Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Reflections on pedagogy thanks to Rosie Tanner and Catherine Green

18 May 2014

twitter: @eugenio_fouz

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Rosie Tanner and Catherine Green edited a coursebook for teachers of language Tasks for teacher education –A reflective approach- (Longman, 1998). Their book on pedagogy showed a lot of interesting points. They provided teachers with a great variety of texts, samples and drawings on topics such as the difference between error and mistake, reading views (skimming, scanning) or the importance of the movements of teachers inside the classroom. Through a funny map a teacher may see himself as a fly flying around their pupils or as a boring tired fly with no control over their learners. This point is almost anecdotic, but it made me think a lot on my moves in the classroom.

In the book, they suggest teachers to do plenty of activities in the class. And the more diversity of activies, the better. There are the classical four skills, namely reading, listening, writing and speaking– and consequently a good teacher should try practising them all.

There is some useful information on warming up a topic when the lesson begins, being aware of the students´s attitude, getting feedback from them, how to teach and practise grammar. I found some tasks having to do with the creative side, e.g, games of the type “find someone who…” or roleplaying, drawing maps, describing pictures, starting dialogues.

One must take into considerations many more points which have been analized in the coursebook: timing and planning lessons, how to teach grammar, use of the blackboard or teaching styles.

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Essay writing (a reminder of ten points)

14 December 2013

twitter: @eugenio_fouz

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When a student is asked to write an essay he should take some points into account:

  1. understand what you are being asked, I mean, understand the question and answer to that question. For example,  “ESSAY.- Write about the use of mobile phones in the street (20-30 words)” You must write about that topic and not about the mobile phone you would like to have
  1. writing an essay is a task which requires style. That means you shouldn´t be simple. Try to be honest and do not repeat the question you are being asked, e.g: “I think that the use of mobile phones in the street” is not a good idea for the beginning of your essay. This is called “begging the question” and is lack of style
  2. an essay doesn´t mean a list, but an expression of thought or the progress of some ideas. Do not write a list of words
  3. never write a very short essay. The normal thing is writing a minimum of words
  4. grammar is a must in writing.
  5. vocabulary is another positive point in writing. Without words we write nothing.
  6. avoid repeating all the time the same structures: in my opinion, I think, and … and, but…but
  7. write in clear handwriting. Your handwriting speaks about you
  8. say something interesting
  9. and remember, remember that to write acceptably well you must read a lot of books, papers, magazines or whatever using dictionaries. A writer is always reading stuff. Be a good reader!

How not to write an essay

6 July 2013

twitter: @eugenio_fouz

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One of the four skills* to take into account when teaching a foreign language is writing. To write an essay teachers should provide students with opportunities to express themselves by writing short notes or opinions. Firstly, students might be asked to jot down some words about an easy topic to deal, for example, “are you for or against using mobile phones in public places?”. Also they would be expected to write a minimum of words- not too many, probably 40 or 60 words. Further on these students will be writing up to 100 words, hopefully.

Writing an essay or any long text is a hard job. To be a good writer one must be a better reader. Reading makes no sense without using dictionaries. Consequently, the good essayist must be a fanatic dictionary user.

It is advisable to write some drafts of what you want to say. Once you think your essay is done, revise it, checking and double checking silly mistakes or slips (*“he think” / “the thirst time” / “you visit me yesterday”, “people is worried”, “girls beautifuls”).

Keep in mind the idea that grammar is to be learnt continuously. On the other hand, a writer, a poet, a journalist covers lots of words. Without words there is no writing or communication.

When writing an essay one should try to think about the reader. One must be clear in his writing, express correctly and show more than one or two ideas. In other words, the student should make his writing interesting.

Most students don´t worry about linkers (moreover, therefore, nevertheless, however, then, later, secondly) and overuse certain conjunctions such as “AND”.  Taking a picture from the textbook the students were asked to describe and write about what they saw. Here you are an example of a wrong essay “In the picture there are two women and they are friends. They are smiling and I think that they are in the city of New York and they are in front of the river”.

And here another example “In this picture I can see two girls. I guess they are friends because it seems they are the same age. Behind them there is a beautiful landscape of a big city. It may be midday because of the sunlight

Style in writing helps too.

  

[*the four skills are: writing, reading, speaking and listening]

3 basic issues in the classroom

7 November 2012

twitter: @eugenio_fouz

Robin Hood (GIF image)

 

“Book, audio, writing words/sentences”

(Foreign language class)

Gosh! Do not read the second sentence in exercise 4, please!

4 November 2012

twitter: @eugenio_fouz

“Some of my students practise creative writing freely” 😉

(I begged you not to read that! )

Writing in blocs, using dictionaries, learning

24 March 2012

twitter: @eugenio_fouz

I think that there is a tendency on the students´ part to write less. Maybe, this might happen because students nowadays don´t like writing long texts or copying sentences. Who knows? Perhaps the growing use of new technologies in schools is showing teachers evidence of the students´s search of immediate information at the fast movement of a mouse click. Some people might have the wrong idea that one learns just by listening.

Learning implies effort, writing and notebooks.

Every student of a foreign language should have three companions in his rucksack; namely, bloc, pens and a good dictionary.

Reminder: reading and writing

17 November 2011

by eugeniofouz

Do you like reading?

Read in Spanish, get used to reading newspapers, notes and short stories. Try to read a novel or two one day. Next weekend try to have a look at any of those little books at home. You should read Richard Bach´s Juan Salvador Gaviota

Do you like reading in Spanish?

or maybe you might enjoy reading Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ´s El principito. Who knows? Reading a short novel Cachito (Un Asunto de Honor) written by Arturo Pérez Reverte might be a good start.

Why don´t you try to read a novel today? 

When you read a book it is indispensable to have a Spanish dictionary open and ready. Dictionaries show meanings of words, set phrases, double meanings, spelling, etcetera.

And how about reading texts and books in English language? What about taking notes in blocs?

Doing nothing in class is negative behaviour

Get a bloc to make your own lists of English words and their meanings. Read words in loud voice.  Repeat them. Revise “basics”(numbers, possessive adjectives, etc) just by copying them once, twice and three times.

You should take notes in class. Pay attention to teachers. Always copy the homework. Don´t forget that homework is something essential for good students. Don´t do exercises in the textbook; use a notebook instead.

Use dictionaries and learn vocabulary. Search for idioms, linkers and verbs calmly. The first meaning you find in a dictionary doesn´t have to be the appropriate meaning. Work with words in context.

Listen to podcasts

Watch English or American TV series in V.O with subtitles in Spanish

Listen to any English radio programme you can


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