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Children are very enthusiastic about Dinosaurs and History in general, they want to learn about where do we come from, children ask themselves those questions, and as adults we should help them to get closer to that.

Here are some ideas to work with this topic:

1) To start with, you may brainstorm some ideas about Dinosaurs. Write the word “Dinosaurs” on the board and ask them to tell you all they know about them. In this way you may know what they have already learnt about.

Elicit vocabulary such as “reptiles”, “Extinct”, “carnivorous”, “herbivorous”, “tall”, “heavy”, “mesozoic era”, “Ice Age”, “big footprints”.

2) Ask them: What are dinosaurs? Write on the board their ideas, so you can then check if any of the ideas was correct.

3) Give them this text or a similar one, depending on the level of English they can manage.


Dinosaurs were one of several kinds of prehistoric reptiles that lived during the Mesozoic Era, the “Age of Reptiles.”

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The dinosaurs dominated the Earth for over 165 million years, but mysteriously went extinct 65 million years ago. Paleontologists study their fossil remains to learn about the amazing prehistoric world of dinosaurs.

There were bipedal and quadripedal dinosaurs (they walked on 2 or 4 legs).

There were lots of different kinds of dinosaurs that lived at different times. Some were HUGE, some were small. Some walked on two legs, some walked on four . Some were speedy , and some were slow.

Some were carnivores and some were herbivores.

4) Work on the text´s vocabulary. Make them understand the meaning of words from context.

5) Write the word “Myth” on the whiteboard. Ask them if they know what´s a myth. Explain what it is: It is something people believe is true, but it isn´t.

Bow they will read in pairs 6 myths about Dinosaurs. After that, they must answer some questions.

Dinosaurs Myths:

1. Not all huge prehistoric animals were dinosaurs.

A lot of animals existed during the Mesozoic along with the dinosaurs. Some animals were closely related to the dinosaurs, like the pterosaurs (which belong to the Order Archosauria as do the dinosaurs).

2. There were no flying dinosaurs or swimming dinosaurs.
All dinosaurs lived on the land; none of them lived in the seas or flew (until the birds)! Neither the flying
pterosaurs, nor the swimming ichthyosaurs were dinosaurs, although all were closely related.

3.Not all dinosaurs were huge.
There were plenty of small and medium-sized dinosaurs. The smallest dinosaur yet discovered is
Compsognathus, which was the size of a chicken!

4. People did not coexist with the dinosaurs (except for the birds).

People didn’t evolve until about 65 million years after the dinosaurs’ extinction.

5.The dinosaurs didn’t all live at the same time.The dinosaurs lived in the Earth for about 165 million years. Different types of dinosaurs existed at different times. Dinosaur species evolved and went extinct throughout the Mesozoic (this is called background extinction).In the Triassic period, the dinosaurs were small, and most species died out in an extinction at the end of the Triassic period. In the Jurassic, many new dinosaur species evolved from the Triassic survivors, including the gigantic sauropods.

6. Not all the dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago.Most of the dinosaur groups went extinct long before the mass extinction of 65 million years ago. The remaining dinosaurs died out at that time, but many bird species (which are technically dinosaurs) survived it.

7. The dinosaurs were not a failure.Various dinosaurs lived all around the Earth for about 165 million years. In comparison, people have only been around for about a million years. In terms of survival through geological time, the dinosaurs were long-lasting animals, probably leaving birds as their descendants.

Answer:

1.Were all huge, prehistoric animals dinosaurs?

2.Did dinosaurs swim or fly?

3.Were all the dinosaurs huge?

4.Did cavemen live alongside the dinosaurs?

5.Did all the dinosaurs live at the same time?

6.Did all the dinosaurs die out?

7.Why were the dinosaurs a failure?

 

 

6) After correcting the questions, ask children if they know When did Dinosaurs live? Then explain what the Mesozoic Era is and the 3 periods, the Triassic, the Jurassic and the Cretaceous.

Explain some vocabulary like “Pangea”.

Then draw a table like this one, but do not write the content of each column. You will give the content, all scrambled to them, and in three teams they have to match the information they have, with some pictures you will stick in each box of each column (the pictures must represent the information they got, for example, if it says “one supercontinent” you should draw the continents all together).


The Age of Reptiles

The Mesozoic Era
248 – 65 million years ago

Triassic Period
248 – 208 million years ago

Jurassic Period
208-146 million years ago

Cretaceous Period
146-65 million years ago

Continental Drift

One supercontinent, Pangaea.

In mid-Jurassic, Pangaea began to break apart, into Laurasia and Gondwana.

Continental drift continued at a fast pace, with accompanying volcanic activity. The continents almost had their modern-day look.

Climate

Hot and dry, with strong seasonality.

Hot and dry, with strong seasonality at first, changing to warm and moist with no polar ice and vast flooded areas.

