ELT Algeria Articles

Teacher's Constraints

In our last workshop on ‘Bloom’s Taxonomy and Testing’, I wanted to focus on critical thinking, comprehension questions, and types of activities we usually give our students in their formal exams.

In each step of the workshop presentation, a point related to teachers’ constraints is raised. Some of the constraints, according to some teachers, are related to students’ limitations, low level of proficiency and lack of motivation to learning. ‘Students are perceived to have numerous problems along with limited abilities, motivation, and/or future prospects’. (Climates of Constraints/restraints on teachers and teaching by Catherine Cornbleth). They think that ‘students are to be offered ‘basics’ and drills, but are not considered ‘ready’ for more meaningful learning and critical thinking’.

Then, throughout the many teachers’ constraints reported during the workshop, I came up with the idea that the crucial constraint is the curriculum coverage. In other words, because the curriculum coverage is the main objective of the Ministry of Education, there is a need for accountability to do it and provide evidence of outcomes. There is even a mandated yearly planning telling teaching what to teach and when to teach without caring of the students’ ability and motivation, and without caring of the teachers’ lack of training, time and material. This pushes teachers to move from one unit to another in ways that compromise real learning. Consequently,  students do not acquire the target competencies we are expecting in the exit profile. A teacher clearly said that there is  a need for freedom in teaching instead of ‘emphasizing on formal learning and teacher-directed activities with already defined intentions’. This idea is also reported in the article: ‘Climates of Constraints/Restraints of Teachers and Teaching’ by Catherine Cornbelth when she quoted Jack Nelson and Anna Ochoa from ‘Freedom to Teach is Freedom to Learn’, “The challenge that …while assuring that individual rights of parents, teachers and students to their own beliefs and practices are not abrogated”(1987, p426).

Administrators, teachers, parents and students are obsessed by the curriculum coverage to feel ready for the formal exam. Behind the curriculum coverage, principals want to generate good test scores, both for students and the school’s ranking in locally and nationally. The pressure put upon teachers from the whole society to cover the curriculum and get good scores make them live in a climate of frustration and hindrance since their performance is associated with students’ levels of attainment. Catherine Cornbelth reported in her article, “Students, teachers, administrators, schools and districts may come to be judged as more or less meritorious or desirable depending on their ranking in local, state, or national comparisons”. How can they think of teaching critical thinking skills in a climate of curriculum coverage associated with good test scores constraints? Michele D. Crockett said in the book ‘Reflective Teaching and Social Conditions of Schooling’, “…instead of teaching them critical thinking skills that provide a foundation from which to further their intellectual discovery and enhance their cognitive ability for the rest of their life.”

I would end saying, learning should not be compromised to get through the entire curriculum for the purpose to get students ready for the official exam. More freedom is to be given to teachers to adjust their teaching to the students’ learning style, abilities and interests. Teachers’ initiatives are to be encouraged to teach critical thinking skills that 21st century students are to be equipped with. Stakeholders and decision makers in education are to change if they want to see the change we are all seeking…

                                                                                       Mustapha Louznadji

                                                                                                      May 2015

Please, send your comment to eltalgeria@ymail.com

______________________________________________________________________

 

Mezough

Dear Sir,
Thank you so much for such an amazing article that enhances critical thinking and at the same time makes me feel relieved for my future teaching.

__________________________

Saha

Dear sir 

After having read this article I could understand clearly that we all need to be  critical thinkers first , then try to tansmit it to our students. honestly I have tried tried to be so and even I have started to show my students how important critical thinking is in life in general. I am following some tutorial on that every day           

__________________________

Lalibi souheir : 
Thank you so much for your amazing article . indeed , we should really th ink about us ing critical thinking in our teach ing. Thanks so much Mr. Louznadji 

 

Souad: 
That’s an excellent call! Yes, we have to care more 21st skills and filling our students’ mind with content sometimes they don’t need at all. I do agree with you Sir. I often feel rediculous with some lessons we have to teach, but… 

__________________________

Said Sayoud
I see eye to eye with you Mustapha. I guess that teachers should be given more freedom in implementing the different syllabi under the guidance of their supervisors who in turn should also take into account the specifities of the group of teachers they are collaborating with and the cognitive abilities and backgrounds of their learners. Actually, the different curricula should not be designed in a top-bottom manner. The suggestions would better come from teachers and practioneers so that any educational project would have more efficiency and sudsequently this would reach much more success. This remains of course just a modest point of view.

