Sunday, 29 January 2012

Project# 366 Week 4

This week my focus has been very much on the weather. I think we have had nearly everything except snow- and that could yet be on the way. In principle, the sea keeps the island warm, so it is not usual to have snow in winter, but it does happen occasionally.

Sunday 22nd  January

Sunday dawned wet and blustery. I didn't have to go anywhere, so I stayed in and made some of my Granny's recipe Lentil soup. We don't often stop for lunch at the weekend, so a pot of soup on the go allows people to eat as and when they want.

Monday 23rd. January
Today the weather was dry and crisp so I wandered down to the bank in town. We are in the process of changing over our money, so there are two design on the go at the moment. The new design has raised a few eyebrows as the Queen is wearing her Crown in the photo. In the old one she was represented in her role as the Duke of Normandy. Have a look for yourself..

The old one                 The new one
In the UK they don't have £1 notes any more, but we accept their coins

Tuesday 24th January
My mother-in-law had a beautiful necklace made from Edinburgh crystal. She decided to have it broken up and remade into three single-string necklaces for her daughter and daughters-in-law. I always look it out at this time of the year as I like to wear it when the ceilidh band does Burns' nights.

Wednesday 25th January

I had planned to work on the garden today, but the weather decided otherwise. We had a hailstorm!. I decided to leave the garden furniture under cover for a bit longer. The cats like to hide under the tarpaulin and attack each other. They will be sorry when the weather is warm enough to remove it, but I can't wait!

Thursday 26th January
What a lovely sunny afternoon. I did some work in the garden and my neighbour was out working on his allotment on a nearby farm. I was surprised, and delighted to be given a box of organic vegetables from him.  
They taste as good as they look. Can you see the old varieties of carrots he grows.  I always surprise my friends when they come to dinner and the carrots are rainbow- coloured. They don't taste any different from the organic orange ones that we are familiar with. 
Friday 27th January

Friday wasn't a very busy day. I wanted to prepare for going back to work on Monday, so I had a quiet morning doing paperwork, and working on my EVO course. In the evening I saw a lovely red sky. I hope that it means good weather for Saturday, but the cows in the nearby field weren't so sure!

Later, as usual, my musician friends and I met up in a local establishment for a beer and some music. This time it was a tiny pub on the North East of the island.
Saturday 28th January
St Catherine's breakwater on the South Eastern tip of the island. From here we can look across to France, which you can just see on the horizon. The big Scottish Society of Jersey Burns' night is tonight, but first I went out to meet my friend who lives in the countryside.The drive out is interesting as I have to drive along the South coast to the East, and then turn North. The island is very different at each point.

This is a Cotil under plastic. At this time of the year the early potatoes, Jersey Royals, are planted, but the risk of frost is not over. As the cotils slope downwards to catch the sunlight, the risk of rain washing the soil away is another worry. If you were flying over the island at the moment you would think it was snow-covered.

Here is a pretty Jersey cow, with long eyelashes.The milk is very rich and high in fat content. They really are beautiful creatures.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Project# 366. Week three

This week was interesting. I spent it out and about, and, although the weather was quite changeable, it was still surprisingly mild for the time of year.

  Sunday 15th January.I always buy my fresh flowers here on a Sunday.This is the honesty box where we pay for the fruit, veg or flowers we take. It sits on the wall by the roadside.You can find these all over the island, where people have produce to sell.

 I love Pussy Willow, so I was pleased to find some to put in the window with my seasonal daffodils.

 Monday 16th January
Today was a stay-at-home kind of day. A couple of students came to the house for lessons and it was great to see the cats at peace, for a change. I'm sure it had a lot to do with the fact that there was a roaring fire in the grate, and it was raining stair-rods outside!
 Tuesday 17th January
I parked next to the fish van by the harbour. As the sea was a bit calmer, I thought that the boats might have been out fishing, and this is the best place to buy fish. The fishmonger there can tell you the name of the boat and even the time the catch was landed!

Wednesday 18th January
I went for a walk along the south coast. This is La Rocque, for obvious reasons.

Thursday 19th January. A friend gave me a lift home and commented on the glass in the front door. It is 165 years old and the original  for the house. I felt ashamed because, although it is beautiful, I take it for granted -  as they say 'familiarity breeds contempt'. I will make a point of enjoying it from now on.

Friday  20th January.

