Do you study? Yes I do? Do you do it in the loo?Do you do it where you’re able? Do you do it at a table?
It’s Dr Seuss ‘s birthday today. Have you ever read any of his children’s books? If you haven’t, may I recommend them? They will test your English in ways your teachers never thought of! They are such fun and.a great example of the natural rhythm and sounds of spoken English.
Would you like to add a few lines to this Seuss style poem? Add your contribution in the comments box and let’s see if we can out-Seuss Seuss!
So far we have – in the title
Do you study? Yes I do.
Do you do it in the loo?
Do you do it where you’re able?
Do you do it at the table?
And now I am adding:
Do you do it when you can?
(Make sure the lines you write all scan!)
Table, loo or under trees
Tell us all your preference, please.
What started all this? Well I was actually going to ask you where you like to study?
In particular, I was wondering where people study when they aren’t at home. Do you have any preferences?
Is this one of them? It’s the garden of the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon.
So now, you have two things to do! You can just answer the question in the comments box, or you can join this spontaneous homage to Dr Seuss and his books by composing a rhyming couplet or two. You can find a little help by clicking here
What is a pun? The title ‘Are you a country mouse or a town mouse who is trying to avoid the rat race?`is an example. It is a sort of joke that depends on playing with the different meanings of words. Maybe in your language this type of wordplay is called paranomasia.
Here the joke is around the meanings of mouse and rat. The terms town mouse and country mouse come from a one of Aesop’s fables which is a classic example of the debate between the two different styles of life while the rat race is an expression that talks about the competitive life in our business based city life.Here are some examples of puns:
First an old one from childhood:
Mary saw her new colleague walking through the park with a child in a push-chair.
“What are you doing here?” she asked him.”I didn’t know you lived near here.”
“I don’t,” said the new colleague, ” but it is such a beautiful day that I decided to take my son and heir for some sun and air.”
What animal has a coat and pants in the summer?
Answer: A dog
( We sometimes call the dog’s skin a’a coat’. Also, pants is the American word for trousers and the verb ‘pant’ means ‘ofegar’ in Portuguese, ‘haleter’ in French.
Other jokes with words, similar to puns can often be found in newspaper headlines:
IRAQI HEAD SEEKS ARMS
Here the puns are that ‘head’ can mean ‘president’, or ‘head of state’ etc while ‘arms’ of course are weapons/guns nuclear bombs. But the joke is in the juxtaposition of the ‘body parts’.
STOLEN PAINTING FOUND BY TREE
What does ‘by’ mean here? does it show who found the painting? (No. It means, Near)
Hope you enjoyed the puns – were they easy enough for you?
One possible advantage , (I did say possible) of learning a language at school, in a language school or in lessons provided by your employer, is that the lessons are usually structured with the aim of creating a sense of progress: the language is carefully organsied from easier to harder, from more generally usual and useful to more specialised. When we learn in situ, on the other hand, we are exposed to a wide range of language – progress being provided by the repetition of contexts and our necessity to use similar language in our everyday situations.
Whatever situation you are larning in you may very well need to compare and contrast things: in formal learning situations, one of the topics that comes up time and again is the discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of city and country living.
In the following news story you can put what you know about this grammatical item to good use as it discusses why young people in Japan are interested in returning to the countryside.<!–more-BBC News – Japan’s youth turn to rural areas seeking a slower life.->
What do you think are the advantages of living in the city? Can you imagine yourself living in the countryside, perhaps growing your own vegetables and keeping chickens? How about leaving a comment?
And if you would like some input about the language device in the title here’s the link.
Just a fun post!
How many different ways can be found for this phrase (from my previous post, which actually is a project for my face-to-face students. If any teachers happen to think it useful, please use it, but I would appreciate your leaving a comment if you do.)
Anyway, towards the end of that post I wrote:
The journey of a 1000 words begins with …. ‘a ticket to ride’.
What variations on the theme can you suggest?
Go ahead, leave a bit of your brilliance in the comment box…. thank you.
Do you dream of scoring the perfect goal? Do you aim to change the world? Make an important dicovery? Maybe not, but what are your dreams, aims and ambitions? What’s the difference between these things, anyway?
