Thursday, 23 July 2015

Entry for the 22nd July

Entry for 22nd July
We spent most of the morning preparing our projects. In the afternoon, we enjoyed a very interesting talk given by Gillie Cunningham, about the role errors and mistakes play in language learning.


The purpose of this talk is to analyze the attitude we have to correcting learners’ process of learning through error correction and mistakes.
Firs of all we have to look at the difference between an error and a mistake.

An error is when the learner doesn’t know the rule and  says something wrong, but through lack of previous knowledge of that rule. Once the learner knows an aspect of the language and  says it wrong, we can consider it a mistake. 

So what attitude do we take to errors, then?
WE are to hold a mirror to our teaching, and ask ourselves what is right?

We start off with a worksheet with a few sentences produced by native speakers, which are either correct, acceptable with minor mistakes or wrong. WE are asked to go through them and check our result s i pairs. The interesting thing is that native speakers make mistakes without realizing it.
 Eg. I already did it.

WMS Cunningham first made an overview of the different methods over the years in the 1950’s and 198’s
The traditional method was to listen and repeat.
To learn though drills, and listening and repeating “Set pieces”
Ms Cunningham gave the example of a role play in which a woman would ask for tissues and the seller would tell her the price. The suggestion is that there is little “real” communication taking place.

Other examples of this type of learning are grammar and vocabulary drills, gap-fills, and a great emphasis on pronunciation. 

She then introduced four different theorists who have been very influential through the years.

These were:
Caleb Cattegno (the Silent way)
Charles Curran (CLL)
George Lozanov (Suggestopedia)
James Asher (Total PHysical response)

The Silent way
THe teacher would conduct the lesson without ver speaking. This method consisted in displaying coded sound charts across the classroom and students would have to produce the sound themselves, but students would have to look at the teacher mimicking the sound with the mouth (without actually saying it).
This way, the learner would acquire the sounds himself without having to rely on the teacher as a model. Teaching was subservient to learning. The idea was to avoid “spoon-feeding”.

The second method was Community Language Learning,developed by Charles Curran, who had trained as a counselor.
Here the importance lies in s the sense of community in the learning group, it encourages interaction as a vehicle of learning, and it considers as a priority the students' feelings.This method refers to two roles: that of the know-er (teacher) and student (learner). 

The third method was Suggestopedia
 The idea is to “de-stress” students, so ideally, students will be sat on armchairs, with classical music playing in the background and with their books. Student would then close their eyes and the teacher reads to them. Error correction is absolutely “banned” as it will stress the students, and the idea is for the students to enjoy themselves. A technique used is to activate fun and games at the beginning of a class after something has been learnt in the previous one. Never tell students that something is difficult. The teachers of this method never corrected students.

The fourth method is Total Physical Response
It is based on “Trace” theory.

The more intense the emotion the language is associated with, the more it will be remembered.

 An example would be of a class where students are asked to throw their coats and umbrellas to the floor, stand in a circle, and pretend ethic are going to different places in a city (which would be decorated with posters indicating these places eg. bus station, ticket office), then asked to go to these places: put on your coat, go to the bus station, get on the bus. A lot of vocabulary can be learned through the principle of tracing- emotion commits learning to memory.

First we have to consider how a child learns a language.
A child would say something and the parent would check the content, not the grammar. The grammar would be the second stage.
Eg. I ha 

The next part of the session takes us to whether the purpose of language is to achieve communication between the speaker and listener or by the writer and reader. irrespective of  the mistakes produced.
A good idea according to Ms Cunningham is to correct vowel sounds silently
The fear os speaking can appear for fear of making a mistake

Attitudes to correction
Self-correction is ideal
Teacher to student correction is acceptable to a certain extent, although not according to certain authors like Penny Ur.
Student to student correction is desirable, even though they don’t like it when they are corrected by peers.

Another idea is to use gestures to indicate different tenses. Eg. Present Perfect - now, past simple, past perfect. etc. You can indicate the different tenses by shifting your position. Very close by indicates present- perfect, a bit further away past simple and so on. Other gestures to mark the continuos and simple aspect
What is acceptable English? Who decides this?
Do I have a principled and constant approach to error and correction?
Have I tested enjoyed correction techniques
Would I benefit from doing some classroom research on them?

Finally Ms Cunningham ended  her talk with two very interesting ideas. 
The first was the idea that there is no known "perfect" method that will ensure that a learner of a language will learn, or in other words, the process of acquisition of a language is not scientific, it depends on many different factors.
This made me think about scientists today trying to solve the mystery of how the brain works, as it 
still remains unsolved.
And finally, a photo of Einstein and the caption
"Learning is experience, the rest is information"


Tuesday, 21 July 2015

                                                                                                                          Tuesday 21st July 2015



-Circle with the right finger
-Cross with the left finger
-Circle and cross, then the other way.


