February 2011 archive

Blogathon is Over

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Well, well, well, it’s been a very hectic month. As you know I was a runner in the elt-blogathon, a marathon for bloggers. It is over now or it will be over today but as I blogged my last posts last night. I can say it is over.

It was a great challenge. I never imagine myself that I would be able to post something new everyday. Well, I neglected ‘A Journey inTEFL’ for a while but I must say thoroughly enjoyed the run. I ‘ve met many enthusiastic teachers all around Turkey and I see we are on the same track. This is great…

I’m sure many of them will continue blogging and we will learn from their experiences.

If you have missed any of my posts for the blogathon, they are here:


and if you read us and liked our posts, you can vote http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/talk/polls/elt-blogathon-who-gets-your-vote

Now that I’m back to my own jurney, I’ll try to update it regularly.

Thanks for reading.

Links, links, links…

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It’s a very quiet Sunday for me today. Nobody is at home and I’m with my laptop and I’ve bookmarked loads of great sites so far.

My number #1 is Max My Dream which is also became a fave for Ana Maria Menezes and she blogged about it. You will find her post very useful as she also suggests how to use it with your students.

Wonderopolis ” Wonders is a wonderful site for both teachers and students. You can learn really interesting things everyday and get a link to a lessonplan on the topic.

oneword.com when you click on the link and access the site you will see how simple it is to use it. When you click on ‘GO’ you will see a word and will have 60 seconds to write about it.

I came across with popplet through Alexandra Fransisco’s blog. It is a platform to share your ideas, create galleries, record thoughts, collect inspiration.

If you like using poetry in your class, Visit Instant Poetry Forms.


Martine series





image taken here

As Andrew Wright said ‘We are all stories’ and because of that stories are very important in our lives. Once my daughter (when she was very little) told me that ’ a storyteller living in the sky reads our stories to us every day and we act  in our stories.’ she imagined that the storyteller was an old lady.

When I go back to my childhood, I vividly remember just one teacher who used to read a story to us every Friday in the last lesson.

I also remembered those Fridays because after the school my mum would take me to the small book shop on the corner of our street to buy a book (or two) to read at the weekend. Those Friday-book-buying habit started when I was at grade 2 and continued till the day I started to go out alone and buy my own books with my pocket money. Of course I started with picture books and my favourites were the Martine series as those books were beautifully illustrated.

The weekends were the days I would dive into a dream world with those books. Of course we only had one channel to watch and we had neither computer games nor loads of toys as today’s kids have and as a result I became a bookworm.

I sometimes feel desperate when my kids say ‘books are boring.’ I hope they will become good readers as well.

From the day I attended a friend’s workshop last year, I have been thinking about using those storybooks as a course material, especially in primary.

Those books, as many of you will agree, have everything a course book has. If you use any picture book, mainly prepared for foreign language learners, you will see that those will be very useful in the class.

Most of those story books are beautifully illustrated. The stories are meaningful. They are mostly humorous and they enhance learning spontaneously. The repetitions in the stories make the target language memorable.

The picture books or story books can be used to teach new structure or review the one you’ve recently taught. They can be a good way to review vocabulary you’ve recently taught or a good way to practise the target language. They will also give a chance to your students to create similar texts if you ask them to write their own stories.  Moreover, you can turn them into a school play.

I don’t want to be a teacher by Vladimira Michalkova

Part of the series From my PLN


I wanted to be an archeologist or work with animals. Well, definitely anything really dynamic, changing and what would include my constant learning and development – I do love learning! I studied Teaching English as a Foreign Language but during the last year of my studies I came to conclusion that, actually, I don’t want to be a teacher. I couldn’t imagine not learning anymore and rigorously (and willingly, as I see in many cases) follow given teaching materials no matter who is in your class or what is going on behind the walls of your school . Well, now, five years later, I still don’t want to be a teacher!

Yes, I don’t want to be a teacher!

Not, if that means a person coming in the classroom, sitting down and starting a lesson with words like “open your book…”.

Not if that means a person always complaining about the students and using red pen to correct their works just to show them how much they still need to learn.

Not if that means a person who thinks that teaching is a job where no further development or learning is actually needed.

Nevertheless, I have a job I would never change!

“By learning you will teach; by teaching you will learn”

Latin Proverb

I have found the joy and happiness in the work where I can (hopefully) inspire, motivate and support the learning and exploration of the opportunities that are offered around us. You may call it a moderator, facilitator, mentor or just a teacher if you still insist. And besides that, I have discovered that this job involves constant learning, developing and creativity. I guess, I couldn’t wish for moreJ.

On my way, I have met many fellows with similar beliefs and opinions and as I go I try to influence and inspire (again hopefully) those (teachers as well as students) who find it difficult to look for the inspiration on their own.

So, I do not think of myself as a teacher (at least not the generally accepted connotation described above). And what does it mean for my students?

Well, I guess, they would describe it as “expect unexpected”. In my experience, they are usually shocked at the beginning of term but eventually get used to that and welcome any kind of “experiment” in learning a new language. I admit that I often fail or come across obstacles on my way but after all it teaches me something new (again and again).

One of the most fascinating aspects in all this experimenting is that I gain really a lot from it all, more than I could hope for. There are times when I have to look for and reveal the skills I didn’t actually know I possess (singing and acting in my case J – still working on storytelling, especially telling the jokes which I am terrible at).

Another one of the amazing things is that using all those styles, variations, techniques and possibilities I can help my students see what is around them and what they can actually use for their benefit but also help them find their own way on the path of learning (which neither starts nor finishes in the classroom).

Yes, I don’t feel like a teacher and the people in my classroom are certainly not the only ones to be called learners.

If you would like to get a notion of what is going on in my classroom these days, see the following links – my RECENT experiments with adult classes.

technology related activities easy to use in various situations

 “I never teach my students. I simply provide the situations in which they can learn.” Einstein


I want to thank Vladka who kindly accepted to write a blog post for my blog. I’m so happy that I had the chance to meet her and I’m so happy that I have wonderful people in my PLN to accompany me during my journey.

vladkaI am an English language teacher in Kosice, Slovakia. I have MA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and Ecology from University of Presov in Slovakia and certificate in Teaching Business English from English Language Centre in Brighton. I am trying to motivate and inspire my students so that their learning do not finish with the bell in the school. My favourite areas are Learner Autonomy, Homework in the 21st century and Teacher Development. I blog about my teaching experience http://vladimiramichalkova.edublogs.org/ and you can also follow me on Twitter @vladkaslniecko.

I was chosen as a winner of Diana Eastment Commemorative Award 2011 for a lesson plan using technology in the classroom.

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