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sabato 25 ottobre 2014

CAN SCHOOLS MAKE A DIFFERENCE? FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

CAN   SCHOOLS  MAKE  A  DIFFERENCE?
                               ( PART 2)

                            WEEK    4
  • How has your experience of school shaped you as a learner, and as an adult?
  • In what ways do you think your own schooling could have been improved, and what priorities do you think are the most important for schools today?

School is the  first  important environment you get  familiar with after you  grew  up and  your  family  has enabled  you to become  older and let you enter the  outside world. Schooling  is the most  important  experience in the life of  a person, it means  you learn, you socialize and  develop  skills and your  character.

School is so important for our  lives since we spend  there   years and years, some students   go there only in the morning, others may spend something like  6-8 hours a  day at school . Thus we should  learn and  become more and more involved in our  school  life and get connected with our  schoolmates and our  teachers. It is time spent on  a process of  developing  skills, competences and   getting inspired to become  a better lerner.

Yes, school  shapes our  character  and also our  future  life,  if you  love  school and the  activities that have been   carried out at school   you will   continue  loving   school  and   life will be  a nice  journey where you  will  continue  learning and learning  forever  .

I have been influenced by my teachers: most of them  were good and  made me realize that  I was  getting more proficient and what's more  I decided to  become   a teacher, a  person who wants  now to share my experience of  teaching with other  teachers  to help  them  in order to  share   tools, better  techniques and  also  have  more students  love learning.

If......if...........if...............   school  still needs  improvement,  and  my  past life as a student   is an example of a person who had  good  teachers  and masters , but  I also  met difficulties.   Some  teachers  were not  friendly or open , they did not  try to  involve all the  students, some students suffered, but  again  I admit that this is an  experience  we all have, because  schools are  made by teachers and  students and  human  beings  are  complex and  have  different   ideas about   learning and  teaching.  

What are the priorities for  schools  today ? There is a long  long  List....................

- First  develop a nice  environment   where  students  like   to spend  the time
- Use new media 
- Teachers  should be  involved in self-development  and  be  good  supporters for  their  pupils
-  Schools and  education are part of the  world, thus  we  should all  have  good  technology at school and  share  the  use of  technology  with our  students who are more  advanced than us  sometimes
-  Be in contact with  the  community and the families
-  Develop  projects where  our   students    learn   how to  do  something
-  Teach   critical thinking  and   21st Century  Skills

-  Try to teach  everybody and   help them  to develop  their   learning  style
-  Learn about  other  successful experiences
-  Remember that  we have  different  abilities and   skills but   we all  should   be  important at school  
-  Teachers should work in team and   share  experiences  with other  schools and  classes
-  Develop Blended  Learning







            
USEFUL  WEBSITES OR  INFORMATION  ON LINE


http://www.discoveryeducation.com/streamathon/







sabato 18 ottobre 2014

WHAT MAKES A GOOD TEACHER ?

                              WEEK   3
What  Makes  a  Good  Teacher?

Any time I think about my past life as a student I keep telling me that a good  Teacher is more than  a teacher, good  Teachers  love and take care of their  students, they are not  NUMBERS.





A   good   teacher is  someone who  loves  supporting you and can understand you if you have difficulties...........................................




Thursday                         16th October   2014

Yesterday I went to a  teacher's refresher seminar organized by our  local Language  Group for  English Teachers. The topic was  Objective: LIFE LONG LEARNING  through REFLECTIVE  TEACHING AND LEARNER  TRAINING. It was  an interesting  reflection made by a teacher who is working  at university and shared ideas with us. We got back into our  past life as students and we were  asked what we liked and what we did not like when we were at school and were just  learners. It was interesting to see how    FEELINGS  were  so important. Professor ANILA S.Scott-Monkhouse of the UNIVERSITY of Parma made us  think  and  I realized that  once you  get entrapped into the process of teaching and feel you  are under  pressure to cover the syllabus  you  do not  Always think about your  students in  terms of  people who  are involved in your  lessons.
She left us by  using  these  words:

Before you  say anything
Remember the  educational   importance of   self-esteem. 