-Family portrait of a Victorian family.
-Family portrait of an sporty family.
- Of a group of   witches
- Of ships
- Students take a card with different types of families ( superhero, spy, robot,etc..) and represent them.

-Stop -go-jump-clap.- students walk  around the class and the teacher says the actions that the students must  do. They will do them at the same time . You can change the symbols or  the meaning of the verbs for characters of Shakespeare, so Juliet could mean  ... jump!!

-Create a sign
-Fight gangs.
-Spooky forest.
-Wall with a hole with lovers .
-Magician in a ship in a storm.
In this activity the teacher can choose interesting moments in Shakespeare plays and dramatize them
connecting Shakespeare through the characters , not through the story.


Story telling- The teacher tells a story and the students standing on a circle  will represent  the different characters as the story goes on. This method was used by the Royal Shakespeare Company and it was used in  British Pantomimes  ( Where is.....? ,  Behind you !!!!!   ).

-Playing around with phrases by Shakespeare -

Students will say some different famous  phrases  by Shakespeare.( Much ado about nothing- To be or not to be , that is the question- All's well that ends well - A horse a horse my kingdom for a horse)
The teacher will choose the lines according to the students and students will get familiar with them. Lines can be said with different intonation in order to enjoy the language.

-Hot seating-

The student that is on the hot seat will be asked questions about the character he is dramatizing.
Students can work in groups  choosing a character from Fairy tales or from any play they have read.

To extend ideas see more in


In this session we have worked on how language change, how English is changing and how young people uses language.

Language is simplifying and there is a new develop in language , expressions like YOLO - you only live once , CHILLAX- chill and relax, BROMANCE- very good friends but no more , or UPCYCLE - convert old material into something useful and beautiful    are emerging in languages.

In this session we also had the opportunity of listening to Sara , a seventeen years old girl that told us how to use a real British teenager slang.( Bae, Piff, Basic. Turnt .Swerve .Innit. Bruv...)

Language is changing

,Language is changing and we are breaking the rules of Past Continuous (Eg. I'm really liking this room ) People are using past continuous in a passionate way and it is easier to use one word instead of two .We are changing usage and there are common errors and mistakes ( CD's, I'm good,  I get a coffee, there are less cars, I went there by foot, different to ).

Use a word in a sentence
The teacher gives the students a word and the students will use it in a sentence, then they will walk around the classroom comparing the different meanings they have given to that word ( Eg. Literally)

We read an interesting text for discussion- Why we need to invent new words- by Andrew Kaufman in The Guardian, Monday 11 March 2013.

Haga clic en Opciones

Haga clic en Opciones
Haga clic en Opciones
Haga clic en Opciones

Haga clic en Opciones
Haga clic en Opciones

14th of July

Morning classes
Educational Visits

During the morning lessons, as the previous Tuesday.  the class was divided into two groups,

One of the groups went to visit a school, an Academy, and the other one went to visit the Castle.

-Visiting the Castle

The visit to the castle was divided into three periods.

1.- An individual visit to the museum with Art and  History  worksheets.
2.- A guided tour  to the Dungeons
2.-  A creative writing period


1.- learning Art and  History from objects.
2.- Listening to a guided tour
3.- Using the visit as an inspiration for creative writing.

-      A spider diagram .
-      A Castle Museum Art Worksheet
-      A Castle Museum History Worksheet
-      A prisoner´s diary sheet.


-The ss. are given  one hour and a half to walk around the museum . They are asked to choose a meaningful object for them
The mind map and the worksheet should be used as guidelines to think about the  Historical or artistic value of the chosen object.

-      General meeting at the hall for a guided visit to the Dungeons of the prison. The ss. have to listen to the guide and be sensitive and attentive so that they can understand what it was like to be a prisoner in the Middle Ages.
-      The ss. are given time to write a diary entry. They are
-      They are asked to write a diary entry.
A piece of creative writing using their imagination, what they have learnt about history and what they have felt in the dungeons to make it more vivid.

Afternoon classes

-Feedback on the visits
-Project work

-Back at Nile the whole group, we are divided in groups to be able to share the impressions we have of the school visit.

All have visited the same school but on different days and we are asked to compare and contrast the two visits, first in small groups and then with the whole class.

The facilities and the library were real impressive .

The discipline wasn't optima but considering these are the last two weeks , we didn't think it was relevant.