__________________________

Amina
Classic! I like your idea of raising awareness, but teachers have to do efforts if they want to change things. Let’s raise teachers’ awareness first before stakeholders.

__________________________

H I BADSI
At last,I feel that I have a feedback for the critics and suggestions I have already made during the different seminars we had.Teaching a foreign language should not stuck to a syllabus designed by an official board,but in fact it concerns the pupils’needs,ie to respond to real life motivations. 

Anonymous
They never take our opinions into consideration when implementing the syllabus;it’s high time teachers took part in decisions concerning the pupil’s needs; which have a connection with real situations in order to form a good generation ready to face new challenges 

__________________________

Mohammed
Easy said than done Mr Louznadji. Do you really think that this is the panacea to all our educational problems in teaching a language? This is just the tip of the iceberg. Yes, that might be one point, but we still need to do much more than that as the problem is multi-dimentional and cannot be solved in just proposing to give more freedom to the teachers and the students . What about our students’ low level which you mentioned in your article and which is at the origin of our woes and sorrows? What can we do to face such a situation? Do we have to carry on telling our vicious lie(s) to each other pretending that everything is plain sailing? What about students’ mad keenness on deserting classrooms massively at the end of each term? I personally think that we had better first make an analysis of our students’ needs and problems as well as of those of our teachers’, then we may try to think of some appropriate, and relevant proposals which we may put forward for execution.

__________________________

 Mustapha Louznadji

        It is high time  we updated the syllabus to meet the needs of learners. It is high time      we stopped treating students as “if they were variants of the same individual”. It is   high  time we stoppped teaching our differentiated classrooms the same lesson in the      same way at the same pace!

     I believe that the unitary lesson for ALL is odd today. Training teachers to     “maximize students’ learning by improving the match between a student’s        individual needs and the syllabus” is fundamental to keep students learning    till the end of the year. It also raises teacher’s awareness and responsibility      to get the best from ALL their students.

    So, to me, the best agent for syllabus differentiation is the practitioner, and   teachers are able to differentiate the content, the process and the product.     Let’s believe in teachers’ abilities, and they will make the difference!

     __________________________

 Phil Silvester CBE -UK

    Mere compliance is, in my view, the teacher’s and policy-maker’s enemy.  It is seductively easy to seek      massive curriculum coverage with formal exams which provide a narrow source of outcome data.  What is  the real purpose of   these lessons?  Shouldn’t we be teaching thinking skills, problem-solving     and     encouraging the learner to be independent?

In our last workshop on ‘Bloom’s Taxonomy and Testing’, I wanted to focus on critical thinking, comprehension questions, and types of activities we usually give our students in their formal exams.

In each step of the workshop presentation, a point related to teachers’ constraints is raised. Some of the constraints, according to some teachers, are related to students’ limitations, low level of proficiency and lack of motivation to learning. ‘Students are perceived to have numerous problems along with limited abilities, motivation, and/or future prospects’. (Climates of Constraints/restraints on teachers and teaching by Catherine Cornbleth). They think that ‘students are to be offered ‘basics’ and drills, but are not considered ‘ready’ for more meaningful learning and critical thinking’.

Then, throughout the many teachers’ constraints reported during the workshop, I came up with the idea that the crucial constraint is the curriculum coverage. In other words, because the curriculum coverage is the main objective of the Ministry of Education, there is a need for accountability to do it and provide evidence of outcomes. There is even a mandated yearly planning telling teaching what to teach and when to teach without caring of the students’ ability and motivation, and without caring of the teachers’ lack of training, time and material. This pushes teachers to move from one unit to another in ways that compromise real learning, as a result, students do not acquire the target competencies we are expecting in the exit profile. A teacher clearly said that there a need for freedom in teaching instead of ‘emphasizing on formal learning and teacher-directed activities with already defined intentions’. This idea is also reported in the article: ‘Climates of Constraints/Restraints of Teachers and Teaching’ by Catherine Cornbelth when she quoted Jack Nelson and Anna Ochoa from ‘Freedom to Teach is Freedom to Learn’, “The challenge that …while assuring that individual rights of parents, teachers and students to their own beliefs and practices are not abrogated”(1987, p426).

