Students and teachers


A few days ago I had my oral report of practice at school.

Everything has changed along with the rapidness of the development and changes occurring in a country and society, drastically, changed teaching approach at schools. Students and teachers as well. There were many things to do during the practice:  sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I failed. When I failed, I tried to learn from my mistakes. But all in all, I made a huge advance toward maturity.

The most important moment for me was getting acquainted with the school and students and teachers. I learned many things, but everything we accomplished together with the students. What could I do alone? Of course, nothing. We learned a lot, we created, sang, danced, organized show programs, watched movies and developed. Also we slept in the lessons, we drank tea, played croquet and talked with Cheshire cat, but those happened in Alice’s  Land of Mystery.

School life taught me to construct lessons correctly, to realize all difficulties of teaching, difficulties of working with students of different age groups. It was a pleasure to experience something new every day.

However, there were moments when I faced definite difficulties in working with the students. Especially, during rotational lessons. When you come to a new class and begin teaching them, you will notice some students, who are too active and even noisy. I had the same difficulty while teaching the eighth grade. I never used to work with that grade before and that’s why I didn’t know how to work with then individually. It is always necessary to have a special approach to every student. At the same time, a teacher must be able to control the discipline in the classroom, regardless the students group age.

However, practice gave me a lot. These four months spent at school effectively influenced to my professional growth and development. It was a good experience, at the same time.

I like role playing, but when I studied at school I used to take neutral roles, which required less emotions, actions and so on. Every time I used to be an author, who read passages between episodes. However, now I am not against for some theatrical performance. Most of all, I like to watch my students acting. Especially, if it goes in English.

Why am I telling you this? The matter is today we role played Alice in Wonderland with the ninth grade students. It was not so bad for the first time. As I was told it was their first experience when they role played episodes from literature work. That’s why they were glad when I offered them to act Alice out. At the beginning I thought that they won’t like it for they always act something in the classroom. On the contrary, they were tired of everyday situation role playing and wanted to perform something serious.

I just suggested to role play Alice in Wonderland because they watched the movie by Tim Burton in the lesson. In addition, it is one of many books worth reading it. I was glad to find that students knew the difference between book version and movie one. Telling the truth, when I was in the ninth grade, I did know nothing about the English literature. But since that time many things have changed totally. Along with the development of the country and society as well, old things are replaced by new and innovative ones. Regarding the case of teaching, we can say the same. Now old methods, programs of teaching and books are replaced by modern ones. Even the requirements for teachers are quite different in comparison of those, which were important some decades ago.

Role playing was good. Students showed three episodes from Alice in Wonderland. The first episode shows Alice and her sister during History book reading. The second one shows Alice, who somehow appears in Wonderland and finds herself in a company of Mad Hatter and White Rabbit. As you know, they celebrate their Unbirthdays. “Merry unbirthday!” as they say to each other. Then she meets with Cheshire cat and seeks way to get home, instead finds herself in the Kingdom of Queen. The last episode shows the meeting with Queen and playing croquet.

Personally, I liked their acting. Of course, there were some mistakes. But I think, by and by, they will improve their acting. We didn’t prepare any costumes, but decided to make emphasis on the faces of the characters so that people would recognize who was who. When I asked students what they liked or perhaps disliked in own performance, they said that understood that there were moments when they forgot their words and were forced to improvise. Also, they wanted to role play more and more stories. My supervisor was glad. They also wished to show their performance for a wider audience. Unlike me, they are not afraid to act at all. It seems not me and my supervisor, but students liked role playing most. I think, role playing is a good way to learn story better and remember it.

So, I advise if you want to remember a story just role play it. It will work!

My practice at school is coming to its end. And, as a result of it, I had rotation lessons this week. It was intended to check what you had learned in span of several months at school. Rotation lesson is a lesson that you organize in another grades you never taught before. First, when I was about to have rotation lessons, I thought what it could give me. However, I couldn’t think so much about it.

I liked the result, though my lessons were not perfect. I understood that there were even many things to learn. As my supervisor said “Experience comes by years.” At first, I had my first rotation lesson with the eighth grade. Everything is different when you teach different-from-your-students students. Each class has own stars, little “hooligans” and really want-to-learn students. But if you teach the class for the first time, you will spend the whole lesson to find out who is who. That’s why it is difficult to keep a strong discipline among them. At least, for me. Why am I writing about discipline? For it was a thing I failed to control during the lesson. The teacher of the eighth grade suggested me to pay attention to that fact. According to her words, I gave a leeway to the students and that’s why some of them were relaxed too much and didn’t treat the lesson seriously. It is true, sometimes I could notice it myself. All is about the discipline, except it I liked my lesson. I should admit, it was a good experience for me.

Secondly, I taught the fourth grade. Again, different ages, different students and, consequently, different attitude to the lesson organization. It is a pleasure and difficult to work with primary classes. The first reason is they are small and need a lower flow of teaching with detailed explanations. A bit difficult. The second reason – they are lovely and it is a pleasure to work with them. While teaching different age groups, it is necessary to change your language accordingly. It means thinking and speaking their English language. There is no need to use your English for the ninth grade for primary classes. Sometimes, it is difficult to switch from your adult English to a simple one, but it is necessary.

