Friday, December 14, 2012

TEFLexperiences: The End of The World....Communicating with our ...


The End of The World....Communicating with our ...
: The End o f Th e World....Communicating with ou r S tu d ents in their World!   People keep asking me how my blog is going....oo...

The End of The World....Communicating with our Students in their World!

People keep asking me how my blog is going....oops!

I seemed to have neglected it somewhat, one of my students asked me why and I replied it seems I have no time to write an amazing and well-informed article.He looked at me and simply said
'Miss.Sharon, a blog is supposed to be about your thoughts and what's on your mind. It's not a book!'
As Panayotis is a wise 17 year old blogger, I decided to take his advice! 
What's on my mind????

I walked into my YL classroom on Monday, with my hands full of Christmas colouring pages and activities......

'Miss. Sharon! No homework today because it is almost the end of the world' 
'That's right! 12/12/12 is the end of the world'
'No Vicky, it's going to end on 21/12/12'
'Do you think it will end, Miss. Sharon ?'
All of this conversation was taking place in L1, they are a class of 8 year olds.

Miss.Sharon was stunned into silence and excused herself. She ran to the office and checked with the boss that she had not misunderstood the children. My fears were confirmed. Apparently, the Greek TV had been going on about this theme for a few days now.

As the economic state of Greece gradually worsens, many people are glued to their TV sets, listening to the next cuts/tax increase/suicide/fuel prices for heating and so it seems, The End of The World is not neglected by the media powers.Fewer parents are working and so these messages are heard in the home on a daily basis. The worrying point is; it's not just the parents who are listening to this doom and gloom.

Back in my classroom, thinking on my feet (as any teacher has to) I returned to a now growing debate amongst the 8 year olds, which had moved onto mentioning God and earthquakes....
I raised my voice and used one of my classroom language techniques to quieten the children down..1..2..3...ZIP! My YLs know this is time to mime zipping our mouths...


Time for divergence- I explained the world could not possibly end on the 12th or the 21st of December because I was flying to England on 23rd and I wanted to see my family and play in the snow.

'London? Will you see Big Ben?'   'It's my birthday on 27th December, so the world can't end for me'
'My birthday is March 10th, so the world can't end for me'
'Red buses?'      'Snow men..I love the snow'
At last, I was able to bring out my Christmas activities and produced a snowman to cut and stick...back to using L2..back to Christmas songs and back to a feeling of security and happiness. Penelope hugged me continually and Sophie blew me kisses...Pandelis whispered in my ear that he was happy the world was not ending as he was waiting for Father Christmas to come. Peace at last!

Later in the day, I decided to bring up the scenario when my teen class arrived and get their opinions.This led to an interesting and informative class debate. I asked for their advice...did I handle the Junior Class in the right way or should we have discussed the matter further? They seemed to think I did the right thing and for once, we left the course book aside and had an open discussion; using their learnt phrases to express opinion,agree,disagree  about homelife in Greece and their worries and concerns for their own futures.

In the evening, I returned home and as this whole "End of the World' issue was bothering me and the effect it was having on such young children, I asked my worldy-wise 15 year old what he thought.
"Mum, you should have just told them it's a great phrase for songs...just like 'all around the world' know that song..'it's the end of the world as we know it'!"
 Good point son! Maybe I 'll use the topic with my advanced students later in the week, along with a few idioms!! 

World of your own    the best of both worlds  

  do somebody the world of good 
set the world on fire       what is the world coming to??????

 So, I am now pondering on the fact that it is the end of the world as I know it when it comes to my teaching practices. Building a good relationship with your students is a cornerstone to classroom management. The learners of today need their teachers time and attention more than ever before.We need to tap into their prior knowledge and schema, as it has been said by many educators "children are not empty vessels". They enter our classrooms with their own ideas, conceptions and a wealth of information. This can not be ignored and needs to be built on by teachers.

Taking the time and energy to build a good relationship with your students will payoff in the end.

Sometimes, we can grab their attention- and sometimes their hearts- with simple questions that are not to be answered in any right or wrong way but just to be pondered and thought about...just as I am writing my blog today!

 For my son and my students: It's the end of the world as we know it but I feel fine!!!