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Jumat, 07 Maret 2014

12 Things You Should Never, Ever Say To Teachers

Let me say up top here that I am NOT a teacher — I found this on a blog (listed below) that is all about and by teachers. And it's the kind of thing I hope gets legs so people stop asking these kinds of silly questions.
Oh, and next time your state wants to cut teacher pay and benefits, speak up!
1. “We’ve all been to elementary school, so aren’t we all kind of experts on it?”
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Umm, no. You’ve been sick before — does that make you a doctor?

2. “When I retire, I still want to do something, so I think I might take up teaching.”
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Teaching is not a hobby, like gardening or sailing. Teaching will likely make your old job feel like a vacation.

3. “Have you ever thought about making your class more fun?”
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No, I do my best to make it as boring as I can.

4. “If you really cared about kids, you wouldn’t worry about the salary.”
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I love my students. I love teaching. I also love being able to support my family and feed my kids.

5. “If you managed your time at school, I bet you wouldn’t need to plan lessons and grade on the weekends.”
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OK, I’m a little busy at school. I teach and work with students almost every moment of the day. Spending 20 hours a week outside of school on prep and grading is normal for me.

6. “You’ll never be a truly great teacher until you have your own kids.”
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Actually, yes I will. The relationship between teacher and student is quite different from that of parent and child.

7. “Why do you make them read so much and write so many essays? Why do you give such hard grades?”
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Because it’s my job. Because my students are here to learn. Because they’ll need these skills to survive in the world. How many reasons do you need?

8. “I pay taxes in this district, so technically you work for me.”
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Sorry, we’re not your minions. That’s not how it works. Taxes support public goods and services — such as the fire department, police, parks, and yes, public schools — for the community as a whole. And by the way, teachers pay taxes too.

9. “Ohh, you teach kindergarten. That must be fun — playing and singing all day.”
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Yes, my life is just like Disney movie. I sing and the children and the little animals of the forest come running. Actually, in kindergarten, we teach our students the foundational literacy and math skills — as well as the social and emotional skills — that set them up for success in every grade to follow.

10. “Why are you so strict? They’re just kids.”
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We make plenty of time for laughter and fun in my classroom. But rules and routine are not only necessary, they help children to feel safe, secure, and valued in the classroom community.

11. “How hard can it be? You have all summer off.”
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A longer summer break is one of the benefits of choosing teaching as a career. But keep in mind, it’s not all summer. I spend weeks every July and August on professional development and curriculum planning. And during the school year, I work 12 hours a day all week long and at least one day every weekend. Add it up and our vacation days are about the same.

12. “Teaching is nice, but don’t you want to be more successful and make more money?”
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I teach because I want to make a difference. I teach because what I do every day matters for kids.
That’s what success looks like.

Rabu, 26 Februari 2014

15 Things to STOP Doing When Learning English! (Very Important!)

Learning a new language can be very difficult, but you can make it easier for yourself by NOT creating more barriers that will hinder your progress.  These tips (in no particular order) should help to make your learning process a lot smoother, and make learning English fun!
1. STOP translating!
stop translating

Translating should only be something you need to do in the very early stages of learning English.
Once you have a basic grasp of vocabulary, you should stop thinking in your own language and trying to translate everything, as this slows your progress down, and limits your focus!
When someone says something, concentrate on the words you DO know, and build your understanding from there.
2. DON’T be afraid to make mistakes!
DON’T be afraid to make mistakes!

