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Messages - Md. Sadequle Islam

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English / Increasing Student Participation 5
« on: April 05, 2018, 01:47:26 PM »
Assess their prior knowledge.
This could be as simple as asking students, “What do you know about (topic)?” and writing their responses on the board. You could also try a pre-test or a graphic organizer like a K-W-L chart. The goal is to find out what they already know (or think they know). You create buy-in for the students because they feel smart, and you can tailor your lesson to the information they don’t know or don’t remember correctly.

English / Increasing Student Participation 4
« on: April 05, 2018, 01:44:04 PM »
Listening and Responding
Use verbal and non-verbal cues to encourage participation. Do not rely on the same volunteers to answer every question. Respond to frequent volunteers in a way that indicates that you appreciate their responses, but want to hear from others as well. Move to a part of the room where quiet students are sitting; smile at and make eye contact with these students to encourage them to speak up. By the same token, when frequent volunteers speak, look around the room rather than only at them to encourage others to respond (see below).

Reduce students’ anxieties by creating an atmosphere in which they feel comfortable “thinking out-loud,” taking intellectual risks, asking questions, and admitting when they do not know something; one of the best ways to do this is to model these behaviors yourself.

Give students time to think before they respond to your questions. Do not be afraid of silence. Give students 5-10 seconds to think and formulate a response. If 10-15 seconds pass without anyone volunteering an answer and the students are giving you puzzled looks, rephrase your question. Do not give in to the temptation to answer your own questions, which will condition students to hesitate before answering to see if you will supply “the answer.” Patience is key; do not be afraid of silence. The longer you wait for students to respond, the more thoughtful and complex those responses are likely to be.

Often, there is at least one student in every class who will quickly raise her or his hand to answer nearly every question. If you consistently call on this student, those who require more time to formulate answers will simply learn to wait for this student to answer. (See Asking Questions to Improve Learning.)

Listen fully to your students’ questions and answers; avoid interrupting. Resist the urge to interrupt when you think you know what the student is going to say or ask. Often, well-meaning and enthusiastic instructors make incorrect assumptions and leave their students’ actual questions unanswered or misrepresent what the students had planned to say.

Provide specific, encouraging, varied responses. Point out what is helpful or interesting about student contributions. Pick up on comments that were made but not discussed. Do not use the same, standard praise to respond to every comment. When students hear “good point” again and again, they start to lose motivation. Ask follow-up questions to prompt students to clarify, refine, and support their ideas. When a student gives an incorrect or ill-conceived answer, respond in way that challenges the student to think more deeply or to reconsider the evidence. The best way to shut down participation, and learning, is to embarrass a student.

Repeat student responses to summarize or clarify ideas. Use this strategy when a student’s comments are vague or “all over the map,” but do not over-use it, leading students to rely on you to “translate” or validate their ideas.

Redirect comments and questions to other students. Encourage students to respond to one another, rather than merely to you. When a student is speaking, look around the room, not just at the student who is speaking; making eye contact with other students lets them know that you expect them to be listening and formulating responses. Provide students with a model of civil discourse by demonstrating respect for, and interest in, the views of others. Learn to limit your own comments. Particularly when facilitating a discussion, hold back from responding to every comment; otherwise, students will learn to wait for you to respond rather than formulating their own responses.

Place the emphasis on student ideas. Encourage students to share their ideas and use those ideas (with attribution) whenever you can. Referring back to a comment made by a student in an earlier class demonstrates that you have thought about and appreciated what your students have to say.

Active student participation does not happen naturally in university courses; it must be carefully planned and encouraged. Set aside time throughout the semester to assess student participation in your course and to develop strategies for improvement; administer midterm student evaluations to help you with this process. Consider asking a colleague to observe your class; often, outside observers can discern patterns that hinder participation but that may not be apparent to participants. Take notes during and after a semester so that you have a record of what went well and what you would like to change the next time you teach the course in order to increase student participation.