-The Project
We are given time to work in small groups for the final project of this course.


Liberté, Fraternité et  Egualité 

Monday, 20 July 2015

Monday July 20th Maite Zumalde

Monday    July  20th    by   Maite Zumalde

9.15-10.45       Making Trailers           Claudia Rey 

We learned how to use 

imovies     for ipads and Macs


Some teachers continued working on their projects and others went to the classroom to work with stories.

14.00-16.00   Language: Clothes and Fashion   Johanna Stirling

1st Activity

We stood up in a circle looking at what people were wearing. We could ask questions about pieces of clothing difficult to describe.
Then we turned round and one person started describing somebody in the circle. The person guessing the name went on again standing up in the middle.

2nd Activity

We had a discussion at our tables following these instructions:

After that the whole class had a feedback.

3rd Activity

In pairs we identified and crossed out the odd one of group of words and added two more.
We chose four of the words and drew them.
The class was divided in two groups and went around talking to each other and trying to guess what we drew.

4th Activity

We watched this video and revised some of the vocabulary.

5th Activity

We listened to a pod cast and took notes. We could learn how clothes tell us about the characters in a novel.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

FRIDAY 17th JULY 2015

Activity 1.  Inferring: solving out Holmes´ mystery.
-In groups, we continued discussing the mystery with the information gathered the day before. Eventually we were given the final clue.
-Bringing up the topic to modern times. Discussion about modern burglars and what they usually pick.  

Activity 2.  Creating:
-Individually, students are asked to write a letter in reply to Holmes´ explanation of the facts.
-Dramatize the dialogue between Sherlock and the Inspector at the police station.

Activity 3. Divergent Thinking.
We discussed in groups the difference between thinking in and outside the box. Then we came together as a whole group. We reached to the conclusion that thinking outside the box is:

                  -more creative
                  -a process to come up with different ideas
                  -less constrained.

Activity 4. Poems on Paintings.                                    

We were shown a painting by Picasso.          

Step 1:  Remembering, recalling knowledge from our painting experience. We identified Picasso

Step 2: Understanding. What does the picture depict?
Step 3: Applying. We recognized the Cubist period of Picasso. Through breaking symmetry, we are given different approaches to the painting.

Step 4: Analyzing. We identified possible situations, finding evidence that it is a mother supporting her toddler. At this step we had found out the name of the painting:” First Steps”.
Step 5: Evaluating. Picasso might not have had in mind a toddler, so a different perspective must be seen. Through several interpretations from the whole class, it became evident that he was depicting someone going through a new experience in his life, provided with some support.

Step 6: Creating. Individually, students are asked to write a poem about a new experience they have coped with lately.

  Literary devices used: metaphors, similes, alliteration, personification.

At this stage we review the writing process: pre-writing, drafting, revision and editing

Students work in pairs or threes about the poem they have created to get their feedback. Each student must :a) pay a compliment. b) ask a question. c) make a suggestion. After collecting your group´s ideas, you go back to your own poem, and eventually you read it to the class. After listening, students are supposed to guess their partner´s experiences. This is still “ Divergent Thinking”.

We were given different ideas for exploitating comics and cartoons.

Step 1: Collecting materials.
Step 2: Comics samples. You are not creating new ones, you must state what you must do with them.

Step 3: Creating comics.
Step 4:  Photocopies of comics.

Step 5:  Q R code readers.

Activity 1: Fill in the bubbles.
We were given different panels with comic strips, with one sentence for each frame. In the first example, all the six vignettes ended with a prepositional verb in “up”. Then we were given a second strip with one caption in the first bubble. We had to write sentences in the other three, following the same pattern, and getting to an ending in the last closing one.

The best ones from each group were brought up to the class.
Activity 2: Q R. code readers       This is task based learning.   

One of the groups was given a handout with four different pictures on Ancient Artifacts and Ruins. According to the drawing the students must guess what the different pictures represent. Each of the four Stations or drawings has a Q.R. code. Using the Q.R. code mobile app, it is given the explanation of the picture as well as the location where they come from.
Based on the book, “History Alive” by Jane Willis

Activity 3: Digital tools.

Some groups worked on the web, making comics with digital tools.
Most of these activities are meant for eleven year old native speakers, thus they should be adequate for 13-14 year old non native speakers.

We were making comments on Anthony McGowan. We highlighted two of his opinions:

“We are the Baddies”.
Question: ”What do you do if you get author´s block?”

Answer: “I get drunk”.

Activity 1: Letters. (Based on the book: “The Queen of the Tambourine” Abacus)
The topic was started by being given two letters from the book. The first of them was about a lady who sent a letter to a friend, criticizing her unbearable behaviour from her point of view. We ignored the true reason for the letter. Then came a second letter apologizing for the former one.

