May 09, 2014

Affective and effective leading practices and postures




It is with great pleasure that I am part of the May issue on Leadership of the iTDi blog! 
In my article I share postures and practices that my sister Sosô and I have learned and that have been both affective and effective in our leading of the language school for children we direct in São Paulo, Brazil. Feel free to steal all the ones that you feel might work for you and your school!
Never heard of iTDi? 
iTDi is a global online teacher development institute that is owned and staffed by dedicated teachers. iTDi provides Online courses to improve your classroom teaching or English language skills, written by some of the most respected authors in English language teaching. 
iTDi's mission is to provide quality professional development that is meaningful, accessible and affordable for all teachers. The iTDi community brings together teaching professionals working at every level -- newcomers and veterans, native and non-native teachers from a wide range of contexts, all sharing a common belief that being a teacher means a never-ending commitment to growing and learning.

Make sure you check iTDi's site and check out the offered courses and webinars!  

Send you a big hug, 
Juan




May 02, 2014

Hiring English Teachers for Young Learners


"Time spent on hiring is time well spent."
Robert Half


During my Masters in Education at the University of Toronto I researched about a topic that had made me not sleep well for many nights: teacher turnover. I wondered why teachers would leave my school and I had to start all over again. It seemed that the interviewing, hiring, training, and developing process would never end!  Students lost their teachers, parents were not happy, and it seemed that we were just not going forward.

In my research I read countless articles and I discovered many factors that are conducive to teacher retention and I will discuss them in a series of posts as the theme is just too broad for only one piece of writing. The first area that I am tackling here is teacher selection. One of the reasons why teachers leave language schools is because they were not properly selected according to the best profile that marches the audience, expected competences, and the offered working conditions.

Some of the reasons teachers are usually not properly selected might have to do with the following facts:
we needs them urgently,
we do not invest the proper time to select teachers,
we are not aware of the real competences needed to teach young learners,
we don't know how to measure the competences we need to hire the right people.
or most probably some kind of combination of the reasons above.

The time that is spent knowing the people who you are going to work with makes all the difference in the long run as assertive selection can break the vicious cycle of turnover.




The first thing is knowing what kind of professional you want to hire. Would you prefer somebody experienced or somebody you can educate? A younger or an older person? Native or non-native? Or you might say that these features above do not really matter because you are looking for a teacher with a totally different skill set. But make sure you know what you are looking for right from the start, otherwise anybody will seem to be ok and you will be left to luck.

There are however some aspects that I believe every teacher of young learners should have:

they should be fluent and proficient in the language (at least 100 points at TOEFL)
they should enjoy being with children,
they should enjoy education.

Here I share some of the steps I take while selecting teachers for young learners. Choose the ones that you think that are suitable for the reality you are living.

Once knowing what professional you are looking for, I suggest putting out ads and circulating the word around through social media asking people to send you their resumés. Remember that you are not the only one selecting teachers and that teachers will select you as their employers as well. I created this page (in Portuguese)  explaining how the process works, what we offer, and how the work happens at our school. Giving as much information as you can shows that you are organized and will allow people to make the decision if they think your position matches their profile.

Always make the first contact electronically as you can manage when you will answer them and you can give candidates undivided attention. Avoid scheduling interviews with people you have just received their resumé as this is time consuming and might lead you to select the wrong profile for your school. I usually ask candidates to answer 5 questions and already check availability and other essential aspects that are important. These questions can not evaluate who has the profile but can clearly tell you who does not (English quality, experience, goal, availability) You do not want to interview somebody for 40 minutes to discover that they do not have the availability you are looking for! Believe me, I have done it more than a few times.



After we select the candidates who might have the desired profile, we conduct a 3- hour group dynamics with the objective of really noticing how people interact with each other in an educational environment.  We have developed different cooperative scenarios in which candidates have to solve problems that allow us to observe the quality of initiative, listening, flexibility, and rapport that people show. I also have here a controversial pedagogical case involving young learners and their parents that they have to respond in writing as a way of analyzing their thinking process. After they write what they would do, I collect their pieces and ask them to discuss the issue as a group.


Take into account that usually between 30% and 40% of the people invited to the group dynamics do not come, so I would say it is fine for you to invite between 10 and 12 people to have between 6 and 8 during the session.