English / Increasing Student Participation 3
« on: April 05, 2018, 01:37:36 PM »
In a discussion course, assign to your students some of the responsibility for increasing participation by all. For example, on the first day of class, you might tell students your goals for class participation (e.g., informed and lively discussions in which everyone participates) and ask them to come up with a list of guidelines that will help the class reach this goal. Typically, they will generate excellent guidelines such as “do not interrupt others when they are talking” and “critique the ideas; don’t criticize the person.” Post this list on the course Web site and hand it out in class. Students who feel invested from the beginning in making the discussions successful will be more likely to work together to increase participation.

Consider requiring students to lead discussions or to submit discussion questions before class. Provide guidance and assess student performance on these tasks (assigning a score, for example, that forms a part of the class participation grade.)

In discussion courses in which you are having trouble getting students to participate, consider asking students to submit anonymous comments on class participation as well as suggestions on how to get more people involved; often, they will let you know that there are problems with the classroom dynamics that you may not see yourself (such as that some students resent the “domination” of discussion by one or two others) or that the structure of the discussions has become too predictable or formulaic.

Use a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, discussions, and small-group work. If you are teaching a lecture course, set aside time during each lecture to ask and answer questions, to ask students to solve a problem, or to discuss an issue. Pause every 15-20 minutes for this purpose. When students learn to expect these opportunities for discussion or questioning, they will listen more actively to the lecture. If you lecture for 45 minutes before you pause for questions or discussion, your students will have been taking notes for so long that they may find it difficult to switch modes quickly. Furthermore, they may well have forgotten questions, comments, or unclear concepts from the earlier parts of class (see Teaching with Lectures).

If you are teaching a discussion course, integrate short lectures into the lesson plan in order to introduce concepts, clarify and order ideas, and help students make connections. Use small-group discussions, informal writing assignments, and online discussions before or at the start of class to prompt student thinking about the discussion topic. These strategies can be effective ways to provide reflective learners and shy students a means of developing ideas that they can then contribute to the class discussion. Commenting on the insights that quieter students contribute in small-group discussions and on informal writing assignments and online discussions can encourage them to speak up in the larger group; you might comment on a student’s written work, for example, “this analysis is insightful; the entire class would benefit from hearing your ideas more often” (see Teaching with Discussions).

Organize each class session to include opportunities throughout to ask and answer questions; prepare initial and follow-up questions ahead of time. Use questions to assess student learning, to signal to students which material is the most important, and to help students advance their knowledge and thinking. (For a discussion of strategies for formulating questions, see Asking Questions to Improve Learning). Encourage students to ask questions throughout the class (approximately every 15 minutes), not just at the end.

If grading student participation, plan to give students a preliminary participation grade, as well as a brief written evaluation of their performance. If you will grade class participation, give students preliminary grades as early as 3-4 weeks into the semester and at midterm so that they will know where they stand. Your written evaluation can be designed to encourage the quiet students to talk more often and the verbose students to hold their comments to give others a chance to participate).

English / Increasing Student Participation 2
« on: April 05, 2018, 01:33:16 PM »
Learn and use students’ names. Students will be more engaged if they believe that you perceive them as individuals, rather than as anonymous members of a group. Encourage students to learn one another’s names, as well; this strategy will increase the possibility that they will address one another by name and direct their comments to one another, not just to you.

English / Increasing Student Participation 1
« on: April 05, 2018, 01:33:09 PM »
Reserve a classroom that will accommodate the kind of participation you have in mind. Starting on the first day of class, arrange the room in a way that encourages active engagement. When it is time to reserve a classroom, keep in mind not only the number of student chairs you will need, but also whether these chairs should be moveable. If you lead frequent discussions, consider moving the chairs into a circle or “U” to ensure that students can see, and speak to, one another. If you are teaching in a large lecture hall, consider asking students to move so that they are concentrated near the front of the room. Move the chairs back to their standard configuration at the end of class (in University-managed classrooms, see the diagram posted near the door).

