Monday, November 29, 2010

importance of teaching materials :)




Last week on friday, we had lesson with Hanna Thomsen from Teachers Resource Center Roskilde. Firstly, she introduced herself and gave us a warm up activity. She gave a topic which can catch the interest of children and wanted us to make up stories about this topic in pair. After, we told our stories, she mentioned some memories of her about topics. After this warm meeting and getting to know process was over, she showed some books and gave information for each book like in which level can be used and their contents and what kind of books they are ( task based or topic based, etc.). After her presentation about books, she wanted us to prepare a presentation with a pair about a book. we picked up a book and prepared a presentation with the help of guideline that she delivered to us. Me and uğur picked up a book called "A Year of Fun " and ı really enjoyed while searching the book. The book includes some special days belonging to American, British and Irish society. ı think the book is one useful and helpful for teaches as its aim is to teach English in a cultural context. moreover, there are some useful vocabularies with Danish equivalents under the pages which means teaching vocabulary in a context. Also, we made a compare and contrast of teaching materials in Turkey and we realized that we dont have such kinds of books teaching English in a cultural context. So, me and uğur will order this book this week and ı am looking forward to get my teaching material. Before presentations, we also played some games and ı really enjoyed with this lesson. As a result, it was a very useful lesson in terms of teaching materials and having a knowledge of these materials. ı understood importance of teaching materials very well in this lesson.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

it is snowing in Denmark :)




For a couple of days, we were very excited to see snow, and we took pleasure of snow by walking around and throwing snowballs to each other. But now ı am not sure we will really enjoy with snow and when Danes saw us enjoying with snow, their reaction is " you really like snow". We like snow as it is not snowing in our sunny and warm hometown. But ı am not sure we will really like snow in hard winter conditions :) Everywhere is getting white and grounds are getting frozen and if you are not careful, you can fall on icy roads. :) ı saw that people have difficult times in winter time because of snow. for example, everyday people who own a car try to de-ice their cars and also try to remove snow piled in front of their doors. Besides these, ı am said that our puddle got frozen because of snow. Maybe ı should tell the story from the beginning.  Before snow we had a lot rain and  because of heavy rain, we had a puddle on the ground of green area in front of our house. The weird thing is that seagulls and ducks rushed into this puddle and some friends said that we had a house overviewing a lake. However, now our puddle ( sorry lake) is frozen and we are waiting for penguins and polar bears. :) :) :) 
in front of our lake :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Classrom Obsevation...

Today, I want to talk about my classroom observation in Copenhagen. Firstly, it was a really different experience for us as we haven’t been in a class to observe in Turkey yet. So, this first class observation is both a sweet memory and an experience for me that I learned something.
            As for the classes, I say classes because we attended two different classes with the same grade and the students in general were really active and willing to participate in the lessons. To some extent, it is teacher’s success as she is able to make them engaged in the lessons and make the topics attractive for them.
            Anyway, there are some striking differences between schools in Turkey and ones in Denmark. Firstly, students have to wear uniforms determined by the school or government. On the contrary, in Denmark students can wear like they want even caps. As far as I have seen, all of them are trying to create their own free style also by following popular culture. The classroom was so colorful with their clothes that sometimes I even observed wearing styles of them. However, the funniest part is that Uğur’s being so in their walking around without shoes. We were also surprised but Uğur was the one who was the most surprised by their taking off shoes. J I think this is something good because it is one of the ways of creating a comfortable learning environment and in Turkey, you cannot do something like that.
            Also, another observation is that students sit in a circle around a table. I like this way of sitting because it provides students with face to face communication environment and also this is useful for group activities. In Turkey, students sit in a row style and this means that education is based on a teacher centered way as all students are able to see just the teacher but not each other. In Turkey, we don’t have communicative lessons based on group activities so it is depended on just teacher who comes and teaches. If you ask me which way is better, I will certainly choose student centered class and also in Turkey education is changing from a traditional way ( behaviorism) to a more communicative way ( constructivism) and I believe that we will be qualified teachers to realize this. Also I want to emphasize that education in Turkey is not very bad but it just needs some amendments and we cannot expect it to be a sudden change but slightly in time. Moreover, education is a living thing, so you cannot keep it in the same condition. It is a part of life and society, so when the needs of society and life changes, education also needs change. As a result, education should perceive the social changes not to be out of date.

