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Issue #009 -- Week 30/06/14-06/07/14
July 11, 2014
Greetings and general information
Hello everybody and welcome to our new subscribers, both from Web and from other countries in the world!
You and your friends can subscribe individually through the form on http://www.my-english-club.com/ If anybody mentions to you that they are interested in receiving it, please tell them this - many thanks. Also, they can read the previous issues on http://www.my-english-club.com/English_Corner_Ezine-backissues.html
I am sorry to disappoint you with such a long delay in sending out this issue. A lot of things happened since we saw each other last time and the roller-coaster hasn't stopped rolling, so I cannot tell you the new developments until I get to know them myself first.
For this, let's look at what happened last week - my last week at Web, and then next week I'll be more in a position to bring more news to the table, my friends.
Tuesday July 1 - Communicative Grammar
This was an extra Social Club - I had to do 4 this week, while so much was going on, with all the packing and preparations to leave!
My plan was to present this as the subject I’ll be teaching in the future – the concepts for improving vocabulary for your spoken English, as we discovered in one of our past classes. The method of communicative grammar is based on a book called the same, by Geoffrey Leech and it’s crucial for your language development. Those who already use this method can tell the difference and the rest of you keep asking them ‘how do they do it?’.
It’s simple – get the words right (the concepts), understand their meaning and then make your own sentences with them. It is actually as simple as this, but…. You need to do this constantly and with all the new words you’re learning. If you don’t have anybody to speak to, write them down. Just do it and you’ll see the difference.
There will be a part of My English Club website concentrating on this, once I have the time to set it up and get it going – I’ll announce it in due time.
Wednesday July 2 – What Makes a Good Teacher?
In this lecture we looked at the angle that everybody is a good teacher for somebody else.
Your first teachers were your parents, grandparents and other people around you and, through what you do every day, you always influence or give an example to somebody around you - from your children to the people you meet in the community.
In this sense, one can find a great teacher not just in the classroom, but also everywhere around us - they are the great leaders that care to feel for what is going on around him/her, who interacts with the child they're educating, who finds the strength to keep their smile on no matter what life brings about every minute.
A good teacher dedicates himself/herself to the job in hand. You were asking me questions about how to discipline and motivate children to learn and develop as you would like them to and the answer was that there are many methods of which some work with some people and others with other people. A dedicated teacher is one who constantly learns and keeps himself/herself informed on the latest developments in this field. Read books about educating, about helping your child to read, write, to do anything actually.
A good school teacher must have the background knowledge of the subject (s)he is teaching, the professional skills and the personal qualities to impart that knowledge to the students. Similarly, a parent must know what needs to be shown at any particular time and interact with the child in a happy and inspiring way, to build that child's trust and create that wish in the child to always want to come back for more.
Well, another aspect is that a good teacher cannot do his/her job without a great student! You would need your student to have a genuine desire to learn. For this to happen, the student needs to know that they can do a great job when (s)he puts their mind to it and at the end can take pride in what they’re doing. If you can inspire this in your student, you will work with an open mind, into which it is a pleasure to contribute with good and useful knowledge and enhance practical abilities.
It’s a constant, daily effort of keeping this balance alive and building self-confidence on both sides at every step. It’s an art!
Thursday July 3 – Transylvania
Our Social Club on Transylvania was a complete surprise to all those present and it will also be one for those of you who get to read this.
Transylvania is a mythical place in Europe, which used to be a stand-alone country until 1918, when it was reunited with Wallachia and Moldova - the other two principalities and together they formed Romania, the country in the centre of Europe as we know it today.
We looked at the legend of Dracula, and the vampires which are known to come from Transylvania. So many books and films were produced from this idea, let alone theme parks, music, drinks and other merchandise. We didn’t go into details, as we looked at a particular part of Transylvania, called Crisana, with one of its main cities – Oradea, which is where I was born. A gasp of surprise followed at this point.
I became British later in life and I left my past behind, due to disagreements both on the personal and on the political front, after the revolution of 1989 - the same year as you had your Tiananmen Square revolt. In fact it was thanks to the Tiananmen event that we could have ours and I was very active during that change in Romania, as you saw from the newspaper cuttings I shared with you during the class.