I think that we should all   rember that  a good  teacher  does not destroy the self-image of the student, each student is different from the Others and each student is important.  They learn  little by little but  we should encourage each person and   tell them that they are important and  they are the  player of the lessons.  

What  makes  a good  Teacher?
A good  teacher can deal with the problems of the  students who are Special, Today we have  a lot  of  students with  Special  Needs, disabled students and students  with dyslexia.









                             SELF - DEVELOPMENT
What a good teacher   can  do in order to become  a  better  teacher
- use  blogs and  social  forums for  teachers
-  take  part in  conferences , webminars, special courses for  teachers
-  work on his/her  self-development in terms of courses or  special  webminars that might  enrich  his / her teaching  tools
-  write  a reflective diary
-  meet  other Teachers and  share ideas with  them about  best practices and also difficulties

              WORKING ON LINE.........  FROM HOME.............................
            
My  favourite  web sites and the ones which I usually use for studying on line and Learning  more  about Language teaching in general:
 - http://www.hltmag.co.uk/oct14/index.htm   ( Humanising  Language Teaching)
- http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/teaching-english/resources-for-teachers/webinars/
http://www.pearson.it/index.php
-http://grahamworkmanbili.wikispaces.com/CLIL+websites
-http://www.webenglishteacher.com/index.html
-http://www.classroom20.com/  ( to learn more about  new Technologies and teaching )
- http://www.onestopenglish.com/
http://www.ted.com/
http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/


What I think............End of week  3





I have  had  good and bad   teachers in my school life. Referring to the film DEAD POET  SOCIETY  I should say that  the teacher of the film is  a good   example of  someone who is  a great  supporter for  his  students. He loves them and they love him but  at the beginning of the film they may find him an unusual  man and teacher. Once they get to KNOW  him and his  approaches  they are involved and entrapped into his lessons and will  discover the world of poetry.  I had  two great teachers in my school life :they taught me   Italian and  History of  Art  and  I will never forget them  because they  cared and made me love  what they were doing with us.   
By quoting from   W.A.Ward  we could   say  " The great teacher   inspires"(1) . Unfortunately in some   cases our students  have to  face the coldness of their teachers, not  always   teachers can be  people who  inspire  students, they may have  difficulties in establishing a  relationship and interact with them.  
A  good teacher is a person who changes gear when he/ she realizes that  students do not  always understand what  he/she  is  trying to explain. Good teachers are able to make    their  teaching  better by reflecting. Critical reflection should  help  teachers to  approach teaching and learning in a different way.
Teaching is an on-going  process and all good teachers  should  cope with the main  achievements and  difficulties and  think more about  the best  teaching  practices they should  have.
The classroom climate is also crucial for having  better  learners. "Outstanding teachers create an excellent classroom climate and achieve superior pupil progress largely by displaying more professional characteristics at higher levels of sophistication within a very structured learning environment. " (2)From the discussion we  had with other  teachers it seemed that  most of the good teachers  work hard for their  students. This is true in many cases, I would also add that a good  teacher is able to  cope with the complexities of life, in terms of   students and their  social background; in addition more and more  teachers  may find  themselves in the situation of  having students with disabilities and/ or special needs- in particular  in compulsory education. The lesson can be planned, well-designed but  when  we enter the classroom we have  different   students who might react in  a different way, and it is our  duty to understand and  help  them, especially the less able ones.To conclude a good teacher is  a person who  is used to thinking about  his/her job and  never stops   learning to become a  better teacher .
(1) http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/good_teacher.html

(2) http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/4566/1/RR216.pdf _____________________________________


                  References for self-development

 -   Towards Reflective Teaching by Jack C. Richards  Department of English, City Polytechnic of Hong Kong      http://www.tttjournal.co.uk/  
- Reflective teaching- The Principles and the Practices    ENGLISH TEACHING  FORUM- October  2003

 What do they think?




                                                           




 











CAN SCHOOLS MAKE A DIFFERENCE? YES!!!


WEEK   4                                                       

Reflect on  your own schooling. Did you go to a "good" school? What "residuals" did you take away from your schooling, and how has it helped you subsequently?