As I have concluded for myself, everything comes with mistakes. We learn better, when we see our mistakes and not repeat them on and on.

One more thing I want to share with you is resemblance between an intern and supervisor. The people, who have observed me lessons and know my supervisor’s lessons, say that my teaching style resembles my supervisor’s. On my part, I want to say that I just teach the students the way I  and they like. As a matter of fact, all students like my teacher’s style of teaching. For our schools it is not the newest, but new ways of teaching.

However, it is better to create your own teaching style. Everyone is individual, and everything he/she does should be unique. As one English proverb says, “Experience keeps no school, it teaches her pupils individually.” That’s why people of the SAME profession are DIFFERENT.

Continuing yesterday topic about peer reflection, I would like to post some of the works done by my students. It is all about the comic book presentation they have watched before. All in all, I have 11 students in my group, and would like to share with you all their opinions.

When I saw my work posted in my teacher’s blog, I was glad so much. I even wrote that “it was like a reward for my little trying”. I hope, when my students will see these posts and find their own writing published, they would definitely feel the same.

And now, today I want to show you some other papers – reflections on the comic book presentation they have watched before.

One of my smart students writes,

1. Today we saw the comics book of Nazym, Balzhan and Zhanat. It is the story about mastermind, whose name is Mr.XXX. He wants to create new generation of new people, and kill the present generation. But team of NIS will save the planet. I like this comics, it has good design, attractive heroes, funny villains and a nice robot. There were so many explosions, fightings. Nevertheless, kindness defeated evil.

2. It was a classic story. There was nothing that surprised me, it was sometimes even predictable.

3. If the small robot have had a big power and could hypnotize people, it would have been more absorbing. Nobody knew that the robot was the main villain. But robot fell in love with one of the superheroes and became kind. The love saved the world!

A very good interpretation of the story, as we say, “so many people, so many minds”.

Here is another flow of ideas from my another student:

1. I liked the main idea and the way of making their comics, also their superheros. It is a very interesting and fascinating comic. The cartoons with superheros like “XXX man” are my favourite ones. They have done their comic in a very funny way, it was very colorful. Also, I liked the name of the comic ( It was called “2012”).

2. However, they have told shortly about their work. There were only five superheros. I think, it is not enough for a meaningful story.

3. Maybe, I might have changed the scenario of the story. I advice them to make comic more meaningful and complete. Altogether, it is ok for the beginning. I hope, there will the next edition of  “2012” Comic book. =)

The ideas and suggestions for the book presentation are different, but all of them have something to tell about the book.

As I have told you before, just a few days ago we practiced creating our own comic books. As a result of it we had one group ready with their book to the end of the lesson. If you had read my previous post, you’ll see, we had some time left so I asked the students reflect on what their classmates had done. After they had watched a book presentation, they were given papers to reflect on the presentation. Today, having all their papers in my hands and analyzing, I found out that there are many good ideas they have to say.

Actually, here is one of my student’s work.

(If you remember, there were three points to write reflection: what they liked, what they disliked and what they might change.)

1. Assuredly, I liked this comic, because there are a lot of bright colors. What I liked most is that they imagine themselves in characters of superheros in comics. I liked the design of a mini book and location of the main characters in the pictures too. Also, I liked that there was no death, because I prefer some peaceful stories. I was surprised when I heard the following in their story. For example, a robot called Mr. XXX (Mr. Egg) wanted to kill someone.

2. Really, I didn’t understand the main idea. Comic is incomplete. I haven’t seen activities or bad things from “evil sight”. When they demonstrated comic book, I was a bit bored, because it was a little bit not interesting. For example, if I saw it on the shelf of magazines, I  wouldn’t buy it. I disliked special effects, because there were a huge amount of them. In my opinion, it would have been more interesting if they have  included more actions to the story.

3. If I were the author of this comics, I would include more actions (Something like bad activities or fierce plans of Mr.Egg) and active protection of superheros. Also, I want to see supernatural abilities of them.

But in all, I liked the presentation, because it is difficult to imagine your own story, I think.

I don’t know how other teachers would have assessed this work, but I gave the highest point for the reflection and for the ideas, paying no attention to any grammar or vocabulary mistakes.

Still we will see what other students have written about the same book presentation, and hopefully will put it on my next blog posts.

As usual, I spent my morning at school with my students. It is the beginning of a new term for them, but for me – it is the last lesson this week. Telling the truth, I am happy to have three-weeks holiday. It would be enough to refresh my head and relax for the last several months I had nothing to do, but study and study and work. Sometimes, I seem strange even to myself. I advise people to do this or that, not to do this or that, but the same advise doesn’t work with me. I write posts about paying more attention to the friends and relatives, but if it comes to me – then I find out that I haven’t seen my family, relatives and most of my friends more than a half year. How can I write about the things I am doing myself? I thought. So decided to make last breath before going with my over have-nothing-to-do-but-relax-and-enjoy condition.