Make clear from the beginning your expectation that students will participate. On the first day of class, explain what you see as valuable about class participation. Indicate that you want to do all you can to ensure that the classroom dynamics and activities support full participation, including calling on students who do not raise their hands and sometimes asking frequent contributors to allow others to have a chance. Ask students to inform you if you can make any changes to improve the classroom dynamics and rates of participation.

On the first day of class, give students a clear idea of what to expect regarding participation. If you plan to lecture each day with pauses for questions and discussion, do so on the first day; if you plan to lead more extended discussions, then do so on the first day (see Tips for Teaching on the First Day of Class).

Consider whether you will assign a grade to students’ performance in discussions so that they understand the importance of participating. If you do plan to grade participation, inform students of the specific criteria that you will use. For example, will you evaluate the frequency and quality of their contributions, as well as how effectively they each respond to others’ comments? Will you include in each participation grade the student’s performance on informal writing, online discussions, minor group projects, or other work? Grading student participation is especially important, and usually essential, in discussion courses (see Teaching with Discussions).

English / Re: Keep Your Class Interesting part 1
« on: April 05, 2018, 01:25:38 PM »

English / Some speaking activities
« on: April 03, 2018, 07:35:21 PM »
This is How We Roll
You can use this simple game as a get to know you at the start of school or later as a get to know you better activity. All you need is one standard die and six questions – either ice breakers or ones that elicit opinions, experience or other personal thoughts. Be creative and choose the ones you’d like to hear your students answer. Give students a list of the questions, and make sure they are numbered on the paper. Then, have students take turns rolling the die. Whatever number they roll, that is the question they must answer. You could do this activity as a class, in smaller groups or as a public speaking activity. For the latter, have students prepare answers to each question as homework and then have them share in front of the class after they roll.

Human Experience Bingo
Your students are probably already familiar with the rules of Bingo. Simply get five numbers in a line on a chart. You can use this as a basis for another get to know you game. Work with your class to compile a list experiences that a person might have had. For example, gone scuba diving, made a birthday cake and eaten sushi would all be good expereinces. Work together on the list until you have about 30-40 different experiences. (You can also compile the list on your own if you prefer.) Then, give students a blank bingo board (a 5x5 chart) and have them write one experience in each of the boxes. On your word, students mingle and talk to each other to find someone with each experience they have chosen. If a student finds someone who, for example, has gone scuba diving, that student signs the square where your student wrote it on his Bingo board. The first person to get five in a row yells, “Bingo!” Another variation is to arrange students speed dating style: two rows of chairs facing each other. Each pair then gets two minutes to talk with each other. When time is up, the students in one row shift one chair to the right. The game is over once someone has gotten five spaces in a row on their bingo board.

Character Trait Roulette
This game works best for students who already know each other fairly well. Work as a group to come up with a list of several character traits a person might have. (Try to stick to positive traits.) You might include adventurous, sympathetic and generous. Then write these traits on small slips of paper and put them in a bag. Each person takes a turn drawing one character trait from the bag in front of the class. The student must then announce who in class (and you are fair game, too) possesses that character trait. Of course, a name isn’t enough. The person must tell a story or give an example of why he made his particular choice.

Story Starter Hot Potato
Put the list of story starters in your writing drawer to double duty with this silly and fast paced game. Students play in small groups of around five members. Students should arrange their seats in a circle. Give your class a story starter at the beginning of the round. Starting with the person whose birthday is closest to today and them moving around the circle, each person gives his group one sentence of the story. After one person is done, the person sitting to his left adds a line where the first person left off. Students continue around the circle, adding one sentence at a time, until the music stops or until you give another signal. Whoever is in the middle of his sentence or is struggling to think of a sentence when the music stops is out. He must leave the circle. Then students play a second round either continuing the story or with a new story starter. When you stop the music, whoever’s turn it is is eliminated. Play continues until the final round when the person not speaking when the music stops is the winner.