I know a school that offers extensive development courses for teachers of young learners and they just invite the very best teachers to be part of their team. You don't need the dynamics as you have already lived with these teachers throughout the course! If you choose to do so, make your courses really affordable in order to attract a big number of teachers.

Before the interview, I usually show the person around the school  as a way of observing how interested the person is in the school materials and method and also as a way of checking how much the person already knows about the school. If one person already starts asking about the salary and does not ask about the method that is probably not a good signal. During the interview I like to check if the prospective teacher has a rich life in cultural and social aspects. Does this person read? Does this person go to museums? How active is this person overall?

Once candidates made it after the interview, make sure you always check their references before letting them join your pre-service program. You do not want to learn that a person appeared drunk  at their last job after you have either trained or hired them.

I suggest having your pre-service program as part of your selection process, as both of you are evaluating each other. At school we give pre-service participants money to cover their transportation and food costs during the period they are in training. In this sense, hiring should be like getting married, you slowly get to know each other before making the final commitment.


During the pre-service educational sessions you can notice:
who is punctual,
who is responsible,
who is flexible,
who is energetic,
who has initiative,
who is creative,
and mainly who gets along with students.


Having a teaching practice as a component of your pre-service course allows you to observe teachers in action with the children.   During feedback you can notice how open and comfortable these teachers are to criticism.

Last but not least, make sure you start with a number that is higher than the people you actually need. You do not want to hire somebody (knowing that this person is not adequate) just because you started the process with the number of people you need. In my experience there is always a participant who gives up or another who does not have the desired profile.

Chances are that after you followed these steps you will have somebody who is close to the profile you are looking for. This actions will certainly reduce the initial turnover that happens when people start working and quit because they notice working with young learners wasn't really what they were expecting or your surprise to learn that some teachers weren't really that interested in teaching after all.

Sorry to say, but this is just the beginning! In the next posts I will address other issues that I discovered in my research and that are important in keeping talents at your school!

I wish you a lot of success in creating your dream team!!!


What about you?
Have you also had difficulties selecting the right teachers?
Did you use any other strategies that worked in your setting?


Send you a big hug!

Juan













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Share it! Thank you!

February 17, 2014

Affective Postures and Practices for Classroom Management with Young Learners















It is with great pleasure that I am part of the February issue on Classroom Management of the iTDi blog! Check my contribution and make sure to read the articles written by my fellow teachers. 
Never heard of iTDi? 
iTDi is a global online teacher development institute that is owned and staffed by dedicated teachers. iTDi provides Online courses to improve your classroom teaching or English language skills, written by some of the most respected authors in English language teaching. 
iTDi's mission is to provide quality professional development that is meaningful, accessible and affordable for all teachers. The iTDi community brings together teaching professionals working at every level -- newcomers and veterans, native and non-native teachers from a wide range of contexts, all sharing a common belief that being a teacher means a never-ending commitment to growing and learning.

Check iTDi's site and check out the offered courses and webinars!  

Send you a big hug, 

Juan








Did you like it? Share it!
Thank you!


February 04, 2014

Young Learners Living Language with Cuisenaire Rods


"Never go to a class without rods."
Saying at Juan Uribe Ensino Afetivo


Emile-Georges Cuisenaire was a Belgian primary teacher, who invented the small wooden blocks that come in different sizes and colours, which are known today as cuisenaire rods. Emile-Georges called them réglettes and used them to help students learn Math in a  concrete way. Egyptian educator Caleb Gattegno named them cuisenaire rods and expanded their use to language learning through his famous Silent Way method.     

Cuisenaire rods are great resources for warm ups, storytelling, grammar, classroom management, and many more! They allow students and teachers to bring their originality and creativity making language very alive and concrete.  Students usually smile as soon as they see them coming out! 

Here below I share 50 different uses for cuisenaire rods with young learners and learners young at heart: 


Classroom management

1. Matching students or preparing a jigsaw: distribute rods and students that have the same color get together. You can them have new groups with one students of every color and these students share what they talked in the first group. 

2. Talking chips: you can also have a colour code in which each question on the board is assigned a color. Example: brown = how are you? , white = where do you live?, blue = what's your favorite sport?. We can also have students come up with the questions they will ask their classmates, as it's better that they do not know the answers to create authentic interest.  Once they ask the question they have to give their peer the rod they have just asked. Rotate students every 3 minutes to make sure they do not ask all their rods to the same person. 

