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.

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After today’s day activity I realized, how many teachers – so many lesson plans. Our main activity and task today was all with lesson plans. a Lesson plan sometimes becomes difficult for me to deal. Perhaps, that’s why the time passed so quickly. Being a teacher requires development and development. It is even impossible to know everything about teaching learning. I learned so many things from today’s activities, but the main thing that I have found out a guide to plan your lessons in a better way. A day before we were asked to bring one lesson plan that we practiced with our students. First, we analyzed our plans, commenting on each, offering suggestions. After a pair work discussion we were given deconstruction questions. It is a set of questions, which helps to reflect on your last lesson so that a teacher can find some mistakes and try not to make them again. All questions are helpful for they help to find an exact answer to the questions.These questions include:

How did it fit into the program?

What were the lesson objectives?

What activities did learners do?

What were the links to the previous lesson?

Was there differentiation?

How was assessment included?

Was there a plenary?

How did it promote independent learning?

As you work with deconstruction questions you can move and work with reconstruction questions for better lesson planning.By the way, for better understanding, I want to clarify the meaning of plenary. Plenary is the last ten minutes of the lesson students reflect on and remember. I think, the above mentioned questions will be helpful to the teachers, who still cannot find whether they do mistakes in planning the lesson. Moreover, the reconstruction questions makes your planning even better. It gives the answer to how you might reconstruct the lesson. It requires considering learning objectives, learner’s needs, activities, skills, resources, previous and extended learning. I am sure after working with these questions, all teachers will notice changes (improvements) in lesson planning.

I did. I have found out these questions helpful for I learned how to plan your lesson correctly with the possibility to evaluate your previous job. It is useful to analyze your lesson so that it could be more successful the next time. Looking at my two lesson plans: the one I brought with me to the lesson and the second one that I reconstructed following deconstruction/reconstruction activities. Though I thought the previous one was one of my good lesson plans, it looked like a draft in comparison with a new one. Mostly, I liked sharing ideas about planning with the other teachers. It was interesting to listen what mature and more experienced have to say about your particular lesson plan. The more people you ask, the more effectively you learn. Sharing what I learned with you, I hope you will learn something new for you too.

When I first heard about change management system, I thought it related only to business in economy and the things like that. However, sometimes we notice that one thing used in one sphere can also be useful if we apply it to the other one. The example is Change Management in Education.

After power point slide show on Change Management, I noticed that we can borrow the way this management works. Many people are wrong when they associate management with business only, because it exists everywhere, but called a bit different or sometimes not called at all for people don’t know what it is. In the classroom, we can call it classroom management, at home – family management, etc. However, we need it, mostly, in workplaces.

It is impossible to establish one rule and follow it for the rest of the life. Due to the development, changes occur and occur. Modern and well-educated people accept these changes easily and adapt to them very quick. The situation becomes difficult with older people, in our case – with older teachers. Their mind cannot and, sometimes, won’t accept anything new and totally unknown for them. That’s why our old teachers find it easy to reject all the changes in the classroom. Certainly, even some young teachers are not ready for the changes. It is where we need change management. As you know, changes break the order of the old things: they damage the balance between control, confidence, competence and comfort. Old methods instead of old ones cannot control the organization of the lessons any more, as a result, an old-method-using teacher loses confidence in the lessons, which will lead to the incompetence in the classroom, especially, in the modern classroom. All these changes will take such a person out of her/his comfort zone. I, as a young teacher, would rather put efforts to learn new things rather than to stick to the old methods and suffer afterwards.

What I want to say is there are still some people, even some of my groupmates, who say all old teachers don’t accept changes in methodology. To me, it is more like a stereotype today than a real truth. Yes, there are teachers, who don’t accept changes, but what is their origin? Villages and remote areas. In cities, it is vice versa. Let’s take NIS as an example, the teachers are open to new things, they are ready to learn from young generation. As for the village teachers, they need a person, who will explain them that it is not so hard if they listen to. It is where we need a change management system.

