Halina's Thoughts

Education, English, Teaching, Learning,Online, Technology, Course, Classes

Halina from Poland:

I think that this discussion is very educational.
I continuously have been questioning who is a better teacher, native speaker or non-native language teacher?
I have been teaching Polish as well as English for over 40 years.
As a Native Polish speaker, I have been a lot more stressed out teaching English because I always have felt a bit behind new expressions, phrases, vocabulary, and so on
I agree with James Alvis Carpenter’s thinking:
“ What does it mean to be an English teaching professional? Is it the ability to speak English? The ability to teach English? The professional credentials attendant to both? Or a combination of tangible and intangible elements—like the ability to speak English coupled with the ability to think creatively and connect with people from different cultures? ”
I believe that, generally speaking, it does not matter if you are a native or not – native speaker.
The most important is to be a good creative teacher, with a competence to motivate students to learn a language.
Passion for teaching, friendly attitude towards learners, love of the subject, a readiness to alter, a willingness to give, support and reflect are vital education skills.
Above all, it is essential to be a lifetime learner, so to constantly look for the best ways of improving teaching methods. We should take courses to master teaching techniques.
I have been taking many courses, just recently;
Teaching with Technology
Learn to Blend and Flip your Classes with Technology
Run Dr. Nellie Deutsch (Ed.D) on WizIQ

We should remember about collaboration, cooperation as well as understanding and encouraging students.
Criticizing and keeping strong discipline is not advisable.
A good teacher respects students, makes a sense of community, is warm, available, loving and caring, but at the same time sets high expectations for all students.

Originally posted on EnglishCentral: The Official Blog:


Chad is an American in his early twenties. He completed a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, but didn’t know what to do with his life after graduation. He got average grades in college, is reasonably smart, but lacks marketable skills. His choices after graduation are entry-level positions at a few local companies, but he doesn’t want to sit at a desk all day. Eventually, Chad hears about a friend who’s working as an English teacher in Japan. According to this friend, the salary is good, the women are beautiful, and the job is easy.

“Do you need teaching experience to get a job like that?” Chad asks his friend.

“No,” his friend replies. “You just need to be a native speaker of English.”

Chad is eventually hired in a similar school in Japan. He begins teaching classes. He is called “teacher.” He comes up with creative ideas for how to teach his…

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New Techniques and Approaches to Language Learning

Introducing New Techniques and Approaches to Language Learning_

Communicative Approach or Communicative Language Teaching (CLT).