3. Assigning characters: you can assign different characters of a story to different colours. Then each characters will give his ir her version of the story. You can also play scenarios in which characters talk to each other in pairs or small groups. 


Numbers, colours, and letters

4. Playing with numbers: students can either collect rods or make the actual numbers according to the numbers you dictate. You can even put simple math problems  or questions on the board for them to solve and write you the answer with the rods. Example: How many players are there in a soccer team? How many times did Brazil win the world cup? 

5. Creating a secret number code with rods: Using the scale you can pair one to the white rod and ten to the brown rod. Students can then answer questions using the rods as a "secret code". They can write their telephone numbers using this code. 

6. Playing with colours: students get rods according to questions or commands that they go giving each other. Example: What colors are there in the American flag? What colors are there in a kiwi? Make an apple! Make a lollipop! 
7. Guessing colours: students put their hands inside a bag and try to guess the colours of the rods according to their sizes. You can have the rods out for students who are younger and play just with four sizes with the very young learners. 

8. Playing domino with colors: here we play domino in a creative way. For you to add a piece you have to say something that has both colors. For example, black and yellow, you can say a banana, green and red a watermelon. Some combinations are harder: what is black and blue? 

9. Remembering things that start with a letter: students can work together to make with the rods things that start with a certain letter. You can time them during three minutes and then go over all their creations by having them write the words on the board. 

10. Spelling words: here you go spelling the letters of a word in the correct order and students go making the word with the rods. Their objective is to try to finish the word with the rods before you say the last letter. Example: S C H O - School! 

11. Solving the word challenge: you spell the letters of a word in a different order and once students have done all the letters they have to come out with the word. Example: R B D I - Bird! 


Imagination 

12. Kicking soccer penalties: now that the world cup is coming, you can make a goal and have a long rod as the goalkeeper and the student uses the white rod as a ball and one long rod as the kicker. You can also play bowling with rods. 

13. Remembering items in a list: here you can have the traditional chain "I went to the beach and I took a ....." and then the number of items goes growing and students have to remember all of them. Match the colours and length of the rods to the objects. 


14. Playing with pictures: here rods can be used to play with magazine pictures by creating new items that change the pictures. We can have a bowl of water for a dog, put somebody behind bars, make it rain on somebody, or give caps to children. This is great fun! 
15. Showing the refrigerator: students draw refrigerators using an A4 sheet and they use the rods to put what they have inside theirs. Then they can ask others if they have things. Great for practicing some and any with countable and uncountable. 

16. Exchanging treasures: ask them to get three rods to symbolize three precious things they like. You can model by giving examples such as the sun, cold lemonade, a videogame, my bicycle, etc. Then they go around showing what they have and can ask others to exchange things. In the end they report what they have. 

17. Playing domino with things: one rod is set on the table with a meaning, let's say dog for example. You have to use another rod to match a word to dog. House, bone, cat, collar, are some possibilities. Then the next person has to match a word that matches the second one and so on. Remember you have both sides of dog to play! 

18. Creating a city: here students create a perfect city with everything they would like to have. You can go giving them the language they need as long the need arises. You can make questions to guide them into making certain parts by asking questions such as "Where are children going to learn? " if there isn't a school. 


Storytelling

                                                                                                       
The sea, the beach, and trees
20. Recreating a scenario: similar to storytelling you can tell students to reenact scenes or the whole plots such as Alladin, Titanic, Mario Bros, or anything they really enjoyed watching. This is a great opportunity to have them rewrite the story. Here they can also be given a text or a piece of listening to recreate what they have understood. 

21. Creating an animation: nowadays with a telephone it is easy to make an animation by taking lots of pictures and putting these into programs such as flipagram. These animations are great to be shared with other groups and also with their parents. These animation can have characters or can show how to make something. 


Stress, poems, songs, and rhymes

22. Separating words in syllables:  a great exercise in pronunciation is dividing the words in syllables. First you model and show students how words can be divided in syllables and how the rods can be used to represent these. Then students can be given the words in cards and they make the rod combination or the rod combination is given and they have to find the written card with the word. 

23. Showing word stress: rods can be used to show which syllable is stronger in the word. You can have the rods standing and the stronger syllable is taller than the other ones. 

