I can't remember how often I have talked about Nelson Mandela in my English classes about the topic "Freedom". This is my humble tribute to a man who has inspired so many young people around the world.
Another school year is gone. I know my students have learned a lot of things ... specially the younger ones. I guess the younger you are the faster you learn ... or not! Anyway, I've learned a few things myself after having spent my time between lessons, plus lunchtime in the staff room. I came across some interesting characters such as:
Mrs. Talkative - Shewants to do just that — talk. It doesn’t matter who her audience is or what the audience is
doing — eating lunch, grading papers. Anyone who enters the staff room or sits next to her is fair game for one of her monologues, often on her personal life,
like what she did that weekend, whatever! (God Almighty!)
Mrs Complainer - She has a lot in common with Mrs. Talkative, however, Mrs. Complainer’s discussion is focused on
the negative, complaining, and usually about school: the students, the
administration, other teachers, the diretor electronic equipment,etc. (oh, darn!) :))
Mrs. Saboteur - This is a mercifully common type in a profession where
people should be committed to helping each other. Mrs.
Saboteur may, for example, deliberately set out to undermine a colleague with
negative comments about other teachers. The behavior probably arises out
of insecure feelings and a need to make others look bad in order to feel or
look better herself. (doctor, analyse this!!) ; )
Project work is not a new methodology. A lot of teachers have been using it in their English language lessons as an effective of teaching both the target language and its culture. However, for some teachers it is still a a new methodology. So, why project work?
Projects can motivate students, especially teenagers.
Shy students have the opportunity to do great work in a group, as students with otherwise lower grades.
Projects can teach students to work together, to be part of a group, to share.
Projects can link to the lives of learners; they are meaningful, not just prescriptive or pedagogic.
Projects offer an opportunity for students who are keen to move ahead.
Projects encourage creativity.
Projects can intregate the 4 skills.
Projects involve students in language learning.
Well, these are just a few reasons why project work is such a important activity. As a famous Chinese proverb says "Tell me and I forget. Show and I remember. Involve me and I understand".
The following is an example of a project work on "Human Rigths" for level 5 students:
February is Black History Month in the U.S. and Canada. It is a time to remember some of the greatest leaders in African-American history, who fought for racial equality and civil rights. As studying a foreign language means also studying its culture, I celebrated Martin Luther King Day with my students. I used the material and activities below, practising student's reading, listening and writing skills.