Its origins can be traced to the 60s, with the changes that occur in the British language teaching tradition. At this point, the foundations of Audiolingualism begin to be questioned, mainly as a result of Chomsky’s cognitivist ideas (cf. section 5).
Thus, on the one hand, CLT appears as a reaction to previous methodological principles, such as those underlying Audiolingualism or Grammar-Translation. Scholars such as Candlin or Widdowson now begin to advocate the development of communicative proficiency in the target language, rather than knowledge of its structures, basing themselves on a wide range of theories, ranging from those of the
British linguists Firth and Halliday, to those of the American sociolinguists Hymes, Gumperz, and Labov, to those of the language philosophers Austin and Searle. Another strong contributor to the Communicative Approach is Wilkins, with his proposal of a notional syllabus, incorporated by the Council of Europe in its attempt to facilitate the teaching of European languages in the Common Market. However, none of these ideas would have prospered if they had not been rapidly applied by textbook writers and equally quickly accepted by language teaching specialists, curriculum developers, and even governments. This provided the impetus for CLT, or the notional-functional approach or functional approach, as it is also termed, to become an international movement.
The latter views language learning as the product of the diverse subcompetences comprised within the general concept of communicative competence; that is, not merely linguistic or grammatical competence, as in previous methods, but also sociolinguistic, discourse, and strategic competences. Hence, the primary goal of CLT is to develop communicative competence, to move “beyond grammatical and discourse elements in communication” and probe the “nature of social, cultural, and pragmatic features of language” (Brown, 1994: 77).
Consequently, learners are expected, not so much to produce correct sentences or to be accurate, but to be capable of communicating and being fluent. Classroom language learning is thus linked with real-life communication outside its confines, and authentic samples of language and discourse or contextualized chunks rather than discrete items are employed. Students are hence equipped with tools for producing unrehearsed language outside the immediate classroom.
This general goal of CLT can be viewed in two ways, since, as Howatt (1984: 279) points out, it has both a “weak” and a “strong” version. The weak version “stresses the importance of providing learners with opportunities to use their English for communicative purposes and, characteristically, attempts to integrate such activities into a wider program of language teaching”. On the other hand, the strong version “advances the claim that language is acquired through communication”, so that language ability is developed through activities simulating target performance and which require learners to do in class exactly what they will have to do outside it.
But let us characterize CLT further, beyond its central aim, by examining its theory of language and learning, its syllabus, activity types, and materials, as well as its teacher and learner roles. At the level of language theory, the Communicative Approach is based, in line with what we have already mentioned, on Hymes’ and Canale and Swain’s view of communicative competence, on Halliday’s theory of language functions, and on Widdowson’s view of the communicative acts underlying language ability.
In turn, this method’s theory of learning has a much less solid foundation. Nevertheless, according to Richards and Rodgers (2001), three main principles can be inferred from CLT practices:
1. The communication principle: Learning is promoted by activities involving real communication.
2. The task principle: Learning is also enhanced through the use of activities in which language is employed for carrying out meaningful tasks.
3. The meaningfulness principle: The learning process is supported by language which is meaningful to the student. Activities should consequently be selected according to how well they involve the learner in authentic and meaningful language use.
Much more discussion has been devoted to syllabus design in CLT, as it is central to this method. One of the first models to be set forth is Wilkins’ notional syllabus, which specifies notional or semantic-grammatical categories (such as time, sequence, quantity, notion, location, or frequency) and communicative function categories (for instance, requests, denials, offers, or complaints). The Council of Europe builds on this proposal and develops a syllabus including objectives, situations, functions, notions, and vocabulary and grammar. The result is Van Ek and Alexander’s Threshold Level English (1980). Further designs have since then been developed, such as task-based syllabuses (cf. section 10.1.) or the movement in favor of the abolition of the concept of syllabus.
Such syllabus types are implemented through a series of clear-cut activities and materials. The former, according to Littlewood (1981) are of two main kinds. One of them involves functional communication activities, where the information-gap principle is the basis for comparing pictures, working out sequences of events, discovering missing features in a map or picture, giving instructions, following directions, or problem-solving. The other consists of social interaction activities, based, as Nunan (1991a: 279) puts it, on the emphasis placed by CLT on “learning to communicate through interaction in the target language”. They encompass conversation and discussion sessions, dialogues and role plays, simulations, or debates.
In turn, materials are, in Richards and Rodgers’ view (2001), of three major types: text-based (e.g. textbooks), task-based (relying on jigsaw or information-gap principles), and realia (here, we are referring to authentic materials, taken from “real life” and brought into the classroom, such as signs, magazines, newspapers, maps, pictures, graphs, charts, or even objects).
One of the teacher’s roles is obviously to act as a guide during the afore-mentioned activities. But (s)he equally fulfills other extremely relevant ones. Among them, we
can distinguish those of independent participant within the group; organizer of resources and resource him/herself; researcher and learner; needs analyst in order to cater adequately for the students’ necessities; counselor, much in the way advocated by Community Language Learning; or group process manager. However, perhaps the most outstanding function of the instructor is to facilitate and provide opportunities for communicative interaction between all classroom participants, always, if possible, in the target language.
The learner thus becomes a central and active member in the learning process. (S)he must negotiate, interact, and cooperate with other participants and should be an important contributing element to classroom learning. In other words, teaching becomes learner-centered.
How can such an influential method in the history of language teaching be appraised? For many years – even decades – CLT is considered a panacea. It appeals to those who see a more humanistic, interactive, and communicative approach to teaching. Ur (1996: 6) perfectly sums up the general feeling: “The coming of the communicative approach represented for those of us involved in teaching at the time a healthy revolution, promising a remedy to previous ills: objectives seemed more rational, classroom activity became more interesting and obviously relevant to learner needs”.
However, once initial enthusiasm has passed, CLT has been criticized on a number of fronts and some of its central claims have been called into question. Let us examine exactly which ones by analyzing what has come to be known as the post-communicative or post-methodology era.
a) Comment on the origins of CLT.
b) Name the author(s) who …
– proposed the notional syllabus.
– produced Threshold Level English (19080).
– distinguished between functional communication and social interaction activities.
c) What is the general goal of CLT? Do you agree this should be the objective in language learning? Why or why not?
d) Which version of CLT would you favour in your EFL classroom? Why?
e) Enumerate the subbcompetences which CLT believes should be included within the concept of communicative competence. Can you briefly describe what you consider each one involves?
f) Work with a partner. Draw up an example of a functional communication or a social interaction activity for a roughly 4th year of CSE level. Swap activities and complete them. Comment on your general impressions. Would you use activities of this type in your class?