I also want to discuss methods and teaching style of the teacher. To my observation, grammar is taught inductively contrary to deductive way in Turkey. In this way, students acquire grammar rules without direct instruction of rules so they create their Meta linguistic awareness in second or foreign language by themselves. Thus, activities are chosen in this way to support repetition and communication. For example, teacher started with a warm up activity and continued many following activities. In all activities she gave rules implicitly and sometimes she turned to her native language and used translation to negotiate the meaning and this also what communicative approach says: sometimes you can use your native language and translation when needed to negotiate the meaning (Any device which helps the learners is accepted - ). Also the strong version of communicative approach is used in this class that is to say “using English to learn it “.  As a result, by using these methods students interact with each other not interact with all those linguistic items.
“Writing a poem” activity is the one that I liked very much. When teacher wanted them to write a poem about animals and read aloud it in the class, I realized that they came up with a perfect creativity, so I thought that using this kind of activities revealing their creativity is very useful.
           Another point is that teacher gave very clear instruction and in English and also made students aware of the topic of the day.
            Turning back to contrasts between Denmark and Turkey, here teachers are free to choose textbooks or materials unlike teachers in Turkey. In Turkey, textbooks are determined by the ministry of education, so you must be bound to a certain book and curriculum.
            All in all, I enjoyed very much during a three-hour period of class observation. So I want to thank Peter who gave us that chance. Also it was nice to see Cemetery with Peter after classroom observation. That’s all I wanted to talk for today. Hope to enjoy with reading. J

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I was impressed by the cleverness of children :)

Children are really witty:)

A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales. The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small. The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible. The little girl said, "When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah". The teacher asked, "What if Jonah went to hell?" The little girl replied, "Then you ask him".

                                       One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother  do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother has several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head. She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, "Why are some of your hairs white, Mom?" Her mother replied, "Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white." The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, "Momma, how come all of grandma's hairs are white?"

The children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture. "Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you are all grown up and say, 'There's Jennifer, she's a lawyer,' or 'That's Michael, He's a doctor.' A small voice at the back of the room rang out, "And there's the teacher. She's dead."

The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note and posted it on the apple tray: "Take only one. God is watching." Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies. A child had written a note, "Take all you want. God is watching the apples."

falling leaves hide the path so quietly...

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting
and autumn a mosaic of them all."
-   Stanley Horowitz
Nowadays Denmark is showing characteristics of autumn:
Falling leaves everywhere
Combination of brown and yellow on trees
Rainy weather
Windy weather
 Moreover, it is getting colder in Denmark and this morning I saw that all the grasses and puddles around were frozen and even the windows of cars, top of rubbish bins were covered with ice.  At nights the weather must be very cold and so as not to get cold nazlı and me are passing from school while coming back to our house at evenings. J (School as a warm and safe road). However, we cannot go our long walks at nights with Uğur, Nazlı and MüslümL
And now I don’t want to think about winter. ( cold and freezing)
Despite cold weather, the best side of autumn is nature’s being like a painting of a very famous painter. It makes me relaxing and I only saw this clear view of autumn on pictures and postcards before coming to Denmark. As a result I like autumn colors and being here in Autumn. But I don’t think same for winter especially for white dominance everywhere.:)


Glorious are the woods in their latest gold and crimson,
Yet our full-leaved willows are in the freshest green.
Such a kindly autumn, so mercifully dealing
With the growths of summer, I never yet have seen.
William Cullen Bryant
The Third of November.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
Albert Camus

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Judging what feels RIGHT...

Hi, we discussed about a case ( ın Nazlı's words "CAKE" ) in Peter's class and ı want share the case here.
Here the extract ...