I went to Spain from England, as an British citizen and I came to China equally British. I touched the subject of belonging to a country at the end of our class, sharing with you my belief that being or coming from a country in particular keeps the level of nationalism high, which is the factor responsible for so many wars and disagreements between countries, even if their peoples [plural is correct here, as ‘people’ here means ‘population’] bear no grudges with each other.
Wars under the umbrella of a flag and ‘brothers in arms’ who serve that particular flag, opposing another flag at the other side of the battle field are the reason for so much suffering, loss of lives, time and energy that I came to question whether this is a good use of our short lifespan.
Instead, we could all work together to develop all the regions of our world and raise our caring for the planet. Although I doubt this will happen during our lifetime (at least mine…), I am using this vision to inspire the young generation in making this world better for us all and for their children in turn. It’s up to us, my friends, to inspire the young in this and to give them the skills, but we can only do this by example.
The same separation into different countries, some more advanced than the others, is also responsible for so much envy, feelings of superiority or inferiority, predatory tactics and submissive cultures and it breeds people with some flaws and weaknesses in their thinking and behaviour. I don’t believe in this separation – I think that, if we look at each person in his/her perfect state, i.e. with no prejudices, no inhibitions based on colour, race and flag allegiance, we shall find that they are pretty similar: we all learn as much as our brain allows during our lifetime, go through the motions of maturing, forming families, raising children and desiring a decent and comfortable life for all our kin. This idea is going to be the subject of my book, when I finally get around writing it eventually.
This is the main reason I told you this before I left Web – because of my book, (so far called ‘Just a Girl from Transylvania’) in which I shall expand the above ideas and give vivid examples of how this vision is achieved in different parts of the world. I didn’t want you to have to find out about this from my book or from each other and then think that I lied to you by keeping this information away from you. You are my friends, after all.
English training schools don’t like to disclose this information, for fear of losing clients. I think the fact that I’ve learned English just like you do makes my case even stronger, showing you how one can actually achieve this level of English, with enough motivation, hard work and determination to reach the end goal and even further. I used this example in another Social Club earlier in the year, when we spoke about the power of will, if you remember. In terms of the quality of my teaching English, I believe this fact makes me a stronger teacher, as I know exactly what you feel/think when it comes to certain obstacles in your learning and I know how you can overcome the hurdle in no time.
This is just the beginning of my story, much more to come in the form of a book which I hope you’ll find inspiring and motivating both for you and for your children in the future. I wish that knowing this will not influence your desire to be my friend in a negative way and I hope you will still want to keep in touch with me from a distance. I look forward to hearing from you.
Saturday July 5 - The Show Must Go On!
This idea came to me a while ago, when I thought that perhaps you will need a bit of help with regard to your fears about the situation at Web when 3 teachers will be gone soon. It is a sad situation, I must admit. I hope you’ll get through it fast and you’ll soon come to normal with your classes and get your feelings high up again.
During this discussion, I showed you how you can actually influence the result you get from a class, even if you think the teacher is bad. You need to remember that the teacher is there as a guide and that you need to know what you want from this teacher. If you know what to ask them and how, you will get the right answer hopefully all the time and this will improve your learning dramatically.
During this week I've heard from Josh about developments in your attempts to negotiate for a better treatment with Web and I wish you all the success in this. Maybe I shall share with you my thoughts and, why not... advice, given the circumstances.
As always, my advice will only be offered and you would choose for yourselves how much of it you wish to accept, leaving the rest behind as irrelevant at the moment. Even with the best advice in the world, when the receiving person is not ready for it, it cannot bring a good result. It's like a flower producing the fruit - it's all about timing.
My heart is with you though and I wish you all the success, ALWAYS!
This is it, my friends!
Taking good-byes is never easy, especially now, having built a good relationship with you at Web. I learnt how everything is temporary in life, so I tend to live and re-live the good times repeatedly in my memories. The book we managed to put together with your thoughts and feelings, wishes and aspirations is going to keep me company for the rest of my life and my friends (old and new) around the world will get to know you as well when I shall share your thoughts with them. I'm very grateful and humble.
Equally, I hope that my thoughts and feelings will accompany you as and when you care to read my e-zines and the articles I shall post here on this website. Please keep reading, keep learning and most of all, keep your spirits up all the time!
The show must go on – do not stop your progress at any cost, my friends. Take example from me – I never stop! If I can, you can!
Have fun in the meanwhile!
Lucia da Vinci
Founder of My English
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