Friday, November 30, 2012

My First Infographic on Creativity

     I have been very  charmed by the infographics published everywhere on the web. I have just tried to create one on Creativity. It is thanks to the web that I am sharing this collection of charts and photos on Creativity. I hope you find it useful. It is my first attempt. I hope my attempts become more professional. I will try my best.

Mr. Feis Buk

I want to share with you this parable I wrote about Mr.Feis Buk
  ( Facebook) . It is one of the writings ; I wrote at some moments of mixed feelings. I do have very ambivalent feelings towards Facebook, though I owe much to this social networking device. 

        What I really want to whisper in your ears is that my first encounter with Mr.Feis Buk was not that easy. I've met that very charming, irresistible guy and got addicted to him at the first glance. My heart went to him as swift as a bird. It's true that I blushed a little at the suddenness of the meeting. I couldn't sleep, if I didn't see him or meet him more than 10 times a day. 
    I was unable not to get charmed by the bewitching smile of Mr.Feis Buk. But once, he sent me an e-mail that left me numb with despair. Here is his e-mail:" I can see clearly that you are becoming a very addicted user, but I am afraid I am ruining all your hopes. I am a friend of zillion users. I can't be your online inspirer anymore." 
   My face was heavy with sorrow and I sighed bitterly. I rocked myself to and fro and I burst into tears: how come? 
    I was seized with such a violent fit of creaking. How doubly sad! I saw all my hopes break in a moment like a piece of glass. I gazed at his e-mail and I solmenly rubbed my eyes and shut down my PC. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Questions, questions, questions....

    Lately, I've been trying hard to understand where does my teaching fail? Why do some pupils master very well asking questions and why do others fail all the time? My answer was simply, they do need more consolidation, more worksheets to practice more. In fact, we have been practicing questions from the beginning of the year , yet, some learners do tend to fail at the simplest questions! 
It is true that I felt very disheartened! As I said to myself, with all this stuff we're doing, they are failing! What should I do in extra to help them recognise their weaknesses and overcome them bit by bit! 
Therefore, I decided  to appraoch things from a different angle. What if learners relied on themselves to write questions on slips of papers I provided them, and they exchange them with all the peers in their class ( a group of 14 pupils). Then, they come to answer at least 13 questions! 
First, I introduced the activity to my learners and  provided them slips of papers to write a question on each of them! Those who mastered very well asking questions were very swift and the  activity seemed trivial to them! As for those who struggled to write one question, even the simplest one: what's your name? did not write it correctly! And that was one of the things that made me feel more disheartened! What we really thought was obvious, was one of the stumbling blocks. At that very moment, I asked them to get inspired by their textbooks and copy some questions. Still, some learners mixed some affirmative statements to questions! At that moment, I have to take my courage in both hands and explain further to my pupils and stress the importance of punctuation. 
The activity was a bit time-consuming, but I made sure all my learners knew what rules to follow in order to write a correct question. They were motivated and keen on checking that  they did answer all the questions their friends asked. Some learners were taking the lead to help other pupils, explain to them the questions and suggest correct answers. It is true that this activity raised the awareness of young learners to the importance of asking, answering questions correctly, which is the basis of any language. One of the observations I made is that this type of activity helped both learners of extreme types, those who are easy-going and those who are reserved. All learners have to move around and check with all their peers their questions and if they answered them or not. Learners argued, collaborated, asked each other and mingled. I was there, to help, observe, listen and guide. 
When they finally answered all the questions, it was the time for all of us to work together, read the questions again and write the correct answers on the board! Some questions were so funny and learn ers were creative and uncommon in their answers. What I liked about the activity is that though, they were struggling to get all of this serious stuff into their minds, they were enjoying the activity and profiting much from each other. 
I think this "slip" activity of questions could be applied to other grammatical structures. 
The journey of learning never ends neither for the teachers nor the learners. We still have to be more patient. Learning  does not come easy for many learners.As a corollary, teaching is hard ,yet very rewarding.
With all of these and much more efforts, I can not claim that all my learners mastered asking/answering questions. I have to check again. 
Below are some samples of their questions! These are beginners and studying English for the second year. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012


    In my ongoing pursuit of using motivating and  stimulating activities ,       I came across this interesting activity: Dictogloss
I mainly implemented it with beginners; ie, twelve-year-aged learners. The activity is mainly a classroom dictation. The learners listen to the text, take notes and then work in groups of four to reconstruct the text. 
       What is amazing about this activity is that, no matter how easy or difficult  the text is , the pupils learn how to take notes and start thinking creatively of ways how to write in an abbreviating way; which is not so uncommon to our learners' style of writing messages to each other. 
In the beginning, they were so embarrassed they could not note down all the details, then, they were bit by bit at comfort with themselves and the activity as a whole. Most importantly, they were very very engaged to the extent that they yelled out of excitement, claiming politely that I reread some sentences.
 This activity not only integrated all skills but also made them aware of the techniques to take notes. They also felt familiar with the structure of  sentences. They tried to reconstruct the text working collaboratively on the notes they have.        
     Every group of members tried to reconstruct the text, it's true that the text were different from one group to the other. Two groups had all details, but with some grammatical errors. Other groups had fewer details , more mistakes, spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc... What we liked about the many paragraphs reconstructed,every group came up with a new version! 
      This activity is very important  to engage learners cognitively, emotionally, socially,..As for the follow up, we started with the series of errors and the faulty sentences to correct. Learners were ready to learn, to suggest corrections to the sentences written on the board. 
Dictogloss is a multi-skill activity that engages all learners. I found it particularly very useful with young learners.