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This technique could be useful for teachers in a variety of EFL teaching contexts, from primary school to university, and can be used with a wide range of texts that are particularly vivid and that stimulate the senses.
This article can help teachers of English inspire a love of teaching in their own students by having students tutor other students.
Angela Huanca Barrantes is a highly respected teacher of English as a foreign language (EFL) in the La Pampa neighborhood in the city of Ilo, and she has a strong impact on the lives of students.
Applied Theatre, Adolescent English Learners and the Performance of Literacy
Youth in middle and secondary grades, between childhood and the adult world, sometimes struggle with their identities as readers and learners. Too many describe themselves or are described by their teachers and parents as “reluctant, disengaged, and/or unmotivated” by classroom texts or by the rows of books in school libraries.
Even though blockbuster series have powered young adult fiction and cinematic markets over the last two decades (e.g., Harry Potter The Hunger Games Diary of a Wimpy Kid), “I don’t like to read” is nevertheless a common refrain in schools and in homes. The self-construction of adolescent youth, especially boys, as “bad” or “reluctant” readers is alarming at a number of levels—first, for those young people who have framed themselves in that way; and, second, for the societies they will enter and ultimately sustain. As such, creating a “culture of reading” across schooling contexts has been the subject of scholarship and international forums specifically dedicated to research and practice for literacy (Christenbury, Bomer, and Smagorinsky 2009; Power, Wilhelm, and Chandler 1997; Wilhelm 2008).
Engaging Students as Tutors, Trainers, and Leaders
One of the greatest joys for teachers is to be able to inspire a love of teaching in their own students. Having students tutor other students is one way to accomplish this. A well-planned and carefully organized tutoring program can lead to remarkable gains for tutors, tutees, and teachers.
While starting a tutoring program may seem like a daunting and time-consuming task, it does not have to be. The best way to approach the creation and development of a tutoring service is with a list of clear objectives. In this article, I describe the process I used to create a tutoring program with my English as a foreign language university students. I identify questions that need to be addressed at each step of the program development process, then explain how my student tutors and I answered these questions.
On How Thinking Shapes Speaking: Techniques to Enhance Students' Oral Discourse
The institution where we work in Buenos Aires—Asociación Ex Alumnos del Profesorado en Lenguas Vivas “Juan Ramón Fernández” (AEXALEVI)—is devoted to the teaching of foreign languages, particularly English, and it administers examinations all over Argentina. One central problem we have identified in our work in the AEXALEVI Teachers’ Centre is the compartmentalization of instruction and assessment.
For five years we held virtual and face-to-face forums with instructors from Buenos Aires and other districts, and most of these teachers reported that they generally teach the content of the syllabus as one thing, and they deal with exam training as a separate component in the course design, developed close to examination time and not before. However, when the teacher indulges in teaching to the test, the student does not have the chance to develop skills over time. For example, we have observed students who can rattle off the summary of a story, overtly learned by heart, without ever being able to answer a simple question from the examiner or interact with a peer in a communicative task. Were the students trained to recite the story? Surely they were. Were the students given opportunities to develop oral skills throughout the course so that they would be able to engage in realistic talk? We do not think so. Here lies the danger of treating course and exam, and by the same token, teaching/learning and evaluation, as two separate components rather than as an integrated whole.
Nouns on the Job Market: An Approach for Recognizing Noun Position Errors
As an English as a foreign language instructor, you don’t have to look at too many student writing samples before you see sentences like this:
1. *The boy he went to the store.
2. *The first situation, the girl loses her purse.
3. *That is the boy who I know him.
4. *That is the boy went to the store.
At first, these sentences seem to represent disparate grammatical problems. The first sentence could be interpreted as a subject issue, the second might be a prepositional phrase problem, and the third and fourth might reflect a lack of mastery of adjective clauses. However, dealing with these issues separately is time-consuming and redundant when they can all be subsumed under an overarching category of noun position. In fact, an understanding of noun positions in sentences can correct many recurring problems in the writing of English language learners. This article outlines an approach for anticipating and preventing these sorts of errors while providing a framework to explain the errors to students. For this approach to be successful, students need to have an understanding of parts of speech, so it works best with low-intermediate to advanced students.
Teaching Descriptive Writing through Visualization and the Five Senses
The descriptive paragraph and subsequent essay are usually among the first assignments students must complete in composition classes. Typically, students are told to describe their childhood home, a person of importance, a special object, or a summer vacation. Most students, especially learners of English as a foreign language (EFL), have difficulty beginning the assignment. In 2014, I was teaching an intermediate-level English class to first-year university students in Namibia, and after observing my students’ struggles with writing a descriptive essay, I searched for techniques to implement in class. I found that visualization based on the five senses––what we touch, see, smell, hear, and taste––can be used as a technique to get ideas down on paper. This technique could be useful for teachers in a variety of EFL teaching contexts, from primary school to university, and can be used with a wide range of texts that are particularly vivid and that stimulate the senses.
Angela Huanca Barrantes is a highly respected teacher of English as a foreign language (EFL) in the La Pampa neighborhood in the city of Ilo, and she has a strong impact on the lives of students at the Admirante Miguel Grau secondary school and at Centro Cultural Peruano Norteamericano, one of four binational centers in southern Peru.
Yet Ms. Huanca did not always like English. In fact, she admits that at one time she disliked it because she did not understand it. Her feelings changed when, as an undergraduate student majoring in tourism at the National University of Saint Agustine, she enrolled in an English class taught by Rosa Sifuentes, who inspired Ms. Huanca to not only open her mind and heart to the English language, but also to one day share this newfound love. According to Ms. Huanca, “Teachers like Ms. Sifuentes inspire you to always continue learning, and I am still learning.” During her fourth year of university studies, Ms. Huanca worked at the university’s Language Center, and she realized then that as a teacher she could have a positive and important impact on others.
Stage directions describe characters’ emotions or actions; they help actors interpret scripts. The short script below has several stage directions, but some words have been left out. Fill in the blanks by scrambling the letters in one of the words the character speaks in that line.
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