24. Showing sentence stress: similar to the last activity but here we have horizontal rods representing the words. Short rods can be used for pronouns and auxiliaries and longer ones for longer words. The stress can be marked by having two rods of the same color one on top of the other. Play with different meanings with different stress. A good sentence is "I didn't say you ate the cake that was in the refrigerator". 


Incy, wincy spider ...
25. Helping with a rhyme: you can tell a quick story with the characters in the song to help students identify them. Then while singing the song you can move the characters. Can you imagine "Five little monkeys"? What about "Incy wincy spider"?

26. Memorizing a poem: you can present some 5 or 6 key words that are in a poem by assigning each one of them to a rod and playing with them.  Students can them write a short poem with those words. Then you can work the poem's first line by inserting other rods for the other words and students repeat it. Then you do the second line and students repeat the first and then second line as you go pointing to the rods. Go like this until the end of the poem. 

27. Putting words in order while listening: similar to the poem activity, you can match words to rods. Students can create songs with those words. Then you play a song and students put the rods in the order the words appear in the song. Try "What a wonderful world" and have red for roses, blue for the sky, orange for children, and so on. 


Feelings: 

28. Describing feelings: students get a rod or some rods to say how they feel on that day. Students can also make analogies such as "I have a lot of energy from the sun"  when getting the yellow rod or "I am thirsty" when getting the blue rod. 

29. Ranking: students can put a specific topic according to how they like each item. They can put colors in order or days of the week (sunday would be the white one). 

30. Feeling words in a text: students are given a rod of each color and on an A4 sheet with a text they place the rods on top of words that follow a code you can create with them. Example: Red = new word, Blue = word I like , Black = hard word to write, Yellow = easy to remember, and so on. Students then compare their words. 


Vocabulary

31. Reviewing topics: somebody names a topic and each person creates an item with the rods. Items can be created by simply matching the colors to the word or by using many rods to make it the actual item. Students can then either say what they built or guess what others have made. The teacher can also give cards an each student makes what he/she has received. This is good for clothes, fruits, weather, sports, animals, etc. 

32. Naming parts: you can use rods to explain all the different parts involved in a topic. Later young learners have to build one making sure they include all the details. You can use rods for parts of the body, of a car, of a house, etc. 

33. Describing your bedroom/ house: you can model by describing your own house with all the rooms and pieces of furniture. Then you can show your routine by having a rod as you moving in the house. Then they can build their houses and show their routines in pairs or small groups. This is certainly a favorite of mine! 

34. Naming family members: making the family tree helps students understand the relationship among the different family members. You can go building the family tree gradually in many classes, adding three or four members per class. Have them build their own family trees and ask questions about the people in their families. Remember to include the pets! 

What is sticky doing here? 
35. Making stick figures: here we can make questions and students answer by making stick figures. Another possibility is for students to make the stick figures and others have to guess. Example: What do you love to do during weekends? What are you doing after class?

36. Creating needed props: give students a situation and ask them what they need. For instance, we can tell them they are serving dinner for their friends. What do they need? They will need a table, chairs, plates, glasses, food, etc. You can work here with substitution drills such as: I need  3 black rods  to make a table. 
37. Showing a scale: rods can be used to show a scale of something progressing or growing. It can be done easily with days of the week, months, and frequency adverbs. Another possibility is animal in size. We would have animals growing from ant to elephant. One can be even more creative by asking about the progression of a person moving. White = walking, red = riding a bike, green = riding a horse, black = taking a bus, blue = taking a spaceship. 

38. Telling the time: we can have students working on both digital and armed clocks to show different times. I also like to ask students about their favorite time of the day, what time they do certain things, and each students answers by showing their clocks. 

39. Presenting prepositions: you can model putting rods in different places in the room by using different prepositions. Then they can give each other commands where to put rods. 


Scaffolding for speaking

40. Talking about a routine/procedure: you can start by modelling 5 actions, one to every rod, you do every morning and showing their relation by using time markers such as first, then, right after, before, and finally. Once students know the meaning of every rod really well, you can shuffle them and laugh together at the crazy stories with situations as brushing your teeth before you get up! 

Where do you sit? 
41. Talking about your classmates:  I ask students to make the seating arrangement in their classroom at school and show me where they sit. Then I ask them to tell me everything they know about different classmates. This activity is great to practice does questions and to use third person S. 
42. Giving directions: after students make the perfect city you can have students give directions going from one place to another. Or you can give them directions and they have to move their character rod to get there. 