Administrators, teachers, parents and students are obsessed by the curriculum coverage to feel ready for the formal exam. Behind the curriculum coverage, principals want to generate good test scores, both for students and the school’s ranking in locally and nationally. The pressure put upon teachers from the whole society to cover the curriculum and get good scores make them live in a climate of frustration and hindrance since their performance is associated with students’ levels of attainment. Catherine Cornbelth reported in her article, “Students, teachers, administrators, schools and districts may come to be judged as more or less meritorious or desirable depending on their ranking in local, state, or national comparisons”. How can they think of teaching critical thinking skills in a climate of curriculum coverage associated with good test scores constraints? Michele D. Crockett said in the book ‘Reflective Teaching and Social Conditions of Schooling’, “…instead of teaching them critical thinking skills that provide a foundation from which to further their intellectual discovery and enhance their cognitive ability for the rest of their life.”

I would end saying, learning should not be compromised to get through the entire curriculum for the purpose to get students ready for the official exam. More freedom is to be given to teachers to adjust their teaching to the students’ learning style, abilities and interests. Teachers’ initiatives are to be encouraged to teach critical thinking skills that 21st century students are to be equipped with. Stakeholders and decision makers in education are to change if they want to see the change we are all seeking…

                                                                                       Mustapha Louznadji

                                                                                                      May 2015

Please, send your comment to eltalgeria@ymail.com

______________________________________________________________________

 

Mezough

Dear Sir,
Thank you so much for such an amazing article that enhances critical thinking and at the same time makes me feel relieved for my future teaching.

__________________________

Saha

Dear sir 

After having read this article I could understand clearly that we all need to be  critical thinkers first , then try to tansmit it to our students. honestly I have tried tried to be so and even I have started to show my students how important critical thinking is in life in general. I am following some tutorial on that every day           

__________________________

Lalibi souheir : 
Thank you so much for your amazing article . indeed , we should really th ink about us ing critical thinking in our teach ing. Thanks so much Mr. Louznadji 


Souad: 
That’s an excellent call! Yes, we have to care more 21st skills and filling our students’ mind with content sometimes they don’t need at all. I do agree with you Sir. I often feel rediculous with some lessons we have to teach, but… 

__________________________

Said Sayoud
I see eye to eye with you Mustapha. I guess that teachers should be given more freedom in implementing the different syllabi under the guidance of their supervisors who in turn should also take into account the specifities of the group of teachers they are collaborating with and the cognitive abilities and backgrounds of their learners. Actually, the different curricula should not be designed in a top-bottom manner. The suggestions would better come from teachers and practioneers so that any educational project would have more efficiency and sudsequently this would reach much more success. This remains of course just a modest point of view.

__________________________

Amina
Classic! I like your idea of raising awareness, but teachers have to do efforts if they want to change things. Let’s raise teachers’ awareness first before stakeholders.

__________________________

H I BADSI
At last,I feel that I have a feedback for the critics and suggestions I have already made during the different seminars we had.Teaching a foreign language should not stuck to a syllabus designed by an official board,but in fact it concerns the pupils’needs,ie to respond to real life motivations. 

Anonymous
They never take our opinions into consideration when implementing the syllabus;it’s high time teachers took part in decisions concerning the pupil’s needs; which have a connection with real situations in order to form a good generation ready to face new challenges 

__________________________

Mohammed
Easy said than done Mr Louznadji. Do you really think that this is the panacea to all our educational problems in teaching a language? This is just the tip of the iceberg. Yes, that might be one point, but we still need to do much more than that as the problem is multi-dimentional and cannot be solved in just proposing to give more freedom to the teachers and the students . What about our students’ low level which you mentioned in your article and which is at the origin of our woes and sorrows? What can we do to face such a situation? Do we have to carry on telling our vicious lie(s) to each other pretending that everything is plain sailing? What about students’ mad keenness on deserting classrooms massively at the end of each term? I personally think that we had better first make an analysis of our students’ needs and problems as well as of those of our teachers’, then we may try to think of some appropriate, and relevant proposals which we may put forward for execution.