Temperatures were warm, seasonality was low, and global sea levels were high (no polar ice!) at the beginning of the Cretaceous. Later, sea levels dropped, seasonality increased, and there were greater extremes in temperature between the poles and the equator.

Plants and Animals

Small, fast dinosaurs appeared for the first time. The first tiny nocturnal mammals developed. Ichthyosaurs (marine reptiles) swam in the seas. Ferns , Glossopteris, cycads , horsetails, and early gymnosperms (conifers) abounded during the mesozoic.

More dinosaurs, including gigantic ones, roamed the earth, and pterosaurs flew. Archaeopteryx, the first primitive dinosaur-like bird developed.

Dinosaurs flourish. Flowering plants (angiosperms) spread, displacing conifers and others. The oldest-known ants, snakes, and butterflies arose towards the end of the Mesozoic Era. A major extinction occurred at the end of the Mesozoic, 65 million years ago.


7) Brainstorm animals´body parts. Help them with some specific vocabulary of dinosaurs´body parts.

8) Divide them in teams and give each team one or two physical descriptions of one Dinosaur.

They must read the information and make some sentences about eating habits, defenses, etc. Finally each group will come to the board and present their dinosaur to the class, using pictures and information written on the board, as if they were teaching.

Here I have some descriptions for you to use.

Triceratops horridus

“Horrible Three-horned Face”

Triceratops was a rhinoceros-like dinosaur. It walked on four sturdy legs and had three horns on its face.

Triceratops hatched from eggs.

Triceratops was about 9 m long, 3 m tall , and weighed up to 6-12 tons. It had a short, pointed tail, and a bony neck. It had a parrot-like beak, many cheek teeth, and powerful jaws.

Triceratops lived in the late Cretaceous period, about 72 to 65 million years ago, toward the end of the Mesozoic, the Age of Reptiles.

Triceratops was probably a herding animal.

Triceratops was a ceratopsian, whose intelligence was intermediate among the dinosaurs.

Triceratops was an herbivore, a plant eater (a primary consumer). It probably ate cycads and other low-lying plants with its tough beak. Triceratops could chew well with its cheek teeth.

Triceratops was hunted and eaten by T. rex.

Triceratops walked on four short legs; it was a relatively slow dinosaur.

IGUANODON
“Iguana Tooth”

Iguanodon was a plant-eating dinosaur that had a conical spike on each thumb. This 9 m long dinosaur lived during the early Cretaceous period, about 135 to 125 million years ago.

Iguanodon was a dinosaur that had a horny, toothless beak and tightly-packed cheek teeth.

Iguanodon had a flat, stiff tail and three-toed hind feet with hoof-like claws. Its legs were much larger than its arms.

They weighed 4 to 5 tons.

Iguanodon was probably a herding animal, they congregated during their lives.

Iguanodon was an herbivore, a plant eater.

Iguanodon was an ornithopod, whose intelligence was midway among the dinosaurs.

Iguanodon could run on two legs or walk on four; it was a relatively fast dinosaur.


OVIRAPTOR
“Egg Robber”

Oviraptor was a small, bird-like, omnivorous dinosaur. It was about 1.8 to 2.5 m long, weighing about 25 to 35 kg. It was lightly built, fast-moving, long-legged, and bipedal (it walked on two legs). It had a curved, flexible, s-shaped neck, a long tail, short, strong arms, and curved claws on its three-fingered hands and three-toed feet.

Oviraptor lived during the late Cretaceous period, about 88-70 million years ago. This was a time of high tectonic activity.

Oviraptor was a relatively large-brained dinosaur that cared for its eggs.

Oviraptor was probably an omnivore, which is unusual for dinosaurs. It probably ate meat, eggs, seeds, insects, plants, etc. with its beak and powerful jaws. Oviraptor (meaning “egg stealer”) was thought to eat mostly eggs.

It was a fast runner.

VELOCIRAPTOR
Meaning “Speedy Thief”

Velociraptor was a fast-running, two-legged (bipedal) dinosaur. This meat-eater had about 80 very sharp, curved teeth.

This predator had an s-shaped neck, arms with three-fingered clawed hands, long thin legs, and four-toed clawed feet. Velociraptor’s head was about 18 cm long.

Velociraptor was about 2 m long , and 1 m tall . It may have weighed about 7 to 15 kg.

Velociraptor’s brain was relatively large in comparison to its body size.

Velociraptor lived during the late Cretaceous period, about 85 – 80 million years ago.

Velociraptor lived in a hot, dry environment – a desert-like environment that had some streams.

Velociraptor hunted in packs, attacking even very large animals.

Velociraptor was a carnivore, a meat eater.

Tyrannosaurus rex
the “Tyrant lizard king”

T. rex was a huge meat-eating dinosaur that lived during the late Cretaceous period, about 85 million to 65 million years ago. T. rex lived in a humid, semi-tropical environment, in open forests with nearby rivers and in coastal forested swamps. The seasons were mild.