 I was a reception teacher in Manchester, and I really loved my job. I had been teaching for a couple of years, and I felt that I was beginning to do quite well. Then the dreaded ofsted experience came around ! On day three I had an inspector sitting in the back of my class observing me teaching. Half way through it started to snow. The whole class of four and five year-olds ran to the window. It was when it hadn't snowed for a few years, and I suddenly realized that it was the first time in their young lives that they had seen the snow. I tried to get them back in to their seats ( because of the inspector) but they were enthralled! I eventually gave up and we went outside and 'experienced' the snow. We came up with lots of really good words to describe the snow, and ı made a note to bring this into our science work.

The inspector failed the lesson because ı had not stuck to my lesson plan, and none of my learning objectives had been met. ı made a decision there and then to leave teaching, and that is what ı did. ı now work as an administrator in local government.

Was the inspector right to insist that the teacher stuck to the original lesson plan?
we discusses these questions and we agreed that the inspector was not right to do this. Because sometimes some unexpected conditions can avoid you being stuck to lesson plan. I think that the teacher did best by letting them to go out. At this age children are curious and eager to learn everything, so they ask questions or they want to expreince new things. Hence, as a teacher you should meet their curiosity needs. Moreover, if children hadnt gone out, they wouldnt have learned anything about the the lesson as they would have been physically in class but mentally outside. Furthermore, they have leaned something related to "snow" and they came up with many words related to it. Also we generally have lessons about weather conditions and the learnt something about snow by experiencing.
what is more, if the teacher hadnt let them to go out, student's attitude towards the teacher would have changed. In their eyes, he would have been unfriendly and strict.
I also experienced the same thing in primary school. In my home town it doesnt snow normally and you cannot see snow in winter times. So, we were always curious about the snow and one day it started to snow and we got excited and ran towards the window. Then, our teacher said that we could go out and we had the pleasure of seeing snow and enjoyed with the "snow" for a short preiod of time and since that day it has not snowed again.
How do you feel about this person's decision to leave teaching?
I wouldnt have done the same thing as a teacher in this situation because this shows that you easily gave up and this means that it is a bad personality for a teacher. On the contrary this situation should have made him stronger in terms of his job.

Storms make the oak grow deeper roots!

Monday, November 1, 2010

a review about the movie which uses a good metaphor to describe the situation in the class...

Being a teacher in a crowded classroom of some 30 kids who do not seem to be college-bound can be like playing tennis against 30 opponents. The shots keep coming at you and you have barely a second or two to figure out how to return the ball. There is a reward, not in cramming the ball back down their throats, but teaching them and empowering them and winning their arts. But first, you have to keep them from distracting you and getting you angry.
LMiklowitz, Tallahassee

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The greatest lessons are learnt when life enters the classroom.