43. Creating mini dialogues: you can give students three or four sentences and they have to put these in order and make a dialogue. For example: not today, fine, bye, and sorry. They can use other rods for the other sentences. 

44. Modelling a small speech: you can model a small speech using one word per rod and students use the same structure to deliver their mini speech. This is great for those small particles that students usually forget. Make it maximum 4 lines. 

45. Stick puzzles: you can use rods to make the traditional logical puzzles in which you have to move some to get to an objective. You can find many of these at matchstick puzzles.


Grammar

46. Making a sentence: the teacher gives two or three words assigning each one of them to a rod and students have to put these in the right order and supply the missing pieces in order to make a sentence. Example: car have red. Students put the three pieces in order and supplies two more to form "I have a red car". 

47. Manipulating  auxiliaries for negatives and questions: you can use the rods to make affirmative sentences that are changed to become negatives and questions. Then you can give every two or three students a set of rods and they create the negative and question for the affirmatives you give them. Inserting auxiliaries and inverting these becomes very concrete with the rods.  

48. Making contractions: you can use the rods to make simple sentences without contractions and then you show how particles get contracted by putting the rods together. You can then dictate sentences and students manipulate these to get the contractions. 

49. Comparing their constructions: students can be back to back and they build something by following directions given by the teacher. When they are done they compare their constructions according to adjectives they come up with. Students can then give each other one instructions at a time. Example: S1: make a table S2: put a candle on top of it S3: there is a cat under the table and so on. 

50. Quantifying and describing: We can get a bunch of rods from a bag and describe what we have using many of them, most of them, none of them, and so on. 


Wow! So many ideas!
Wish you great moments with your students living language with cuisenaire rods! 


What about you? 
Do you use rods with your young learners? 
Do you use them in any different way in your classes? 


Send you a big hug, 

Juan


Did you like it? Share it! 
Thank you? 

January 31, 2014

Certificate in Affective Language Learning (CALL)


  


"People do not care how much you know, 
until they know how much you care."
Theodore Roosevelt


The Affective Language Learning Certificate was created to empower educators with postures and practices that foster caring, supporting, and energizing language learning environments. The course is the result of over 20 years living, studying, discussing, and sharing how positive emotions boost students' self-esteem, confidence, and motivation to learn a foreign language.


The Certificate is offered in two versions: 

The Short Certificate is a two-day course composed of four or six workshops that will allow your staff to experience how affective language learning happens in theory and practice. Workshops in this course usually include affective language learning, holistic language techniques, storytelling, puppeteering, and affective resources. 

The Long Certificate is a four-day course composed of eight or twelve workshops with the objective of going deeper in both theory and practice. This course is for schools that would like to have affective language learning as a strong market differential. The content can be created through a mix and match of different themes according to the needs the school is facing. 



These are the themes that I am currently offering: 

Affective Language Learning: how can language teachers promote learning through the integration of emotion, cognition, and language? In this session we will learn, experience, and discuss how presence, communication, respect, and power sharing can create effective learning environments. Check a post about it. 

Holistic Language Techniques: here we learn how the language teacher can respond to students’ linguistic demands through success-oriented interactions that promote pleasure, spontaneity, and language ownership from the early stages with very young learners to advanced fluency with pre-teens. Check a post about them. 

Affective Classroom Management: which pedagogical practices bring harmony and productivity to the language class? Here we will go deep in pedagogical practices that foster community building, student engagement, and language ownership. Check a post about one technique. 



Play in Affective Language Learning: language learning is playing with ideas, words, and sounds. In a playful environment we will experience how different play types can be incorporated in language learning to promote creativity, freedom, and language ownership. Check a post about play. 



Proactive Discipline Management: discipline management can be seen as a chess game instead of a tug of war when issues are seen through a different paradigm. In this session we will explore how ecological factors, antecedents strategies, and behavioral approaches can prevent a great number of indiscipline problems from happening. Check a post about it. 

Affective Family Involvement: in this session we will explore how different communication channels can build parent awareness and engagement in participating and recognizing their children’s development. Check a post about it. 


Relaxing, Warm ups, and Wrap ups: here we will learn over a 100 hundred short activities that relax, concentrate, and energize young learners in different moments of the class. Check a post about it. Check a post about it. 