__________________________

 Mustapha Louznadji

        It is high time  we updated the syllabus to meet the needs of learners. It is high time      we stopped treating students as “if they were variants of the same individual”. It is   high  time we stoppped teaching our differentiated classrooms the same lesson in the      same way at the same pace!

     I believe that the unitary lesson for ALL is odd today. Training teachers to     “maximize students’ learning by improving the match between a student’s        individual needs and the syllabus” is fundamental to keep students learning    till the end of the year. It also raises teacher’s awareness and responsibility      to get the best from ALL their students.

    So, to me, the best agent for syllabus differentiation is the practitioner, and   teachers are able to differentiate the content, the process and the product.     Let’s believe in teachers’ abilities, and they will make the difference!

     __________________________

 Phil Silvester CBE -UK

    Mere compliance is, in my view, the teacher’s and policy-maker’s enemy.  It is seductively easy to seek      massive curriculum coverage with formal exams which provide a narrow source of outcome data.  What is  the real purpose of   these lessons?  Shouldn’t we be teaching thinking skills, problem-solving     and     encouraging the learner to be independent?

 

 
 

 Criticak Thinking and Technology

 

Our middle and high schools are equipped with 1-2 computer labs. In each computer lab, there are 16-20 computers which are used by students once a week to study word-processing, excel, power point etc… . So, technology is just a specific subject matter and not an integral part of all subjects to enhance learning.

Teachers, on the other hand, overwhelmed by covering the teaching material, testing and grading students may not see the importance of integrating technology in the classroom. They may also work in a school where the headteacher neither understands nor encourages the use of technology (when it is available).

As a supervisor, I always encourage teachers to ‘just try it’ approach with the idea of teaching the curriculum not technology provided they had enough expertise with the software, hardware as well as comfort and confidence with technology.

Recently, I have attended a project-based learning activity where a teacher of English encouraged her students to bring their own laptops since the school’s computers are either outdated, infected or simply out of use. She 

  1. a) ‘celebrated’ technology (laptops) students brought and used them as learning tools

  2. b) showed the learning possibilities and turned their usual distractions  into learning opportunities that will reach far outside the classroom

  3. c) helped them help themselves by giving them responsibility to learn from each other through collaboration as the activity emphasizes collaboration and sharing resources. It also focuses on readingthe PBL collected data critically, listening to each other critically and reasoning dialogically.

I was impressed by the teacher’s approach; she managed to have the whole class involved during their free time and unlocked their motivation and engagement. Technology, for her, is the golden key to their intrinsic motivation, ‘ People develop intrinsic interest that guides their quest for knowledge…‘ (Critical Thing and Technology by Ken Bain) 

 

I felt satisfaction when I saw both teacher and students working in a relaxing atmosphere using technology for learning. The affective focus was not only on  developing intellectual humility and suspending judgment but also on developing intellectual good faith and integrity. The cognitve focus, on the other hand, was clearly on making interdisciplinary connections (as the students’ projects refer to history, geography, cooking…),  

Then, within the activity, the teacher delegated ‘computer training’ to two students. In other words, knowing their varying technical skills, she simply shifted some responsibilities to these two students, for example, they showed their classmates how to look for pictures in the Net, how to download videos from youtube, how to insert pictures/ videos in a PPT, how to trim a video … To my surprise, students understood and managed to apply the instructions given to them in a very short span of time.

At the end of the session where both teacher and students made good use of technology, they planned another session to review and assess their work, to redesign it and be ready for the presentation in front of an audience composed of students, teachers, administrators and parents. I promised to be there.

The different constraints of technology pushed these committed teacher and students to go further, working during their free time with their own laptops to ensure real learning with the use of technology including phones and tablets.’ Technology helps us foster the accomplishment of the highest learning objective we have in our students: the ability to think critically and creatively, to reason, to use our disciplinary  approaches to information, to learn and to want to learn independently of any informal instruction, and to work collaboratively in solving important problems.’ (Critical Thinking and Technology by Ken Bain)

 

Mustapha Louznadji

Former Inspector of National Education

Educational Consultant & Freelancer

& ELT@lgeria Webfounder

Bringing Out The Best in Teachers

According to the study done by Joseph Blase and Peggy Kirby, teachers generally do not welcome the visit of the inspectors in their classrooms. They also do not seem to like the ‘You should…’, ‘You should not…’ in the post-observation class. What they like to see in their inspectors, particularly, is the ‘behavior that motivates them to do a better job, to reflect on their practices and to become involved in their continuing professional development (CPD).

