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WEEK

III
MIMOUN FEBRUARY 16, 2016

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

* In the first case the


student learn
vocabulary to be
prepared to use it in an
interactive way: a
linguistic game via
questioning and
answering. It is really
motivating and this
gives the students
chance not only to
enhance their
vocabulary, but also be
active learners. In the
second case the teacher
provided her students

with a sort of mind


map wherein they write
places and persons and
later they use them to
ask each other
questions. Sometimes
students are afraid of
talking, but when they
write what they want to
talk about, they become
more confident.
Personally, I use these
activities with my
students. For instance
the students start
having a look at the
targeted expressions,
then practise through a
model and in the end
they use cues to
perform a role-play. As
a follow-up activity and
so that they can be

more creative, I ask


them to make their
own dialogues. This
technique can be used
to focus on a particular
item either it is
grammar, vocabulary,
functions, issues like
daily activities,
hobbies, leisure time
activities, etc.

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

I think different
techniques are suitable
for older students
more. Younger
students should learn
those technical terms
like stress and
intonation through
practice. The reason is

not to complicate
things for them. The
faculty of conceiving
abstract notions is still
not activated. On the
contrary, older
students are more
aware of those notions.
They have the ability to
tackle them
confidently. Personally
I have adult students
and thus I teach them
stress. I use a different
colour to stress words.
The students are
familiar with stress
because Arabic does
have it. It is true that its
use in English is
different from that of
Arabic, but at least the
notion helps a lot when

introducing it for the


first time. As far as the
techniques used in the
video are concerned, it
all depends on the age
of the students. With
common core students,
I can use songs to teach
them rhythms and let
them be aware of stress
as an important
component of the
English language. For
adults, I prefer dealing
with them in an
academic way. They are
grown-up and they are
quite ready to
understand abstract
notions. Giving them
examples and
explaining to them the
importance of stress,

intonation and
different rhythms.

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

I think a teacher should


master the language
s/he teaches in
addition to the
methods/methodologies,
techniques, types of
assessment to be used.
S/he should have
enough knowledge
about psychopedagogy,
ITC... S/he should keep
up with all what
her/his students are
interested in to
understand better their
needs. What is also
interesting and crucial
is continuous

professional
development without
which one may be
outdated. Every time I
enrol to an online
course, I discover new
things that help me be
more confident and
professional. 
We should transfer the
knowledge of learning
a foreign language to
our students by talking
about it to our
students. I do this not
to show I am superior
to them, but to
motivate them and
show them that
learning a new
language is so simple if
we love it. Love is really
an important factor

that can hook their


curiosity.

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

Another point I want to


raise here is that I
always tell my students
that if they want really
to master English, they
need to expose their
ears to listening
regularly to it via a
radio or whatever
medium. Once I tell
them this, they inform
me that they did this
but they did not
understand a single
word. I then tell them
who asked you to
understand? Just give
yourself time to listen

and be patient.
Understanding comes
with accumulation. All
what this needs is time
and patience.
Unfortunately our
students are not
patient enough to
harvest the results of
such patience. That's
why I tell them what I
used to do when I was
their age: I used to
listen to the BBC radio
and when I found an
interesting programme
I used to record it to
listen to it again and
again. One day while
listening I found myself
blocked at a word. It
was a challenge for me.
I repeated the

recording so many
times until I got the
word. It was an easy
one but the way it is
pronounced was new to
me because I had never
been exposed to
hearing it. That's why
creating the desire and
pleasure to learn a
language is the key to
learning it. 

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

I remember the first


time I bought "Things
First Things" an
English textbook, and
started reading it
without a teacher. All
what I had was an
Arabic book which

gives information
mainly about
pronunciation and
vocabulary. During the
whole three summer
holidays, working with
my father in his shop
and buying English
books with the money
he gave me. I bought
even two dictionaries,
one English French and
one English Arabic. I
brought a series of
English books with
audio from my uncle's
house and started
sailing like a traveller
in the realm of English.
One day I discovered
that I had made a
mistake and
mispronounced the

word "cow". I became


aware of the fact not to
make analogies, but
rather I should look for
something more
secure. I then bought
Oxford Dictionary and
started learning the
phonological symbols
by myself. I found them
easy to learn. From
that time on I
considered
pronunciation a crucial
pillar and entry to the
language. I even added
to that transcribing the
words I learned. I have
had pleasure since
then. Now that I am an
English teacher, I do
advise my students not
to be afraid of

pronunciation and to
try to learn those
phonological symbols
as they will help them a
lot. 

