An interview with a talented Student

His name is Muhammad Majdy .He is a talented student. He is one of the best students I have ever taught in my life. He started memorizing the Noble Quran chapters when he was nine years old .he had memorized the Holy Quran at the tender age of 11. He loves poetry because of that he likes to memorize poems for famous Arabic poets.

Today I intend to make an interview with him discussing some important points in his life especially which are related to learning English.

Me: When did you start learning English?

Muhammad: I start learning English since I was seven years old.

Me: Do your parents encourage you to learn English?

Muhammad: Yah, They are strongly encourages me to learn English. Actually they encourage me to learn English by:

A)     Bringing a private teacher of English to teach me how to learn English.

B)      They encourage me to use web sites which help me to learn English such as ( BBC Learning English)

C)      They encourage me to memorize more vocabulary as much as possible

Me: Do you think watching movies which Arabic translated help you to learn English?

Muhammad: Actually, not that much. I like short movies which has slow accent and I learn the vocabulary they used, before watching it.

Me: What is your best type of Dictionary?

Muhammad: I like Arabic-English Dictionary.

Me: Could you give me the name of it?

Muhammad: Sure, I like “ALMAWRED”.

Me: What is your best teacher of English?

Muhammad: Saeed Mubarak

Me: Why did you choose him as a best teacher?

Muhammad: I choose him as a best teacher because he makes a great effort to teach English in a funny way. He always verifies his teaching methods.

Me: What do you want to be in the future?

Muhammad: I want to be a professor in Medical College once a day.

Me: I hope all best of luck.

How to use Films inside classroom effectively?

 Because of the advancement in technology, present day generation are more interested in visual stuff like television, cartoon movies and mobile phones. It is generally observed that most kids all over the world spend long time in front of these electronic devices watching with unabated  interests . I was just wondering how we could use this interest to promote and facilitate the teaching of English as a second language.

As it is known that most people like films, therefore using it as a tool for teaching English as a foreign language could be a brilliant idea. However the question that arises is how effective could teachers use movies?

It would be advisable for a teacher who wants to use movies to teach to take into consideration students’ taste. In this case, the teacher should check how interested the students are in film, because there is a tendency that not all of them might be interested.

If it is discovered that majority of the students  are interested in film, the next issue to consider is the type of film to be used to teach them. In this respect, one might take into account the students’ culture. The film that is introduced in class must be carefully selected to avoid any scene that might be inappropriate to students’ cultural sensitivity .This is to prevent negative backlash that will be detrimental to the process of teaching and learning English. A culturally accepted film will effectively promote the teaching and learning process.

On the other hand, identifying films or movies containing characters which are generally loved and accepted by students can positively promote students understanding and therefore the learning process. For instance, if you know that your students love Mickey Mouse ,Tom and Jerry, then these can be used for class presentation.

After completing the above steps, and you have chosen the most appropriate and acceptable movie or film, then you would like to use it in a manner that students would derive benefits from it. The following activities can be used by a teacher to make using movies in  class academically rewarding:

Firstly, I would like to show the movie in one session if it is a short one to give the students a general overview of what it is about. Nevertheless, before starting, I would like to ask them to look for how certain words are used by the characters in different situations. And also for them to predict what would happen in the next scene or at the end of the movie. This is to make them focus while watching.

A teacher might even transcribe the words of the movie in the form of text. This can allow the teacher to treat the scenes of the movies like paragraph by paragraph and gives students the chance to read what they have watched. In this way, when the movie is played scene by scene, each scene would be analyzed in class to extract grammatical, lexical as well as practical usage of the language in real life situations.

In conclusion, using movies in a class by setting specific goals for the students prepares and enables them to progress even out of the classroom, because they would have acquired the skills that  help them to deduce language benefits from any movies that they might watch. I would be most appreciative for any comment about how to use movies effectively in classroom.

Speaking English outside the Classroom

One of the major problems EFL learners encounter is the lack of opportunity to improve their speaking skill. They study standardized text books in school and understand grammatical rules but unable to speak English in real life situations.