Fear can become a huge barrier, which makes it difficult to progress. If you know the rules of grammar, but struggle to hold a conversation – that doesn’t mean you should avoid talking in English!
STOP thinking about how people might react, and what they’ll say. Everyone makes mistakes, and then they learn from them – that is how you get better at it!
3. STOP negative self-talk!
Having a negative attitude doesn’t help improve your learning, it makes it worse. If you find you’re saying negative things to yourself like:
“Why do I always get it wrong? I’m so stupid.”
“I always make mistakes; I’ll never get better at this.”
“I don’t know what to say, it’s so hard to speak in English.”
This needs to change! Try to turn them into positive statements, you can rephrase them to show positivity. Instead of saying “I’ll never get better at this”, you should say “I’m going to keep trying, I’m sure I’ll get better at it soon.”
Instead of saying “Sorry, I don’t speak English, I can’t understand you”, say “Sorry, I’m still learning how to speak English, so could you speak a bit slower please?”
Positivity helps you to learn much quicker!
4. STOP being nervous!
STOP being nervous

Speak in English every time you have the opportunity. If you think about speaking, then you’ll just feel even more nervous. Just put yourself out there, and speak!
The more you speak, the more confident and comfortable you will feel, and the quicker you will learn how to communicate in English properly!
You may need to step out of your comfort zone a little bit, but the more you speak in English, the more you will begin to feel relaxed.
5. STOP taking it personally when people don’t understand you!
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At some point, you will meet someone who, no matter how hard you try, just can’t understand you. This happens all the time.
Due to the large number of English speakers in the world, there is a wide range of accents, some of which, can be hard to understand!
Eliminating your mother tongue from your accent completely, is extremely difficult, so don’t be too hard on yourself!
6. STOP apologising!
No one knows everything – so don’t apologise for not speaking English perfectly! You’re still learning, everything takes time.
The more you speak and practice your newfound skills, the more you will improve. Even native English speakers didn’t learn how to speak in a few months!
The main thing is that you are trying, most people will understand and appreciate that. So just relax, and start talking!
7. DON’T just learn in class!
online English class and course

Learning in a classroom environment is great because you get to ask questions, pick your teacher’s brain, and share ideas with classmates, but you also need to implement the English language into your daily life, and communicate with people in English at every opportunity you get.

If you don’t practice speaking English outside the classroom, then your ability to progress will remain very limited. This is one of the most important things you need to remember.
It is the best way to learn, and will definitely influence how quickly you improve!
8. DON’T give up!
don't give up learning english

At first, it always seems hard when you’re learning something new, but if you keep at it – it will become easier!
You have to keep practising if you want to get better, otherwise it’ll get harder to improve.
Professional athletes have to do the same, they train hard all the time, because if they didn’t – their skills would just get worse!
9. STOP worrying!
STOP worrying

Don’t waste a chance to speak English because you’re worried about whether they will understand you or not. Be confident, and have an ‘I can do it’ attitude.
Don’t be shy! Least of all, don’t worry about learning, because it’s supposed to be fun. The more fun you have, the easier you will learn!
10. STOP comparing yourself to other English speakers!
STOP comparing yourself to other English speakers

No matter what level of English you are on, you worked hard to get there. Be proud of what you have achieved.
Everybody is different, some people learn languages more easily than others, and some people spend more time working to improve their English. Just because your friend is learning faster than you, doesn’t mean you’re not on the right path!
11. STOP using outdated, inefficient methods! (please)
STOP using outdated, inefficient methods

Grammar-translation methods, and memorisation of rules have been standard practice for a very long time, but they’re probably not the most effective ways to learn.
Some students study English for many years, and know all the rules of grammar and sentence structures, but still struggle to communicate properly and hold a conversation in English.
It is important to have a significant amount of time focusing on conversational, functional language use, and learn in context through interaction with other people!
12. DON’T work too hard on one skill and neglect the others!
working hard

If you just want to be able to speak to people, then you might place less emphasis on reading and writing, but you shouldn’t neglect them too much, as they are also crucial for fluency.
You should concentrate on improving your speaking skills, but also dedicate a suitable amount of time practising your reading, writing and listening skills. You shouldn’t underestimate the benefits all these skills have on each other!
13. STOP spending too much time studying!
STOP spending too much time studying

If you sit in front of a book or screen for hours, going over the same rules and flashcards again and again, it won’t make you learn any faster!
You should have short study periods of up to 30 minutes, then spend a generous amount of your available time putting the language skills you’ve learnt, into practice.
It’s okay to study for up to 30 minutes, take a break, then go back to studying if you really need to, but studying for a long period of time, without taking a break, is quite exhausting for your brain!
14. STOP thinking of learning as a chore!
be positive

Learners sometimes associate study with something that is unpleasant, which turns it into ‘boring homework’, and ‘boring exercises’.