City school teachers have already time, information and involvement (according to the slide) to adapt to the change successfully. The question is if village school teachers have enough information and involvement. Even key points of the change management:

  • People need time to adjust and adapt
  • Negativity is part of the process
  • Timing is based on each individual
  • Anticipate and plan for stakeholder reactions
  • Listen to the resistors
  • It’s not about you, don’t take it personally

mostly, refer again to info lacking teachers. It sounds to me ridiculous when one of my groupmates say that the problem is still in old teachers. Don’t they notice it having practice/work at school? Or does NIS have only young teachers not to think about?

City teachers are more informed and they need only to be taught to control the changes occurring themselves. As for the village teachers, they should be learned not to reject the changes, but accept first. That is the most important for Kazakh society.

Change management needs to each individual, because changes in the society mean changes in each person’s behavior. After graduation from school, I went to the city, I made some changes in my behavior. Then I moved to Astana, I made some changes in my behavior. Later I will work in Astana school, and I will make some changes accordingly. The challenge for me will be not the changes, but rather the way I adapt and adjust to those changes.

Change is a progress. Everyone should accept it in the heart.

Today we had a quest speaker from UCL to talk about multiple intelligences. As usual we were glad to see him in our classroom. Multiple intelligence was a new thing I learnt from our PDP teacher. When I studied at the institute I read something about it, but I didn’t pay so much attention to it, because it was not emphasized so much to use it with my future students. Actually, if I wasn’t introduced to it by Kristina and Josh, I wouldn’t come to it myself. Now I am glad to know more about MI than my teachers at the institute and at school as well.

I learned many new things from Josh’s(our guest) talk, but the most interesting info for me was implication of multiple intelligences to practice. It is good if you have an idea of students’ intelligences, it is better to put what you know into practice. A few days before Josh gave us URL to define our MI and 21 page reading to get deeper understanding of MI basics. In addition, we had him to speak in front of us and ask our questions. In what Josh gave us to read I read MI theory, IQ and eight intelligences, but today we found out one more intelligence, that is called existential – existence intelligence. In the beginning of his presentation Josh pointed out to three intelligences out of nine, that can be tested at school: verbal, logical and numerical reasoning. As a matter of fact, Gardner, a scientist, who investigated intelligences so much says that there are eight and a half intelligences.

During our conversation, I noticed that we called intelligences ‘skills’, ‘interests’, and even ‘abilities’. However, Josh explained that the word ‘ability’ cannot replace “intelligence’, because we have capabilities IN intelligences.
Further, Josh assured us that we shouldn’t take our results in MI test seriously and definitive for as Gardner said “No definite intelligence profile exist. And there is no need for them.”

Once you know the intelligences your students possess you can easily use the results to organize your lesson plans. It helps to find appropriate activity for your students. And one more thing that Josh told us about is that your lowest score in a definite intelligence. If you are weak in musical intelligences, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t study music. MI test is only a tool that helps to define your intelligences.
Once you give MI test to the students, you can find out their weaknesses and strengths. And here is an interesting moment: what do teachers usually do? If they know that students are good at Maths, they give them more and more mathematical tasks to further develop their ability. However, once you have your student’s intelligences in your hands, you should focus your attention on their weaknesses. That is what Westerners do with their students. They focus on weaknesses to turn them into strengths. It is a very good approach to cope with weak points of the students. In this way a teacher is capable of balancing their multiple intelligences.

Concerning the implication of MI to practice, every teacher should know that MI can be used in any context. MI cannot be used in isolation from each other.
That is what I got from Josh’s one hour speech. His speech is very understandable and his language is clear. He is young and lively, and he has a good sense of humor. His body language is very “sociable”, what he did and didn’t say he showed it with gestures. After Josh’s talk, I think we found out answer how to use it in the classroom. For me I am for trying it with NIS students and try to put into practice as soon as possible.

Later my PDP teacher wroteI noticed that you were doing very well in the end with the fill in the gap exercise. Wow! What a memory! Maybe that is an intelligence that should be added. Just kidding!” “Maybe, that we should tell about it to Josh. Let’s call it drilling memory intelligence. smileThen Aina and me possess this new type of intelligence well. ” I responded. So if in future scientists add a new intelligence ( memory drilling), simply keep mind a person, who first suggested this idea. 😉

When I studied at the institute and didn’t talk so much to foreigners, because there were a few of them. However, I am glad I have Teaching Listening and Speaking lessons at the university I study right now. And usually we have quest speakers invited by our teacher. It helps you to adapt to English that our quests speak. Constancy of such activities influentially improve your language comprehension.

