2016 – Annus Horribilis… or not?

dsc_0077aI find myself having very much mixed feelings about this year that’s drawing to its close soon. Awfully dark in many ways, and so joyful in others. And I’m not going to do any dwelling on what’s happening globally right now, because that’s too scary even to think about. On the other hand, I’ve become the maternal grandma the second time over to a wonderful boy and, today actually is the due day for the arrival of the first child of one of my sons. And that’s pretty much where all the joy has come from. But I am not going to talk about that either. No, this post will be all about me personally and how this year’s journey has changed me.

I’ve had to rethink my whole life and my approach to all things important to me so far, and that’s been incredibly hard to deal with. Existential angst, extreme anxiety and anguish have been the constant companion in this process, but it has also resulted in frenzied creativity channelled into knitting. Also, I now find myself having made up my mind on a lot of those things that drove me into this situation. So many years have been devoted (wasted?) to work, work, work, and ,sure, I’ve enjoyed a lot of it and I’m proud of having produced a lot of really good innovative stuff for the classroom. On the whole, I know that a lot of my students through the years have enjoyed it and found completely new effective learning paths. But somehow, all those good things never reached outside of my classroom and that’s been a source of ever growing frustration within me, until it finally broke me a year ago.

Now, in the darkest and grayest days of November, I find myself extremely content, surprisingly enough. Minimizing work but maximizing output, concentrating on doing my own thing and on pedagogy I believe in, marginalizing stuff I can’t completely disregard and yet not control, distancing myself from people who have hurt me in the past, connecting to people who make me laugh and feel happy…. The list could go on much further, but I will end it by promising not to feel any guilt over money or time spent on yarn, but to allow myself all the joy the ideas, the colours and texture and sensual satisfaction that handling a lot of different wools and knitting material gives me, both now and in the future.

 

So, I am happy today, as I was happy yesterday – whatever tomorrow brings, and that’s good enough for me right now. I’m happy to be me and that’s a lot compared to what I felt a year ago.

Have a good day, people!

 

Sunday preparations

Can’t help but revert to videos in my English teaching over and over again, authentic ones as well as a means of student presentation. Have just edited a 50-minute tour of Scotland and cut it into 25 clips on one point of interest each for my 7th-graders tomorrow. Rather a time-consuming activity but what can one do when one seriously believes in something? Combining English language learning, culture, geography, history, media awareness, and student centered learning … all into one package.

tourclips

A text, extensive vocabulary, L1 and collaborative learning

Today’s post will be exclusively in pictures, and will reflect a lot of my views on classroom learning (this time with no technology involved with the exception of the video projector for the step-by-step instructions).

The teacher is silent but in full control of all activity in the classroom, and the student activity will take all 60-75 minutes. This can be done with any text on any subject whatsoever, and at any level.

Student skills used: reading; pronouncing; spellingwriting; listening; new, unfamiliar vocabulary learning

Instructions

AB instructions

 

The text

AB text itself2

Round up activity: Crossword puzzle

crossword

Starting out

I’ve been thinking of starting writing a blog for a few years now, but never really got down to it. Well, now I have and this will be sort of a record of my thoughts and my ideas on teaching (and learning) a language.
Some of it, quite a lot actually, will be about CALL, ie. computer-assisted language learning, online as well as offline. However, there will be posts on communicative language learning, blended learning and ideas for the traditional classroom, too.