Even if they realise that learning is important, they may not be self-motivated enough to do it all the time! It needs to be something you want to do, not have to do. Make it interesting so you have fun when you’re learning.
- If you’re walking down the street, build simple English sentences in your head about the things you see around you
- Learn a new word each day and try to use it in conversation
- Watch a funny video on the internet and tell someone what it’s about
- Read an article about your favourite band (or something else that interests you)
- Communicate with people on a discussion forum.
Soon you will stop thinking of boring classes, difficult grammar rules or lengthy homework – instead you’ll be thinking about a funny English TV show, your favourite band, or interesting conversations with different people – in English!
Only one kind of person would do these sort of things – the kind of person who enjoys them! If you want to learn how  to speak English well, you have to be that person. Have you ever heard of anyone who became successful by doing something they hated?
15.  DON’T disregard the culture!
Language is made up of so many intricate expressions of culture, that it is impossible for books and courses to cover them adequately.
For example, the way an average, ordinary person interacts with other people in his or her community. All cultures and small communities have different gestures, intonation, slang terms, proximity, interjections, fillers, and short cuts!


If you are focusing on learning the tongue of a certain community then it would be best to integrate with them, and learn from them!

Selasa, 14 Januari 2014

Why we don’t like English classes

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English classes are the most popular way in which people study English. They are so amazingly popular that most people do not even think about how to learn English. The process is automatic: I want to learn English, so I sign up for an English course. I will pay some money, sit in class for a few hours a week, and I will get good English.
This is very surprising, because English classes are a very poor way of learning English. We have spent a large part of our lives in English classes (in high school, college, and at language schools), and we know what they are like. With all our knowledge of English classes and courses, we would be surprised if we met a person who has learned to speak English very well by going to English classes.
If you attend English classes, you spend many hours a week on them. Often, you also spend lots of your money. What do you get for your time and money? Here is what you can do at an English class:
  • Listen to some bad English. The pronunciation, grammar, andvocabulary of other students (and sometimes the teacher, too) will be bad. Sometimes as bad as this, or worse. Surely listening to these people will not make your English better.
  • Say five sentences in English. There are usually 10-20 students in the class, so there is little time for you to speak English. Normal English classes are very poor speaking practice. (Conversation classes are better.)
  • Read a boring textbook. Almost all English teachers use textbooks. Want to know why? Because it makes their work easier. They don’t have to prepare for every class. They just do the next unit in the book. Textbooksmake teaching easy. And they make learning boring and ineffective. You have to read stupid stories about Michael Jackson or a woman who lived in African jungle for two years. Then you have to answer questions about them and talk about them with other students. This is madness! All this nonsense that you don’t care about. It makes you think that learning English is boring.
  • Listen to a few grammar rules, such as “the present continuous tense is used for talking about developing and changing situations”. Learning grammar rules is the stupidest thing you can do. The two main reasons: 1) It is impossible to memorize all those hundreds of grammar rules anyway, 2) When speaking English, you don’t have time to think: “What tense should I use? Let’s see... I want to present the idea of action continuing up to the present time, so I should use the present perfect tense.” You want to use your English naturally. Grammar rules may improve your scores in tests, but they do not improve your English.
  • Do some grammar exercises. After talking about grammar rules, teachers usually give you some exercises, such as multiple choice or gap filling tests. Grammar exercises have two functions: 1) they make you review the grammar rules, 2) they test your English. The first function is useless because grammar rules are useless (see previous section). The second function, testing, is okay if you want to compare your knowledge with other people. But testing does not teach you any English.
  • Get a homework assignment. The homework is usually a grammar exercise (see previous section) or a composition. The subject of thecomposition will usually be something that you don’t care about. Examples:Your opinion on the proverb “Blood is thicker than water”Is it good to be famous?. What nonsense. Doing boring things is not going to help your English. It will only decrease your motivation.
English classes will not teach you good pronunciation (which is simply necessary for communication!). Most teachers completely ignore it, sometimes because their own pronunciation is bad. Some teachers will correct your mistakes when you speak. But very few teachers will tell you how you can avoid making the same mistakes again. Very few teachers will tell you about the sounds of English and how to use a dictionary to learn about the pronunciation of words.
Most teachers will not encourage you to read in English, to buy a good English-English dictionary, to listen to English-language recordings on your own. They will just do their textbook and the exercises in it. If your teacher is different, you are lucky.
This is what most English classes look like. Think about your classes. If they are like that — boring and ineffective — then you are simply wasting your time. (Don’t worry: you are not alone. Millions of people around the world waste their time by going to English classes, even though they do not improve their English.)
You can replace ineffective and boring classes with interesting things which will really improve your English:
  • Instead of listening to bad English in the classroom, turn on your TV and watch CNN International or another English-language channel. You will get lots of perfect sentences in excellent English.
  • Instead of sitting for two hours to say five sentences in English, sign up for a conversation class with a native speaker. Or start speaking English with your best friend.
  • Instead of working with a boring textbook, read something interesting. There are so many interesting texts in English! Surf to English-language sites on the Web. Read a good book in English. Simply, read something that interests you. Something that won’t bore you to death.
  • Instead of memorizing grammar rules and doing grammar exercises, read and listen to English. Input is the only way to learn impressive, natural English.
  • Instead of writing compositions about the subject that your teacher gave you, write about something that you care about. For example, write some e-mail in English. Don’t write for your teacher — write for yourself!

