Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tips for a Successful Semester Part 2

One of the best things about teaching is that we get to have a fresh start every semester with new groups of students. We can learn from mistakes made in the past with other groups and correct them, and we can incorporate advice from colleagues into our teaching. We have the chance to adapt new trends and ideas to our context and we have novel learning opportunities with the new people we meet in our classrooms.

Isabela Villas Boas

In order to guarantee a happy, peaceful, and fulfilling semester, some simple tips and rules can come in handy. In this sense, we asked CTJ teachers to write short tips for a successful semester. We hope you find them useful and that you have a wonderful experience with your new groups!

Haline Neiva

Let's try to say positive things to our students; give positive feedback; share positive ideas; create a positive environment; be polite to students, parents, and colleagues. This atitude will surely make the semester lighter and easier.

Daniela Lyra

An inspiring post by Katy Cox - and her checklist to 'read' our learners reminded me of a document a dear colleague gave me many, many years ago. The document consists of a listo f pbservable aspects, and it could be a gret tool for teachers willing to concentrate on the learners and how they respond and behave in class. I will have it printed out and use it as a starting point for my reflecting back on my classes. 

Carolina Godoy

Be yourself - students are not looking for a carbon copy of other teachers, regardless of how much these teachers are appreciated. Network and collaborate. Try to exchange ideas with other teachers and look for solutions to the problems that may arise duting the semester together. As the saying goes, "two heads are better than one". And last but not least, have fun and learn to laugh at yourself. Being optimistic is a choice we can all make. 

Juliana Ulharuzo

Here are a few tips that have worked for me, personally. I don't bake for a reason. Still, maybe some of you will benefit from them.

- Being friendly and firm are not mutually exclusive events. 
- When planning a class remember to cater for your students. Cater for what they like, but prioritize what they need.
- We usually have a lot of exercises to correct (graded exercises, compositions, etc). Try to correct them as soon as students hand them in whenever possible. If you manage do this during your 'breaks' you will end up having more time for yourself on the weekend. 
- Depending on your group profile, sending one or more graded exercises to be finished home may cause you a lot of stress. You know that class when nobody is absent, you have managed to cover the topics being assessed and your graded exercise is already printed out? It does not happen by accident. Plan it, and when the time is right give them time to do the graded exercise in class. 
- Maybe you are an experienced teacher (or not). Regardless, if it is your first semester at the Casa or your first semester teaching a certain level/book, do not hesitate to find out who else in your branch or outpost is teaching the same level. Rely on this person to ask questions and share ideas, materials with. You both will benefit from it.

Patrícia Villa

Remember: connection is the key to a good class atmosphere and, as a result, a nice and smooth semester. Look your students in the eyes and establish genuine relationship.

Wellington Duarte

Make sure you establish very good rapport with your students. Have in mind that theyare the ones you are going to be with once or twice a week for the next 5 months!

Marcos Augusto

Make sure you don't overwhelm your students with dates and procedures right on the first day. Assess your group's profile first, so that you can choose the best course of action.
Juliana Benedetti

Foster students' autonomy. There are many ways to enhance learners' self-determination, and you can use 5 minutes of your class to teach them simple techniques. Ask simple questions and set them as goals.
- How can you improve your language learning?
- How do you manage your time?
- Do you know how to upgrade your memory?

Cláudia Farias

Two basic and yet very important words: motivation and respect. If you are at ease and cheerful at what you´re doing, students will notice that and respond back positively. Respect has to do with being attentive and really interested in what your students are saying, thus making a connection with them. Who doesn´t want to be in a light, exciting and safe environment?

Victor Hugo Alves

My tip is that whatever happens, do not give up on your Sts. We inspire, we represent strengh and we make a difference in their lives. Let's do out best and I wish you all an amazing semester!

Inez Woortmann

What else can I add? Guess all the tips above have to do with 3 really important teacher characteristics that we strive to develop (in our own individual and very personal ways), and which contribute to a much more positive and effective teaching and learning environment: RESPECT - a non-judgmental regard for others; EMPATHY- being able to see things from the other's perspective, and AUTHENTICITY- being ourselves, without hiding behind masks, roles or job titles.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tips for a Successful Semester Part 1

One of the best things about teaching is that we get to have a fresh start every semester with new groups of students. We can learn from mistakes made in the past with other groups and correct them, and we can incorporate advice from colleagues into our teaching. We have the chance to adapt new trends and ideas to our context and we have novel learning opportunities with the new people we meet in our classrooms.

Isabela Villas Boas

In order to guarantee a happy, peaceful, and fulfilling semester, some simple tips and rules can come in handy. In this sense, we asked CTJ teachers to write short tips for a successful semester. We hope you find them useful and that you have a wonderful experience with your new groups!

José Antônio

If you happen to have a large group of teens, create a seating chart. Always write names of students on the board before the class begins, varying the chart arrangement to build a learning community. Inform them you will change the chart every two weeks. This helps you memorize students' names and see what combinations are problematic or productive. Have a wonderful semester.

Fransérgio Macedo

It's really worth taking a look at the students' progress in the previous books. This will make it possible for you to identify students that are likely to need your help more than the others in the group. You will also be able to assess in which areas he/she could improve more. This will work for all ages.

Derrick Mulder

Don't head straight for the teacher's room every break. Occasionally take the time to show interest in your students outside class time. Use what you learn about them in subsequent classes to grab their attention. Really pay attention to what they're saying and respond with thoughtfulness. Have fun with your students no matter what.