Find Your Partner
Prepare a small slip of paper for each student in your class. Each paper should have one word on it that goes with a word on another slip of paper. For example, matching pairs might be fork and spoon, day and night, bat and ball, or table and chairs. Fold the papers and put them into a hat. Each person then draws one slip of paper. On your word, students must circulate and talk to one another trying to find their partner. Once two people think they are a match, they come to you to see if they are right. If they are, they sit down. Play until everyone has found their partner. Then have those partners work together to create a new pair of words that go together. Repeat the game with these student given examples.

Hide and Speak
To prepare for this energetic and fast paced game, write several questions each on one index card or post-it note. These questions can be get to know you questions, comprehension questions or questions using current vocabulary words. Before your students arrive, hide these cards throughout your classroom. At the start of class, break your students into two teams. Explain that you have hidden cards throughout the room. On your word, students will search the room for the cards you have hidden. They can only pick up one card at a time. When a student finds a card, he must bring it to you and answer the question on the card. If he answers it correctly, he earns the card for his team. If he does not answer it correctly, he must get someone else from his team to help him find the answer. Once students have correctly answered the question on their card, they can search for another card. At the end of the game (after a certain amount of time or when all the cards have been found) the team with the most cards in their possession wins.

English / Speaking games!
« on: April 03, 2018, 07:34:04 PM »
1. Who's Telling the Truth?

Have each student write three facts about themselves that nobody in the class knows on a piece of paper. Make sure each student includes his/her name on the top of the paper.  Collect the sheets of paper and bring three students to the front of the room. Read aloud one of the facts that is true for one of the students in the front of the room. The class then proceeds to question the students in an attempt to determine who is telling the truth, and who is lying. Each student is allowed to ask one question to one of the three students. After a round of questioning, the students predict who is telling the truth.
2. Taboo Variations

Variation #1: Create a PowerPoint presentation with each slide containing a noun. Have one student come to the front of the room and sit with his/her back to the PowerPoint. The students in the class should take turns describing the words for the student in the front of the room to guess.

Variation #2: Separate the students into groups of 4/5. Place a pile of cards with random nouns in the center of the group. Have students take turns describing the nouns for their group members to guess. The group member who guesses correctly keeps the card in an attempt to have the most cards at the end of the game.

Variation #3 (Advanced speakers): Separate the class into two teams. Students are given a word to describe to their teammates, in addition to a list of words that they cannot use in their description. Each student should have 2-3 minutes to see how many words his/her teammates can guess.

3. Descriptive Drawing Activity

Pair up the students and give them each a picture face down. They must describe the picture for their partner to draw.

4. Comic Strip Descriptions

Give each student a portion of a comic strip. Without showing their pictures to one another, the students should attempt to describe their image, and put the comic strip into the correct order. After about ten minutes, the students can predict the order, show one another their portion, and see if they were correct!

5. "Secret" Word

Students are given a random topic, and a random word completely unrelated to the topic. The student must hide the word in their speech, without the other students in the class guessing their "secret" word. The other students in the class must listen carefully to the speech, in an attempt to discover the secret word.

6. Debates

Give each student a piece of paper with “agree” written on one side, and “disagree” on the other side. Read aloud a controversial statement, and have each students hold up his/her paper stating whether they agree or disagree. Choose one student from each side to explain his/her position and participate in a short debate.

7. Impromptu Speaking

Split the class into two teams, and use a list of impromptu speaking topics. Have each student choose a number, and respond to the statement without preparation. The student must continue speaking for 45 seconds when the teacher calls out "stop." As the student is speaking, the other team listens for any hesitation, grammatical mistakes or vocabulary mistakes. If the other team can correctly identify an error, they get a point.