As I read the book ‘Bringing Out the Best in Teachers’, I felt concerned and I started thinking critically: “Am I doing my job properly?”  “Am I supporting teachers in their professional practices?”  “Am I praising them for their efforts?”  “Am I meeting their expectations?” “Am I positive enough to make them feel comfortable?” “Am I …?”

The book ‘Bringing Out the Best in Teachers’ which is intended initially for principals has got numerous guidelines, but I limit myself to some and continue reflecting on the teachers’ viewpoints:

-“Effective inspectors provide teachers with several acceptable alternatives rather than force them to comply with the preferred method.”

-Effective inspectors assume that all teachers have room for professional growth. They share their own expertise with teachers and provide them with opportunities to learn from one another.

-Effective inspectors help teachers to reflect on their practices in order to evaluate the efficacy of changing their method.

-Effective inspectors acknowledge and encourage teachers’ efforts and provide assistance when needed.

Among other aspects of inspectors’ effectiveness described in the book is their personality: the focus, in the teachers’ point of view, is on honesty, optimism and consideration. These three personal traits and characteristics in addition to moral presence, attention to teachers’ needs, competence and being forward-looking are most admired in inspectors. Honest inspectors, for example, confront teachers’ weaknesses and acknowledge their strengths. Their optimism, on the other hand, increases teachers’ self-esteem, security and motivation. Optimism is seen as a significant factor to inspectors’ effectiveness. Considerate inspectors are particularly appreciated for their non-discrimination as they show concern for all teachers. Understanding, flexibility as well as respect are other characteristics that teachers appreciate in inspectors. Many teachers reveal that they become more considerate in their dealings with students because they have a caring and respectful inspector.

Finally, inspectors’ modeling is recognized to be of a great value by most teachers. Appropriate dress, way of speaking and giving feedback, punctuality, organization, effective training and planning, positive attitude, praising teachers and extra efforts influence teachers in their practices and bring out the best on them.

Hopefully, the book is a relief!

As a conclusion, I would like to summarize the book with this quote: “ My inspector is my role-model; s/he inspires me in and outside the classroom.”

Louznadji

September 2015 

Reference:

Bringing Out the Best in Teachers by Joseph Blase and Peggy Kirby (1st edition 1992)

Share your comments via our e-mail

eltalgeria@ymail.com 

Bloom’s Taxonomy Based-Testing

Active, enthusiastic and innovative as usual three teacher trainers of English from Oran , Mrs Khettou  , Ms Serradj  and Mr Saha under the supervision of Mr Djellouli, Inspector of National Education (Oran west) with the collaboration of Mr Louznadji (Oran east) have shown again their high level of competency in organizing a new seminar for us. Indeed, we were nearly 70 teachers from different schools of the Oran state, to attend this Tuesday, March 4, 2015 in Hamou Boutlelis High school.  The workshop was on ‘Designing Tests and Exams Based on  Bloom’s Taxonomy’.

       The workshop started at 8:30 and right from the beginning the mood was established. An introduction to the theme and its objectives was made by Mr Djellouli who started by quoting from John Dewey (1859-1952): “Education shifts from teacher‘s centered to learner’s centered education”. He insisted on the fact that exams had to be as carefully and conscientiously planned as lessons. He stated forth the basis of Bloom’s taxonomy and the workshop officially began. Mr Saha then launched the debate on the definition of “testing” and “assessment” while Mrs Khettou dealt with the cognitive domain of Bloom’s taxonomy. The six levels of this taxonomy were explained in detail. After a short break, Ms Serradj and her colleagues led us to the analysis of our present way of testing based on the official guideline.  She enlightened the mastery vs developmental tasks proposed by teachers while Mrs Khettou summarized for us learning according to Bloom’s theory as being the center towards which three ideas of equal importance converged, namely: assessment, content and objectives. 

            After lunch, various tasks were suggested by our spokesmen and spokeswomen to enrich the existing examiner’s guide. An exhaustive list of activities was given to complete the existing one. Some of them very innovative were welcomed enthusiastically by the audience as a means of improvement for future tests.    

