Views on Education

With this post we would like to compile several resources that have been suggested in our Facebook group to talk about education (particularly by Laura Martin).

1. First of all, the classic talk by Ken Robinson, one of the most popular video in TED: Do schools kill creativity?’

Also by Ken Robinson, Changing Education Paradigms

Have a look at the fantastic lesson around this video in Film English, by Kieran Donaghy

2. The perspective of a motivated and motivating teacher in TED: “Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.’” A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.”

3. Education and technology:

No computers in the classroom in Silicon Valley

4. Free schools:

5. Some notions on “unschooling”:

6. Hackschooling:

If you have any more ideas to add here, please let us know in a comment.

Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night

Gunpowder Plot

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Sandwiched between the overwhelming popularity of Halloween and all-American Thanksgiving, on November, 5th there is a festival that, in recent years, has gained its lost popularity. Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes’ Night is one of those celebrations that are not rooted in everyday activities or seasonal changes, but in the historical events that took place in the 17th century and whose main character, Guy Fawkes, has become the icon for many who fight the political power (see “V for Vendetta” or the masks of the members of Anonymous).

For those who, like us, enjoy introducing their students to the culture of the target language, here go a couple of links with materials for the classroom. If you are teaching beginners or basic levels, Activity Village (http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/guy-fawkes) has a good range of basic exercises to practice vocabulary.

In case you need something more elaborate for intermediate students, the kibishiaul.com blog (http://kibishipaul.com/blog1/2006/11/05/lesson-16-bonfire-night-video/) has a video lesson with an on-line quiz. Also, for this level, we have the material from Remember Remember (http://www.remember-remember.com/schools/teaching.php#literacy) especially the punctuation activities.

Finally, there is a more humorous BBC video documentary hosted by Nick Knowles that could be a good entertaining and inspiring resource for more advanced students. In this case we have not found any activities, although we suggest students could write a short article on the events described.

If you know of any more materials that could complete this post, please write a comment. We appreciate your collaboration.

The Great Fire of London

It’s been a long long time since we last published something here. Today I’m sharing a listening activity about The Great Fire of London. The main objective is not that the answer all questions correct, but that they get to know some of London’s history.

The acitvity is suitable for B1+ and B2 students. You just need to give students the questions and play the video. You can even let them see the video without the questions first.

Finally, as follow up or just for fun, you can show them or share with them this other article which includes a video created by some De Montfort University students with a recreation of London before The Great Fire.

Link

English Project- CEP Icod (Tenerife)

Last year, I was involved in an exciting project conceived by the Foreign Language advisor at CEP Icod (click here for the credits). The idea was to film a series of short videos showing real life situations (or better communicative learning situations) performed  by native speakers which could be used in the classroom as a teaching/learning resource. The whole project was put together on a website and launched at the beginning of this school year and it is available for anyone who wants to use it. 

In the website you will find a set of situations (at the supermarket, restaurant, in the street…)  each of which has been divided into two levels, but they are not focused on any specific educational stage. What is more, they can be easily adapted to the purposes of any lesson plan we may be working with. Also, for each of them, a list of extra resources is provided, i.e. scripts of the dialogues, an interactive visual dictionary or extra practice dialogues. 

Another interesting feature is that students can make use of all this material even outside the classroom, i.e.  working pronunciation and language in real context, recreating the dialogues and repeating them to practice rhythm and stress…And it is accessible 24/7 and free. 

Time to stop bragging about it and ask you to give it a shot and try it. If you are not convinced, tell your students. I bet they will find it useful. 

PS: the link to the website is at the top of the page, in case you haven’t guessed it. 

100 Top First World Problems

Our mate Luis Msánchez suggested we could use a video with the same title of this post on our facebook group and this is how I used it. It’s supposed to be a warmer.

I recommend you to watch the video before reading the activity, so that you understand.

Level: B1 and above.

Skills: speaking, listening, reading, writing.

Aim: oral fluency, motivation, fun.

Grouping: Groups of 3-4 students, whole class

Timing: 40 minutes

Materials: Youtube video, projection equipment, pc.

STEP 1

Write down this sentence on the whiteboard: “100 Top First World Problems” and ask them to form groups of 3-4 students. They have to discuss and write a list of problems.

STEP 2

Ask a member of each group to read their list. These are the problems they will mention: famine, economical crisis, unemployment, crime, obesity…

STEP 3

Now tell them you are going to show them the real list. They expect something similar to what they wrote, of course. When they see the video, they feel puzzled and just laugh.

STEP 4

Play the video again and ask them to write down the problems they share with the speaker. Try to give examples of your own problems.

STEP 5

Ask them to read the problems they feel identified with, give examples, try to find possible solutions, etc.

STEP 6

Brainstorm with them other problems they might have and which are similar to the ones presented on the video. With the results you can make your own list. You can read the list of our class under this link which leads you to the blog of our school.


Ireland (Activity for St. Patrick’s Day)

This year I’m teaching Avanzado 2 students, they are doing their last year and don’t want to waste their time, they just want to finish their studies at our school and obtain their certificate. That’s why choosing activities is somehow difficult for me, and I have to adapt them and sometimes disguise them as something different. Yes, I cheat.

Well, this is my idea for them. It’s very easy and doesn’t need much preparation and at the same time I give them what they want: listening and speaking. We could do some writing with a follow-up acitivity, as writing a description, but I’m going to skip it.

TIMING: 1 HOUR (depending on the number of students)

WARMING

Ask students what they know about Ireland: Geographical situation, facts, places, food, music, etc. I’m pretty sure they won’t say much, apart from those who know the country.

ACTIVITY

  • We are going to watch 5 videos of Ireland, they take about 16 minutes and I’m going to ask them to take notes to prepare a 5-minute speech (this is like one of the parts of their final exam).
  • Finally we are going to present the different speeches. Depending on the number of students, we’ll do it in small groups or individually, before the whole class.

We’ll finish with a karaoke version of Molly Malone.

You can find all the videos under this link.

The Artistifier

Cristina Monti has shared this useful tool with us in our facebook group:

The recent success of the film ‘The Artist‘ seems to have created a lot of interest in silent black and white movies again. These kinds of movies are great for using with students: now you can create your own B&W silent movies using The Artistifier and any clip that you can find on YouTube.

I’ve tried it myself and the results are spectacular. Here you can see a little example of what you can do.

In class I think you can use The Artistifier in many different ways. I’m thinking of showing the site to my students and tell them how it works and ask them to create their own video.

Our mate Iván Conte suggests we can work on body language with it, and thinks this tool can be useful with elementary students.

If you have any other suggestion, please leave your ideas in the comments section, we are eager to see what else we can do.