Tyrannosaurus rex was a fierce predator that walked on two powerful legs. This meat-eater had a huge head with large, pointed, replaceable teeth and well-developed jaw muscles. It had tiny arms, each with two fingers.

Tyrannosaurus rex was up to 12.4 m long, about 4.6 to 6 m tall. The arms were only about 1 m long. Tyrannosaurus rex was roughly 5 to 7 tons in weight.

FINISHING THE ACTIVITY: To end up with this topic you might want to do a class project about Dinosaurs, with pictures and information about different kinds of Dinosaurs, Periods of the Mesozoic Era, Dinosaurs´relatives, Dinosaurs´myths, etc. to share with other groups at the school notice-board.

GOOD LUCK !!

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What is it that makes so interesting the work with children?

Perhaps their imagination, creativity and enthusiasm?

How can we exploit those qualities a child has naturally, to accelerate the learning process?

Which activities interest them most?

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It is my firm belief that children worth the effort one makes in planning lessons and activities. They come to class with happiness in their faces, they say “Hi, Teacher!” to you when you arrive to class, they pay attention when activities are interesting, and they can let you notice their boredom when the lesson is dull and improper.

Paying attention to their ideas is a plus. They come to class with their own likes and dislikes, their interests and habits, and they want you to do something about them. If they want to study a specific topic, be flexible with the planning and make changes so as to teach what they are enthusiastic about.

Any topic is interesting for them, animals, dinosaurs, fiends, music, movies, school… The key is in changing and offering a variety of topics, so they don´t feel it is always the same.

Once, my students asked me: “Where did the first man on Earth come from? ” . As it was a bilingual school, I taught English and also Science and History in English. We were just starting classes and we had two more weeks in order to start with History. I had to change my Lesson Plan, and I said (as to make time to find information and investigate) “Let´s start with dinosaurs”, “Let start from the beginning, don´t you think it is better?”. The next day I had thousands of photocopies and material about Dinosaurs. They were very enthusiastic and even the less participative that didn´t behave so well cooperated with the class.

So a key to exploit the natural creativity and interest children have is adapting the lessons to their tastes.

Pair and group activities mean fun for them, and for us an opportunity to increase the STT (students talking time). At the same time we have more children speaking the language.

Please don´t hesitate to write more useful ideas to teach children.

Thanks!

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When planning a lesson, do we imagine ourselves next to the whiteboard teaching or do we include pair and group work? The first advantage I see is that at the same time there are more people learning.

So, if we include in our lesson an activity in pairs or groups, what are WE going to do?

First of all we have to arrange the seats so we can take full advantage of the classroom and the furniture. Then we should divide thtrabajo-en-equipo.jpge class in pairs or groups, depending on the activity, using different techniques. We can make groups according to their likes, to their physical appearance, or we can hand out cards that they have to relate in order to find their partner. These activities that are performed previous to the central exercise or game are interesting because they create and environment of fun and friendship, so when they sit together to work they are more comfortable with each other.

Another important step to take into account before starting is the explanation of the activity. It must be short and clear, and followed with some questions to check if it has been understood. If it has not been understood and you don´t check the classroom will turn into a chaos.

Part of the instructions given for the group or pair work must be: talk quietly or even whisper. Also, the language spoken must be English. Another important thing is to give each member of the group a role, such as secretary, etc. In that way each member, even the shy one, will participate and feel important as part of the group.

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When the students have started, our role is to monitor. We can move around the class, and listen carefully to what students are saying, so we can check if everybody is participating, if English is being spoken, and so on. If we notice something, we can sit with them for a moment, give an explanation or suggestion and move on, letting them work on their own.

These activities have many benefits. One of them is the increase in the amount of students talking time. Also, when they work in groups they have the need for interaction and in the effort of explaining the other his or her point of view he/she reinforces his/her own knowledge. These activities also develop independence and self esteem in the student.

Remember:

* Teach all the neccesary vocabulary so they can speak English during the task.

* Give feedback so they can see what they have learned.

* Set the time right, and prepare an exercise or another task in case one group finishes before the other.

What other benefits do you see in this kind of activity?

Do you know anything about “information gap” activities?

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Some useful things to bear in mind when teaching English in a class.

– Gain attention: Intonation is effective to give importance to a word, to pronunciation or specific vocabulary and also to vary the way we talk to students ir order no to make them feel bored. The same speaking volume and pitch may make the class too monotonous, so you must be alert.classroom-management.jpg

You could use your voice to get the students ready to work: “Let´s start!”, or to change activities… If you are talking at a specific volume, then you raise your voice to say, “Now go to exercise two.”

– Metalanguage: Words used to give instructions or explanations or even to ask questions, here you have some examples:

How do you say… in English?

May I go to the bathroom?

The idea is that students can use the language sooner, and that there´s more English spoken in the class.