 Affective Resources for Language Learning: here we will explore, practice, and create how cards, rods, pictures, games, and jazz chants can be used affectively with young learners. Check a post about it. 



Storytelling and Affective Language Learning: here we will experience, discuss, and practice how  stories can be lived affectively and effectively to promote language learning with young learners. Check a post about it.   

Puppeteering and Affective Language Learning: puppets allow students to use, create, experience language in different realities. The spontaneity, creativity, and pride lived in the process boost student motivation and language learning. In this session we will build your own puppets, practice manipulative techniques, and explore a great number of ways in which puppets can be invited to class. Check a post about it. 




Methodology:  I believe that the more we get to know each other and I get to know the group, the better the dynamics of the certificate will be. In order to get to know your school’s needs I usually send a questionnaire and then have a follow up Skype talk to close content and process details. In order to maximize discussion time, relevant texts and videos are sent together with some questions for participants to come ready to think, discuss, and create new educational possibilities for their setting (flipped learning). Sessions are designed in a way that participants can experience both content and process (loop input) and attention is brought to the different steps that we are living together.



 Check my global calendar to check if I will be anytime soon in your area!  



Meet your Affective Language Learning Educator! 

Juan Uribe is a teacher trainer, storyteller, and puppeteer, who has been involved with affective language learning since 1994. He founded a language school in São Paulo, Brazil, where children learn English affectively through stories, games, projects, and lots of play.

Juan has a Bachelors degree in Pedagogy from the Catholic University in São Paulo, a Masters in Education in Human Development and Applied Psychology from OISE at the University of Toronto, and an MBA from Insper São Paulo. 

Visit my profile to learn more about my trajectory as an Affective Language Learning Educator!

Read testimonials about courses that I have given. 


January 23, 2014

Affective Language Learning Resident Educator


Never heard of Affective Language Learning Resident Educator?

I hadn't either until I had this idea. I got this idea and came up with the concept when I visited the International Storytelling Center in Jonesboro and there they always had resident storytellers who came from far away and stayed for a week. These professionals told stories, gave courses, and brought new knowledge and insights to the center. I thought that then I should try it with language schools around the world!

During the residency (1 or 2 weeks) I can contribute doing the following activities:

Teaching affective language learning classes
Conducting customized teacher development
Observing classes before and after development sessions
Discussing the methodology you use with your young learners
Presenting my storytelling/ puppeteering show to your students and parents
Giving consultancy on affective management and marketing
Helping you doing any other thing I can! 


How does it work?

1. Arranging fee and booking dates.
2. Initial need analysis and activity planning together with the school community.
3. Presentation and agreement on activities and schedule.
4. Arrival at your school.
5. Being with your school community.
6. Continuous evaluation of activities and new needs.
7. Final global evaluation of residency.


Booking me as your Affective Language Learning Resident Educator!

I am currently on a world tour sharing affective language learning and experiencing the richness and diversity of our world. Check my global calendar to see if I am in your geographic area near the date you are interested. Even if I am not, write me and then together we can organize courses in your area and also at schools in your region.



Accommodation

Nothing better than staying with local people to experience the richness of a culture. I am always delighted to be hosted by students, teachers, or friends. I have already had lots of fun staying in the actual classrooms sleeping on a futon! Any room with a bed, a desk, a chair, and wi-fi is just perfect!


Meet your Resident Educator! 

Juan Uribe is a teacher trainer, storyteller, and puppeteer, who has been involved with affective language learning since 1994. He founded a language school in São Paulo, Brazil, where children learn English affectively through stories, games, projects, and lots of play.

Juan has a Bachelors degree in Pedagogy from the Catholic University in São Paulo, a Masters in Education in Human Development and Applied Psychology from OISE at the University of Toronto, and an MBA from Insper São Paulo. 


Visit my profile to learn more about my trajectory as an Affective Language Learning Educator!

January 14, 2014

A lovely day at CNA





It was my great pleasure to be with a joyful group of teachers at CNA Lapa sharing and learning about affective language learning and storytelling on January, 9th.

During the morning session we focused on the concepts and practices involved in affective language learning and how we can be aware of details that make a big difference in how the relationship with the students and with the language is lived. 

We started our day by discussing one of my favourite quotes.