8. Desert Island Activity

Give each student a piece of paper and tell him or her to draw an item. Any item. Tell the students that they have been stranded on a desert island, and only half of the class can survive and continue to inhabit the desert island. The student's goal is to convince the class that they should survive. The hard part is that the only thing they have is an item that was drawn a few minutes earlier by a classmate on the piece of paper.

9. Storytelling Activity

 Bring four students to the front of the classroom. Three students should sit down in a row, and one of the students should stand behind them acting as a controller. The controller should have a stack of cards in his hand containing nouns. The controller will hand a noun to one of the three students who will start to tell a story. The student will continue telling the story until the controller decides to hand another noun to another student who will then take over the story.

10. Two Truths, One Lie

Each student should write three facts about themselves on a piece of paper. Two of the facts should be the truth, and one should be a lie. Students read aloud the facts, and give the other students a chance to question them and decide which statement is a lie.

11. True/False Storytelling

Give each student a piece of paper with either the word “true” or “false.” Each student should tell the class a story, and the class must guess whether the story is the truth, or a lie. To add to the activity, you can allow the other students to question the student telling the story.

12. I Have Never…

All students in the class should start holding five fingers in the air (this number can be adjusted depending on how many students are in the class). The student who begins the activity will tell the class one thing that he/she has NEVER done. The students who have done that activity should put a finger down, and tell the class a story about this activity.

English / How to reduce Language Anxiety and Fears
« on: April 03, 2018, 07:04:27 PM »
Suggestions to Reduce Language Anxiety and Fears

The mission for teachers is helping students to diminish language anxiety providing the right tools and avoiding problematic situations for them. Dörnyei formulates the key question: How can we turn the language classroom into an anxiety-free-zone? The answer is obvious: By removing the factors that can lead to anxiety and fear. Therefore: “avoid social comparison, even in its subtle forms, promote cooperation instead of competition, help learners to accept the fact that they will make mistakes as part of the learning process and make tests and assessment completely transparent and involve students in the negotiation of the final mark” (Dörnyei, 2002, p. 92-94).

Since reducing language speaking fears does not only depend on the teachers, let us look at what concerns learners, what learning strategies exist and how they can be classified (O’Malley & Chamot, 1990; Dörnyei, 2002).

Learning Strategies

“These are the specific procedures learners use with individual learning tasks” (Richards & Lockhart 1994, p. 63).

Each student looks for and uses his/her functional method in order to succeed in the proposed tasks. Another definition of learning strategies is “specific actions taken by the learner to make learning easier, faster, more enjoyable, more self-directed, and more transferable to new situations” (Oxford, 1990, p. 9). O’Malley & Chamot state that “strategies begin as declarative knowledge that can become proceduralized with practice and, like complex cognitive skills, proceed through the cognitive, associative, and autonomous stages of learning” (p. 85). Dörnyei aims to illustrate to teachers how to motivate learners in the language classroom through thirty-five specific strategies. Next we include two taxonomies of strategies: Language learning strategies (O’Malley & Chamot, 1990) and motivational strategies (Dörnyei, 2002).

Language Learning Strategies

Based on their descriptive studies, O’Malley & Chamot (1990) outlined two classifications of Language Learning Strategies (LLS). One for the strategies used by Second Language Learners (SLLS) and the other for the strategies used by Foreign Language Learners (FLLS). For our purpose, to identify what strategies our students use to overcome their fears to express orally, we chose the first group: metacognitive, cognitive and social / affective.

In connection to metacognitive strategies, “Metacognition has been used to refer to knowledge about cognition or the regulation of cognition... Examples of metacognitive strategies are directed attention, or consciously directing one’s own attention to the learning task, and self-evaluation...” (O’Malley & Chamot, 1990, p.99). Within this category we have taken four: Functional planning, self-management, self-monitoring and evaluation. Once our students select the topic, they start planning and rehearsing; we made initial agreements about respect and support to assure the conditions that help them learn and do their presentations with permanent monitoring and evaluation.

