ELT CONFERENCE….I can’t believe it’s over. When I started doing it , I never expected that we were going to get such a tremendous response as this was our inaugural English language teaching (ELT) event. We called it ‘Moving Forward in ELT 2015’ because we really wanted to give English teachers the idea that this could be the beginning of something very positive for the future. I really wanted to give our teachers from different regions an opportunity to grab as much as they could from the variety of highly-respected trainers we had assembled for the event. There were a total of 28 workshops and a fascinating panel discussion which everyone really enjoyed, along with the good food and the opportunity to network with other English teachers.
There are off course many lessons that I learned from this event , which will be really useful in planning our next conferences.
I must say, all my friends – the AIE FACULTY - worked really hard and with big smiles, and it’s only because of their support I was able to manage the conference so smoothly, and thanks to the custodial staff for putting up with my running after them for all the last minute details. Thanks everyone :)
ELDC plans to do much more in the coming months, so everyone out there keep in touch.
Enjoy the Joy on your Students’ Faces
Science is a practical subject and so it should be taught through lots of experiments and activities. Last week I was teaching states of matter to my students. The class was due to start at 10:30 am. I went to the Science Laboratory an hour before to arrange the material for the activities and experiments. I arranged material for the 5 experiments on the laboratory tables. These experiments were related to the following concepts: liquids have no shape and they take the shape of their container; liquids have a specific volume; air has weight; air occupies space; air does not have a specific volume; particles exist and are in continuous motion.
The students started to arrive at 10:30am. I was very excited because it was my first class with them. After the usual introductions with new students, I asked them to perform the activities, helping them out wherever I could see them struggling. They were working in groups. Each group shared the results of their experiments. At the end of each round, as I explained the underlying concepts behind the experiments, I could see the students were so happy! They had become very animated in class – enthused by what they had learned. At that time I felt like the conqueror- the most successful teacher in the world! At the end of 3 hours I felt completely energised! I enjoyed the joy on my students’ faces. Do you also feel the same at the end of your class?
Yesterday was a really pleasant afternoon. I thought to leave the institute a little early and avail the chance to pay my utility bills and school fees of my two kids. I found my kids, Mimi and Pipi, at home. I took them for a ride to the bank so that it could be a little outing for them and I could pay the bills.
We reached the bank well before bank closing. We had time and I thought instead of simply paying the bills myself why not turn this into a learning experience for my kids. I asked my elder daughter, Mimi who is recently promoted to grade four, to take a paper and pen, make a list of all the bills and make two fee slips. Initially she didn’t have any idea how to complete the task. With a little help she drew a table and filled it with the information. I asked her how much we need to pay to clear our dues. She started adding five four-digit amounts. Then I extended the situation and asked her, if we pay fifteen thousand rupees to the person at the bill collection window, how much will he return to us. She confirmed the sum she needed to do with me and then started subtracting amounts. She told me that we will get thirty rupees in change. I handed over the bills to Pipi (recently promoted to preparatory grade) and the money to Mimi, and asked them to go to the window and submit the dues. I sat comfortably to watch what happened. Both were a bit anxious but very excited as it was their first experience at submitting bills at the bank. Both went to the window. Pipi found it a little difficult to reach her hand up to the counter but she managed it by standing on her toes. It was funny to see the cashier stand up to see who was beneath the bills and fee slips! Both sisters submitted their first ever payment slips in the bank and came back with the body language of queens! This gave me immeasurable pleasure. Almost everyone - including some mothers - in the bank had noticed us, and there were some passing smiles of appreciation. I am quite sure, if not all then at least some of them will certainly use this idea with their kids.
This situation took ten to twelve minutes. I can do it in a few seconds but then I would have missed the sight of both sisters walking towards me. Those additional ten minutes had changed them; more confident and closer to the real world.
Teaching Handwriting Skills to Young Learners
Throughout my teaching career, I never once considered that teaching handwriting skills to young learners would be difficult. The first time I realised how difficult it was to teach young learners to write was when I got my three year old son admitted into a school. He enjoyed his school but when it came to writing, he was not willing even to hold a pencil.
I searched the internet to find what I could do but nothing worked for him. Then I bought him a writing board and coloured chalks. He showed little interest and started scribbling but still that did not help much. One day while I was busy doing something else I saw him scribbling and doodling on his story book. That gave me an idea to use colouring sheets instead of making him trace letters or shapes.
At first, I gave him coloring sheets which had his favourite cartoon characters, which produced amazing results. He not only started holding coloured pencils and crayons properly but also ended up spending all his free time in colouring different sheets (at times 12 to 15 per day). Later he sat with me to search for the colouring sheets of his choice. Within no time he began to trace and write letters of the alphabet, numbers and now he can draw some of his favourite cartoon characters and animals as well.
A closer analysis of the sheets he coloured, helped me to identify why he could do it so quickly. Have a look at some of his colouring sheets; he uses various stokes (horizontal, vertical, round etc.) to colour. He rarely uses a single colour; he always prefers multiple colours, always of his own choice. A variety of strokes, while colouring, strengthened his grip and helped him to trace and write properly.