All day long, the teacher-trainers have succeeded in keeping the audience “in haleine” by providing us with an infinite number of information on testing. By exchanging their respective experiences, the teachers present at the seminar   contributed to make of this meeting a real success, pedagogically speaking. We learnt a lot, we also got nearer to Bloom’s theory and improved our knowledge as far as Bloom’s taxonomy (or taxonomies should I say, since it has been revised) is concerned.

           Finally, we have to congratulate and to thank warmly our colleagues and Inspectors for the great work they’ve achieved giving off much of their time to fulfill this interesting workshop.

Last but not least, we are invited to share our future exam papers with our colleagues, teachers and inspectors.

Mrs Malika Allab

Hamou Boutlelis High school

March 2015

Please send your comments to eltalgeria@ymail.com

______________________________

Mrs Hedad:

For sure our colleagues devoted too much time and efforts to prepare this seminare simply because it was a successful work which was able to attract all the teachers’ attention.

Thanks a lot for bringing newness and refreshing our minds. Congratulationsfor the good work. 

______________________________

Mr.Djellouli:
Thank you so much Mrs.Allab for this comforting feedback.It gives us more energy and a deep breath to do better in future workshops.The team members found it vital to work on this topic at least to raise our colleagues’ consciousness that testing is simply another form of teaching that deserves attention and care.i.e.thorough preparation,deep practice,a keen evaluation and planned remedial work.Mr.Saha well stated that some teachers never went beyond correcting tests on WB and giving grades.The next day :”Students ! open your CBs,new page.Write the date.New unit..”They do so as if nothing happened the previous day.On the whole testing as a form of assessment,should be fair.It shouldn’t be offensive and hateful to test takers.It should be a friendly test and not a “do it or die test.”Teachers shouldnot consider testing as a form of punishment or revenge but as a reward for both the testers and the testees.

______________________________

Bachir Farah:
Congratulations teachers and inspectors

______________________________

Leila:
Congratulations teachers and inspectors, you’re really showing to newly appointed colleagues, that in education, there’s always something new to apply in order to help our learners, why should we retire after 25 years work, that’s too early and it’s through experience that we can improve and share our methods, good luck

______________________________

Amara:
I was a teacher in Algeria and actually I am teaching English in primary schools in Montréal and what I learnt here is that evaluation should be formative and not sommative .It should not make the students in failure .It’s the role of the teacher to adapt and make extra sessions to help them.Leave freedom to the teacher ,he is the one who can decide on the way he can give a test to his student

______________________________

Mrs Sahraoui:
Thank you, Mr Djellouli ,thank you the great team. I really appreciated your presentation. Evidently,behind it , a huge work had been done. It was interesting , inspiring
and motivating. Thank you again.

______________________________

Mr.Louznadji:
Outstading presentation! I highly appreciate the research done by the team to make the workshop relevant, applicable and feasible. May we have a follow up workshop on Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy and Dr. Paul’s framework next year. Congratulations to the team (inspector and teachers) on their intellectual perseverance, autonomy and integrity.

My Identity, Your Identity

Since we resumed school in September, I have engaged my students of second year foreign languages stream in a classroom project. The latter  is related to the teaching unit of ‘Diversity’ that fits the iEARN project “ My Identity, Your Identity” in collaboration with my colleagues and their students from around the world including the USA, Romania, Oman, Taiwan, Cameroon,  Indonesia, Mexico, Senegal, Pakistan, Iran, Tunisia, Yemen and Belarus.

During the whole 1st term, I was impressed by my students’ motivation and engagement. Each group chose a topic including: Historical monuments, Celebrations, Traditional food, traditional clothes and the various music of our beloved country.

 I was very happy to see my students so interested in using technology to complete their projects. During a project workshop that I organized in a library, all groups had their laptops and learned with me how to prepare a power point presentation. As they already had their photos, texts and videos, I was very pleased to see them building their projects both outside and inside the classroom.

The class was divided into 5 groups to work on different topics as follows:

  • Group 1: Historical monuments: 

  • Group 2:  Celebrations: 

  • Group 3: Traditional Food

  • Group 4: Traditional Clothes

  • Group 5: Music

During the realization phase, students demonstrated great technological, collaboration, and critical thinking skills as they kept improving the content of their project and their presentation till they achieved their project. They always showed great recognition of their classmates’ works and they were proud of what they learned and realized.