Firstly, I am very sorry for being late for my review about the movie.
Last week before the autumn break, we watched a movie about a class which is full of racially mixed students. This movie is an interesting and useful one for all teachers. I think every teacher should watch this movie and think once more about being a teacher. The most important thing for me while watching this movie is to be able to put myself in Mr. Marin’s place. I will be a teacher in Turkey, so what would I do if I teach a classroom which consists of diverse ethnicities as this situation is also possible in Turkey. You can be teacher in a classroom in which students are Turkish, Kurdish, and Arabic and even sometimes Armenian. As a result this movie made me see the difficulties that a teacher of multicultural class can come across.
So let’s start with a short plot of movie. The movie takes place in a secondary school in Paris. In the beginning of the movie, teacher François Marin who is one of the most important figures in the movie is getting prepared for a new school year with his colleagues. François plays a language and literature teacher who tries to create a friendly and respectful atmosphere in his classroom which consists of multiethnic teenagers. All in all, the story is about the teacher and his relationship with the students coming from different ethnicity.
Now I want to write about some students and I want to begin with Souleyman who was one of the most problematic students in the class. I think he had many problems about being a teenager, adapting to French culture, and also being from different ethnicity. He was always reserved and rebellious against the questions related to the lesson asked by Mr. Marin. He refused to talk or study in the classroom. What could be problem with him??? As I said before he had many problems in his self world. One was that he couldn’t strike a balance between street culture and school culture. Fighting, rebelling, refusing to talk can mean being cool in street culture while these behaviors are unacceptable and disapproving in school culture. Therefore he took the things that he learned in the street into the classroom. Another problem was related to his ethnicity and religion. For example, when somebody said sth about Quran, he easily went mad and he couldn’t control his reactions. Moreover, I think another problem can be related to his family. His mother didn’t know French, so she couldn’t give any assistance on his homework. Hence, the reason why he was academically limited in writing could be resulted his family. Also when the teacher asks her how souleyman is at home, she says that souleyman does his homework, studies and behaves respectfully at home. I think how she can be so sure that he does his homework because she cannot check him due to her not knowing French.
Except for the problems related to souleymane, I want to talk about his assignment, self-portrait. At first he was embarrassed to show pictures of his family and his neighborhood. However, MR Motivated him by saying that “your work is very good” and hanging it on the wall for demonstration to all students. I think Mr. Marin really thought that souleyman was interested in something and he could do something related to this. However, two gossipy girls (Esmeralda and Louise) who participated in classroom meeting to represent the class in which teachers evaluate students’ behaviors and grades mentioned all the details of the meeting to the class. So this started a fight between teacher and souleymane as the teacher said in the meeting that souleymane is limited in writing.
In my opinion, Mr. Marin was always understanding and thoughtful for souleyman from the beginning of the movie. He even defended him against other teachers who have the general consensus of giving him disciplinary punishment. Therefore, all the efforts Mr. Marin made led to unexpected results because of a nonsense argument that was triggered by two representative girls.
So, students’ being allowed to participate in such kinds of meetings is another issue needed to be discussed. In my opinion they shouldn’t be given this freedom as they won’t think in the same way with teachers in this age. Because representative students are also a part of the class and they will share everything with their friends and this will just make things worse.
Besides these, it was sometimes teacher who failed to get control over the class. He wants to be seen more as a friend rather than as an authority figure but that is not always a good idea. He should have created an atmosphere based on mutual understanding and respect, but instead of this he sometimes kept on having long and heated arguments with students. First, as a teacher you shouldn’t let them control your feelings. For example, he gets angry with some students and he shows his anger by insulting them. Whatever students do, a teacher should be able to keep his/her calmness in a way. Because being a teacher requires being patient at the same time. To some extent, the teacher was very right there were moments that any teacher cannot take it easy.
I also liked Mr. Marin’s ideas about “punishment” because it is not useful to keep the class in order. In the movie Mr. Marin always objected to punishments as he thought that they would create a tense atmosphere in the school. I agree with him because punishment will both create an unfriendly atmosphere and students will get used to punishments in time. The first time a student punished he or she will be ashamed of what they do but when the punishments increases they will just get used to it. Also in the movie one of the students is said to get out and he gets happy for this. This is just a simple example from the movie.
As a teacher you cannot be expected to speak the same language with students but at least being understanding to them will help you in process of teaching. As Thomas Ziehe said, a teacher should be someone who gives pushes, gives directions like a tour guide showing ways and connections and has to give forms to situations in classroom.
To sum up, I have observed many things in the movie. First of all, popular culture is an inevitable fact among teenagers. We can see the effects of popular culture from their clothing to language. As teachers, our duty is to decline effects of popular culture as much as possible in school. They cannot strike a balance between popular culture and school culture alone, so they need a guide, that is to say they need understanding and open-minded teachers. Secondly, a teacher shouldn’t let students get control over the class.
The greatest lessons are learnt when life enters the classroom.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Nykøbing :)

This week we were off on friday and nazlı and me was so bored that we decided to go to somewhere and we chose Nykøbing as it is close to Vordingborg. Then we arrived at Nykøbing  in the afternoon and we went to some shopping centers. We both liked shopping centers and cafes there. In fact it is a small city like Vordingborg but it seems a bit different than Vordingborg.  We especially liked the houses there and we took some photos of them.  All in all, it was a really enjoyable trip.

As for yesterday, we didnt do anything special but we took a walk around Vordingborg with uğur, müslüm, nazlı and me and took some photos with uğur's new camera which can take panaromic pictures :):)