Posts Tagged ‘functional language’

Any syllabus should contain…

1 March 2014

twitter: @eugenio_fouz


Any syllabus in a foreign language should contain grammar topics, vocabulary topics and functional language topics too. There are some other issues to consider such as cultural aspects of speakers, readings or audios.



Give me five … or twenty-five

28 April 2013

twitter: @eugenio_fouz


Comment this picture, write an essay of around 30 words, listen to this audio, pay attention to grammar, do these exercises, worksheets, write the past form of some verbs, dialogue, what would you do in a specific daily situation, read aloud, read in low voice, Parallel Papers (review of basic points in grammar, press cutting, vocabulary lists, reminders, et cetera), translate these Short Messages into English, translate this paragraph into Spanish, enter and participate in Moodle, do a dictation, read a Graded Reader, do some pages in the workbook, do an International Exchange, write some articles for the fanzine at school, create a Twitter account and tweet something in English, work with the textbook, use Functional language in and out of the classroom, draw a cartoon following the instructions of your teacher, write a letter or email to a penpal

Teach & test

19 December 2012

twitter: @eugenio_fouz

One girl, Penélope C., was asked to draw her classroom and two students writing sentences on the board. This is what he did. The guy on the left must be me ;-)

One girl, Penélope C., was asked to draw her classroom and two students writing sentences on the board. This is what he did. The guy on the left must be myself 😉

I have just tried a different type language test from a new different teaching style. My focus is mainly on meaning. I want my students to understand what they are doing.

Among other activities in the test, the students must complete English words from which they are provided one or two initial letters and their Spanish meaning. We work with blocks of words by means of packs of photocopies. My students have to study and learn words and their meanings by heart.

Some of my students wrote their opinions about the new tests on a sheet of paper days ago. They confessed that some questions were not easy to understand. Also they noticed their lack of vocabulary to understand all  exercises. We both (students and teacher) must work harder with words and dictionaries.

Another point was grammar. Most students said that there was little room for grammar. And they are right, maybe I should have included a few more grammatical exercises.

The exam was too long, that´s true. There were too many exercises to do and not enough time. . This is something to be reconsidered.

The exercise on English culture was the most unpopular activity among students because they could not admit that learning the Christian name of the Queen of England or the author of Ulysses were interesting issues. On the other hand, I have the impression that they loved an exercise where they were asked to draw things such as their own desk, our classroom or their favourite gadgets, for example. (And some kids were really good at doing this).

The new tests included an English original text to be translated into Spanish language as well as short sentences to be translated into English.

There was an episode in the test named Classroom diary after our daily routines in class. I think this is important. The students see the relevance of paying attention to teachers and taking active part in class life.  There were questions on “functional language” or useful phrases and a short essay on a current topic, e.g. “write a note to your friend that you are leaving later from school” or “ advantages of having a mobile phone”.

Two more points were a reading comprehension text with questions on form and meaning and a strict exercise titled Basics focused on elementary aspects of language such as writing ordinal numbers, telling the time, listing the past participle forms of verbs, quoting all the possessive adjectives, etcetera.

Something that I have not included in these new tests was a listening comprehension text, namely a listening recording or a short dictation. I think this must be included next time.

Note at the noticeboard, 17th October.-Reminder Bacc 1 & Bacc 2

17 October 2012

twitter: @eugenio_fouz

Coffee time at Summerhill school, UK

There are papers at the photocopier for those students who failed the subject of English language last year. (Inglés suspenso de Bacc 1)

Avoid speaking Spanish language in class.

Do not ask questions such as: “¿qué pone ahí?”, “no te entiendo”, “dime”, “¿cómo se dice?” (say “what is that? or “what is to be put here”*, “I don´t understand you”, “tell me”, “how do you say?” instead)

When your teacher is calling the register don´t answer like this: “oui”, sí”,”¿qué?”,”yo”, “aquí” (say “yes!”, “pardon?”, “me!”, “present!” instead)

Get a dictionary with you (it is incredibly useful)

Do you want to listen? / Does she want to listen?

I have a sister and she´s got a Ferrari / I have a sister who has a Ferrari*

Do not ask “¿sigo?”, “¿copiamos eso?”, “¿qué hay que hacer?”; ask “Shall I go on?or “can I finish?” “let me finish”*, “shall we copy that?”, “what do we have to do?”

Doing the exercises right is a positive thing, but it is much better to understand what you are saying or writing in English. In other words, grammar might be a bit difficult sometimes but doing nonsense can be really bad.

Remember basics: January, February, …… / one, two, three, four….. / me, you, him…. /my book, her boyfriend, …. / is it quarter to seven?*, it is five past ten … / Monday, Tuesday, …/ this book is Michael´s book , these are my books, …

Haven´t you seen Tom yet? (aún) / Have you seen Tom yet? (ya)

Functional language:

What is that? …………………….

How do you spell …? …………………………..

I have written/said* ……………………….

Can I speak Spanish, teacher? ………………………….

Can I clean the blackboard?…………………………………

May I come in? ……………………………………….

Has anyone got a dictionary, please? ……………………….

I am having a shower at the moment…………………..

I haven´t got it. Sorry! ………………………

*[corrections suggested by the blogger roughseasinthemed. Thanks for your help. EF]

Free style free

12 October 2012

twitter: @eugenio_fouz


David Duchovny

I feel fine being unpredictable. Free style teaching language, letting students not know what is coming next, asking for a lot of homework at the end of the period, walking around the classroom, controlling and checking their real work.

Basically I work with grammar, explanations on any topic, audios and textbook. Also I want my students to sing as in a choir echoing interesting phrases or messages. Reinforcement via workbooks or extra exercises.

Teaching and testing, teaching and testing. Lots of practice and homework. Loads of writing work, too. A student who doesn´t write won´t be a good one. Dictations, translations, substitution tables, …

Quick reviews and mini tests, oral skill practice and testing, parallel papers, short messages and essay writing, how to write letters or read notices. Share information and curious hunger for the British and American culture.

Reading aloud and reading in low voice (class and at home), using dictionaries and functional language in class for everything, getting marks for any task they do. Notebooks like passports full with exercises, notes, vocabulary and pictures, good behaviour in and out of the classroom, moodle participation, podcasting, etcetera.

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