Friday, June 24, 2011

Rethinking Education

Reflections and opinions on education in the 21st century. How do we teach? To what extent have we changed the way we teach so far? Are we teaching the same way we taught 10, 15 or 20 years ago? If it's the case, are we willing to change? How and what can we change? These are questions worth answering.
I guess most of us teachers really want to adapt and adjust to these changing times, in which technology plays an important role. Students are no longer the same as the ones we taught years ago!
Here are some videos on the subject. A must see! I hope you get inspired by them as I did.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Motivate your students with GoAnimate

I found this great free tool that allows anyone to create fully animated cartoons by choosing characters from scratch, props, backgrounds, audio and text.
This could be a good tool to stimulate reluctant writers to animate a story, a text or a song in a creative way. I think the best way to describe GoAnimate is to have a look at their demo video below. Check it out here.

An example of what you can do with GoAnimate: by Cognito

Like it? Create your own at It's free and fun!


Friday, June 03, 2011

Stimulating Creativity - Art in the English Language Classroom

I sometimes use art (paintings or photos) in the classroom, because I think it’s a good way to stimulate student’s creativity (as important as any other skill), and bring something different to the English Language classroom. As the means to creativity is imagination, this one has to be carefully planned, structured and practiced. In addition, by developing students’ imagination we are providing them with different ways of learning, which is one of our teaching goals.
Many teachers think activities that stimulate student’s imagination will be a source of indiscipline in the classroom, but that is not so. Sometimes students who do not use their imagination may become uninterested and misbehave. Thinking about or even creating art can be very motivating. It can take the emphasis off accuracy and put it onto fluency and the ability to clearly express thoughts and ideas. This is great for students whose progress in speaking is hindered by a fear of making mistakes.

So here are some examples of activities on two paintings (I couldn’t find the authors’ names. My apologies for that!). They were developed as speaking activities, but they can be used as writing ones too.

Painting one: for 7th graders (Places in Town)

GIF animations generator
GIF animations generator

-Imagine where this town is.
-Is it a large one or a small one? Say why.
-Where is everybody?
-What kind of shops are there in this town?
-Would you like to live there? Why (not)?
-What do you feel when you look at this town?
-Find a piece of music to go with this painting.

Painting two: to be used with 9th graders (Multiculturalism)

GIF animations generator
GIF animations generator

-Compare the two paintings. What do they represent?
-Where do these families come from? Where do they live?
-Similarities and differences (9th grade)
-Which is the happiest family? Why?
-What feelings are conveyed in these two paintings? (9th grade)
-Choose one of the paintings and write a short story about it.

Well, these are only two ideas to practise speaking and stimulate our students' imagination. You can also teach grammar using paintings. I love this topic. I'll get back to this subject with more ideas.

Meanwhile, I leave you with a talk on creativity by Sir ken Robinson. Sir Ken Robinson, PhD is an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation. He is also one of the world’s leading speakers with a profound impact on audiences everywhere.
So listen to his talk "Schools Kill Creativity" and enjoy!