This the image of a wolf I used to make my first Glogster (see my previous post). This was in response to task from the EVO moderators, week 2. It was fun, and I was grateful to my PLN for tips on how to do it.

Saturday 21st January.
 St Helier Yacht Club invited my dance band to play for their annual Burns' Night celebrations. It was, as always, great fun, and started the run of Burns nights which we will be doing this week, culminating in the BIG one- the Jersey Scottish Society- next weekend.

My first Glog

This is my first glogster. On the EVO workshop week 2 for Tutoring using WEb 2.0 tools, we were tasked with making one to show the animal which most represented our behaviour in online forums. The list came from patterns of online participation established by Gilly Salmon (2002). 
Which one are you? 
Do you recognise your own behaviour here?

    1. The wolf Visits once a week, lots of activity, then disappears again until next week, or even the week after!
    2. The elephant Steady – visits most days for a short time.
    3. The squirrel Always catching up: completes two weeks in one session then disappears again for some time.
    4. The mouse Visits once a week, reads and contributes little.
    5. The mole Inclined to post disembodied comments in a random way.
    6. The rabbit Lives online, prolific message writer, responds very rapidly.
    7. The stag Tendency to dominate discussion at certain times.
    8. The magpie Steals ideas without acknowledging.

    Thursday, 19 January 2012

    ELTchat Summary Your experience using needs analysis with adult learners in EFL:

           Your experience using needs analysis with adult learners in EFL:
    The ifs, whys and hows.
    Let’s start with the IFs and Hows? 
    I asked how many of us used some form of Needs Analysis with our adult students and received a variety of answers.
    @Shaunwilden used them in-company but not in-school in the last place he worked.
    @barbsaka does NA with conversation classes too, which she believes helps with the illusion of control.
    @PatrickAndrews thought that teacher observation of needs was more useful than surveys.
    @rliberni assesses the needs, and wants, of her students pre-arrival, sometimes by Skype.
    @sueannan: My school asks for NA from the 1-2-1 students pre-course and does
    in-class negotiations for the others. It is better to negotiate the syllabus with a class as they all
    seem to want something different!
    @DebCapras sends out her NA by email to give her students time to prepare.
    @Marisa_C suggested that there were more informal techniques than questionnaires and
    @michaelgriffin proposed getting to know you type activities as a way of collecting NA info
    in an informal way.
    @barbsaka: I try to give students what they really need in the context of what they think
    they need/want
    @SaeedMobarak believed that a NA wasn’t necessary as his students trust him to deliver what
    they need. This wasn’t agreeable to everyone as some thought that this was a perfect opportunity to use a NA. He said that he gave the adult students a choice of what they wanted to learn too,
    but not so formally.
    @Marisa_C made the point that it appeared that NA were used in ESP more than in school/ university classes.

    Is there room for student input in an auth way? eg grading, projects, collaborative

    or group work?
    @jankenb2 would replace discourse analysis by using what Evan calls simulation,
    and challenge them with case-based learning scenarios, depending on level of students.
    Now let’s look at the WHYs:
    Do we work within a set framework, or use it to create the syllabus?
    @Shaunwilden asked whether we should do a survey to find out what people’s needs are.
    @rliberni uses them to identify where a student is, and to create a programme
    to get them to where they want to be.
    It was also decided that a NA will aid the syllabus design, although this threw up a
    whole range of questions about whether Syllabus Design was taught to teachers these days.
    More of this later..

    @esolcourses: IMO, it's important to focus on learner needs rather than course/org

    requirements - otherwise, there is little (if any) point to doing them.
    @jankenb2 made a good point re different types of NA--formal ( to help get Ss to meet standards) and informal ( to help direct the class) When it comes to NA how much tacit knowledge of teaching is needed ?

    What are the Difficulties?

    @rliberni: I tend to assess the needs (and wants) of my students remotely before they arrive
    so I can be ready - can be risky though
    @theteacherjames: I had some trouble with negotiated syllabus. "You're the teacher,
    tell us what to do!" I had to explain, "sorry, not my style!”
    @PatrickAndrews: people are not always linguistically aware of their needs.

    @barbsaka agreed, and said that her students loved to be asked about their needs
    but their perception didn’t match the reality. I think most of us had experienced this
    scenario at some time. She mentioned that her older kids were more aware, in many cases,
    than the adults. @michaelgriffin recommended a need for training the learners to recognise
    their needs.
    @esolcourses suggested that even when students do have an idea the school/teacher is
    not always placed to offer what they require.
    @rliberni agreed that doing a NA during the first lesson gave the teacher no time to prepare,
    and also takes time away from lessons. Many tests are made to test the grammar and
    vocabulary and it isn’t always easy to test the writing.