Three biggest challenges facing an English learner

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1. Developing a passion for learning English

All English learners would like to speak English well. They are excited at the idea of being able to communicate in English fluently. However, they usually don’t care about the learning process itself. For most learners, learning English is a duty — something that they have to, but don’t want to do. They don’t see pleasure in learning English.
In short, most learners would like to speak English well but don’t like to be learning English. This is the first and biggest problem facing an English learner, because a person who doesn’t like to learn English will not learn it well. If you don’t love English, English won’t love you back!
If you want to become a successful learner, you need to like the learning process itself. You need to treat time spent on English as time for pleasure and relaxation. For example, you need to enjoy:
  • reading English sentences and thinking about their structure
  • learning new words from a dictionary
  • writing a correct English sentence by consulting dictionaries, grammar guides, and the Web
  • practicing the pronunciation of English sounds and words
Ideally, learning English should be your hobby. You should think of yourself as an English Learner — a person who has chosen learning English as one of their favorite activities.
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2. Making the first change to one’s life

The decision to learn English requires changes in your life. For example, deciding that one will read a book in English for 30 minutes every day and keeping to that decision. It’s very difficult to make a small, but permanent change to your life, especially if learning English doesn’t seem “fun”. However, learners should remember that studying English for 15 minutes every day gives you much better results than studying for a whole day once a month.
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3. Making further changes to one’s life

While the first change is the most difficult, each subsequent one is hard, too. A lot of learners take the first step (e.g. they start reading a book in English every day) and stop there. They do not engage in other English-building activities.
A good learner will have a set of activities (reading, watching TV, practicing pronunciation, listening to recordings, etc.) and choose from that set according to his or her mood. One activity is not good enough, because (1) you get bored more quickly, and (2) it gives you a range of language skills that is typically too narrow. For example, reading in English can’t improve your pronunciation, although it can improve your grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and writing skills.)

How to Learn English Well

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Improve your English

All English learners want to improve their English, but as you know, it can be difficult! For you to learn, you need to work on all areas.
The four main areas for you to focus on are: Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening. Our English courses promote these 'core skills' because all need to be worked on for you to learn English well.
Here are some proven ways to help you learn. Good Luck!

