lunes, 6 de agosto de 2007


At the beginning of the session two,(in TEACHER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM) the reflection about what study skills mean was done and the conclusion was: they´re all those activities or strategies we can do in order to reach a best learning. It must include listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. A person in facts knows her native language before knowing how to read and write too, instead the speech skills, but in the case or English as a foreign language it´s considerable important the combination or integration of language skills, although It is therefore possible to view the reading and the writing skills as operating independently. A good reader is not necessarily a good writer, thus it depends or priority objectives the learners have.

While the teaching of language structures will continue to promote the integrative use of all four languages skills, special attention must be given to aural comprehension as a skill and to the aim of reading comprehension as a mean to improve the listening and speaking skills. And what about the writing skill?. The writing skill is real limited to the function of a tool in the process of learning, but it´s meaningful because the writing practice can greatly facilitate the recognition or letters, fits a wide stock or vocabulary and shapes of basic spelling patterns. Thus, reading and writing are closely related and mutually reinforce each other.
Teacher in classroom can do a lot of activities that improve reading skills and I will rewrite them in order to a major fitness of the concepts, they are: skimming: or getting main ideas or gist by looking a text quickly, this involves some interference an interpretation, scanning: this is more superficial because it doesn´t involve interpretation and is looking around a text quickly to find words according you are looking for.
Extensive reading: reading for informational content of a text, the interest is not on the language used in it, but in the information. I find many fortresses in this kind o reading skill: learners develop the ability to gain satisfaction from the reading on their own likes in the new language and they are exposed on it in a more natural way, so it represents “reading for pleasure” which ultimately will help to students maintain and continue the use of language long beyond the end of a task of study or a requirement of a teacher.
It has two basic qualities too. It must be interesting and easy. Only the material that is easy to understand can be enjoyed and only the material that is interesting can be called pleasurable reading, when it provokes emotion is closer to the reader´s reality, like the colloquial expression “nobody eats that he doesn´t like”.
The proficiency can be attached when the students don´t feel it is only a homework activity or an activity for a class, they read in their leisure and there is no time limit, they´re emphasize with their own motivation and enthusiasm the habit of reading.
I refer now to intensive reading, other reading skill; the interest is on the language paying attention to the exact words which are used. It may be advantageous because gradually increase the lexical stock of students by introducing a limited number of lexical items in each reading passage, develop good reading habits through the material and It´s easy to develop the following activities in it: pointing out the main idea of reading selections, grasping details which support the main idea, improving the learners’ speed of reading and improve phonetic. Promoting techniques for “guessing from context”, the learners can know the language structures and the teacher can design a lot of comprehension exercises using vocabulary exercises too. Remembering in all cases don´t spend the time in isolated words, it’s not a meaningful activity.
After all, there is a great number of activities and variables that I know I had used before in order to get study skills as discuss certain elements of the texts, stories o readings, help the students to develop a taste for reading in general, assign tasks to read and dramatize scenes of them, prepare a poster or other types or art work which involve drawing and not necessary language.
I consider of important utility to see other strategies to good success learning as note taking with the purposes of pointing out the relevant aspects of a topic, helping memory to appropriate concepts and making clear some doubts. Linear notes, mind mapping and diagrammatic notes are useful in the process too, each one has its own function but organize the knowledges in systematic order, giving priorities to the ideas, using the time in an optimum way (time management).
Finally, I have the best intention to apply good methodology and the best strategies but every day I´m asking: ¿What about the students of this institution where I just arrived? I see they have many and difficult problems to solve as: lack of attention, lack of motivation and they don´t have plans for life, drugs addiction, disrespectful and gross boys and girls, some of them are truly a pain in the neck! What´s my challenge if they don´t like anything?. I would like in future sessions my tutor speaks a little about working with these behavior student´s problems.

I consider this session was very interesting, because the topics pointed up in it, left the main aspects every English teacher has to analyze or reflect for improving his practice. They were about the reasons to motivate students to learn English, how to motivate them and finally the role of error.
The reasons for language learning are many - better career opportunities, personal development, and the chance to travel or to achieve world class qualifications. Learning in an English speaking environment is crucial but so are other aspects. The mix of nationalities, choice of location and type of school, cultural factors, the technology that is constantly changing, opportunities to study further qualifications or subjects alongside English and, of course, the quality of the learning experience are all significant factors.
Another important reason is to increase global understanding, English provides and open mind because every one is a part of a global world, so each student can know or learn different contexts through virtual tools.
"... [E]ffective communication and successful negotiations with a foreign partner--whether with a partner in peacekeeping, a strategic economic partner, a political adversary, or a non-English speaking contact in a critical law enforcement action--requires strong comprehension of the underlying cultural values and belief structures that are part of the life experience of the foreign partner." - Dr. Dan Davidson, President of the American Councils on International Education "A different language is a different vision of life." - Federico Fellini, Italian film director
"No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive." - Mohandas K. Gandhi, Indian nationalist and spiritual leader
Learning another language gives the learner the ability to step inside the mind and context of that other culture. Without the ability to communicate and understand a culture on its own terms, true access to that culture is barred. Why is this important? In a world where nations and people are ever more dependent upon on another to supply needs and services, solve or understand political disputes, social realities and ensure international security, understanding other cultures is paramount.
Intercultural understanding begins with individuals who have language abilities and who can thereby provide one's own nation or community with an insider's view into foreign cultures, maybe they´re interested in the literature, poetry, films, TV programs, music or if they like singing, learning songs in other languages can be interesting, challenging and enjoyable. Some other aspects of the culture of people who speak a particular language and want to learn the English language must be regarded in order to gain a better understanding of their culture. Only who can understand foreign news sources, and give insights into other perspectives on international situations and current events can compare or access to different aspects that allow to do life´s projects according with their preferences or their own conditions.
A competent person in other languages can bridge the gap between cultures, contribute to international diplomacy, promote national security and world peace, and successfully engage in international trade. As globalization, mobility and communications are bringing the world ever closer together; ever more urgent is the need for global citizens to be competent in other languages.
“You live a new life for every new language you speak.” I heard this some time, so knowledge of foreign languages may also increase the chances of finding a new job, getting a promotion or a transfer overseas, or of going on foreign business trips. Learning that language, English in this case will give easily the access to the material and enable somebody to communicate with fellow students and researchers in other fields as science, business, economy, education and communication, etc. A basic ability in a foreign language will help to the learner to have real conversations with the people he meets, which can be very interesting and will add a new dimension to his social life. These reasons for teachers are very clear, but what about most of students think or the motivation they have? It´s a very common problem, so the priority is to do a deep analysis of that.

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