That´s why translation should be used if it is the only way to explain something, or if it is less time wasting, There are many resources a teacher has to say the same thing without using the students mother tongue, such as gestures, intonation, drawings on the whiteboard, and so on.

– Instructions: The shorter and clearer the better. After given, show an example of the task and then check if it has been understood. The mistakeportfolio-snowflakes_lesson2.jpg most frequently made is to ask: Do you understand? Try a more subtle way.

Examples: “Sit down”; “Start”, “Open the book”; “Listen”.

After the instructions are given, and the students start working, check they are doing what they were supposed to do. Don´t wait too much for this, stop the class and explain again if necessary.

– Participation: Students are the ones that should participate more. The teacher must stimulate, but the activity is for the students. Also, you can involve them in the activity asking them to call the roll, hand out papers, read the task asked in the book, etc. Avoid echoing yourself and your students because that´s more time wasted in you, and not in the learner. Sometimes it is useful to echo your students if you are teaching pronunciation. And it can be fun also.

– Teacher posture: You should mantain eye contact with your students for many reasons. One is to encourage them to ask you or talk to you, if there´s no eye contact rapport is more difficult to be established. Also it shows security and confidence in what´s being taught. You may also notice their reactions and if they are understanding or not. Another important aspect of the posture is body language. If you teach simply through words, you are teaching less or slow, but if you add expressions and gestures the teaching becomes more effective. The learner capts both and relates them for ever. Also you can correct them through gestures instead of using words such as: That is incorrect, You should do it in this way… etc. Imagine you are teaching the body. If you only express vocabulary the student doesn´t learns too much because it is very difficult to remember a big amount of vocabulary. But if you add to this activity the drawing made by students of a human body they will remember much more.

– Class control: Don´t teach only to one student, the more talkative and extrovert. You must talk to all of them, make them participate in activities, and find the way to make them feel comfortable to talk. Remember every student is different and while one can be too sociable, the other could be extremely shy.

 
I would like now to hear your own tips on classroom management. What things you try to bear in mind when teaching? Write some tips and submit your comment.

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EL ARTE DE ENSEÑAR Y EL ARTE DE APRENDER

 

Entre el arte de enseñar y el arte de aprender existe una gran diferencia, no obstante hallarse ambos íntimamente vinculados. Por lo general, el que comienza a aprender lo hace sin saber por qué; piensa que es por necesidad, por una exigencia de su temperamento, por un deseo o por muchas otras cosas, a las cuales suele atribuir ese porqué. Mas cuando ya empieza a vincularse a aquello que aprende, se va despertando en él el interés, al par que se reaniman las fibras dormidas del alma, que comienza a buscar, llamando al estudio, los estímulos que han de crear la capacidad de aprender.

Pero, ¿qué es lo que el ser aprende, y para qué lo aprende? He aquí dos interrogantes a los cuales no siempre puede dárseles satisfactorias respuestas. Se aprende y se sigue aprendiendo, acaparando hoy un conocimiento y mañana otro, de igual o de diversa índole. Primero se aprende para satisfacer las necesidades de la vida, tratando de lograr por medio del saber una posición y solucionar, al mismo tiempo, muchas de las situaciones que la misma vida presenta. Cuando se colma la medida del estudio, pareciera ser como si en la mente se produjese una desorientación: el universitario, al lograr su título, aquel otro al culminar en su especialización. En fin, cuando esa vida de estudios ha terminado, comienzan las actividades en las diferentes profesiones, lo cual paraliza la anterior actividad de la mente dedicada al estudio; muchos hasta llegan a olvidar aquella constante preocupación que antes tenían por lograr cada día un conocimiento más, encontrándose como los que, habiendo finalizado el recorrido de un camino, no sienten la necesidad de dar un paso más, por no hallar el acicate de un objetivo capaz de propiciarlo. He ahí una de las causas de donde proviene tanta desorientación en los seres humanos.

Por otra parte, los que además de los estudios de la profesión aprenden otras cosas, lo hacen, muchas veces, sin tener de ello verdadera conciencia. Atesoran este, ese y aquel conocimiento, pero luego — salvo excepciones no saben qué hacer con ellos; no saben usarlos ni en su propio bien ni en bien de los demás. Así es como se los ve aprendiendo al azar en una y otra parte, sin tener un guía que los lleve hacia una meta segura y les permita hacer, de todo, un aprendizaje útil para sí mismos y para sus semejantes.

Al dar a conocer sus enseñanzas, la Logosofía pone de manifiesto que existe una inmensidad desconocida para el hombre, en la cual debe éste penetrar. Da a conocer, además, que mientras se interna en esa inmensidad, que es la Sabiduría, es decir, mientras aprende, puede también enseñar. Porque el arte de enseñar consiste en comenzar enseñándose primero a sí mismo, o, dicho de otro modo, mientras por una parte el ser aprende, aplica, por otra, ese conocimiento a sí mismo, y, enseñándose a sí mismo, sabe luego cómo enseñar a los demás con eficiencia.

