Why do I blog?

Why do I blog?

Richard St. John shares his eight secrets of success in a fantastic video and I want to talk about blogging and how I think it is connected to these eight great secrets.

Here are the eight secrets in a word cloud

cloud2Richard St.John’s Eight Secrets of Success – Made with http://www.wordle.net/

I blog for all the reasons in the word cloud:

  • I blog because I want to be an excellent educator (Excellence- get good at what you do)
  • I blog because I want to share my ideas (Serve Others)
  • I persist even when I am tired; good results need hard work! (Work!)
  • I blog to focus more on my interest and learn more about it (Focus)
  • I blog because this makes me think and learn new things (Push Yourself)
  • I get more ideas by trying to explain my ideas to other people. (Ideas)
  • I blog because I love my job and I am passionate about teaching (Passion)
  • I persist because I believe communicating your ideas is important for learning (Persist)

What should you blog about?

Blog about something you love, something you are passionate about. It may be using songs in the classroom, using Web 2.0 tools or it may even be a blog about the English language!

If you love your subject, you will find more things to write and you will also find the time, no matter how busy you are.

It takes time but it’s worth it!

May be you will find it hard at the the beginning. I found it hard too!

But with time, it gets easier. Remember! You won’t get better by waiting! You will get better by trying!”

Go beyond your comfort zone

Challenge yourself and you will surely be amazed by how much you will learn by communicating with the world!

And if you would like to listen to this great talk which inspired this post, here it is below, one of the great TED talks.

Some thoughts on why the DELTA is a great qualification, the benefits of following a course and getting this Diploma as well as when it’s a great time to do it!

Demand High ELT – is it really something new?

The concept of ‘demand high ELT’ was first introduced at IATEFL Glasgow in 2012 in a talk by Jim Scrivener, in which he told the story of the long conversations with Adrian Underhill and how they both felt that they needed to redefine or reshape their beliefs/ideas in terms of good ELT practice.

Here are his slides from that talk

Here you can watch a recent presentation by Jim Scrivener himself at the IH DOS conference in 2013
Here is also a link to an article in the Guardian Weekly in which they explain all

As expected when speakers/authors of their calibre come up with some new claim, there was a lot of interest in the whole notion/angle, and the talk has been repeated since several times at conferences around the world.

Jim Scrivener & Adrian Underhill also created a related blog – Demand High ELT  in which they post news, observation tasks and slides or interview and posts.

An interesting post which went up recently looks at demand high ELT as a possible topic for a Module 2 Experimental Assignment – part of your PDA.

Here is the title with the link Doing Delta Module Two? Could Demand-High be your Alternative Practice?

#ELTchat discussion on this topic

Recently, on the 16th of January, I moderated an #ELTchat discussion on Twitter with the title

“How does Demand High Teaching differ from Dogme (if at all)” 

The discussion was quite lively and joined even by Jim Scrivener himself – you can read the transcript of our conversation here  and Carolyn Kerr’s great summary here

Demand High and Dogme – brothers in arms or distant cousins?

Everyone, including Mr Scrivener, was pretty thrilled with the attention to DHELT and Carolyn’s summary was also featured in the DHELT blog by the two authors.

An #ELTchat summary is, of course, always useful to read but, oftentimes, may also reflect the writer’s attitude, so it’s a good idea to have a look at the actual tweets

Enter Jeremy Harmer

Today Jeremy Harmer published a blog post which has had the blogosphere wondering if there will be a tiif or what….


Does reading (and learning a language) require two brains?

Jeremy reports some research which found different parts of the brain active during pleasure reading and language work and started off a discussion which goes into Krashen and further questions a number of things, amongst which demand high ELT which he calls ‘somewhat ramshackle’ …. hmm

I am not sure the research Jeremy quotes has much to do with whether language analysis or conscious learning is more or less effective than pleasure reading; he seems to think it does prove something – but there your are, this is what the discussion is all about.

Comments have already been added by Scott Thornbury and others, and, soon, I expect, by Jim Scrivener who very humorously put out the following tweettweet

What do YOU think?

We can discuss Mr Harmer’s claim about this research in a different post/thread, but for now, I would like you to reflect on demand high ELT.

Do you think it a new approach?

Do you think it’s something worth considering?

Is it a new method?

Is it a new attitude?

Have you noticed any ‘demand low ELT’ in your locale?

Please add your comments below


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Thoughts About Teaching

It might come as a surprise but I have always been dreaming of becoming an English teacher. Once I am now, it gets me into thinking what teaching actually is, what it means to me, what it means or should mean to others.

John Ernst Steinbeck (an American writer, widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath and the Nobel Prize Winner for Literature) attempted to shape by saying, “A great teacher is a great artist and you know how few great artists there are in the world”. So, is teaching art? Might it even be the greatest of all arts?

Undoubtedly, teaching is somewhat “audience”- oriented which works best when tailored to each individual student’s needs. It is meant for every single body in the classroom, meant for them both as individuals and parts of the big whole. Teaching human beings cannot be done successfully in an assembly line fashion. It works best only as an interactive and evolving process.

Is teaching mere transmission of information and knowledge? Certainly, it is much more than that. Knowledge is only real and permanent if it is the result of students’ own efforts, which is why teachers cannot be mere transmitters to their passively receiving pupils.

Furthermore, it is not only knowledge that our students should take home. It is the ability to think critically, to submit sufficient evidence to support their judgments. Nowadays, regardless of whether we like it or not, we are bombarded with “information” for which no or limited evidence is provided and in many respects we are expected to accept it at face value. But for teachers, who will enable us with this precious opportunity to be independent and critically thinking members of society?

Another thing is that passion and devotion are the keys to make your “audience” return again and again “to give you a standing ovation”. I know I am being rather figurative here, but you are to present yourself as an alpine guide to your class of climbers, rather than as a part of the mountain, which simply means: try to always be the right person at the right place and time. Why? To offer help, encouragement, and to make students feel that, with time and effort, they can succeed.

The truth is that teaching means giving your all during every single class, every single minute after the class, virtually every single minute of your life. It is hard, it is unbearable at times, but it pays dividends in the long run. Naturally, it is not that easy to step into the classroom, forget any private or professional issues on your mind and dedicate all your physical and mental capacities to teaching. But when successful, it works well.

If you once decide on doing a Delta degree, you will by all means understand how really truthful and realistic all these things are, how similar we, experienced teachers (or less experienced teachers who have just embarked on this path), are to skilled prima-ballerinas or world-famous chefs. Feeling thrilled? Intrigued? Join us and no matter how demanding or mind-blowing the process is, you are destined not to regret any single penny spent on it or any single minute devoted to it.