Reading Response- Disrupting Thinking (Part 1)

Student apathy.

This problem, identified as the biggest problem teachers face in the classroom, is the motivation behind the book Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters.

The Goal: Get students excited about learning by helping students connect to their reading in a personal way, not for the sake of a multiple choice test.

In part 1, Beers and Probst define the readers they believe teachers want to develop. The readers are:

  1. Tomorrow’s Leaders
  2. The Responsive Reader
  3. The Responsible Reader
  4. The Compassionate Reader

As this post is a “Reading Response,” I will be responding to selected questions that appear at the end of each chapter.

I’d also like to encourage you to read the book along with me and respond to the selected questions in the comment sections.

Continue reading “Reading Response- Disrupting Thinking (Part 1)”

Does Positive Reinforcement Work?

Jody Stallings, a middle school teacher and contributor to the Moultrie News, recently wrote an article titled “Teacher to Parent – Positive reinforcement doesn’t work in the long run” in which he responded to the following question from a third-grade parent:

My third grade son recently came home in tears saying he didn’t want to go to school anymore because he was punished for talking during silent reading. The teacher kept him in from recess. I think this is horrible. It isn’t a teacher’s job to destroy a child’s love for school. Instead of constant punishment for every little infraction, what about using positive reinforcement?

Continue reading “Does Positive Reinforcement Work?”

Presenting Vocabulary to EFL Students

Vocabulary size is a key predictor of language ability, so as language teachers it is important that we teach it right!

While there is no one way to “teach it right,” I would like to present to you how I present vocabulary to my EFL students. This is the first day of usually a 4-5 day vocabulary teaching sequence. Continue reading “Presenting Vocabulary to EFL Students”

Lingro- The Coolest Dictionary Known to Hombre

Have you ever noticed how much time it takes to look up a word from a website you are reading?

Depending on your method, you need to open up a new page, copy or type the word into the dictionary, and then go back to the original site to reexamine the context.

Super timesink!

Now imagine that same scenario when reading in a second language?

Most of us might give up depending on how many words we don’t know.

But what if there were a faster way…

That’s where Lingro.com comes in. Continue reading “Lingro- The Coolest Dictionary Known to Hombre”

Research Spotlight- The effectiveness of drama as an instructional approach for the development of second language fluency, comprehensibility, and accentedness

It is that time of year at my school- English performance.

Walking around the building, you will definitely hear the grumbles of teachers lamenting why we engage in such a “time-wasting” and stressful activity.

“C’mon! We aren’t drama teachers!”

While one cannot dispute the stressful nature of a yearly performance in front of parents, colleagues, and administrators, research by Galante and Thomson (2017) challenges the notion that our drama performance is a time-waster and also raises questions about our roles as (English) teachers. Continue reading “Research Spotlight- The effectiveness of drama as an instructional approach for the development of second language fluency, comprehensibility, and accentedness”

Extempore- The Speaking App I Have Been Waiting For

For the last few years, I have collected all homework assignments on online through sites such as Edmodo and Google Classroom.

While these sites make collecting and grading homework easy for me, and my students and parents love the convenience, there was always one type of assignment I couldn’t figure out how to do easily- speaking assignments.

Even in 2017, I have anxiety about whether my students will be able to record an mp3, save it, and then upload it. I worry their computer won’t have a microphone or they can’t figure out how to use an app on their phone.

Perhaps these fears are unfounded, but they are a result of the shock I had when I first started taking students online. Sure, they know how to play video games on the computer, but that’s about where it stops.

I had always wished Edmodo or Google Classroom could implement a recording mechanism within their apps so I could collect speaking samples easily from my students.

That day has yet to come (or I am uninformed). But recently, I came across an app that solves my problem. The app is called Extempore. Continue reading “Extempore- The Speaking App I Have Been Waiting For”

Research Spotlight- Ways to promote the classroom participation of international students by understanding the silence of Japanese university students

Anyone who has taught EFL in an Asian classroom has likely experienced moments of dead silence in the room.

You ask a question and…nothing.

While the common assumption is that silence is a culture issue, many researchers have presented arguments that factors other than culture are the stronger influence.

One such study that questions the relationship of culture and silence is Ways to Promote the Classroom Participation of International Students by Understanding the Silence of Japanese University Students by By Soonhyang Kim, University of North Florida, (USA); Burcu Ates, Sam Houston State University, (USA); Yurimi Grigsby, Concordia University Chicago, (USA); Stefani Kraker, Queens College, City University of New York, (USA); Timothy A. Micek, Ohio Dominican University, (USA). Continue reading “Research Spotlight- Ways to promote the classroom participation of international students by understanding the silence of Japanese university students”