Dijimos al comienzo que el arte de enseñar es muy diferente del arte de aprender. En efecto, tratándose del conocimiento trascendente, que es el que guía hacia el perfeccionamiento, no se puede enseñar lo que se sabe, si, al hacerlo, no va reflejada, como una garantía del saber, la seguridad que cada uno debe dar con su propio ejemplo. He ahí, justamente, donde empieza a hacerse difícil el arte de enseñar, porque no se trata de trasmitir una enseñanza. o mostrar que se sabe esto o aquello; el que así lo hiciera se convertiría en un simple repetidor de la enseñanza, en un autómata, y su labor carecería de toda eficacia. Es ya otra cosa cuando a través de la palabra del que enseña, coincidente con sus actos, se van descubriendo relevantes calidades; y otra cosa es, también, cuando en el que escucha y aprende se va manifestando la capacidad de asimilación; entonces, el que aprende, aprende verdad, y el que enseña, enseña a conciencia.

Una enseñanza puede ser trasmitida bieno mal por el que enseña, mas, el hecho de trasmitirla mal no tiene porque implicar mala intención o mala voluntad; comúnmente se la trasmite en forma errónea por no habérsela entendido bien, vivido y hecho carne en sí mismo. Quien esto hace no posee, por cierto, el dominio de la enseñanza, que permite no olvidarla más; y está lejos de ser como aquel que, en posesión de una fórmula, puede reproducir en cualquier momento el contenido de la misma. Olvida la enseñanza quien no ha tenido conciencia de ella, y, por tal causa, se halla en la misma situación del que aprende. Estas particularidades del arte de enseñar y del arte de aprender deben ser tenidas muy en cuenta siempre.

Para cultivar estas artes, cuando se aprende debe situarse uno mismo en la posición más generosa, cual es la de aprender sin mezquindad, la de aprender para saber dar, para saber enseñar, y no con miras egoístas haciéndolo para usufructo propio, exclusivo, que es, en último término, la negación del saber.

La Sabiduría Logosófica sse prodiga, por ello, a los que más tarde sabrán enseñar, quienes tendrán en cuenta, al hacerlo, todos los detalles que por lo común pasan inadvertidos y luego traban el entendimiento de los seres.

Quien es generoso al aprender, es generoso al enseñar; mas nunca habrá que excederse en esa generosidad pretendiendo enseñar antes de haber aprendido.

Es menester conocer a fondo la psicología humana, para descubrir todos los subterfugios que existen en el complejo y misterioso mecanismo mental del hombre.

Cuando se inicia la heroica empresa del propio perfeccionamiento, es necesario acostumbrarse a caminar con firmeza, sin vacilaciones ni desaciertos, buscando siempre la seguridad en el propio conocimiento, y cuando aquélla no exista, éste debe ser cultivado para que se alcancen a obtener esos frutos que hacen luego la felicidad interna.

Hablando ya del conocimiento logosófico, es de advertir que, aunque lo parezca, no es éste igual, ni mucho menos, al conocimiento común. Tiene una particularidad que lo distingue y que cada uno advierte, comprueba y confirma a medida que va realizando su proceso de evolución consciente. Dicha particularidad se manifiesta en el hecho de que estas enseñanzas sirven para ser usadas en la propia vida; aplicando en una diaria observación de sí mismo los conocimientos que de ellas emanan, se logra una superación constante que lleva a comprender más luego el carácter universal del Saber logosófico. Esto debe ser recordado en todo momento, a fin de tratar a la enseñanza logosófica como ella es: algo nuevo para el propio saber individual, algo que debe tomarse con todo cariño, con toda dedicación, sin descuidar jamás ninguna de sus indicaciones.

El conocimiento trascendente, o sea, el logosófico, expresa cuanto puede conocer el hombre al internarse en los arcanos de la Sabiduría. Es la antorcha convertida en luminaria, que, pasando de mano en mano a través de las generaciones, seguirá alumbrando la vida de los que buscan en el perfeccionamiento de sí mismos la propia inspiración; inspiración que también surge observando los sabios y nobles ejemplos que ha registrado la historia, y que registra, igualmente, el corazón humano cuando presencia todos aquellos casos en que un hombre surge por encima de los demás, mostrando los caracteres inequívocos de una estirpe superior.

La Logosofía tiene, pues, la misión de arrancar al hombre de los planos inferiores de conciencia, en que se encuentra, para llevarlo gradualmente, pasando por procesos alternados de superación, a conquistar el dominio consciente de sus posibilidades humanas. Es entonces cuando deja de ser un hombre común, un ser común, para convertirse en ser superior, capaz de trasmitir sus conocimientos a los demás y auxiliar a quienes carecen de voluntad para poder sobrevivir a las penurias que deben soportar en la vida.

