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Archive for the ‘Teaching’ Category

Students are very restless.
Teachers are even more restless, but try to hide it.

Students are lazy with their work.
Teachers are also lazy with their work, but maintain a facade.

Students would rather go  outside.
Teachers would rather go outside, too.

And yet, somehow, we are still engage in that supremely human endeavor: learning.  Somehow, we are managing, like pulling great big teeth from shiny, grabby gums, to work ourselves out of the darkness of our ignorance into the light of truth and grace.

Help!

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Update:  If you are a student or teacher, consider this article and the tips at the bottom for combatting spring fever.  Although these tips are somewhat silly, I think they acknowledge the reality of any teacher’s situation.  Also, don’t forget to get out and smell the roses!

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Viernes

Since I’m a Spanish teacher, I thought it would be fitting.

This week in Spanish II we are working on the preterit tense.  We have practiced saying that the preterit tense refers to past actions that are seen as completed.  An example of the preterit:  Yesterday, I woke up, showered, got dressed, ate breakfast, drove to school, and jumped into my homeroom just in time.  All of those verbs are in the preterit tense.

The big pedagogical dilemma that I always face when teaching, well, any concept, is the war between a very grammatical approach and a very popular, new approach called “Communicative Language Teaching.”  CLT focuses on introducing and practicing foreign language concepts in the context of communication and focuses on the four “communicative competencies,” sociolinguistic, discourse, grammatical, and strategic.

Essentially, the grammatical approach is straightforward but not exciting.  CLT can be a bit more fun, but much less clear.  Oh, and apparently the research says CLT is a more effective way to help kids learn a foreign language.

I think it’s possible the answer is a mix of both.  I love digging into real uses of Spanish: writing letters, reading articles, listening to a Spanish song or the radio.  Although difficult, the language really comes alive.  Just this week we perused the Spanish version of the Catholic diocesan newspaper for preterit verbs and I think my students enjoyed it.  But I think they’ve also enjoyed having the very grammatical basics we’ve been working on as an anchor to hold on to.

Not to mention that students are people, not brains a stick.

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I have the back to school butterflies.  I’m going to pretend, for a moment, that I actually have a readership, and ask the question: are you going back to school?  How do you feel about going back?  What are you looking forward to?  What are you not looking forward to?

Also, a quick prayer from St. Thomas Aquinas:

Grant, O Merciful God, that I might ardently desire, prudently examine, truthfully acknowledge, and perfectly accomplish, what is pleasing to thee for the praise and glory of thy name.

Before I go, one link I’d like to pass along to the USCCB’s daily video reflection on each day’s Mass readings.

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