    @evanfrendo reminded us that needs are very different to wants. However, not all

    private students are able to differentiate, although they will enter wholeheartedly into a programme
    that has been tailored for them.
    There was also the question of Who pays the piper? This can be at the root of many problems.
    What if the employer perceives the needs wrongly, or sets unrealistic targets?
    A discussion started about what to do when the employer insisted on a syllabus before the
    teacher meets the students.

    @esolcourses categorically refuses to do so, and explains her reasoning to the company.

    @evanfrendo suggested making it as vague as possible, if a provisional plan would not be
    acceptable. This would allow adaptation on meeting the students or at least could give an
    example of what would be delivered.
    @esolcourses thought that it was a waste of the teacher’s time.

    @rliberni had a problem where the needs of the student and the employer were at odds.

    @evanfrendo reminded us that there were many stakeholders to consider,
    including the teacher. He suggested that the sponsors might observe a class so that everyone could agree on the priorities.

    @theteacherjames thought he would look for a middle way and concentrate
    on the student, while ticking some of the employer’s boxes.
    It all boiled down to compromise!
     What should a Needs Analysis contain?
    @Marisa_C: should learning preferences go in a NA questionnaire? This was seen as
    very useful, as was a way of finding out what they can, and can’t already do.@jankenb2, a new participant, said that the construction of a good Analysis requires knowledge of qualitative and quantative measures, Bloom’s taxonomy or similar, the students’ environments and required standards. Producing the right kind of questions is paramount.

    @  @michaelgriffin thought of a needs analysis as a menu of things for students
     to choose, select or rank for later work.  @DebCapras reminded us to check the students’ access
    to technology and their comfort level with it as well as their language needs. She suggested that it might be possible to customise an off-the-shelf- company-driven course by using a good NA.
    @rliberni suggested that a NA was a great way to take a snap shot of the starting point.
    @DebCapras: Design a flexible syllabus and revisit NA regularly - make sure you're on track.
    Regular feedback - not just at end
    @jankenb2 :the right sort of questions are important as the NA will lead to an instructional framework.

         What do you do with the results?
          Personally, I design a syllabus and then take it back to the student for modification or agreement.
          This provides you with a working contract.  I also think that you must revisit the NA later in
          the course to see if needs have changed-as Marisa called it ‘stocktaking’! 
          This safeguards the teacher from problems and  any changes can be negotiated with the student. 
           It seems that it is not unusual for students to change their priorities in the middle of a lengthy
           course – it was suggested that this could be caused by: promotion, a new job, a new boss,
           changedexpectations or insight! @Shaunwilden pointed out that this was a problem for
           inexperienced teachers to recognise. We came back to the problem mentioned before:
           What skills do our newly- qualified or still-in-training teachers have access to?
           @Marisa_C asked whether all teachers had test and syllabus design skills.   @esolcourses agreed
           that it would be wrong to make assumptions as it was not always focussed on in training.
           @evanfrendo suggested that few teachers have studied discourse analysis and would find it 
           difficult to analyse future language needs.
           @theteacherjames taught himself and puts it to use, designing as and when he needs to.
           Marisa offered to provide examples of syllabus designs done by her Delta Candidates, providing
            they were happy to do so as it is now covered in DELTA and DIP level syllabi.

    A final point from @theteacherjames:
    Whatever the result of a Needs Analysis is, we shouldn't underestimate
    the effect of simply asking the students what they want.
    It's all too rare.

    Syllabus Design and NA)       recommended reading by michaelgriffin

    michaelegriffin comfort survey
    ( this could be used as a self-assessment tool at the end of a course too)

    This book has an excellent chapter on needs analysis

    Evanfrendo’s blog NA tools
    critical needs analysis           

    Alex case on NA                    
    R.West article                                                      
    Needs Analysis for BE                    
    Thanks to @leoselivan


    C (2009) Jonassen on how post secondary education should structure
    lessons in argumentation. With thanks to @jankenb2

    Saturday, 14 January 2012

    Project 366 Week 2

    Well, here we are again. It's been a busy, social sort of week, and here are some photos to illustrate it.

    Sunday 8th. Time to sit down and fill in the diary with work and social commitments.