After our discussion we watched a segment of the movie Seven Years in Tibet, in which Heinrich Harrer teaches English to the Dalai Lama. You can watch this segment again here:


Check here the pedagogical postures and practices from this scene. 

We were not able to watch the other affective teaching movie segment I had planned from Mr. Holland's Opus. You can watch it here and check the affective postures.

I mentioned that a common misconception to affective teaching is that the teacher is more of a friend to the student than an actual teacher. In this misconception, children would learn as long as they “like” the teacher, who as a result might be inclined to only teach what the child wants to know or to only do what the child wants to do, resulting in a mixture improvisation and permissiveness. Last but not least, affective teaching doesn’t have to do with kissing, hugging or excessively praising children.

After discussing and being inspired by Brad Pitt the group came up with ways in which affective language learning can be lived in the CNA context. I have organized below these postures and practices: 

The comments in blue are mine.

Listening - certainly the most important one. Listening with the ears, head, and heart. 

Greetings - so simple, but it makes such a difference!
Get connected!
Really listening to what they say and responding accordingly.
Smart communication (Speaking the same language)
Ask your students how they are feeling at that moment and why. You can use picture cards!
Connect with the students and help them understand you and what you are ready to show them.
Have some chatting time in the beginning of classes. 
Make students know each other with the activities. Essential!
I make sure everybody knows each other’s names by the end of the first class.

I play a game called say something surprising about yourself. I start. Great to model first!
Tell your students funny stories about yourself.
Share your life experiences. 
Sharing my experience as an English student to show students we have things in common. Show them the path that worked for you! 

Being on the same level.
When leading in or introducing a new topic I sit.
Teach instead of correcting. That is being generous!
The more you make the environment comfortable, the more students will learn.

I try to be in a good humour.
Setting them free to be themselves in class, but not to free until a mess comes up.
Make them free to be encouraged to speak and do the activities confidently.

Be creative.
Use different  creative resources, media and subjects (cards, globe, pictures, etc) 
Teaching students by doing things, experimenting, exploring
Play games to stimulate their knowledge with the new topic they are going to learn.
Play games to know students better.
Blend  fun with goals, what students want with what they need to learn.

Love your profession.
Give them pleasure.
Love what you do and students will have pleasure to study.

Ask about your students’ expectations.
Pay attention if they are satisfied with the way of teaching.
Show you care about them and their learning.
Helping them to apply the knowledge in the real world.
Knowing their objectives, dreams and difficulties.
In the end of every class ask students if they have enjoyed the class, why they enjoyed it and what could be done differently. Maybe not every class, but every week I would suggest. 

Here below I added some important practices that didn't come up in the answers. 


Be authentic
Make real questions
Respect learners’ silent period
Do interesting things in English
Help them say what they would like 
Promote success-oriented interactions 
Ask students what and how they like to learn
Use language as a real means of communication
Welcome, surprise, compliment, and celebrate

We closed the morning session with the video 100 ways to show your students you care: 




During the afternoon we went on a journey into the fascinating world of storytelling. I started telling a story from the 1001 Arabian nights for the teachers to experience and recall the pleasure of imagining and living the warmth of the atmosphere created while storytelling. The idea here is for us to remember the sacred nature of stories and how this magic should be lived with your language learners, regardless of their age. This is extremely important, as we might be carried over by our linguistic goals and lose this language learning booster called fantasy.

I pointed out that we are all storytellers and we talked about the importance of sharing our own stories and really listening to students' stories as a way of using language as a real means of communication. We moved on to the different benefits children get while storytelling.


After listening to the Big Block of Chocolate by Participants listed techniques that were used. These techniques included the hook and picturing , opening and closing with grace, personalizing and interviewing,  as well as interacting, what are the saying,  what are they thinking, and some different follow up activities.



I would like to offer you here a video with 100 ways to open and close stories with grace:




And then the group studied the big books and figured out the best ways to use each technique with the stories they had chosen. Then storytime! We told stories to each other and practiced the new techniques and gave each other feedback on how we had done. Check the energy and joy in the faces of teachers while storytelling. This is what affective language learning is about! 
















Thank you for the great day!
Thank you Lilian and Helena for having invited me!

How did you like this day?
What have you been thinking after the sessions?

Please do write me sharing how your experience with affective learning and storytelling has changed. I'd love to hear from you! 

Sending you all a big hug,

Juan (@jaluribe)













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