriately.
Routines (or Your Classroom Management)
They are, in my opinion, the most important part in the language class. We can alternate and devise new teaching strategies or activities, but keeping the learners in a loop for them to feel safe helps to give them confidence exploring the content boldly and freely. It is crucial especially at the elementary level (K-5). More importantly, the learners will need to time to understand what is expected and not expected. I love how the strategies teachers in the US use to discuss and evaluate the learners' understanding by asking them
- what it looks like?
- what it sounds like?
- how it feels like?
It gives the learners a holistic picture of an abstract concept with concrete forms.
For instance, if cooperative learning is something one wishes to demonstrate in demo period, the learners need to practice it for at least a couple months before they feel trust amongst their team members and not worrying too much about making mistakes. If pair work is something one wishes to demonstrate in the demo period, they need to learn what to say, how to take turns or even how to respond.
Tricks, games and activity ideas are easy find in the sea of web. If an activity is not working for you, it is probably because there is some foundation you forgot to build before you implement it. For that, I mean the routines and your classroom management.
We just finished our readers’ theater competition today. It is not a surprise to me that the groups who enjoyed the most were rewarded the best. There are some deciding factors that facilitate their performance in my opinion.
First, an appropriate script that the students can relate plays an important role. Amongst the better performing classes, most of them are able to understand the story being read to them, they are able to create their own imagination from the pictures shown to them, they are able to find interesting points in the story that make them laugh, mad or sad.
Second, albeit different aptitudes and personalities of the students, the better performing classes are more able to play with the rhythm and intonations of English. There was a lot of valuable discussion when we went through the scripts and tried different ways to express the scripts. To me, it felt like practicing choir, trying to come up with a better combination to make parts of the story vivid, fun and enchanting. As the class went through different combinations, I could feel that the students were able to experience the impact resulted from different combinations. They enjoyed the experiments and making their own decisions.
In the EFL environment, there are very few opportunities for learners to express themselves in English. We have struggled with elementary learners working on their textbook sentence structures and dialogues for years. To be honest, it feels fake because there is hardly real recipient to initiate a communication. And the readers’ theater makes it real because the learners are truly express their feelings towards a written piece to someone, the audience listening to the story. Whether it is a dialogue, monologue, or narrative, the learners have to exercise everything they have accumulated through years of learning.
Readers' Theater Story
** Please write in the comment section if you need the RT script.
It’s easy to get fatigued sometimes in our teaching when our brains went totally dry and can’t come up with any ideas to boost the learning energy in the classroom.
Here are some quick go activities I collected through colleagues or online resources. It is always great to come back for a revisit now and then.
*The first* article is from infromED in 2013. It offers 25 tricks to jumpstart routine lessons. They are divided into subjects: Math, Reading, Writing, Science, Social Studies, and offered when a specific skill or skill is targeted at. The ideas are very practical and easy to implement given that our ESL/EFL curriculum integrates many of those subjects. My favorites are
These ideas are all simple and practical. I always feel pumped again when I come back to revisit these ideas.
*The second* article is written by teachtought in 2018, specifically addresses the necessity to get students moving in the classroom and it offered 5 activities to be incorporated in any lessons. Simple and easy to prepare.
Although the authors stated that their activities are used with high school students I found them also useful in the elementary classrooms when I implemented then with more control of questions I asked and more practice on the routines/discussion on the goals with the children.
今年四年級的孩子在班上開始了 獨立學習 的練習。
An enthusiastic ELT/CLIL teacher, passionate educator, researcher, teacher trainer, Apple Teacher. Seesaw ambassador and curriculum developer.