     Monday 9th.St Aubin's Fort at low tide. This is on my way to work. The water seems a long way out because we have one of the largest tidal ranges in the world.

    Tuesday 10th .. Parking my car at night, on the top floor of the supermarket, is not my favourite thing to do.

    Wednesday 11th. Popped in on a friend for a coffee and found this little old sweetie tucked up in his basket. He is a Jack Russell/ Staffordshire Terrier cross and will be 13 years old this week.

    Thursday 12th. Down to the farm shop for my dairy shopping. Jersey cows are really beautiful, with long, long eyelashes. They produce incredibly rich milk.

    Friday 13th. Stopped to enjoy one of the water features in our new town park. It was planned as the Millenium Park, although it took them nearly 11 years to agree to spend the money!

     Saturday 14th. Wassailing!. This is an occasion when the local Morris men go round the island dancing, singing and toasting the local apple orchards to frighten away the bad spirits and bring prosperity to the farmers. Toast for the branches, and cider for the roots

     My days, and nights, have been quite varied this week. I have been teaching from home, interviewing for my next TT course and taking part in  EVO sessions.  I wonder what  next week will bring.

    Saturday, 7 January 2012

    366 Project Week 1

    Project 366

    Following an idea from Carol Goodey, some of my PLN decided to create a pictorial record of their year- one picture per day.
    Here are mine for the first week.
     January 2nd The last meal for friends before everyone returns to work
    January 3rd This is my messy office. I was registering for the EVO sessions.
    January 4th Cairistiona having a break before packing to go back to University in London
    January 5th time to introduce the spring flowers and take down the tree and decorations.

    January 6th Friday in Les Fontaines

    January 7th recycling the paper and bottles from the festive period!

