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What Makes a Great (Native or Non-Native Speaking) English Teacher?

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

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?

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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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?

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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My Questionnaire

My Questionnaire

Future of Education

What is your vision of Future Education?

What are my needs as an English Language_final_A_

Professors: How to Teach Students to Learn

Halina from Poland:

This is my question.
What do you think about future education?

Originally posted on My Educational Technology Blog: A Place of Resources and Tools for Educators:

In order to learn in class, students need to pay attention.  Many students, however, do not pay attention and therefore miss out on learning opportunities.  If this is a topic that interests you, please read more in “Can We Teach Students How to Pay Attention?” at

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