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Humanistic Teaching - Worksheets Archive

An approach to learning English

January 17, 2010

New Year Resolutions

Did you make any New Year resolutions for this year? If you did, are they still alive, or have they already started to push up daisies in the wayside? I gave up making them long ago, although I often think about them as each New Year rolls around. One thing I do do off and on with my adult students is get them to make weekly or monthly resolutions. There's a page at Wise Hat about it. Basically it's just a way to get students to think about how they could be doing more English at home.

The problem I have with resolutions is that I like to change my mind. For a while now I've been thinking about changing how I approach this blog. When I started it, something just over ten months ago, I decided I was going to make an entry every week, no matter what. Apart from some holidays I more or less did that. I must say that I had hoped for some more feedback. Right now I'm thinking of relating my entries to the amount of feedback I get. I'm wondering about just going for mini entries and only writing long pieces when I get some comments. Life is only so long.

Life is only so long. If I were to make some resolutions for the year then what would they be? Here's my list in no particular order:

  1. Make sure students have real choice in every class.
  2. Get students to make resolutions to improve their English.
  3. Focus on developing passion rather than teaching.
  4. Fade into the background in class.
  5. Forget about results.
  6. Create a range of materials children will want to use at home.
  7. Complete a DIY phonics course.
  8. Get children to know why they are doing English
  9. Help children who are less than ambivalent about English to quit.

What would your list be?


February 14, 2010

Kind Hearts And Pancakes

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It may be Valentine's Day today but truth be told I've never done much with it in or out of the classroom. A quick search of my computer reveals a solitary worksheet for adults and high school students  based on the information found here. It contained a true or false quiz, a version of which can be downloaded by clicking this link. Students were invited to read each statement in turn, discuss it and make a guess before the answer was revealled. One aim was to see how long it would take them to decide that all the statements were true.

I wonder if St Valentine's Day is something done more often in schools in the US than in Britain? I don't remember the event ever being celebrated once while I was at school. It never made an appearance at home either, but Pancake Day did which I guess is why I have a soft spot for it. The same computer search draws forth nearly a dozen files, though in general when I do pancake lessons I like to make them completely practical, or perhaps I should write, physical. Very few schools I've taught at have given me access to an oven range but for pancakes a portable gas cooker actually works better. Children can get as close as you deem advisable. I usually let them get very close and of course they all get a chance to have a toss, if they want one. In my experience the older children get the more concerned they become about drops. This could be because they are concerned about wasting food but I think their reserve comes from fear of making a mistake. One thing I want to get across with pancake lessons is that the only real mistake is trying to avoid making them. One method I've found to encourage them to have a go is to designate one pancake as a a practise pancake. I tell them it doesn't matter if it goes on the floor as we can use it just for throwing practise. If by chance it does end up on the floor we can keep using it and then rinse out the pan before before making ones to eat. Anyway, I'm going to be lazy today and draw this week's entry to a close. If you want to read more than try this link to an old Now's Newsletter. It's got a little bit about NLP reframing and a little bit more about pancakes. Happy holidays!


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