Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Flying Higher with the iTDI Summer School MOOC for English Teachers

At the end of July (July 20th - August 17th), the iTDI (International Teachers Development Institute) Summer School MOOC for English Teachers offered  four weeks of daily on-line immersion in TEFL teacher development training, delivering one session at a time by the faculty, mentors, associates, and leading community members of iTDI.

This MOOC was my first step on an exciting journey taken with teachers from over 90 countries, learning to be better teachers together.  In the beginning, I felt lost getting started, especially when downloading the course program into my iPAD (Thank you so much, Cláudio Fleury and Danny Lyra, for your precious help!) and handling the initial session details, especially the necessary audio adjustments. Sometimes, I felt as if I were drowning while I was watching the live discussions and struggled to follow the different types of information I’d get on the screen: listening to the presenters who were usually shown in the right upper corner of the screen; viewing the slides display in a larger portion of the screen; and following the comments in the chat room in the lower right corner of the screen. That seemed too demanding for me! I felt like my brain would go out of orbit and burn! But it didn’t.  Thank god, experiencing the so much celebrated plasticity of brain became a concrete reality to me – sometimes at a high energy cost, I must admit.  However, I’ve learned some strategies and now I know I can do it faster and more comfortably next summer.

All sessions were one hour long, live, conducted in a virtual classroom in Wiziq, and included a pre-session task and a post-session quiz. In accordance with the number of sessions one attended, different certificate participation credits were available.  This year’s program included a wide range of topics such as ‘Teaching English Through Art’, ‘Preflective Lesson Prep: Ideas and Inspirations’, and some curiosity-raising ones, such as ‘#Flashmob ELT’. A variety of inspiring teaching specialists - such as Michael Griffin, Anna Loseva, Matthew Noble, Vicky Loras, Rosely Serra and Ana Menezes - were invited to present in one of the 29 daily sessions in this year’s program.

Experiencing doing this MOOC course was certainly a turning point in my career.  Actually, I’m looking forward to watching the recording of the sessions I’ve missed due to the natural rush and usual demands with coachees and related issues in the beginning of the semester. The fact that the sessions were on a daily basis forced me to miss some of them. The good point about this MOOC is that I can catch up and do the rest of the viewing and tasks at my own pace now at the end of our school semester. Yes.  I highly recommend this MOOC for English Teachers. Fly high with iTDI!

Eneida Coaracy

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Language Use: Yeah, no.

While I was preparing an English class, I came across a book activity that presents a rather recent addition to authentic language use: Yeah, no.

“Yeah, no. we should really try to keep traditions going.”

It’s not exactly slang, but people are now using this with increasing frequency in conversation. At face value, it looks quite contradictory, and I imagined that there are people who aren’t at all familiar with its use.

One question that comes to mind is, “Where did this expression come from?”  Well, a cursory search points to our friends “down under” in Australia.  It is similarly used in South Africa (Yah, nay), yet is not limited to the English language; in German, ‘ja nein’ is used as well!  In fact, in can be found in just about any English-speaking country.

So, how can it be used? Well, in a number of ways. Here’s a list that I’ve put together based on my search:

  1. used frequently to agree, as in “Yes, indeed, and no, I wouldn’t think of contradicting you:
    1. “My car is in the shop, and you had said you would stay home today, so would you mind if I borrowed your car?”
    2. “Yeah, no, that would be just fine!”
  2. used less frequently to acknowledge what was said, yet disagree, as in:
    1. “During the movie, I found myself squirming in my chair!”
    2. “Yeah, no, I don’t like horror movies”.
  3. used to soften the rejection/denial of a person’s request:
    1. “Those are only some of the problems we had.”
    2. “Yeah, no, we can’t give you your money back, sorry”.
  4. used to give a sarcastic and emphatic no:
    1. “So what do you think?”
    2. “Yeahhhh, NO! That’s a terrible idea.”
  5. used as an alternative filler to “um/uh”.

It’s important to highlight that “yeah, no” always appears as a way of starting a conversation or as something uttered briefly before a response to something that has been said. It is never used in the middle or at the end of a comment. Typically, there is no pause following “no”.

I personally question whether or not “Yeah, no” will persist in language or will fade away like a fad. However, Cambridge sees it as a strategy of increasing fluency. So, what do you think? Is “yeah, no” here to stay? Do you agree with my list? Do you have any else to add? Let me know in the comments.