Featured post

Why digital citizenship is important

Originally posted on :

Are you busy preparing new content and learning experiences for your students?  If you are, never miss the opportunity to include digital citizenship in relation to online environments.

This video cleverly highlights the scary truth about how much personal information is available about those who are not careful. A fun way to make a point!

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My Hopes for the Future Education

My Hopes for the Future Education
“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.” – G.K. Chesterton
My hope is that teachers will make learning personalized rather than standardized for everyone.
My hope allows to improve students’ creativity and teachers increase that natural curiosity with learners. Curiosity is the basis of innovation. Curiosity will power our world to progress.
My hope is that you charge the power of technology in thoughtful and incredible ways. Applied science can connect everyone, everywhere, at whatever time. We should use it to our advantage.
I hope for everyone to be able to discover the things you are passionate about.
I also hope that you have remarkable, encouraging educators and mentors who try groundbreaking and wild teaching techniques to help you grow as a learner.
My hope is you are ready for the challenges as well as the failure.
Making mistakes is a way to learn. It’s not about the disaster; it’s how you respond to the failure.
And finally my hope is that your school is different from most of the current transactional learning models, where the students are consumers of education.
Lastly, I hope for people to be just educational learners fitted in transformational learning approach with opportunity for active, creative and profound personal development. Education can take place anywhere and at anytime. It is not only about reading, writing, and learning mathematical practices.
Knowledge is wide-ranging. It’s breathing. Learning is the future.
“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”
― Robert Frost
Halina Ostańkowicz – Bazan
July 2015

The Six Thinking Hats – Teaching How to Think

The Six Thinking Hats – Teaching How to Think.

According to de Bono, the brain is wired to think in a predictable pattern based on our experiences and preconceptions. The Thinking Hats tool challenges the brain to think outside of these patterns and forces it to analyze issues from an entirely different perspective. This represents an unnatural way of thinking, and gives a workout to parts of the brain that are normally not exercised.

Each of the Six Thinking Hats has a different color and each color represents a unique way to look at an issue. Each individual in a group discussion is assigned a certain color hat and must discuss the issue from that hat’s perspective. The hat metaphor works nicely because it easy to take off or put on a hat, thereby allowing that person to change hats and think about the issue from yet a different perspective. The color of the hat represents the mode of thinking.

Why Teachers Love Technology

Halina from Poland:

My very best friend, Nancy / Nan

Originally posted on Thinking about Learning:

A while back I got an email from a new friend who had built a really gorgeous graphic for a blog on It’s just an amazing visual commentary on the growth of technology use among teachers, including the growth of social media use.

I must say I resonate to everything. I have a laptop and yesterday I was telling another new friend that I never thought I would want an iPad, and then my husband won an iPad in a raffle and handed it over to me and it’s been welded to my hip ever since. Like the teachers in the graphic, I’m surfing educational websites through my iPad, watching lectures from the Virtual Classroom on WizIQ, reading past issues of the Chronicle of Higher Education and even downloading apps that help me practice Spanish.

Well, let me not spare you the experience of enjoying this wonderful…

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There’s No Substitute for These 3 Things in Education

Halina from Poland:

Education needs commitment, dedication and responsibilities .

