Sunday, January 29, 2012

Week 3 Delicious bookmarks/

Teach and learn

I'll start by saying that the third week of our course was full of discoveries for me, as well as the first two weeks. I think that the motto of the course could be the words I've chosen as a heading for this post: Teach and learn (with the word teach used instead of live, as we are used to hear it). To my mind, the profession of a teacher is not only about teaching, but also about learning. That is because no matter how good your teaching skills are, you still have to explore the limitless opportunities the fast-moving and constantly developing world provides us. At the moment the object of exploration for me is the Internet, which can serve not only as a source of information but also as a teaching tool.

This week I became acquainted with, a website used for saving links. The site is a real salvation for people who bookmark webpages quite frequently and need an access to the list from different computers. And that is the case with me, because I have a lot of *favourites* and keeping them on a website is very convenient, because it means I can find a needed link whenever it is necessary.  No doubt, it will take me some time to transfer links from my browser to my delicious page, but next time I come across something really interesting and useful, I will save it on straightaway. Also, I am really excited by the fact that now I can share the links with my colleagues and have access to what they consider useful and deserving attention. Another way of using is directing students to your page and saking them to find a certain link and give them assignments on the website they will be redirected to. Or you could ask students to create their own delicious pages and save their favourite links. One of the assignments could be: look at one of your groupmate's delicious pages and write/ speak about his interests or describe one website which interested you most. It goes without saying, the idea will only work for intermediate, upper-intermediate and advanced students, since it requires different developed skills.

Another weekly assignment was to read an article on Teaching aural/oral skills and look at one of the offered websites providing us with authentic listening materials. I must say I enjoyed doing this task, because listening something we have to deal with at every lesson. The fact is, listening activities are a very important part of the ELT process. I read an article Developing Listening Skills with Authentic Materials. The author describes the importance of developing listening skills and gives examples of how Radio, TV/Video and the Internet/CD-rom can be used. Listening exercises are divided in to three parts: pre-listenings, while-listening and post-listening activities. The author of the article gives detailed examples of how we can work with Radio, TV and the Internet. I chose to explore, which turned out to be an amazingly structured website with convenient interface. There's a table on the main page, which is divided into three columns in accord with the difficulty of tasks: easy, medium and difficult. One can find different topics, from Meeting to World news stories. And the best thing is, each recording has a set of activities for different parts of listening and vocabulary exercises. I studied a recording about sightseeing and I liked it a lot! And I'm sure that my students would enjoy it as much as I did.

The project task was to read a final project, written by participants of previous courses. In my opinion, it was an extremely useful assignment, because now we know what our final projects must look like. We can discuss them on Nicenet and see what projects other people have read and what they think about them. It is very nice to have different opinions.

To conclude, I'd like to thank all the participants for collaboration and for the opportunity to teach and learn with them!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Week 2 Exploration

“I like my job because it involves learning. I like being around smart people who are trying to figure out new things. I like the fact that if people really try they can figure out how to invent things that actually have an impact.” Bill Gates, Microsoft founder

I began my new post with the quote, because it really captures the essense of the work that we, teachers, do (although the job referred to in the quote doesn't have anyhting to do with teaching). Along with teaching goes learning. And it sounds like a great job to me! 
Week 2 is drawing to an end and I begin to feel more and more confident in using the Internet facilities as a teacher. I found out that it really offers an infinite amount of possibilities. One of them are numerous search engines, which turn out to be a good starting point if you have to find something specific. From now on Bing, Academicinfo, Intute and many others will be my *favourites*. In my opinion, it is very important to know where to start and what to write when you are looking for something. I have to say, that information at was very helpful . I learnt how to write the right query to make the search successful and many other useful things.
This week we all had to describe our class and to write an ABCD objective.  To tell the truth, at first I didn't understand the meaning of the abbreviation. But after reading some materials, offered by the main website, it became clear to me. In fact, it turned out, that I've been using the ABCD system since my school practice. Because it's impossible to write a learning objective without mentioning the Audience, Behavior, Condition or Degree of mastery.  I should say that writing a clear objective helps you to plan a lesson the best way, so that you could reach the goal! The objective I posted on turned out to have some uncertainty. But with the help of Janine, who left useful commentaries, I managed to accomplish this task. Reading other teacher's objectives and commentaries, I got a lot of information as well. Now I know what difficulties may arise when writing an objective and how to minimise inaccuracy.
Undoubtedly, I am going to apply everything I learnt this week in my teaching.  The search engines I discovered due to this course will be an unlimited source of information for me. And the ABCD style of writing learning objectives will be a starting point for planning a lesson, since they show what I expect from my students and help to define what I need to do to reach the goal.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Week 1 Reflections

To begin with, I sould say that this is my first experience in blogging. I've heard a lot about blogs famous people, teachers and other people have, but I never felt the need to blog as a teacher or as my personal self.
I have to admit this task is a kind of a challenge for me, although I can use a computer and different Internet features quite well. But a challenge is good, since it provokes development and you become experienced in the field. In fact, it is always so exciting to learn something new and useful.
So I'm really glad that now I NEED to do it for the course. And I am sure the experience will be of great use for me in future, when we have a computer in each classroom. Anyway, I can use it with students who have Internet access at home. And what's more inspirational is that from now on I will be able to share my thoughts with colleagues from all over the world, discuss different topics with them and get their professional opinion. I believe, it is very important to stay fresh and current on the methods of teaching.
To conclude, I'd like to say that to keep up with all the innovations is particularly relevant for a teacher. I am sure that any teacher should build his curriculum in accord with the technologies, because IT have become an applied science in nearly all the fields of human performance and we can't avoid using them.