Today we had an American quest, Chad,  who speaks Kazakh very well.  It is clear that Chad is a good teacher. He is modern, positive and open to students’ opinions. It was a pleasure for me to talk to him, he has charisma. When we introduced ourselves, Chad tried to remember our names by heart. After each introduction he pronounced our names, so he could remember us. While getting introduced he had a little chat with us, and during the conversation he called us by our names. That was his way to find a common language with people. Nothing sounds better for a person than his name. Imagine how you get happy when someone knows your name. Your answer will be: “Oh, you remembered me”.
Chad is sociable and you needn’t to try to say something to make him speak. On the contrary, he shared his life experiences with us and tried to get all of us free and comfortable. He didn’t ask to stop him in case we do not understand him. It shows he was sure he will find a way to our flow of ideas. The fact that he has a family of teachers surprised me, it is ok to have a family of engineers, businessmen, lawyers or something like those. I remember how my teacher used to tell me not to choose a profession of a teacher. She was tired of teaching, and it is clear she won’t let her child to be a teacher. Chad’s family is a devoted teacher family and the fact that he moved from his business to teaching can be explained as “a call of blood”.
Earlier I met Chad’s littles and didn’t even think that they might be studying in Kazakh schools. I think the teachers must be happy to have students like Chad’s children. I don’t know whether you experienced it or not, but it is a great pleasure to speak to little Americans. I do really like it. They are so sweet.
However, the most important thing I liked about Chad is the knowledge of Kazakh. His Kazakh is very good, I am saying not as a Kazakh,who is happy to see American speaking my native language, but as a person, who do really appreciate his knowledge. I watched the way he spoke Kazakh, and I admit that his Kazakh is perfect.
In an hour conversation, we felt so easy and relaxed that we didn’t notice the time passed. However, it is the usual thing that happen to us when we have a quest speaker invited.)))
Thanks to Chad for coming. I found out many interesting things from Chad’s talk.  The same day one of my colleagues introduced me with http://www.esl-lab.com. I found there the topic of my interest – study abroad. Randall ESL Cyber is a lab that links you with different useful websites on teaching. You can find what you need for the lesson. Teaching is very important part of the society, and internet is a good way to share your teaching ideas and find more new ones. I wonder how people handle their lessons without internet. They should do everything themselves. They have no internet to help them, no other things to motivate students. In a globalizing world what except a computer can motivate students to learn?! There are many URLs on teaching that we may not know about and I want to ask all teachers to share what we have with each other. I think everyone has noticed that there are a few ( even no) Kazakhstani websites on teaching. Isn’t it another factor to develop through sharing and learning from western teaching that keeps up helping us?!

It is interesting that many Western teachers pay a great attention to Multiple Intelligences. It is rather unusual phenomenon in comparison with Kazakh teachers. I don’t wonder even if there are teachers, who know nothing about these intelligences. I am sure that those, who know, do not take it seriously. After visiting Birmingham Grid for Learning and passing their MI test, I found out following intelligences in myself. My highest score is Intrapersonal, and it means that I am 100% myself smart. Next comes my visual/spatial intelligence, it equals to 25 out of 25. It is, definitely, like me, because sometimes I try to remember a thing or story drawing a picture in my head. It helps me a lot to remember necessary things I don’t want to forget. If I plan to do something, I imagine these tasks in a form of pictures. Sometimes, my one day actions form the whole museum of pictures.