I have attended state run schools, but I was lucky to go to a  special school from the age of 14 until I was 19. The school had an innovative  syllabus and  teachers who were eager to learn more and were  experimenting new ways of teaching  in the 1970s in the province of Reggio Emilia, in Italy.

It was a good  school because there were good labs, good teachers, students could choose the subjects they were interested in and later at the age of  16 they chose what courses they wanted to do.

The school was modern and there were a lot of educational facilities: in some subjects we had no books and  in many others  we had the chance to  work  like  biologists and  carried out some experiments in the science or  physics  lab.

Today the school has  changed but  old  students still send their  children there, it was a great experience   we  all learnt  a lot.
Today the school is  40 years old.................and it is still young



video
BUS PASCAL FROM REGGIO EMILIA    IS 40 YEARS OLD
 
 
 
Now I am a   teacher but  I still remember the nice experiences I shared with some students and also some  Teachers. I was a shy person but   they gave me  a lot of support and help  and loved what I did in some  subjects : languages, history of art, Italian, philosophy and  lots of  nice  articles in English, German we read and worked on........................... They OPENED MY  MIND !!
 
When I think of  a model of  school  I can  only say that every student  should not  only learn  subjects but  they should also learn values and  how to work alone and together to build a better student's mind, the citizen of  a  modern  country.
 
 

  

mercoledì 8 ottobre 2014

WHAT IS INTELLIGENCE?



What definition of  intelligence do I have?
Intelligence has nothing to do with  good results at  school.................................. some of the most important  men of the XX and XXI  century  have not studied at university or have studied on their own and achieved  great success................................. intelligence  marks human beings and at school it is difficult to say why some students learn better than  others.............................




                   My reflections  after  week 2

My past life as a  student and how I learnt

I do think of  intelligence as a special gift given to very smart  people. I was  assessed in my years spent at school and at university, but  teachers assessed my performance orally or in a written  task. I was asked to write about  a topic, to  present a topic and to answer about a topic.  I had to do this in all the subjects that I had to do and study. I never took any IQ tests: my parents were not interested in them; I was a good student and  I wanted to achieve a lot, but  most of all I wanted to be the best student. Learning, studying, working on my  own were the main goals in my life starting from  my  first years. I loved  learning all the main subjects: history, art, biology, Italian, maths, science, grammar, literature, French, German................................later I went to university and I chose what  I liked to study and learn: languages and literature. It was my world  but again I did not consider myself an intelligent person:  I was  a student who  was  proud and wanted to get the best and most out of  what  school and university were  offering me.    I was  INTERESTED and this is  the main reason of my  success in achieving   good results, sometimes they were the best of the class , sometimes they were  acceptable but  I had learnt how to run and organize my knowledge and now I  can say that  after years of learning   I am  a good learner. However, my teachers were sometimes not good at encouraging my self-development and I must say that what I learnt was more in relationship to my interests, some teachers were not  good teachers or  they did not care .  One person I can   remember is my  primary school teacher: she loved her job and she loved us, she would  follow us in the next years and  wanted to know how we were making progress and she loved to give us some advice.

In terms of  educational  facilities  I was offered  good  and top level quality in secondary  school while  the university was a very traditional environment  where I  had to cope with  low level  professors sometimes and  I could not  develop myself.  What boring  lessons  did I have  to follow and what  boring  texts to read!!  

My teaches never  talked about my  intelligence: they only  recognized that  I was a student who worked hard.

                             INTELLIGENCE   AND  SCHOOL

After reading the  texts about intelligence which have been  suggested for this course (1) I still believe that teachers  can make the difference:  good students can  achieve  bad  results if the  learning  environment  is low quality and if  teachers do not know how to cope with them.  Every student has a lot of potentialities  but it is up to  their tutors and teachers to help and develop  their skills and  abilities.  I know that there are special schools for  bright students, but I feel that the future of education depends on how school systems  can cope with  more students  and give them  the best in terms of  tutors, critical thinking and  help in developing  their mind.

Maria Montessori is for me a  great woman who has  helped children to grow ............................................




References for these reflections

(1)http://sandraleatongray.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/a-guide-to-intelligence-and-heritability-for-beginners/

The myth of ability   in http://www.societyforqualityeducation.org/newsletter/1447.html