    Thursday, 5 January 2012

    ELTchat New Year's Resolutions

    Time for Resolutions – and that is just what #ELTchat was thinking about in our second discussion of the New Year. We were joined by quite a few of our fantastic world-wide members, and some new contributors, who were very welcome. Everyone found the evening super- whoop-motivational (@vickyloras).
     I think this quote summed it up well: @shaznosel: what I love is the fact that we have dreams in a period when most people have no hope – to the future generations!
    The discussion followed three distinct threads: self-development, professional development and the development of colleagues.
    I started off by resolving to get more of my colleagues and trainees involved. I will be happy to report back my success, but ideas will also be gratefully received. Interestingly, Marisa finished on a similar point. @cioccas and @Yohimar would both like to work on mentoring other teachers.
    @janetbianchini and @vickyloras wanted to attend webinars and present at a few. This was echoed by @esolcourses, who added that she would also like to do more conferences face to face.  @ Marisa_C is addicted to meeting us in the flesh and would like to do it more often. Many people expressed their eagerness for going to IATEFL Glasgow and being able to catch up with their PLN. @evab2001 will be presenting at IATEFL for the first time, and would like to aim for an online presentation this year too. Janet is also thinking about moderating an EVO session next year.
    @Wiktor_K and @leoselivan are also doing presentations and looking forward to meeting up.
    @USCTeacher was interested in which platform to use and Marisa suggested Blackboard illuminate or WiziQ, mentioning that the former was more expensive. He said that they wanted to create better/free internet resources for teachers everywhere. They have recently launched @teachdotcom
    @Marisa_C told us that she was moderating sessions for EVO in Second Life. This sparked the discovery that others were also preparing to do various EVO sessions for CPD.
    @cioccas, @Yohimar and @pjgallantry chose training and studying as their resolutions. All of them were full of enthusiasm for all they wanted to do this year. This was an overriding theme- enthusiasm! Everyone was willing the others to do well with their resolutions. @Yohimar is planning to complete a CELTA course, while @cioccas has a Master of Online Ed to finish. @pjgallantry plans to finish his Dip. and publish his research. Good luck to all of you.
    @janetbianchini resolved to spend less time online or at least to avoid being “content-fried”. @divyabrochier thought that a 3-day social media detox each month would suffice.
    @mattledding popped his head in briefly- he was celebrating the birth of new baby Gabriela, to tell us about his resolution: action research of habits – see if theories of pronunciation as a superhabit is valid. I think that one needs some clarification. Matt?
    Blogging was mentioned too….
    @vickyloras and @mscro1 resolved to blog as much, if not more than 2011 and to read and comment more. @mscro1 wants to have the time and confidence, although she has plenty of ideas, and Marisa suggested that it comes from doing, and not thinking too much about it. @evab2001 and @sueannan would like to try to update their blogs more often. @janetbianchini has the good goal of keeping her blog going, as she enjoys the writing. @Yohimar would like to start blogging about teaching. @Marisa_C would like to find time to write more, especially on her discourse blog. @cioccas said that she spent too much time thinking and not commenting on others’ posts.
    @evab2001 also wants to read more books, not just blog posts. This struck a chord with @voigto who would like to use more literature in class and find time to read inspirational books. He would also like to contact authors for Q/A sessions. This was applauded by @Write_To_Learn.
    @Marisa_C would like to finish the book she is writing for kiddies, and @janetbianchini would also like to write an e-book/digital story such as her last one.
    And then there was MOODLE…
    @Marisa_C wants to work on her moodle skills, especially how to build one.@vickyloras agreed, as she is taking part in a course this year. @sueannan would like to put together a programme for online tutoring and discovered that @Marisa_C was working on her blended delta. @shaunwilden will be approached for moodle expert help and we would all like a future ELTchat on the subject. @evab2001 would like to learn about moodle too. @KeramidaM is interested in working on e-learning platforms.
    @shaznosel learned how to use moodle as a student and @leoselivan offered his help to any of us who needed it.
    In the Classroom…
    @sueannan would like to make her lessons more learner-centred, as would @mkofab.
    @dreadnought001 hopes to listen to students more and turn off the IWB for at least 5mins per lesson.
    @KeramidaM wants to have time for more creative activities. @mscro1 is going to teach her son to make comics online.
    @evab2001 wants to find ways to motivate her young students.
    Things to improve:
    @esolcourses             Time management, this was seen as a useful resolution!
    @Yohimar                   new methods for research skills
    @mkofab                     teacher talking time
    @Marisa_C                 saying NO sometimes
    and @cioccas
    @Marisa_C                 sleeping less but feeling more restedJ. Not sure if this is possible!
    @evab2001                 more ME time
    @esolcourses             to manage work/life balance better
    @divyabrochier           not talking the minute everyone is in the room
    and @eannegrenoble
    @voigto                       teaching methods: modelling, bilingual techniques, TBL
    Learning a Language
    This one was interesting. @AnneSinclair1 and @hartle thought it was great to be in the learner’s shoes. @Marisa_C started by saying that she would like to learn a language, although she was picky about the teacher. @AnneSinclair1 and Marisa had had similar experiences of trying to tell the teacher how to do their job. One solution was to do it on Second Life, where there are some interesting teachers. @Marisa_C also wants to do some more teaching and training in 2nd life this year.
    @cioccas thought that this would be a good way to ease into learning about 2nd Life.
    @vickyloras is going to improve her German and brush up her French, as is @evab2001.
    @mscro1 would really like to refresh her German too. @MarianSteiner plans to continue his French lessons, while spying on his teacher’s methods. LOL
    @Marisa_C asked for volunteers to teach her German. She also offered to teach one hour per week of Modern Greek in 2nd life. She also tried to co-opt @vickyloras into doing the same, which seemed to meet with a positive answer.
    @cioccas decided that Vietnamese would be more useful.   @Wiktor_K is going to learn Welsh.  @designerlessons is planning to improve his Spanish

    @hartle particularly liked @pjgallantry’s wish to win the lottery – good luck with that one!

    On a final note @Marisa_C wants to shake some teachers out of their complacency and lack of professionalism. @designerlessons and @vickyloras agreed that teachers need to be learning and developing all the time so they can stay effective and engaging. @janetbianchini would love to introduce blog writing to the teachers she teaches. @sueannan and @Marisa_C thought they might be able to introduce the idea on their respective TT courses as a reflective tool.
    @cioccas: Anyone want to come to Australia in July? languages/Germansteps  a 12-week online programme to learn German.
    Marisa’s 2009 resolutions
    @tonygurr: So, you want to be an ELT Teacher Trainer
    @Wiktor_K:for writing regularly
    Motivating young learners with video
    @USCTeacher: check out these 3 words
    We agreed to look back in six/ twelve months to see where we are at – will we still be, as Marisa says: @Marisa_C  you all know how I feel about it – if you think about it we’re just a small island of loonies in an ocean of indifference.
    Or will we have managed to get our colleagues on board. The jury is still out on that for now………..