How about setting records? What point do you see in that? Do you think it is a good thing to set out to be the youngest to do something? (Such as sail round the world single-handed, or climb a mountain or seven ?) Do you think being awarded prizes or medals, or being on TV are good incentives? Do you think that getting that sort of recognition is a good ambition in itself? So many questions, but they are good starting points. Starting points?
If one of your ambitions is to be able to use your knowledge of English well, here’s a challenge for you: a chance to do a longer piece of research-based writing. It will take time and commitment. You will need to remember that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. No prizes (this is just a link to a previous post) are offered except the achievement itself.
You could start by reading the two reports mentioned in the second paragraph. As you read them, think about differnt aspects of ‘ambition’ (for example – the differences between a dream and an ambition; how having a goal changes lives and characters and life after that: how others are affected ) and make notes, perhaps using the mind-map method).
Then, read these two articles. First article
and the second about a young jam-maker. What, if anything, do these two young people have in common where ambition and achievement are concerned. Do you think they were motivated by the same things? What other points do you find interesting? Make notes of any ideas and facts that you might want to include in your writing. You will probably remember other stories, or articles on making dreams come true. Include ideas from these, too, if you like.
When you have done all of this, you will have thought and read about different aspects of the topic and will be in a great position to start on your essay on the topic of ambition, perhaps your ambition(s). What hints have you got from all this reading and note-taking that are interesting or useful ? At this point, you will probably be beginning to get an idea of what your writing will be about. Often it is a discussion of some idea that has come up during the research, e.g ‘Is it a good idea to have an ambition? Are dreams enough? YOUR question will give a shape to your writing, including giving you the basis for your introduction and conclusion. anad your notes will help you with the content. When you review them, you can decide which ideas you think you would like to include and then them into groups , each group of ideas becoming a paragraph of your essay.
All of this is pretty intense. You may need help so if you decide to do have a go, please leave a comment so that you can be contacted. OK then – off you go….. A journey of a thousand words starts with ………. a ticket to ride. You have just got the ticket!
This is the last sentence from an article by Alfie Kohn. I have included the link to his full article here. That article is addressed to those of the new generation of parents who are striving hard to bring up their children in the most positive and loving way possible, which, in the long run, should have fantastically productive and constructive repercussions on classrooms around the world. … when such parents don’t avoid ‘subjecting’ their children to such an experience.
That was my original opening to this post, a response to the article …. and then I needed to do some research. I tell you this blogging lark is not a piece of cake! I’ve now found myself investigating the integrity of my own approaches to praise as an encouragement for learning, and along the way, revisited theories on child-centred education, unschooling, deschooling, multiple intelligences, emotional IQ ….. well you name it and I have probably been there, looking back at the influence of humanistic philosophies, of new concepts in psychology on teaching. And from there, of course, I’m led to examine my own practices, including how I handle praise in class.
I found I do use ‘good’ but try to be specific, something that I think is constructive as well as encouraging. For example, in a test used for formal evaluation purposes, where students had to write about ‘something interesting that you did recently’, a 19 year old student wrote (slightly altered for the purposes of this blog)
I have one history very bad for tell you. In the last holiday I worked every time in the shop and I won a lot of money. However, in the begin of this school year I went another school and here I paid everything that I ‘s had won in the summer . But I didn´t like this school ……… so I lost the all my money.
I was trying to respond to the content as one human being to another, and yet still give the student some feedback on his progress., with, of course, the underlying idea of encouraging him to continue – a couple of steps along from the almost automatic √ VG*. perhaps, but still an illustration how I see one of my roles as the one who allots praise, especially in such institutionalised contexts. Oh yes, I reminded myself of that ‘officially forgotten, troublesome figure’ Illich’s contribution to child-centred education etc, too! The quotation is from his obituary in the Guardian, which that link will take you to.
It’s good to be reminded of alternatives, of practices more than half-forgotten, it’s good to take a step back on the path originally taken, good to read about new ideas , and good to give ourselves a pat on the back we find in ourselves a degree, high or not so high, of congruence between our beliefs in theory and beliefs in practice, even at this grandma-stage of life.
So there we are, back to praise, giving ourselves a pat on the back. But it is praise based on a bit of evaluation which itself is based on our knowledge of the standards in that area of our lives. What is implicit in encouraging students to evaluate themselves and award themselves the 5 gold stars or whatever is that they become aware of what is important for them for their progress in the learning context, and that allows them to keep their aims in mind – fun? fluency? exam results? being able to tick off another language item from their list? but probably not to earn the gold star.