-We should discuss about the letters and what they mean
-Your reaction to the letters.
-Appearances and personalities.
-What the relationship between these two people is.

Linguistic approach: a) Words that are stressed for emphasis purposes. b) Terms for apologizing.
Activity 2: Communication.
-Make a list of different ways you communicate with people.
Activity 3: Emphasising.
-Emphasizing by stressing the verb “be”, or adding stressing “do”,”does”, “did”. We did some practice on this.

Activity 4: Letter Response.
-Asking people around the class how they feel when receiving a letter.

                              -POSITIVE: from………../it says…………

YOU HOPE           -NEGATIVE: not from…………/it doesn´t say………….

Activity 5: Rereading the letters.
-Analyze the two letters. Which one is less tentative and more polite.

Activity 6: Transforming phrases into more polite terms.
-Handout containing words or phrases to make sentences more polite. Students make sentences sound less direct and more polite, by using other expressions.

Activity 6: Euphemisms.
This activity teaches students other ways to say things without being too rude or cruel.                             

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Activities on the 16th July

1st sessionFLY Festival at UEA: Talk- Anthony McGowan

We were taken to the Festival of Literature for Young People. As we waited to go inside the theatre for the talk, we looked at the books display.
Once inside the theatre, they announced the winners of the FLY writing contest.
Anthony McGowan talked about what writing is about and the relationship between writing and “the truth”. He told a story about his own childhood at school in Leeds related to the topic of bullying, which inspired him to write stories of the kind, so many of his books are a reflection of his days at school. Then, quite enthusiastically, he read one of his stories and asked the audience about the importance of writing stories from real life or made up ones. Finally he gave the audience the opportunity to ask some questions and there were some teenagers interested in knowing about the topics he chooses, tips for writing, age when he started writing or books to recommend. He gave them a few tips, mainly:
-          To be a good and constant writer, always carry a notebook with you and write about anything surrounding you.
-          Finish everything you start.
-          Try to see things with a novelist eye (lots of stories moving around school).
-          Try to be constant and write every day (he tries to type at least 1000 words a day).
-          For teenagers, begin by being a good reader.
-          Every word counts (he started with poetry at 15 just to flirt with girls, but it didn’t work, though it was a good way to start!).

  An anecdote: as a civil servant (before being a writer), he used to daydream and write a lot at his boring office work, and that’s when he realised he would become a writer.

 2nd session:  Visit to Sainsbury Centre
We were taken to the Sainsbury Centre for a guided tour on representations of art in different ages.
-          Greek figurines, around 6000 years old, possibly dolls, many found in tombs, so probably religious meanings. No written records yet.
-         Hippopotamus from Egypt, around 2000 years old. Although they used writing, there is no written evidence of this piece. Found in a sarcophagus, likely to have been placed there to protect the dead body for a further life.
-         Indian bronze figures with religious meanings, from the 11th century, hindu in inspiration. One of them was Shiva, the destroyer god who made recreation possible through destruction. There was a strong cultural transmission through art, as well as an oral transmission. Vedas were the first written evidence.
-         Raven stealing the sun, northamerican (Canada) art which represents a rattle from a shaman in the form of a raven. There is a nice legend on this on how Raven started life by stealing the sun, moon, stars, water and fire.
-          The 14-year-old ballet dancer, by Degas. Connected to the naturalistic movement and the french writer E.Zola, and his novel “Nana”, 1880.
-           Antonio Saura´s “Hiroshima mon amour” painting, a desintegrating figure which represents a memorial to the dead people from Hiroshima.

3rd session:  Reading and writing activities/ Using mystery stories (2)
Claudia handed out templates for reading/writing activities based on literature circles, a collaborative and student-centered reading strategy. After selecting a book, students are given a different role to work on it: artist, head honcho, connector or analyser. The teacher must decide carefully on the different roles assigned depending on the type of learner. Students work on this strategy after having worked on different activities (poetry, journals, mind maps, etc.) throughout a long period of time.
Collaborative work is important in the previous stage to discuss about the process and to learn from each other before completing their tasks on their own. Students rotate the roles as they read the books.
Students, by using this technique, can learn to take responsibility for their own learning and become stronger readers.

The last activity we did today was another Sherlock Holmes story in which we had to read, take notes and share ideas with our group trying to formulate hypothesis to solve the mystery. Each group had a different part of the story and by mixing the groups and reporting our part to the rest, we had to try to complete the puzzle and solve the mystery.

By  Araceli Valero