The same happens with numbers: trying to remember one’s mobile phone number or service code numbers, I associate them with something I know well. For instance, I used this technique to remember 622047. I transferred it to the following sentence “Zhulduz is in bus #47”. (Recoding works like this: Zhulduz is my student, who lives in Room 622 and bus#47 is the bus that dorm students use most of all.) That’s why my logical intelligence stands before my interpersonal abilities, which are followed my kinesthetic and linguistic intelligences. The MI test proved again that I am not musical at all, and it is true. I can listen to music and that is only thing I can do with it. The results of MI test satisfied my curiosity about my multiple intelligences and I find them reliable to use in the classroom. It is ok to use it with our students, but it will be more interesting if a teacher tries to define her students’ MI by simple observation in a span of several weeks and later to compare own results with MI results. It is my point, however, I trust, but I always check it.

If you want to define the intelligences you possess follow the link
http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/ks3/ict/multiple_int/questions/choose_lang.cfm

MI test is interesting even for us, adults, and that was the main reason for me to read MI Basics thoroughly. Reading the theory, we meet MI and IQ terms several times. As I have noticed these two terms compete with each other trying to prove importance of only one.
It becomes obvious from “MI theory challenges the notion of IQ in at least three significant ways. MI maintains that: (1) several intelligences are at work, not just one; (2) intelligence is expressed in our performances, products, and ideas, not through a test score; and (3) how the intelligences are expressed is culturally defined.”

MI test is a tool to define our MI, IQ is a tool to measure our MI.
We use different intelligences at a time. Concerning potential isolation, I think that it is impossible to isolate our intelligences from each other, they work well, when they work together. The problem of autism is very essential in MI. Yes, it is true, sometimes we see a boy, who is good at Maths, etc., but he is not so talkative at all. I define it as a process, where some intelligences are actively working, while others keep remaining passive and even come to die. What I like most about MI theory I read is explanation of all eight intelligences we possess. If you take MI test, and define your MI, you can read more about it (them) in the theory. You will ,definitely, get deeper understanding of your abilities after reading MI Basics.

Last week was the most difficult for me for I had full-time work to do at school. The school, where I teach right now, can be really called “the school of XXI century”. I regret I didn’t study there when I was a schoolgirl. Though the school didn’t exist when I was of school age. The thing I like about the school is that it does really motivate teachers to teach, because it is a pleasure to work there. All the school needs from you is your creativity and novelty in lesson organization. So last week was a real examination of my abilities to be called a modern teacher. OR a teacher of XXI century.

As I had mentioned above, last week I had so many English classes that I didn’t even notice how that week passed. I taught 8, 9 and 10th grades. I taught them alone for my teacher went to London with a special course offered to students. That is what I like about the school, you can self develop and share your teaching methods with international teachers and learn something new from them as well. So, my last week at school was like this:

on Monday I felt very scared and afraid to stay with students eye to eye. People say worst is the first, fortunately, my lessons were alright:

on Tuesday the presence of fear didn’t leave me.

on Wednesday the feeling of fear began to vanish, but still I could feel it.

on Thursday my fear was replaced by little sense of confidence.

on Friday my confidence didn’t get higher for I had 6 lessons of English one after one.

on Saturday my confidence was at the peak, but the week was over.))

Looking back now, I realize that teaching is not so bad if you know what you are expected to do. Nowadays, teacher-centered teaching doesn’t give good results as student-centered one. I have understood that a teacher has only one function at school and it is an instructor. A teacher shouldn’t speak more than students do. A teacher shouldn’t act more than students do. A teacher should only give students directions in doing this or that kind of an action. It is useful for both groups of teaching procedure. Simply imagine, what a pleasure it is just to sit and watch students doing everything themselves. I want to say here than giving instructions and examining students’ works shouldn’t be confused with indifferent teacher’s way to handle a lesson in the classroom.

One of the most important things to remember is being honest with your students. Never try to command in the classroom, better listen to their ideas about a definite action. Unmotivated students will cause you more problems than you can imagine. Motivated students will solve all your problems easily. A teacher should motivate students to love her lesson and let the rest of the job done by them. It is easy, but it is not so easy to bring motivation to their hearts. Only after constant efforts you can get a lot out of it. Making the necessary efforts, some teachers can get their screw loose, some can get their blood boiling, others can succeed in it from the first try. Everything is up to a person and his level of wish to succeed. Finally, I want to say to all people, regardless of their profession and passion,  “try and fail, but never fail to try.”