I wonder how many other grandma/teacher/bloggers have been pondering these things lately? Are you one of them? Would you like to leave a comment? It would be great to hear from you.
This post is really just a link to a whole site which is a compendium of technological gizmo‘s that can be used in teaching. I have found some RUS (Really useful stuff) here including advice on using blogs with younger learners and this post which passes on a tool that translates text into phonemic script
Thank you Nik Peachey.
By the way, I have also linked to a new online dictionary that I have never previously used. Very good first impression! What do you think of it? And what do you think of Nik Peachey’s site?
Present participle of the verb begin
no one is telling you that you must – this isn’t an instruction.
sometime in the past
and ever since then
stopped or forgotten or just not committed to.
would have begun if
or would have been beginning if something else
nor even have begun and that’s as far as it gets.
the word is
something new’s beginning
are beginning something new
began with no exclamation or fanfare
the street woke up slowly to the sound of rain
the workers emptied the parking spaces
and filled the buses
the children went to their crèche
were taken to school
and the postmen delivered the mail
shouted their conversations from pavement to window and window to pavement
I shushed the next-door dog and dodged
the tail-end of the shoutversation
under my umbrella.
At 11.11a.m. (ish – to keep this truthful)
in her studio at the top of her garden
our teacher came in and took this photo
to take its shape
Out there on the net, there is a plethora, a rich abundance, a cornucopia full of material aimed at those who teach, and in particular those who teach in EFL/TESOL Why, then, you might very reasonably ask, should I want to add to that heap?
Well, the simplest answer is because I can! and I really can! Learning to blog for me continues to a bit like being Alice in Wonderland. There are tons of tunnels to dive down, doors to be opened and avenues to be explored and sooooooooooooooooooooo much to learn. Chasing the smile on the Chesire Cat’s face puts a bigger one on mine! I’ve got a new hobby! I’m having an adventure, too!
I am following in the steps of many a blogger: I started by being irritated by the amount of time ‘people’ (anyone not me) ‘wasted’ (used for purposes I did not understand) on blogging, excluding the living around them from their hidden world, their private onscreen retreat. Then I started exploring the infinite Pandora’s box-inside-Pandora’s box-inside-Pandora’s box-world of online communication. I looked at blogging sites and, particularly at wordpress.com because people I know blog there. I liked what I saw. I played with the designs and tried things out. I started and obliterated, started again and of course, in the twinkling of an eye I was hooked. (Maybe the twinkling of the midnight oil, too!)
I also found all the help I need and where I might have found demons and devils and egotistical monsters released from those opened boxes, what I actually found and find is goodwill. OK – bloggers no doubt enjoy themselves while blogging but there are some hugely helpful and knowledgeable sharers of knowledge, too. It’s a whole different slice of humanity.That’s what I have found.
( … yes there are rogues; there is protection against them.)
I have also found that, although I had been interested in the professional and commercial advantages of blogging, those goals have receded, not quite into the furthest recesses of my mind but they surely don’t dangle in front of me like a carrot to goad me on. I’m goaded all right, but more and more by the pleasure of being able to do it.
Isn’t that what learning is all about? Or shouldn’t it be the pleasure, the satisfaction of being able to do something?
If you are reading this, perhaps it is because you are a teacher and maybe you are not a Native Speaker, as the jargon might say. I am an English English teacher – a Native English Speaker (We are all Native Speakers of something! so NS needs qualification, don’t you think?) Why don’t you join me here, by flexing your own blogging muscles. I invite you to comment, to give me feedback, to ask questions, to critique, to stick your neck out, or maybe better, stick your finger in my pie! Maybe you could comment on that mini-paragraph just before this one, if you need a jumping off point.
Please, don’t worry about making mistakes. In front of our classes we try to avoid them but if we take the quotation of the title of a blog I read a few days ago to heart ‘He who dares to teach must never cease to learn’!. You can say if you would like, or not, any comments or suggestions on your English on the response to what you write.
So, how about leaving a comment in the comment box. You can use your own name, or initials or invent a name for yourself. But if you think that that is a bit public, please know that, at the moment, there are not many ‘followers’ so that’s not really a problem. However, you can get in touch more privately by filling in the contact form which you will see in category one: Help for you – contact form. You can click here to get there.
Thanks for coming this far. See you soon!