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

In fact I use different


resources and try to
vary them in order to
have a holistic overview
of what I am teaching
my students. This helps
me choose the best for
them. I use books,
Internet resources like
eBooks, PDF, lesson
plans, videos,... One of
the main resources I
use in grammar is
Grammar In Context
and Real English

Grammar, a book I got


as a prize from a
summer institute CPD
organized by MATE,
RELO and the US
Embassy. It was held in
Rabat. For deep review
I go back to a book I
used to study in at
university: A Practical
English Grammar.
Oxford dictionary has
become my shadow
since I was a student at
secondary school.
Vocabulary, thus, has
become a must in my
life since then. As for
websites, I have been
using several websites
so far:
www.onestopenglish.com,
www.englishbanana.com

(there are plenty of free


sources)... What helps
me be more confident
about what students
may raise in class is
preview in advance any
possible question they
might ask. But if they
ask me and feel I
cannot answer I do not
feel embarrassed. I
simply say I have no
idea and promise to
look for it. What is
indeed not acceptable
is teach students false
things just to show that
you are
knowledgeable. 

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

In fact I feel that my

students feel less


comfortable when I
teach them writing. The
problem is that we have
a crowded textbook
that we shall cover in a
school academic year.
If we add to this
crowded classroom,
the result is not
satisfactory at all. But
not for all the student
because as I have
mentioned, motivated
students who work out
of the classroom are
good writers. I
remember when I start
learning English by
myself without
anybody's help, I wrote
my first essay after
only three month when

classes began. I
remember when I gave
it to my teacher, I felt
as if he did not believe
it was mine. But before
learning English I was
a good writer in Arabic.
That's why I  tell
my students that
learning a new
language starts from
their mastering their
own mother tongue
because when they
start leaning L1 or later
L2 (in our case here in
Morocco, English) they
will use the same
techniques of acquiring
Arabic to understand
grammar or even
complex linguistic
items. I know some

find this a bit weird,


but this is the way I see
things.

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

My students have all


types of knowledge
they need to learn
English because they
are teenagers. They
have basic English
knowledge as they start
it at college level before
moving to high school.
French is also of great
help learning English
as there are many
words that are similar
totally or partly both in
English or French
especially that they
learn it at an early age.

Yet many of our


students have
difficulties in French,
so when they begin
learning English they
do have the same
handicaps. That's why I
try to convince them to
take care of their
mother tongue and
French as an L1 and
make transfers to make
it easier for them learn
the new language
which is English in our
context. General or
specific knowledge that
they come with from
other disciplines and
from their everyday
knowledge through TV,
the Net or whatever
medium is also

important. It facilitates
tackling new issues
included in the English
textbooks. As far as
sociocultural
knowledge is
concerned, I think via
the Net or watching
documentaries or films
bridges the gap for a
better understanding
of the other culture.
Hence culture
awareness develops.

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

She uses pictures,


miming/acting,
gestures. She even asks
some of her students to
act out the vocabulary
she wants to teach. I

think involving them


within the lesson by
doing is really
motivating. I believe
that the same
techniques can be used
with older learners on
condition that the
teacher is aware of
what to use and what
not to use in order to
avoid their being bored
because they are
grown-ups. They are
likely to learn via real
life contexts and
situations rather than
learn via direct
instructions. They also
love experiencing
things. I personally use
the same techniques. In
addition to these, in

order to check their


understanding, I ask
them to give me the
equivalent of the words
in French or Arabic. I
use mind maps,
videos... I ask them to
make reference to
previously taught
issues in other
disciplines. Thus an
inter-disciplinary
approach is advisable
in order to encourage
our students be
learners-centered via
taking benefit from
other disciplines. * In
fact I have already
answered this question
in the previous section.
I will just remind you
of some: translation

(French/ Arabic),
pictures, mind maps,
questions/answers, pre
questions, guessing,
multiple choice or
matching exercises...