Eneida Coaracy

Try to ask negative questions more often! For example, after giving directions, ask “Is there anyone who doesn’t understand?” instead of asking “Are there any questions?” Why? Because the second type of question unintentionally targets more responsible students, who are more motivated and more likely to speak. Asking if anyone doesn’t know what to do, you are asking every student to consider your question. It’s a self-checking device that makes students productively uncomfortable.

Rita Avila

Take the first day to develop expectations. Students need to know what is expected of them. Although we don't want to set unrealistic goals that will belittle and frustrate students, we do want a cooperative and functional group, one that strives to do their best. I like to let them outline expectations and rules in small groups first. Then in plenary we put all our contributions together for a poster.

Carla Arena

Making a first great impression is the first step for a glorious semester. Icebreakers that surprise and engage can be an effective starting point for that matter. Check our post at Take time to learn more about your students, to know their preferences and interests. By doing that, they will feel you really care and you can use what your learn from them during the semester when you give examples, for example.

Magda Mendes
Try to bring nice, beautiful material into class whenever possible. This material can be a video clip, a song, a picture or anything else, but it has to be something beautiful. For example, once I showed my Teens 4 group a video clip with a very talented and "different" violin player, Lindsey Sterling (link: Two classes later, one of my students came to me and said he liked the video a lot and that he decided to resume playing the violin, as he had stopped playing it some time before. So, I guess we really never realize how a small thing can touch our students, but I think everyone is touched by beauty. Needless to say that something like this builds a connection between you and your students.

Pedro Tapajós

Don't fall behind with your bureaucracy. At the Casa, the rhythm is intense and non-stop. If you leave that memo or signing up for later, you'll inevitably forget it (or you'll get swamped in activities). Be diligent and get those papers in.

Evania Netto

If you are a new teacher at the Casa, you will probably have questions about how things work. Don´t be afraid of asking questions. People here are really helpful and are always willing to explain how something works. Also, it can be an opportunity to make new friends. :) 

Ana Carenina

Every now and then, try and bring a song to work with your groups. Remember to choose a song with the target vocab / grammar / topic that you've been working with in class. It ends up pleasing all ages! Simple and nice.

Check part 2 tips

Monday, October 01, 2012

Roaming Mode & Productivity Tools for Busy Educators

Educators are are always on the move. In many different ways.

In class, we move around to connect to our learners and assess their activity during the tasks.  We ask our students to do the same, moving, standing up, connecting to peers for the sake of keeping them attentive and interactive.

Many English teachers have more than one job, so they need to constantly commute to go from one class to the other, sometimes even going from one part of the city to the other extreme. Even when educators are full-time teachers in an institution, they have to move from one class to the other, one break time to the next. Circulating is part of an educator´s daily job. An itinerant life at its best.

Peseux calibre 320 movement Not to mention our roaming mode, trying to juggle the intensity of school work and our personal lives. There´s no need to say that the golden asset for an educator is time. The currency that we always lack and long for more. As there´s no magic trick to extend the number of hours we have in a day, the only viable solution is to find ways to enhance our productivity and efficiency. Educators need to realize they should be managers of their own time, and good ones!

If somebody asked me the toolkit that could optimize an educator´s urgency to better manage his life, I´d start by exploring four! Four seems to be a manageable number for exploration.
An educator´s toolkit should be composed of tools that are cross-platform, working in different devices and operational systems. So here´s a basic toolkit to get started:

EVERNOTE - Your virtual notebook. You create your notes, to-do lists, lesson plans and aggregate them in one single place. Once you download the app to your cellphone, desktop computer, laptop, and you create an account in Evernote, all your notes are automatically synchronized, which means that important moments, documents, ideas, and visuals are kept portable. Wherever you go, you can access them. Evernote is a powerful tool to organize your main resources, be it professional or personal, and easily retrieve them.
Check the Epic Experiment the Nerdy Teacher is doing with his students using Evernote:

DROPBOX - Your virtual flashdrive. Dropbox, just like Evernote, works in the cloud, synchronizing all the files you add to it with all your devices (cellphones, laptops, desktops). When I want to open any file in my iPad, for example, I just add it to my dropbox and open it in my iPad, using the Dropbox app. It stores all my main files and you can share folders and files with whomever you want, including your students and family members! You can share files and folders.
Here´s an example of some questions I used in class with my students:

FLIPBOARD - Your virtual newsstand. My favorite app ever! It works on cellphones and tablets. What makes it a very special tool is that in one single place, you can aggregate all your social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader...), and you can subscribe to specific news feeds, specialized sites, interesting magazines to follow the latest updates. On top of it, the user experience is simply amazing. Though it can add to your productivity and keep you updated on the latest news, you can lose yourself in so many interesting, serendipitous resources that can be a drain to your lack of time. The good thing is that you can always save an article to read it later or email it to yourself and share it with friends and students.

PINTEREST - Your virtual visually-enhanced bookmark. Organize your boards by topic, start following people, grow your personal networks and let the platform and the people behind it filter relevant information for you. You can "repin" relevant resources to your own boards, you can pin interesting links and digital treasures as you browse the Net. Instead of relying on you computer´s favorites, you can now take bookmarking to a more social and fun level.
Here are my Pinterest boards for you to have an idea of how it works:

An educator´s life is always in shifting mode, but with the mobile possibilities we have in our hands, we can better manage our routine on the go and add a more enterprising and enthusiastic feel to the many daily tasks we carry out.

I know, I know... The question is always, "From where do I start?"
First, stop lamenting the time you don´t have! Start by signing up for an account in those platforms, click and touch fearlessly, watch youtube tutorials, ask around or ask me. I´d be more than glad to give you the push you need to be a happier and more productive educator! I´m sure once you dig into this digital exploration, you´ll have a smile on your face to have worked on your own personal and professional survival toolkit.

Cross-posted at