Speaking

Speak as often and as much as possible! This is the best way to learn English! There is nothing better than conversation to help you improve. Whereas, you can practise reading, writing, and listening on your own, it’s obviously better to speak English with someone. The best way to do this is to be in an English speaking environment. Take an English course in an English language school, or better still, learn English in an English-speaking country.
The quickest way to learn English is to surround yourself with English speakers. Also, get into the habit of thinking in English, don’t translate from your own language into English, it will slow you down. When you talk, use the sentences which instantly and naturally feel right to you, these are often the correct ones. Many students learn to develop an ‘intuition’ about English, use yours and trust it.
This might sound a little strange and embarrassing at first, but record yourself talking and listen to your own pronunciation, talking speed and the flow of your speaking. It will give you a great chance to see the areas you need to work on. Finally, it’s fun to sing in English, so learn some English songs and sing your heart out!

Listening

This really is a skill that needs to be worked on everyday. Like speaking, it’s better for you to be in a totally English speaking environment. Full immersion is the best way for you to improve your level. Again, nothing can beat learning at an English language school abroad.
It’s also good to watch TV shows, or movies in English. The news can be difficult to learn from for level students, but the more you listen the more you’ll pick up. As an exercise, it’s good to have something you can listen to over and over again. For example, a DVD can be repeated whereas a news report can only be heard once. When listening to something more than once; first, try to catch the general meaning, then, listen a second time for more in-depth information.
Learn to ’shadow’ using a DVD or CD, listen and repeat what you hear said. It’s important to remember that a native English speaker is not going to repeat something 10 times for you to understand, so as a long to term goal, you must focus on learning to get your listening right first time.
Here are another couple of important things to think about.

Reading

Reading English is something you can do to help you learn on your own, outside of the classroom. Have a dictionary with you (English/English is best.) to look up new words and then write them down in a notebook. Try to use these new words in conversation,it's a great way to learn.
Newspapers are good for higher level students, so for lower levels try reading children’s stories or books which have been especially written for English learners. You won’t learn much if you choose a book that is too difficult or too easy. You should find something that will be challenging,fun,and you can learn well from.
When you read don’t worry about trying to understand every world, don’t keep reaching for the dictionary every few seconds! Instead, try and understand the general meaning of the text first and then re-read it for more detail. For words you don’t understand, try learning how to guess the meaning from the context. Look at the other words in the sentence; they will give you clues as to its meaning. Check to see if the English word is a verb, a noun or an adjective. The internet is full of stuff you can read and learn from.

Writing

Try keeping a diary; write something in English in it every day, even if it’s very simple. Start with small sentences and make them longer. Again, the internet is a great way to help. Try to make friends online, visit chat rooms, forums, or post comments on blogs. These are all useful tools for you to learn well from.
Writing gives you a good chance to review words you have learned in the past, and allows you the time to think about grammar as you write. Go back and review anything you might have written in the past,when your English was at a lower level, and try to find any mistakes you made.
Think about writing a short story or even a poem; if you have a teacher, he or she, will be happy to check it for you.

Mistakes

None of us want to make mistakes in front of others; however, your mistakes are very important and will actually help you learn English. The key is, not to be afraid to make mistakes. Don’t waste a chance to speak English because you were too nervous about making a mistake. This is especially true if you study in an English language school, teachers want to hear your mistakes, so they can correct them for you. Don’t be shy; be confident, having an ‘I can do it’ attitude will help you learn. Above all, try not to worry, learning English should be fun! The more fun you have, the easier you will learn!

Goals

Set yourself a goal and keep it in mind, it will motivate you to learn. For example, think about why you started to learn English. Do you need to learn English, to pass a test, for business, to travel or to watch movies? Whatever the reason, you’ll find that you work harder when you focus on a target. Choose a goal that you want to achieve and then create a time-frame to achieve it by. Plan what you want to be able to do with your English ability by this time next year or in six months. Make sure that your goal is realistic and that you keep working towards it. It’s worth making plans to take an English test, so you have something very real you need to learn English for. Whatever you decide to do, don't give up!

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