This project also helped students to deepen their understanding of their own culture, they were so excited and proud of their work that they requested me to invite their teachers of the other subjects.

The project presentation took place on Tuesday the 20 of January, indeed the work started early in the morning by 6 am at each student’s home, as the girls woke up to prepare the meals they had decided to present and then they came to school at 9 am though they did not have class, but they prefered to bring their costumes and organize the presentation room. By 10 they had French Class, and left back home at 11 to cook the meals they had prepared in the morning.

What impressed me was to see that the girls did not rely on their mothers to finish the work in the kitchen, but they did it and brought the meals hot at 1 pm. This is one of the benefits of PBL: Responsibility.

 At the end of the presentation students were very happy and satisfied especially after the feedback given by their teacher of French whom they invited, and who was impressed by the students’ivolvement in bringing the Algerian culture to the English class through the variety of food they cooked, their wonderful costumes and way of presenting their projects. 

After working hard with my students in class at our high school, I was proud to act as a country coordinator of iEARN@lgeria and offer them certificates of the completion of their project. 

After the project prsentation students wrote their feedback and here are samples:

 

 Marwa Serrari,

As I was new to the whole school I was  scared to start the project with my classmates.

But through time I became more confident as I met great friends who are as follows:

Zakia Kehli: I call her our leader, she really deserves this nickname because she worked hader than us all.

Amel Kechemir: she is the kindest girl I ever met, she welcomed us in her house and she is really a helpful person.

I also met Khadidja Haddadi: well, this girl I can only describe her in one word “shy”.

So we were a successful group who worked hard. Actually I faced a problem which is: I forgot some words of my speech, but the most important thing that I liked about the project is ” Teamwork” 

 

Zakia Kehli:

To be  honest with you, at the beginning of the project I was not sure in which group I wanted to be, so I joined the music group but I made up my mind and I joined the celebration group, In that group, I worked with three classmates: Amel, Marwa and Khadidja. We became best friends. When we started working, each one of us chose a topic and started working on it. 

Every two weeks, we met in a project workshop in order to share and put our work together. At the end we went to Amel’s home and took photos wearing traditional clothes. 

In all that, I loved working with my partners, that was probably the best thing that I enjoyed. We also learnt new things about our beloved country Algeria.

The presentation day was really stressful but at the same time exciting, we went to school at 9:00 am in order to decorate the place where we were going to present. And in the afternoon, we went back to school for the presentation.

The groups presented one after another, and all of us did a great job. 

 

Amel kechemir:

Our project taught me a lot about friendship, perseverance and most of all to never give up when the situation worsens and that we can enjoy ourselves while working together. I have also gained more knowledge about the topic I chose.

I did not face many problems except when a member left the group because she had changed the school.

I also felt stressed while presenting the project because I felt I would forget my text and miss everything, but I realized that I was not the only one to have that feeling.

What I liked the most about our project was the funny moments I spent with my team members and on the presentation day too, seeing pupils confident while presenting cheered me up.

Honestly, I would change nothing in my project, because Marwa, Zakia and Khadidja did a great job especially Zakia who led everything. 

 

 Khadidja Heddadi,

We worked seriously during this project, we had fun while working side by side.Thanks to the project, I learned to work in group and understand my friends. This will be a nice memory of my 2nd year at high school. 

 

iEARN@lgeria Project Story 

Reported by Miss.Kheira Mezough

From Hammou Boutlelis High School.

January 2015. 

Lesson Planning – The Art of Organization

Lesson planning can be an art form, if done properly. For too many teachers, lesson planning can be the black hole of a week – taking several hours out of planning time. Or leaving no planning time, so the lessons, teacher editions, materials, etc. are toted home to be done in front of Thursday night primetime television. For seasoned teachers, the lessons may not take as long, but they are stale. These lessons need some serious updating. For all teachers, new and veteran, I encourage a plan of action to envision interesting lessons that benefit the students, but are not time consumers to create.