Originally posted on Evolving Educators:

Image_permission_by_Unsplash_-_photographer_Jeff_Sheldon Image permission by Unsplash – photographer Jeff Sheldon

Everyone is looking for something different, an alternative to do things better, faster, more efficiently. We are in a period of time where our time is so valuable that we must maximize it by finding ways and things that help us to free up more of it. We can buy cleaning solutions that work faster and make things cleaner than the old stuff we used for years. We can use over the counter medicine that cures what ails you days faster than the “other stuff”. Or at least that’s what the commercials and advertisements tell us.

Yes, our time is very important. Especially when it seems as if things are happening faster and are more involved than they were just a few years ago. However, in the world of education here are three things with no substitute or alternatives. They just need…

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Education World: The School of the Future

Education World: The School of the Future.

The Challenges of Teaching When Silicon Valley Doesn’t Care

Halina from Poland:

What is the future of education?
This is my question?

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

I have been on a bit of an EdTechbingewriting spree the past few weeks. Part of the reason is that I feel the vast majority of educators and entrepreneurs are finally realizing that Silicon Valley didn’t get it right the first time with our approach to technology and the classroom.

Certainly, some content is more freely available than before, an absolutely wonderful improvement for access and equality. However, the day-to-day work of education hasn’t changed all that much, despite the hype emanating from startups. While Silicon Valley has argued that it would revolutionize education, the reality is that at its best, it has augmented the classic model and not replaced it.

The other reason for my interest is more personal: I am currently teaching my first class of students. In this case, three dozen Korean college students from a top-ranked local university who are taking a class on…

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Learning languages more effectively.

Halina from Poland:

This is a wonderful lesson.
Students will learn and discuss tips about learning languages more effectively.
Together, we can make a big change.
The best way to change the world for the better is to provide quality education for all learners. The best way to do this is to give all teachers the opportunity to become the best teachers they can be. Then, we really can change the world.

Originally posted on teflreflections:

I prepared a ppt presentation for this lesson, which you can download here.


  • Intermediate and above, but could be adopted to lower levels too.


  • Between 1.5 and 2 hours


  • students will learn and discuss tips about learning languages more effectively

Lesson Plan

Activity #1: Lead-in

What are your language learning habits like? Look at the statements below. Do they apply to you? Why (not)?

  • I watch films and TV in English.
  • I’m worried that people don’t understand me when I speak English, so I prefer to stay quiet.
  • I read a lot in English. Mostly news on the Internet, but sometimes books too.
  • I never study English in my free time.
  • I record new words, look them up in a dictionary and keep a record of them in my notebook.
  • I use on-line software and apps for learning English.
  • I talk a lot in English in…

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10 reasons teachers do NOT use education technology

10 reasons teachers do NOT use education technology.

10 reasons teachers do NOT use education technology

Halina from Poland:

To me, teaching with technology involves the development of my approaches that includes four major modules: the course content, the coach, the students and the technology implements.
After over thirty years of teaching, I felt bored with my traditional technics and wanted to find some inspiration, as well as an improvement.
My motivation, to search for the updated coaching methods, was eagerness to make my classes more challenging and more exciting.

Learning how to teach with technology has helped me to make progress as a teacher and a learner.
I like this model;
According to Gregory and Denby Associates significant implications for teaching with technology state that instruction should attempt to build upon each student’s experiential base.
What a teacher / student learnt from education is, to a large extent, a function of prior knowledge.
For this reason, one role of technology, is to bridge personal experiences and formal in connection. Technology should also be sufficiently flexible to adapt to teachers’ / students’ on-going instructional needs. One of the symbols of a master teacher is the ability to recognize and repair student’s misunderstandings and misconceptions.

Originally posted on New Images of Education:

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Are Textbooks Obsolete?

Halina from Poland:

I hope, my students will continue reading books.
I have been teaching with technology for a long time, but books are still important.

Originally posted on From Under the Teacher's Desk:

The textbook has long been at the heart of the classroom. It is the giver of knowledge, a place for students to go to find all the information they need and a guide for teachers developing curriculum. Yet the golden age of the textbook may be drawing to a quick end. Changes in what is considered best teaching practices as well as the rapid development of educational technology seem to have rendered the textbook obsolete. Is this the end of textbooks?

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