Cognitive strategies refer to those specific learning activities that would include using operations or steps in learning or problem solving that require analysis, transformation, or synthesis of learning materials. The students carried out actions such as resourcing, deduction, use of visual images, previous auditory representations, note taking, summarizing and translation.

On the other hand, social-affective strategies help learners interact with other people. When students are asked to work with other students most of them enjoy and celebrate since they think the work will be easier and faster working in groups. It is not the same as an individual presentation in public. Working together with one or more peers to solve a problem, pool information, check a learning task, model a language activity or get feedback on oral and written performance constitutes one of the pillars of our study.

Learning English / Immersive Approach
« on: April 03, 2018, 06:36:10 PM »
Immersive Approach
The immersive approach is one of the best ways to learn the language for older students who are able to travel for their education. Someone who wants to learn English doesn’t even need to be enrolled in an English language course to use this method – all they need are the resources involved in travel.

For students wanting to learn British English, a trip to the United Kingdom is recommended. For students wanting to learn American English, a trip to the United States is recommended. If the student wants an academic-heavy approach, there are foreign exchange programs they can enroll in through colleges, or other academic programs that allow prolonged travel.

Again, an academic program is not required for this method. Staying in a new country and learning the language through pure immersion and necessity is one of the best ways to learn it quickly. Students will be surrounded by media in that language, and people who speak that language. It is a great way to break off from the distractions of your native tongue, and learn how to think in the English language as well as speak it.

Who is this best for?

Teachers and students who are able to travel and stay in another country long enough to develop a strong grasp on the English language.

For more tips on teaching the English language, check out this course on how to teach English for academic purposes. Want to take your teaching skills around the world? Check out this course on how to land a job teaching English abroad.

English / Strategies for Motivating Students
« on: April 02, 2018, 07:08:51 PM »

Strategies for Motivating Students
Following are some research-based strategies for motivating students to learn.

Become a role model for student interest. Deliver your presentations with energy and enthusiasm.  As a display of your motivation, your passion motivates your students. Make the course personal, showing why you are interested in the material.
Get to know your students. You will be able to better tailor your instruction to the students’ concerns and backgrounds, and your personal interest in them will inspire their personal loyalty to you. Display a strong interest in students’ learning and a faith in their abilities.
Use examples freely. Many students want to be shown why a concept or technique is useful before they want to study it further. Inform students about how your course prepares students for future opportunities.
Use a variety of student-active teaching activities. These activities directly engage students in the material and give them opportunities to achieve a level of mastery.
Teach by discovery.  Students find as satisfying as reasoning through a problem and discovering the underlying principle on their own.
Cooperative learning activities are particularly effective as they also provide positive social pressure.
Set realistic performance goals and help students achieve them by encouraging them to set their own reasonable goals. Design assignments that are appropriately challenging in view of the experience and aptitude of the class.
Place appropriate emphasis on testing and grading. Tests should be a means of showing what students have mastered, not what they have not. Avoid grading on the curve and give everyone the opportunity to achieve the highest standard and grades.
Be free with praise and constructive in criticism. Negative comments should pertain to particular performances, not the performer. Offer nonjudgmental feedback on students’ work, stress opportunities to improve, look for ways to stimulate advancement, and avoid dividing students into sheep and goats.
Give students as much control over their own education as possible. Let students choose paper and project topics that interest them. Assess them in a variety of ways (tests, papers, projects, presentations, etc.) to give students more control over how they show their understanding to you. Give students options for how these assignments are weighted.

Ken Bain, What the Best College Teachers Do, Harvard University Press, 2004, pages 32-42.
Linda Nilson, Teaching At Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors, 2nd edition, Anker Publishing, 2003, pages 41-44.
Matt DeLong and Dale Winter, Learning to Teaching and Teaching to Learn Mathematics: Resources for Professional Development, Mathematical Association of America, 2002, pages 159-168.

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