¿Cuántas veces no hemos oído decir a uno u otro que desearía encontrarse a sí mismo? ¿Acaso, estas palabras, un tanto angustiadas, no dan a entender que se han perdido de vista, o que se han extraviado, desde el momento que no pueden encontrarse? En estas o en parecidas condiciones acuden muchos a la fuente logosófica. ¿No sería del caso preguntar aqui cómo piensan encontrarse? Los que se buscan a sí mismos, ¿tienen siquiera una vaga sospecha de lo que en verdad son? ¿Se reconocerían al hallarse? ¿Se han formado una imagen exacta de aquel a quien buscan ? Porque ha sucedido más de una vez que, cuando llega la oportunidad de presentarles al ausente, exclaman ante él: “¡Ese no soy yo!, ¡qué esperanza!”, y continúan luego la búsqueda, cada vez más infructuosa. Lo que acontece, sencillamente, es que se han forjado una falsa imagen de lo que personalmente creen ser, de donde resulta que cada cual busca en vano al que su ilusión adornó generosamente de cualidades y virtudes. Nadie quiere ser, pues, lo que es en realidad; de ahí la desilusión al encontrarse.

En presencia de esta realidad, la Logosofía permite, con sus conocimientos, realizar un claro discernimiento del problema, y auxilia, con elementos de juicio de gran valor, al que anhela superarse, inclinándolo hacia la tarea de realizar un proceso consciente que culminará al convertirse en aquello que antes había imaginado, sin que en realidad lo fuera. De ese verdadero encuentro consigo mismo surge el despertar promisor de una vida fecunda, destinada a cumplir altos designios de bien.

La vida es el campo experimental donde tienen lugar las luchas y donde cada uno vence o es derrotado; pero es, también, el escenario donde el espíritu se templa verdaderamente y donde, poco a poco, con voluntad y entusiasmo grandes, se va labrando un nuevoy elevado destino.

Todo esto, naturalmente, invita a reflexionar con serenidad. Cada uno tendrá que tomar la decisión de seguir firmemente bajo la guía del conocimiento logosófico, o desistir, por inercia, del mismo, arrastrado hacia otros caminos. Si se toma la decisión de seguir, es necesario marchar sin detenerse, estudiando, analizando, observando y sacando siempre de cada observación felices conclusiones.

 

Conferencia pronunciada en Buenos Aires, 19 de agosto de 1948 por

Carlos B. González Pecotche (Ramsol)

(el subrayado sobre algunos fragmentos no pertenece al texto original) 

 

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Teaching one to one

Teaching one to one

 

Paul Kaye, Freelance, Trainer, Author

 

 

Most teachers at some time in their career have to teach one to one classes. They find a very different, challenging and special learning context, with unique possibilities and unique problems. One to one teaching is made more special by the fact that many teachers have to develop their own strategies, approaches and materials; one to one work is common the world over but discussion, support and resources are not. In this article we will look at what exactly makes these classes so different from teaching groups, identify the advantages and disadvantages of learning and teaching in this way, and review some possible approaches and techniques to help effective learning.

 

 

Why one to one classes are different

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  • Classroom management
    It may seem that there is little or no classroom management required in a one to one class, but there are still key decisions to be made about how the classroom is set up, where you and your learner should sit, how you should manage the physical resources etc.

  • Materials
    Aside from the fact that you almost always have to adapt existing materials extensively to suit a one to one class, many teachers find that they can use material that the learner has produced or that they have found together.


  • Timing and structure
    one to one classes, especially private ones, often move at a pace decided b
    y the learner and their needs rather than an institution’s course/term struct ure. There is also flexibility in the length of classes, which can be timed around learning aims rather than a timetable. Often there is no need to think about an exam or other formal evaluation.

  • Roles and relationship
    The normal roles of a large group often change in a one to one class, where the intimacy of interaction can mean that you become much more of a friend to the learner – or an enemy. There is often a shift away from a teacher-centred
    dynamic and as a result the learner takes on a much more equal role in making decisions about the class.

  • Techniques
    Although many techniques we use in a large group are applicable to a single learner, they will always change either in how they are applied or why. For example,
    you may find that extended listening or reading texts are not the best use of time and need to be adapted. Other techniques may be more suitable to a one to one class, such as reading aloud to the teacher to focus on the features of connected speech.

  • Pressures
    The fact that both teacher and learner are alone together for the duration of the class means a different kind of pressure – sometimes greater, sometimes less. For example, there is considerable pressure because both are ‘always on’, and t
    he need to achieve results can be much greater for the teacher, but the learner may feel less pressure because there no others in the class.

  • Motivations
    Many learners decide that they need a one to one class and then seek out a teacher, organise materials, schedule times, and agree cost independently. They are often highly motivated to learn. For the same reasons, you may be much more motivated to teach. In addition, you may feel a much higher degree of responsibility for one learner than a large group where many learning factors are outside their control.