Make sure to start each plan with the same lesson plan template. Many free templates can be found online. Purchasing a lesson plan book is also an option. Or creating your own template in a word processing program could also be done. Whichever way you decide, make sure to stick to that template each and every time to create a few shortcuts each week.
After deciding upon the template, make sure you have all the necessary teacher editions, materials, and resources in one spot to create the plans. If you are constantly moving from location to location to pick up and return materials and books, you are wasting valuable work time.

When you are ready to begin planning, use a master calendar to input any major events or changes to the schedule for that week, such as student birthday celebrations or assemblies. Next, add in the specials schedule. After that, place all weekly recurring events into your plans. This could be lunch (everyday), silent reading time, weekly assessments, daily read alouds, morning work, etcetera. Now, when you look at your plans, you should have only chunks to fill in. Immediately, you have created only pieces in which to fill in, and you have only been working for ten minutes!

Finally, the last step in your planning is to quickly review materials, websites, resources, and old lessons from each chapter or section of the subject area you will be covering that week. From there, you should have a pretty good idea of how to cover the material. You may need to review your basal and look for new ideas that have not been tried yet. Or, you may look for a new interactive whiteboard lesson that is already created for the concept you will be teaching. Attempt to position in at least one new idea from previous years’ lessons for a little variety for yourself and for the students. Each subject area should only take 10 minutes or so to create if you are quickly staying on task, and not getting bogged down in scouring every website on the internet. In total, your plans should take no longer than 30-45 minutes to complete. If you are spending more time than that, you are not using time effectively, or are not keeping good files of materials previously used. If the lessons are taking considerably less time, maybe they need to be a little more creative or interactive. You want to be excited to teach them!

Lesson planning should not be a chore that is dreaded each week, but rather an exciting opportunity to create lessons that involve students. It should instill a love for learning and teaching for all involved. Have fun and get planning!

By:Charity Preston

Charity L. Weber is an author, teacher, parent, trainer, student, and manager. Most importantly, in all of the previously mentioned: she is an educator. The ability to teach someone something new is a gift that few truly appreciate. ARE YOU INTERESTED IN SUBSCRIBING TO A FREE CLASSROOM ORGANIZATIONAL E-ZINE AND RECEIVE A FREE BONUS GIFT? You can visit her at http://web.mac.com/charitypreston

Teachers Mold The Future

When planning to start a career as a teacher it is important that one look deep inside herself. She becomes attuned with the good, the bad, and the ugly. She learns the positive as well as the negative parts of her personality as well as the potential impact they will have on students.

One should accurately access herself. Is she capable of working with young people?

There are some universal points that every teacher should fulfill.

Dress Code – Whether you are teaching young people or older students, you should dress appropriately. You should have sophisticated and appealing attire which will depict the soberness and softness of your personality.

Don’t behave like you are on the cat walk at a fashion show in New York City. Children are watching you. It’s important to present the positive aspects of your personality. When dressing appropriately, children will like and respect you.

Vernacular – When teaching pre-juniors, make certain you are using appropriate words. Pronunciation should be clear and accurate. Speak clearly. Children will understand quickly, and you will not need to reiterate instructions.

Vocabulary – From an early age, children need to enhance their vocabulary which will help build stronger sentences. When students have a clear understanding of the distinction between easy and difficult words, this knowledge will empower them to produce compelling essays during the course of their education. Language problems shouldn’t exist in your class. Mastery of vocabulary will engage your students’ minds.

Communicate -Consider how to talk with children. When dealing with older students, avoid addressing a student punitively. Strict punishment is not the solution to make children comply. A soft and polite conversation will typically deliver important teachings to the children. When working with pre-juniors, strive to deal equitably with all students. Do not show favoritism.

It’s important to have the support of a friend and confidant with whom you can share your fears, feelings, hopes and dreams. Finding a friend who is a teacher is critical to your development as a teacher. When you have a friend in the same field, belonging to the same community, you can grow and develop as a teacher.

If you are having difficulty finding this friend http://www.RentAFriend.com can help. Through this source, you can find that friend who will show you the ropes and provide valuable feedback.

RentAfriend.com is an online Friendship matchmaking service that allows people to hire the services of friends. Our online database of friends consists of all races, ages, genders, interests and more. Free zip code search available to locate local friends. http://www.rentafriend.com

by Faizan Tahir