Still learning.

I had almost forgotten that I had started this blog “Learner First Dairy” to share some of my thoughts and experiences as an English teacher- obviously, not blogging doesn’t mean I feel am not a learner any more.

Logging in again has made me remember a time when I used to read so many wonderful blog posts from fellow teachers: the impact it had on my everyday practice was unbelievable. Still, today, much of what I do in class has been inspired by teachers who kindly shared their ideas through blogging. I’m not exaggerating. I’m lucky to have many training opportunities available, but very few of them have ever matched all that I have gained in this kind of media. And what I always enjoyed most were the posts where teachers expressed their concerns and reflected on their methods and approaches. It was all that reflective teaching and sharing that was so insightful. And it took very little time actually: just reading and engaging in conversation now and then. But the effect of it was so significant, yet so small apparently. It was only natural that I would also do the same and try give in return.

The truth is that I have been neglecting that part of my teaching practice, but I’d love to start again and catch up on what’s going on.

The desire to do something because you find it deeply satisfying and personally challenging inspires the highest levels of creativity, whether it’s in the arts, sciences, or business.” -Teresa Amabile ‘The Progress Principle’


Putting learners in the driving seat

I was really pleased to have taken part in this memorable TESOL SPAIN National Convention held in Elche.

I had never before spoken in a training event like this, and despite all the nerves and fears it turned out to be a truly wonderful experience. I had the chance to meet and listen to many ELT professionals I knew and followed online, and I was lucky to have met many like-minded teachers I hope to keep in touch with.

Thank you to all the TESOL Board members and organizers for giving me the opportunity to share some of my classroom experiences at the convention.

My talk was about student involvement: Putting Learners in the Driving Seat.

Some of the work I referred to in my talk is available in these blogposts:

Building Vocabulary: 1) The Post-it 2) Helping it Stick

Examples from quizlet:House and Furniture, Classroom language

Examples from padlet:Verb patterns.

Examples of collaborative work: My town, Shopping, Tips for language learning

Celebrating learning:

I always collect everything I do in class and post the pictures and summary in an animated video that I play on the last day, and share with them via email or on our LMS. In the past I would use google slideshows, but I’ve become very fond of using POWTOON, a very easy-to-use tool to create presentations and animated videos.

Digital tools for learner-centered classrooms.

Technology is usually referred to as a tool. I looked up the meaning of tool in Merriam Webster online dictionary and I found that it is defined as  a handheld device that aids in accomplishing a task; something (such as an instrument or apparatus) used in performing an operation or necessary in the practice of a vocation or professionals a book is the tool of a scholar, or the pencil the tool of a drawer.

It is not an end in itself, but serves a purpose and we use it for something.

I feel that the best digital tools that can be used in the classroom are the ones you don’t really notice. We are just using them, just as we use pencils or the notebooks in order to carry out more significant tasks that require our full attention and engagement.

I just recently spoke at the TESOL-SPAIN National Convention and the title of my talk was Putting Learners in the Driving Seat. It was about reflecting on how we can increase student involvement in the different stages of the classroom. And I mentioned some online tools have been very helpful.

I have had some memorable classroom experiences using digital tools for making the classroom more inclusive and learner-centered and I shortlisted the ones that have been most effective for me.