 

 

 

Advantages

 

 

 

  • The learner has the undivided attention of the teacher. This means more opportunity to engage in real communication, more feedback and better understanding of the learner’s needs.

  • The learner often has more control over the aims of the class, the pace and the materials.

  • The learner has more opportunities to use the teacher as a resource – to ask questions, to see models of language, and to practice skills.

  • The learner can develop a real and productive relationship with the teacher

  • The learner’s needs can be addressed more fully because there is more flexibil ity in timing and structure

  • The teacher has a greater opportunity to engage in real interaction and to learn

  • The teacher does not need to worry about the problems of large groups – mixed ability, group dynamics, early finishers, late arrivals etc

  • The teacher can make more money and work independently of an instituti on


 

 

 

Disadvantages

 

 

 

  • Many learners feel more comfortable practicing new language – and makin g mistakes – in a group dynamic rather than in front of a teacher

  • Classes can be physically and mentally exhausting for learner and teacher

  • The class may become boring if the teacher does not find new approaches or t he learner does not respond to the class

  • There are no opportunities to interact with other learners, develop a group dynamic and to receive support

  • There may not be enough time given for the learner to do silent study – imp ortant in the processing of new language

  • The learner and teacher may not get on

  • The teacher may feel pressurised to achieve results because of a greater degree of responsibility

  • The teacher may find it difficult to find suitable materials and activities, an d to structure an effective syllabus

  • The learner may exploit the opportunity given and a captive audience – to check work not related to the aims of the class, to have a shoulder to cry on, or to merely chat. This can of course also apply to the teacher

  • The teacher may find it difficult to measure the learner’s progress or level without the framework of a syllabus or other learners to compare with

  • The teacher may feel that they do not have the experience, training or resources necessary for this kind of class and that they are only effective working with large groups

 

 

 

Approaches

 

 

As I have mentioned above, many of the tools I use with a large group are adaptable to a one to one class, but the methods or aims may change. Other techniques are more suitable precisely because of the one teacher – one learner dynamic. Below are some recommendations:

 

 

 

  • Discuss your learner’s needs and get agreement
    It is very important that you know exactly what the learner wants from the class. Agree on a list of priorities. Later you may find that their needs are different – this too needs to be discussed.

  • Explain what you are doing and why
    A one to one class is a great opportunity to explain why you do the things you do. Tell your learner your aims and how the work you are doing supports them
    , for example when you set homework or correct speaking. Encourage your learner to ask questions.

  • Be very flexible
    You will need to be flexible over time, lesson and course aims, and material. Be ready to change if your learner asks you too.

  • Try a range of methods and techniques
    Much of what you do in group classes will work with one learner – try it. For example, songs, games, chants, pair work, jigsaw listening and reading may all be applicable – with participation from you.

  • Set your limits
    One to one classes can become very intimate. Decide how far you want to go. Humanising your class can be productive but don’t get into personal areas that make you or your learner uncomfortable.

  • Give feedback

    Find a range of methods for giving feedback to your learner. You can for example use immediate feedback when they are speaking, or a hot sheet, or just keep data for another class. Spend time working on errors – they are a great opportunity to make substantial improvements.

  • Use homework to support learning
    Learners like homework, it adds value, and teachers often forget how good a tool it can be. Use homework to get your learner to do things you wouldn’t in the cl
    ass, for example extended writing, research or more controlled practice.

  • Push your learner
    Without the dynamism of a large group it is easy to lose sight of this, especially if your learner likes to talk a lot. Take advantage of the dynamic to push your learner – with the language you use, for example, or when correcting.

  • Know when to stop
    One to one classes can go on for a very long period of time indeed, especially if you from a close relationship, but you should constantly evaluate the progress of your learner, albeit informally. There may come a point where you feel that a group would be a better place for your learner to be.

Conclusion

 

 

One to one classes are not easy and they deserve more attention from material writers, trainers and employers. Successful teaching in a one to one class may be a case of finding out what you can use from your own bank of tools, and how these can be developed and changed to suit each new learner – at least until a more complete methodology is developed to support teachers in this challenging but potentially hugely rewarding area.

This article published: 18th July 2007 (from BBC´s site)

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Presenting new language

 

 

Paul Kaye

 

When we decide to present new language items to learners explicitteacher91.jpgly, there are two underlying approaches for the differing techniques we can use – deductive and inductive. This article will compare the two, describe how they work, what they look like, and what benefits they can offer us when we need to present something new to our learners.

 

Inductive or deductive?

