domingo, 22 de julio de 2012


Today, we finally finished the module 2 of the TKT exam.  In this Module we study all the things related with the Lesson Planning.
I learnt a lot of things in this Module. But I would like to talk about one issue that concerns me. In this course, when we talk about teaching aids, we still can see that the module includes the using of old resources like Overhead Projectors, Tapes,   Flipcharts, but I did not read / heard a single word about devices like Mobile Phones, Ipods, or at least a Memory stick!
Is Technology advancing so fast that we teachers are staying behind? 
I spent 3 years of my life in the UK, where I got my MSc degree. The first thing I can say is that in this country, mobile phones are used for many things, like reading the Schedule on Airports and Railway stations, to investigate addresses, to chat, to shop, to read the weather predictions, or to investigate anything in Wikipedia. And many Universities are involved in what we call M-Learning, the using of Mobile aids to Teach / Learn Including my beloved English Alma Mater the UEL.
I am not proposing to eliminate from the course, the parts related with Flipcharts or tape recorders. We don’t know where our paths will lead us, but I think we should include those new devices, and welcome them as Real Teaching Aids. Our world is changing very fast, and we teachers should be prepared to use new devices in our work.  

lunes, 16 de julio de 2012

Some words in English are quite tricky when we try to pronounce them properly. English is not a difficoult language to pronounce and has not the tricky combination of consonants as in other Indoeuropean languages, like the slavic ones. Not very often we find combinations of more than 2 consonants. However, how about this Combination existing in several english words: "SCH".
-Scheme = /skiːm/  (pronounciation in IPA)
-Schism = / ˈskɪzəm/ 
-School = /skuːl/ 
-Schooner = / ˈskuːnər /
 They all start with this combination, and the pronounciation starts with "sk".

Words like
-Schlepp = /ʃlep/ 
-Schmooze = /ʃmuːz/
-Schnitzel =  / ˈʃnɪtsəl/ 

These are foreing words that came into English and kept their original sound "ʃ" 

What about the word "Schedule? 

this word, depending on whether you are in Britain or in the US, it has different pronounciations. 

This word seems to exist since the times of middle English. It came from the french word "Cedule". As the time advances, this word retained it french pronounciation while adding other letters; meanwhile, americans tend to go through Greek pronounciation. The origine of the different pronounciations in UK and in US is not clear still, but in this blogg , there is a good explanation:


a good web page to know tha right pronounciation of the words is this one:

http://www.wordreference.com/es/translation.asp? 




 

miércoles, 11 de julio de 2012


Languages are like any Living Being: They were born, then they grow up, they reproduce and die.
I don’t like teaching my students just the content of a course book. I like to give my students examples of what they will find once they move (Visit) an English speaking country.
One of the best web pages I found, where I can get help for my classes is the http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish
I always recommend this web page to my colleagues from the University.  
But how does BBC help me to teach that languages are living?   A language is living as long as is producing new expressions, idioms, and it’s grammar tends to change. Thanks to BBC I know some useful idioms like:  “Monkey business”, or “It’s not my cup of Tea”, or “¨Pigs might fly”. But a special credit must be given to “The Teacher” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/theteacher/index.shtml ) and his fantastic sessions with old and new idioms, from the Dickensian ones to some other more updated. Thanks to the Teacher, I am interested in research more about English idioms and slangs, and my understanding of TV programs and everyday conversations has improved. 

martes, 10 de julio de 2012


Presentation Techniques
One of the new things that I learnt in this course is the existence of different ways to present the language to students.
There are 6 techniques based on communicative approach.
TPR – Total Physical Response
Grammar Translation
PPP – Presentation Practice Produce
TTT – Test Teach Test
TBL – Task Based Learning
Guided Discovery

Here is a brief about those techniques:



Definition
Advantages
Disadvantages
TPR
Total Physical Response – Learners act out or respond to the target words without speaking.
-Good for children
-Open spaces
-Limited for adult education
Grammar Translation
Learners analyse a text, how the words are used, then translate to L1
-Good for specific courses.
-For interpretation of texts.
-To teach dead languages.
-Cannot apply in open environments
-Difficult to produce (Write or speak).
PPP
Presentation – Practice – Production. 
The language is presented (Taught) then learners practice in a controlled way through exercises, then in a more communicative way student practise what they learnt. 
-For Grammar is fine
-One of the most used methods in English schools.
-not good for fluency.
-May have limitations for Students who do not live in an English speaking environment.
-May not meet the linguistic needs of learners.
TTT
Test – Teach – Test
The Teacher sees what students know and create a need for the target language. The language is then presented and finally students practice it. 
-Adult centred.
-Teacher has a better idea of the kind of students and how to proceed.
-Motivating.
-More demanding for teachers. -Requires more planning.
TBL
Task based learning – Learners work completing a task while they learn and practice new language. The teacher presents some information students may need to complete their task
-Good for development of fluency.
-Student centred.
-Practical. Real language is learnt. Free use of Grammar.
-Integrates Accuracy & Fluency
-Risk Free means students are happy with certain words.
-limited when restrictions apply.
Guided Discovery
Learners work out the language structure by themselves with some guidance from the teacher. 
-Promote Thinking, Exploration.
-Good for Abstract situations.
-Promotes creativity and responsibility.
-Peer Collaboration.
-Some Theory may be missed.
-not suitable for beginners.
  
A new Adventure began: TKT. 15 teachers involved in a new challenge, willing to improve their skills as English teachers.
The first discussion was about grammar. Personally I love Grammar. Being proficient in other languages and interested in the behaviour of other languages, perhaps I know better than other people the advantages of knowing the grammar of a language.
But my first surprise was when we started to discuss about the tenses in English, We always talk about many different tenses, like Simple present, Present continuous, Simple Past, Present perfect, conditional, etc. At least in my own words, English has many tenses, but verbs show up in 3 forms: Present, Past and Participle. But the answer given by today’s scholars of Cambridge University is something totally new for me: In English there are just 2 tenses, Present and Past. The rest of the presentations and forms of the verbs are called “Aspects”.  Something new in case I want to have formal chats with the experts of this and any other language!