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

* It is important for
learners to have plenty
of practice in class
because as the
following proverbs
state: "Practice makes
perfect." Or "If at first
you don't succeed, try,
try, try again." This
means that practice
and perseverance bring
succeed in the end.
Unfortunately our
students do not have an

opportunity to practise
the language at home.
The only chance they
have got is the
classroom. Giving them
that chance to practise
speaking, listening,
reading and writing
will surely improve
their skills. Still I tell
them that it is not
sufficient to rely only
on the classroom to
foster their English.
They should work
outside the classroom
by making more
research on the Net or
create real or virtual
communities so that
they can practise the
language. 

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

Other practice
activities I would
suggest are: projects
(example: SS draw a
family tree at home,
and the next time they
stick it on the board
and they start talking
about their family
members. I used it this
year with my students
and turned great.)
Watching a video or
listening to an audio,
and then giving them a
topic based on the
video or audio to talk
about. Pictures are
indeed a good tool to
motivate SS keep on
talking. 

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

I think that teaching


pronunciation is of
ultimate importance,
because it facilitates
our being understood
by listeners. Thats why
I always advise my
students to expose
their ears to the
language via watching
English programmes or
listening to English
radio stations as I used
to do when I was their
age. This is the natural
way one acquires a new
language. I also give
them the following
situation by asking
them if they have
brothers or sisters who

are still kids. They all


say yes. I then ask them
if any member of the
family sits down and
teach them mother
tongue. They all yes no.
I tell them then how
their siblings acquire
the language.
 The answer is
simply by being
integrated within the
language through
listening day in day
out. It is a long process
that results in being
able to speak. Sounds,
repeating them like a
parrot and then the few
words come out. Words
become sentences and
so on and so forth.

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

I have said that our


students need our
psychological support
more because I have
discovered that so
many of them fear the
language. That's why I
from time to time
remind them of the fact
that that fear is nothing
but a mischievous virus
they have let in their
minds to the extent that
it has invaded every
single nerve within
them. All what they
have to do is fight it
and they will discover
that it is but an illusion.
I tell them learning
French or English is

not a monster that has


teeth, and then
learning those
languages will not bite
them. Making mistakes
is the beginning of the
journey. A journey full
of pleasure and fun.
Our students should be
taught how to create
that pleasure before
they start learning the
language.

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

To tell the truth, the


activities I have seen
are the ones I do with
my students. Though I
do focus on covering
the programme, I, from
time to time, bring my

students songs and


they enjoy them a lot.
Last year I had the
habit to use the data
show and bring them
short videos and clips.
Unfortunately this year
I moved to new high
school where there are
no data shows. I think
visual aids have
become so crucial in
teaching foreign
language as they give
our students more
opportunity to see and
hear natural English
via songs, clips,
documentaries,
dialogues, etc.. If I had
the means, i would try
reading short stories. I
am thinking of working

on Friday, a day I am
off to create a reading
workshop with 1st year
students. But I am still
thinking. I will first ask
my students if they are
free and if yes I will ask
them if they will be
ready to come. I see
that creating a reading
workshop will free
them from classroom
constraints and maybe
this will motivate them
more. I hope the idea
works.

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

She uses pictures,


miming/acting,
gestures. She even asks
some of her students to

act out the vocabulary


she wants to teach. I
think involving them
within the lesson by
doing is really
motivating.  I
believe that the same
techniques can be used
with older learners on
condition that the
teacher is aware of
what to use and what
not to use in order to
avoid their being bored
because they are
grown-ups. They are
likely to learn via real
life contexts and
situations rather than
learn via direct
instructions. They also
love experiencing
things.  I

personally use the


same techniques. In
addition to these, in
order to check their
understanding, I ask
them to give me the
equivalent of the words
in French or Arabic. I
use mind maps,
videos... I ask them to
make reference to
previously taught
issues in other
disciplines. Thus an
inter-disciplinary
approach is advisable
in order to encourage
our students be
learners-centred via
taking benefit from
other disciplines.