 

  • Inductive learning is the process of ‘discovering’ general principles from facts. In a language classroom, an inductive approach involves getting learners to discover rules and how they are applied by looking at examples. The role of the teacher is to provide the language the learners need to discover the rules, to guide them in discovery if necessary, and then to provide more opportunities to practice. The inductive approach is often thought of as more modern way of teaching: it involves discovery techniques; it seeks in some ways to duplicate the acquisition process; it often exploits authentic material; it has learners at the centre of the lesson; and the focus is on usage rather than rules.
  • Deductive learning is the process of applying general principles to use. In a classroom, a deductive approach means teaching learners rules and then giving them opportunities to apply them through practice. The role of the teacher is to present the rules and organize the practice. The deductive approach is often thought of as more traditional way of teaching: it is teacher-led and teacher-centred, at least at the presentation stage; it focuses initially on rules and then use; it often uses input language which is adjusted to the learners and not authentic. These do not in themselves have to be traditional ways of teaching, but they indicate a traditional approach.


 

What does the approach look like?

Here is an example of a lesson using the inductive approach. The teacher’s aim in this lesson is that learners understand meaning, form and use of linking devices in formal writing.

 

  • The teacher gives the learners a text to read and respond to.

  • She then asks them to identify all the conjunctions in the text and then put them into 5 or 6 groups according to use, e.g. to add something, to make a contrast, to show a result.

  • The learners themselves suggest headings for these categories.

  • The teacher monitors and guides. Groups of learners then work with one category each to analyse structure, meaning and use, and finally present their findings to the class.

Here is an example of a lesson using the deductive approach. The teacher’s aim is for learners to be able to use the present perfect continuous to describe a present result of a past action.

 

  • The teacher shows the learners pictures of people who have been doing some kind of activity, for example somebody covered in paint, somebody who is very red and sweaty, somebody who is looking green and nauseous, and the learners to match these pictures to others which show activities, e.g. a rollercoaster, a freshly painted room, a running track.
  • The teacher then presents the new language by describing what these people have been doing.
  • The learners listen and then repeat the language. The teacher then explains the structure, how it works, and how it is made.
  • Learners then practice the language in another matching activity, where they have to report their findings in sentences, e.g. ‘On card A there is a man who has been eating chocolate cake, on card B there is a man who has been running for a bus’. Freer practice is a game where learners act and others guess what they have been doing.


 

Why use the inductive approach?

 

  • It moves the focus away from the teacher as the giver of knowledge to the learners as discoverers of it.

  • It moves the focus away from rules to use – and use is, after all, our aim in teaching.

  • It encourages learner autonomy. If learners can find out rules for themselves then they are making significant steps towards being independent. We can take this further by letting learners decide what aspect of the language in a text they want to analyse.

  • It teaches a very important skill – how to use real/almost-real language to find out the rules about English.

  • It can be particularly effective with low levels and with certain types of young learners. It enables these students to focus on use, not complex rules and terminology.

  • If we use authentic material as our context, then learners are in contact with real language, not coursebook English.

  • We can exploit authentic material from a wide range of sources to present our target language.

  • The rules and structures students discover are often more valid, relevant and authentic than in a deductive approach, as they can be drawn from real use of English.

  • The action of discovery helps learners remember.

  • It reflects the acquisition process that children learn by, i.e. being in contact with the language and using it, then finding rules and applying them to new contexts.

  • This kind of task – and the independence it fosters – is stimulating and motivating for many learners.

  • This approach naturally encourages more communication, as learners need to discuss language together.

  • We are able to respond better to the needs of our learners. For example, we can clearly see and address problems with understanding of a certain rule or item of lexis as learners go through the process of identifying and analyzing it.

  • We can support and encourage new learning styles and strategies. For example, this kind of approach is good to develop reflective learning and learning in groups, and encourages the strategy of using the English around us to find rules and examples.


 

Why use the deductive approach?

 

  • It can meet student expectations. For many learners the inductive approach is very new and somewhat radical, and it does not fit in with their previous learning experiences.
  • It may be easier. A class using the deductive approach, if well-planned, goes from easier to more difficult – which may be more appropriate for some learners. It can also be easier for less experienced teachers as there is more control of outcomes.
  • We can control the level of input language more.
  • We can control our learners’ understanding of rules more – making sure that the ideas they form about language are the right ones. In this way we can try to avoid learners forming incorrect hypotheses.
  • It may be a more efficient use of time; the inductive approach can take longer.
  • It can be designed to meet the needs of more learning styles. The demands of the inductive approach make it more suitable for a specific kind of learner.
  • It is used by many coursebooks and it fits in better with many syllabus structures.


Conclusion

As can be seen, both approaches provide opportunities for learning and address the needs of different kinds of learners and learning contexts. Like almost all the decisions we make in the classroom, we must be guided by our learners’ aims.

 

  • The inductive approach may be more attractive to us as teachers but does it support our students’ learning fully?

  • The deductive approach may be more controllable but does it give our learners the opportunity to develop their strategies and learning styles?

And like many of our decisions regarding the way we teach, the best way forward may be to blend the two, guided by our aims and our understanding of our own learners. For example, it may be useful for a class to start with a deductive approach and then move on to a more inductive way of learning once they are used to analysis of the language and ways of describing it.

 

 

 

This article published: 7th November 2007 (from BBC)

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