 While I was studying English at College, I suffered a lot because it was really difficult to find someone to speak English with outside the classroom. I remembered how I tried to practice on my own. However, I sometimes visited some of my lecturers in their offices just to chat with them in order to improve my English. Also, whenever I met English speakers I made use of the chance to speak with them as much as possible. After I graduated, one of my friends advised me using Yahoo chat. I then started chatting in Yahoo chat rooms but without much success because most of them considered me a spammer.

 Now, as an EFL teacher, I am very concerned about my students’ progress in speaking English since they live in same environment as me with limited access to speak English out of the classroom. I realized that my students are of two groups; the first are those who use technological devices such as smart phones and tablets and the second group have very limited access to technology. What I am contemplating presently is how to motivate these two groups to speak English outside the classroom.

 For students with access to technology, I am encouraging them to make the best use of these tools to advance their English. With the internet, there are thousands of applications such as vocabulary games, audio and video programs with which they can considerably improve their speaking skills by listening and viewing these repeatedly. Moreover, through Skype, students can get live conversations with native speakers and may thereby develop self-confidence to speak effortlessly. Teachers can even organize cell phone conversations with other students.

 Nevertheless, before the age of technology; many students all over the world have excelled in language learning by using the limited resources available to them. Because of this, we should not neglect those of our students who lack technological facilities even in this age of technology; but we should motivate them to achieve success. This can be done by introducing them to books with short stories and many conversations of different situations. These short stories can be dramatized into plays with students acting designated roles. These can be videotaped and they can view themselves and may easily correct their mistakes.

 Furthermore, it has been proved by educators that the best way to improve speaking skill is to read as many short stories as possible and listen to tapes of the same repeatedly. This method it said is very effective in improving the speaking skill. If you know of any other method by which students can speak English easily, your suggestions are welcome in the comment section.

Can we ensure Students’ Safety?

Is there dispute about the necessity to ensure a safe and conducive environment for our students at school?  No sensible being will indeed dispute that. Parents and teachers unanimously agree that in  order to achieve maximum success in the educational process, we need to ascertain that not only educational materials are provided;  but also an organized system must be put in place where in students are free from any kinds of fear. What should be done to achieve this? These means of safety is what I am going to look at in further details.

In a particular school, could you imagine that the Bus Driver who takes the children to school was so passionate about snakes even at expense of the children’s safety. On a fateful day, he was so careless that he took a box containing a big snake with him in the Bus. As he was waiting while the children are embarking the Bus, the snake suddenly jumped from the box.  This incident sent the children in complete commotion that resulted in some minor injuries of some of them. Fortunately, this is the type of school always maintain a school-guard. This guard quickly moved to the children’s rescue and immediately killed the snake. In as much as complete order was eventually restored and the children were finally driven home; but how fast do you think the traumatic feeling will be cure on those children and what should be done to that driver who exposed them to such children?

The above is just a tip of the iceberg, however; there are many types of dangers school children might be exposed to. For instance, school building should be built strong to prevent any unexpected collapse of any part. It must be well ventilated so that children are not exposed to suffocation. In the event of any danger like fire, dangerous animals or whatever, emergency exits should readily be available as means of escape. Moreover, teachers should receive training and educational programs about how to deal with emergency situations. They in turn should educate school children about what to do in cases of emergency. It is however, pathetic to note that most teachers do not even know how to use fire extinguishers. These are basic safety tools that one should know its operation.

Furthermore, students are sometimes exposed to other forms of danger, such as bully, racial discrimination, physical, emotional and sexual abuses. Therefore, school administration should set rules and regulations that prohibit these abuses and signs showing weapons on any sort are not allowed in school in school should be displayed. These signs would serve as a general awareness to ensure students safety. In addition, there should be appropriate punishment for those who are guilty of violations.

In conclusion, we should all come together to spread the awareness of students’ safety, so that we can have safe environment suitable for students learning free from any form of harassment. If you know of anything we can do to promote this safety, your suggestions would be most appreciated.