Tag Archives: attitude

Paragraph 2. A year on, still writing.

This paragraph blogging style is liberating and infectuous. It’s just my hunch that it might help me turn my many drafts into actual paragraphs some day. For now, here’s this sequel to the post from a year ago. I recommend you read it first, it’s short, light and will entertain you with three images.

 

 

 

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In this year that has passed by only too fast, we’ve talked about any number of topics a teenager could be interested in and could have something to say about. If you’re interested in particulars, we’ve talked about our families and relationships within these families; about our personal dreams and why they were these particular dreams; about my work and her school life; about friends; about how I became a teacher. We’ve talked about movies, literature, traveling, reading, writing, music, talents, and goals. I have been trying my best to keep the flames of the conversation burning, always noting something she could pick upon and develop. I asked questions not because I was a teacher who wanted to see her use of Complex Object or target language. I opened up myself and welcomed her to do the same, as much as she’d feel comfortable to. Emotions filled the pages, displaying sincerety, pointed out by exclamation marks. ……… “I shall never cease to marvel…” As my eyes stared at this turn of a sentence she used in one of her recent letters for a good couple of minutes , something clicked. Last week I asked the girl in my regular letter in the journal to sift through all of her *12* letters to me and notice any kind of progress. That’s what I got to read in response (note: this is an unedited, genuine piece of teenage writing): “I think my writing has improved a little bit. … Because earlier I always sat with an interpreter and tried to translate your letter and then sat and looked for many words to write a response to you. Now it became much easier. I translate from your letters up to 5-7 words and when I wrote too I looked in the dictionary very little.”

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She sometimes excuses herself for writing too little, a mere page. Just keep writing, I say. Some people blog no more than a mere paragraph and are not in the least ashamed of it.

 

Thanks for reading.

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From within.

If you’re on this page, odds are you’re an English teacher. You might be busy and quite likely to be about to skim through this post. Please do me a favour and watch this video first. Thank you.

Now you can skim.

*** Commentary ***

– This video (animation without voice-over) was shown last Thursday in class by one of my students as a presentation he’d prepared (he was reading the text at that point). The presentation of any topic of their choice is an obligatory part of the course this term. The student had spent about 12 hours filming it, and then I suppose more recording his voice because I asked him to do that. Because I selfishly wanted to share it here in my blog. The student created this animation out of his own idea, out of his own will. His teacher (me) did not motivate/ inspire/ encourage such performance in any specific way. The student did use multiple sources to research for his work, including reading non-fiction books on the psychology of fear and such. His teacher (me) has little, or more accurately – nothing, to do with this attitude. I’d say it all came from within.

– One thing we do with my students after watching presentations is writing personal feedback messages. Students are asked to write 5 sentences, or as much as they’d like, in their notebooks with their impressions, notes, suggestions, advice. After that they hand over their paragraphs to the presenter and then to me. This has been my practice for two months only and I do think, supported by feedback from the students and their enthusiasm that I’ve seen, that this idea is a winner on several levels. Well, after this particular presentation on FEARS I asked the group mates of the presenter to share their biggest fear in the message they were going to write. Before I did that, both the presenter and I had revealed our fears, so I thought that’d be fair and maybe interesting to give a chance for others to open up (if they wished – that was a condition). As a result, half the students felt comfortable and added this personal sentence. Several wrote they’d never thought about it. Others were either vague or not willing to share. Well, whether we pronounce our fear or not, it stays within I guess.

– In my next post, which I boldly almost announce in this way because it’s already half-written, I’ll tell about one of my biggest professional fears. The fear I revealed to my students in class is of existential nature. Scared by my own thoughts – that is about me. From within?

– I’d not known about sleep paralysis before I watched this presentation.

 

And yes, the student said he can’t draw.

We (the student and me) thank you for watching and reading.

 

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2 years of ethical hedonism of an #ELT blogger.

This is not a serious title, or it is only partly serious.

There’s still a little bit of December 13th left in some parts of the world (not here where I am, still in Moscow), so I propose a late night toast –  “To my blog!” (cultural note – Russian people are very fond of long, ornate toasts; but apparently my blog deserves only this three-word dedication at the moment), which is roughly two years old today.

Last year I had a present – this EXCEPTIONAL PRESENT FOR MY BLOG’S BIRTHDAY from Rose Bard, a teacher from Brazil, a friend and professional who has never failed to inspire me to be more thoughtful, dig deeper and find reasons.

This year I have a present again. It is a present wrapped into another present in fact.  Here it is.

#ELTworkplaces of @michaelegriffin. From Seoul with love, views, coffee and a cake.

Those of you who remember me in my good old Posterous days may recall a certain project I had going on – #ELTworkplaces. The idea behind it was unimaginative – sharing photos of the workplaces of English language teachers from around the world. Since I had to move the project to Tumblr, nothing has happened to it for about a year. But here it is, my blog birthday box of chocolates workplaces from Michael Griffin, a teacher based in South Korea, a friend, a certain club mate and in general a plentiful, ever-living source of optimism, inspiration for better writing and serious giggle. I am happy to share this present with you as I might not have done with chocolates. Using the opportunity, I’d like to thank Mike once again and invite teachers to take part in this unimportant but fun project. As I have learnt by two years of blogging that sharing makes a difference, even if it’s a very little one.

Getting back to the weird title of my post.

Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy defines ethical hedonism as “the claim that all and only pleasure has positive importance and all and only pain or displeasure has negative importance… Ethical hedonism can be universalist, me-and-my-near-and-dear egocentric, or egoistically focused just on one’s own pleasure. It can also be a claim about value, morality, well-being, rationality, reasons or aesthetics. It can be a claim about grounds for action, belief, motivation or feeling; or a claim about ought, obligation, good and bad, or right and wrong.” 

It’s not the purpose of my post to go too philosophical about the school(s) of hedonism (which, to be quite honest, I wouldn’t be able to do too deep right now). So I think I’m just going to tear pieces of the main idea out of overall context of the term and apply it to my blog and myself as a blogger.

In these two years I have seen it as a condition to write a post when I feel like writing a post and enjoying it. Many times I started typing, read through my draft and got unexcited. “The desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain” has truly been my blogging motto. I also write when I have something to say and when this something seems to me valuable enough to be shared in public. You might argue (and I actually argue myself!) that writing, especially good writing, may/should come through a pain. I agree, and I have written a couple of painful posts and articles (that does not mean I consider them good writing). Life is a paradox. Pain is an enjoyable ingredient of writing process, too. A very weird, non-traditional way to be satisfied.

Also, hedonism seems to be much about the I. Here it’s easy to apply it to my blog – look at my posts if you wish, and you’ll see that every single one comes from an “I” viewpoint. It’s a lot of ego, it’s very subjective, it’s very personal. This I-issue has been on my mind for quite a while as I am not at all sure how much professional value my blog brings to the ELT community. And since I *selfishly* want to make a difference, I care about the value. I’ll be working on it in my future blogging years and I would appreciate every comment of constructive criticism.

This blog is about my changing beliefs, the actions I take in my class and beyond and try to give reason to.

I’ve been exercising my non-judgemental approach for a little over a year and I find it very hard to do so, but it’s my ultimate goal. Trying out a distanced but not indifferent attitude to good&bad, right&wrong is pain but eventually must be gain, too.

Having skimmed through my posts of these two years I”ve noticed one striking thing, which I believe is a sign of a positive tendency and certain influence. My exclamation marks have calmed down significantly =)) As well as the unruly smiles. I’m growing up/old? and reserved. My posts reflect my offline personality more now than they used to. I take pleasure in that in a true hedonistic nature.

Thanks for reading this nonsense till the end. Thanks for reading my posts, leaving comments, caring to have a discussion or just support. There are things I have forgotten to say, but I have more time ahead until WordPress blocks my site for incomprehensible message.

I’m still contemplating thinking about thinking (c).

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A heartfelt teen cry, unabridged.

In these hot midsummer days I start a repost series on my blog. Back in February of this year I took part in Blogathon competition organized by the British Council. I blogged in small portions of 250 words every day (well, almost) and, to be honest, that required quite an effort from me, normally blogging on the spur of the moment. Unfortunately, in order to leave comments on those posts one has to be logged in in their system. Now I’ve decided to republish some of my Blogathon entries, those that I personally like best.

This one was actually written by one of my students, a teenager. Just see how much they actually care.

How teachers teach me at my school, why I don’t like it, how I’d like them to teach me.
Nowadays education at school is really bad, not because the programme is poor quality, but because teachers stopped working. I once saw how the teacher of IT put down a satisfactory mark in the register to the person who wasn’t even at school on that day! Some teachers just stopped teaching us their subjects and the students sit at these lessons doing nothing.
I don’t like it at all. If I was a little girl in a primary school I would think “Great!” But I’m not a little girl and I’m not in a primary school. I wonder what I’m going to take with me to my future life. Who will I be? And of course because of this I’d like to work at school, to really work at school, using brain.
Speaking of how I’d like my teachers to teach me, the first thing is: explain the topic and everyone must understand. If one person doesn’t understand – explain again. I want them to put down marks for work, not for attitude. I want them to help me to get ready for the exams, really help, not just pretend to help. I wish the teachers cared about our knowledge and not about how we dress. Jeans or trousers, it’s not important. What is in our brain, do we understand the subject or not, that is what is really important.
D.

(Link to original post http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/blogs/annloseva/a-heartfelt-teen-cry-full-pain-unabridged?page=1)

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Through their eyes

Just the other day I found out I’m a hypocrite. Unconsciously, not intentionally hypocritical, but does that really change the point? You may say that I’m being too hard on myself as I usually happen to be, yet this is how I label myself after learning a certain fact. And yes, it is about teaching.

In my presentation “The 3 As of an Ace Lesson” one of the As stands for Attitude. I speak about genuine interest, I speak about respect, I speak about honesty. I speak about it because I believe all these are essential and should be coming naturally from a teacher and then they’ll be generously returned by learners. So I believe.

I also speak about how important it is to be an open and accessible teacher. I speak about it holding a firm belief that I display these qualities, because that’s how I see myself doing my job.

Then an inconvenient truth comes my way – some students feel shy to come up and ask me a question if they don’t understand a task. They see “I’m busy” and don’t want to disturb. BANG. Who is open now? Who is accessible? Who is encouraging? I go the reddest red and “ashamed” is my #wordoftheday.

Blogging, going to conferences, presenting, sharing ideas which you do believe work in realities of classrooms is all so very nice, comforting and self-fulfilling. Sounding successful. We are all great teachers, aren’t we?
At the end of the day what matters to me is what I end up looking/appearing in front of my students, rather than what I imagine myself to look/appear. “Through their eyes” as iSTEK suggested this year.

So… Do you care? Not say that you care, or blog that you care but act for your students so that they SEE that you care?
I was never aware that I seem like I don’t care.

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