Instead, I have found out that my students still cannot switch from spring holidays back to the lessons. They also seem to need even more time for rest. This is what brought me to this idea.

Right now we have the theme of superheroes and on the last lesson we began writing our own comics book. About superheros. We do really plan to have some of them published so that even other students and even teachers can take and read them. The students were eager to start their book. Though, firstly, they hesitated a bit, I guess, they thought how comics and the English lesson could be combined. That’s why they listened to my further instructions and kept silence for a few seconds. Further, I said that it would be accomplished in the internet. I could notice their desire to start as soon as possible. There is a website in the internet, where you can create your own comics book and download it. It is called Superherosquad. Sometimes, there are topics impossible to talk about seriously. In such cases a teacher can use different entertaining sites as a.m.one. It would be more useful and appropriate for teaching if to ask the students to use new vocabulary, new grammar rule and so on. I showed my comics book idea in order to get them more interested in the lesson.

Comics

So the next time I’ll see how they managed to create their work – “Masterpiece”, as one of my students said “We want it to be our masterpiece”.

Today, we have already watched one of those works. As we had only one book ready and still had some time I asked students to reflect on what they have seen. The students were asked to write:

  • what they liked
  • what they disliked
  • what they might change

As a result, I had so many ideas about the book and even some possible continuations. Nevertheless, there are some other comics books the students will present in the next lesson. On my part, I want to say, it doesn’t matter what use in your lessons, the most important thing is whether students are learning from your lessons or not. Even other teachers have no right to judge your teaching style. Just a few days ago, a teachers from the same school, with 30 years of teaching background, told us, her colleagues, a very interesting case happened to her. She organized her English lesson through the method of applique. Giving instructions to the students in English and making them to draw and cut and cut, she taught them vocabulary. Unfortunately, the headmaster, who was watching the duration of the lesson, disliked it and criticized the teacher’s approach in front of the other teachers so that making them understand that such methods of teaching were not welcomed at school. If she only knew, she was wrong!

Right now, we manage our lessons in quite unusual ways, we walk around during the lesson, we create comics books, we sing a song, we dance, we have field trips and so on. There is no correct approach to teaching, but one a teacher considers right.

As a result of Critical thinking course,  I have found out the difference between assessment and evaluation. They are similar, but different. In my lesson plan I used to write both assessment and evaluation for giving the students marks for the lesson. However, I knew that there was a difference between them. Initially, I thought that the difference was in the way of grading their job. I found the right answer for this question. If you still doubt with your understanding of assessment and evaluation, keep further reading. If not, good for you!

Evaluation and assessment both are ways of evaluating the work done. However, assessment is a part of evaluation.Yes, not vice versa. Evaluation is a way of assessing by giving recommendations, suggestions, feedback and reflection. Also, one can evaluate people’s work by rating in numbers. It is called assessment. In its part, assessment also comprises such activities as checking comprehension skills, following different criteria, making judgements, tracking the progress, analyzing outcomes, but the most important is whatever you check or analyze you give grades. As you might have noticed, in evaluation the grading is not compulsory. That is the difference. What do we USUALLY do after the lesson is over? We give the students marks. So, what is better to write in your lesson plan then assessment or evaluation?

The process of assessment is one of the most difficult in teaching learning. The students are modern and modern nowadays and they won’t think for long in order to approach the teacher and ask the mark she/he got. They are not like Soviet students, who were afraid of their teachers or got shy to ask something inappropriate. They are not like Soviet time students, who, if they see a teacher in the street (shop, theater), will definitely find another way to go so that they won’t run across the teacher. That’s why it is important to pay attention to how assessment comes to one mark in the end of the lesson. What is the most interesting is that assessment should be done during the lesson, but not after or in the end of it. Mostly, I do assessing after the lesson and sometimes find it difficult to give one mark for the student. I think, if I do it during the lesson , it will be easier. Perhaps, most teachers know it and do assessment during the lesson, but for young and inexperienced teacher while-the-lesson assessment was a new thing. A teacher can assess everything the students do and don’t. Once you learn to do during-lesson assessment, you won’t face difficulties in the end of the lesson. Fair assessment can be carried by different methods as observation, role play, written tests, quizzes and so on.

It is another process if a teacher evaluates his/her own job. It can be done by reflection on the lesson, where the students can effectively help a teacher. Simply, give students tables or question papers so that they can write what they liked/disliked about the lesson. Or there are some students, who do not want to disappoint their teacher and simply write “I liked the lesson”. In this case, a teacher can give another set of questions asking what activities they want to do again and so on. Students’ feedback about the lesson plays an important role in teacher evaluation.

If you still wish to get as more feedback for your lesson as possible, you invite your colleagues to the lesson so that you can discuss your GOODs and BADs after the lesson. Peer evaluation isn’t less important one. I hope, you found something new from this post or you have something new for me to suggest, you can share with me. Good luck with your lessons!

Next Page »