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

* In fact it all depends


on what I want to focus
on. With a speaking
activity, I use pictures
and cue cards as they
help students be more
confident and the
results are surely
attained. With writing I
prefer supplying them
with picture-stories or
short videos with
subtitles to watch and
take notes, because
writing is a more
complex skill that
needs time to master. It
is like a lake that needs
rivers to supply it with
the water it needs.
That's I tell my
students that if they

need to be good
writers, the must read
a lot and take benefit of
every linguistic item
they learn in order to
practise writing. But if
they read without
practice, they will
never learn how to
write. During my
teaching life and from
my own experience,
good student writer
write well because they
do a lot of practice
outside the classroom,
because the latter is
nothing but a station
where they get the
tools, and that's all. But
the biggest job is done
at home. I always
remind my students of

the fact that I am a


teacher, still I never
stop learning and I
have made from
writing my magic world
that soothes my
sorrows and worries.
Our students need our
psychological support
more than they need
anything else.

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

Within the classroom, I


do my best to bring
them audio and when
possible short videos
with subtitles so that
they can follow what is
being said. Giving them
the opportunity to
listen to natural and

native English helps


them foster they
pronunciation, though
I do believe that those
students who do hard
work outside the
classroom are the best
at speaking like native
speakers. I have some
this year and do love
them when they speak
because they remind
me of myself when I
was their age. I am sure
they love English.
That's why they give
much more care. There
are a variety of
techniques I use to let
them practise
pronunciation: Listen
and read wherein the
students listen either to

a text or a dialogue and


they do the same
afterwards. The
students love it so
much. Even those who
have difficulties at
reading are
enthusiastic about the
activity. Describing
pictures/photos/their
peers in case of
teaching clothes
vocabulary and
colours. Mind maps
and when they finish
completing one, some
read the vocabulary
they come up with. I
even transcribe the
vocabulary I give them
to encourage them be
familiar with phonetic
symbols and be

learners-centred.

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

Improving my
knowledge starts from
the fact that no matter
how good I am, I still I
say to myself I ignore
so many things. That's
why whenever there is
a CDP, I try to take part
in order to share my
experience with others
that are in need of such
experience and at the
same time change some
bad habits or wrong
concepts I might have
because I do believe
that none is perfect.

MIMOUN

FEBRUARY
18, 2016

* Einstein once said:


"Once you stop
learning, you start
dying." That's why one
should never say I
know so no need to
learn or review what I
have learned. When
you continue learning
you will always
discover how ignorant
you are about so many
issues. Knowledge is
like an ocean; the more
you sail in, the more
you discover you know
nothing about.
Confidence is
important, but too
much of it may turn
into arrogance which is
the beginning of going
back to ignorance. I

always say to my
students to consider
me a student who tries
to build the lesson with
them, so they can learn
from me as I can learn
from them. 

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

Personally, I see that


learning a language
should follow the way
we learn mother
tongue. The first thing
a baby starts up with is
sounds even if s/he
does not know the
meaning of that sound.
Little by little s/he
discovers that those
have connection with
words. The more words

s/he learns, the better


because her/his
repertoire increases.
This does not mean
that grammar is not
important but it is only
a technical device that
organizes a set of
words to communicate
particular ideas.
Consider the following
situation: what if we
have grammar (mainly
verbs, connections...)
but we do not know
how something is
called? To be more
precise you want to tell
your friend to go to the
cinema or the beach,
but you do not know
the appropriate words:
Let's go to... where?

Your friend asks. I am


sure life would be hell
because you have to
take the person to the
desired place but when
you reach it your friend
discovers that it is not
the place s/he wants to
head for and says: If I
had known you would
bring me to the..., I
wouldn't have come.
But bring me where?
That's why I do claim
that vocabulary and
sounds/pronunciation
are the pillars of any
language. Grammar
can wait a little bit
later. 

MIMOUN

FEBRUARY
18, 2016

I think what I have


picked from this week
is confidence in the way
I teach English to my
students. Still I
acknowledge that I
need to do more efforts
to find the magical
wand to improve my
students' writing skills.
As teachers of English
we always ask the
ministry of education
to reduce the textbooks
content and focus on
the gist so that more
concentration is on
how to make from our
students self-learners
who do not only make
efforts learn the
language but go further
than that and get the

pleasure to learn it.

MIMOUN
FEBRUARY
18, 2016

This is my own concept


for language
acquisition. I always
tell them about my
experience as a PE
student. I had seven
hours a week; still I
always felt that it was
not enough. That's why
I spent more time
listening to the BBC
radio, reading short
stories our teacher
gave us or reading
English newspapers
and writing. One
cannot read without
writing or write
without reading. More

practice; especially at
home, surely makes
miracles.

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