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.

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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.

Does Technology make Students less Motivated?

Is technological advancement making how students becoming less interested in course books and the traditional method of learning? Nowadays, Students are mostly interested in electronics devices; spending hours using them.  I am encountering this problem with my students of English as second language and moreover they do not even want to use the course books.  Most of them lack interest in learning and so I have used various methods to get them participate including corporal punishment without success. However, I changed my strategy and my new approach seems to be yielding good result. In this article, I will be discussing how about this approach works.

I have realized that as human beings we have strong desire to be recognized and distinguish among others (being famous). Therefore, I told my students that I am introducing a system of granting them points with regards to their participation in class in answering questions, doing their assignments, as well as being well disciplined in class. At the end of the month, the student with the most points will be declared and honored as the star of the month.

When I commenced this competition among them, I observed that those who are now participating and are interested in learning English jumped from 20% to about 60% of the class. If this success is a lasting one, I think they will be motivated to learn English by themselves. Do you think of any means of getting students motivated to learn English as second language? You comments on this will be mostly welcome.

Why Electronic Library!

The development  in technology has made students to lack interest in reading books in libraries. It is very important for educators to device ways that are in line with present day development in technology. What I am contemplating is how we can make school electronic libraries in school. This is will particularly good for students and teachers as well.

Moreover, learning in general will become faster and easier thus saving time that will be used for completing the syllabus and revision.

I have discussed with many teachers who have mentioned that their students are mostly interested in reading illustrated books with attractive diagrams and photos. As a result of students’ interest in pictures and illustrations a great improvement can be achieved if these types of books are selected and placed in school libraries.  Emerging from the point of view that learners vary in their learning perspectives so pictures and diagrams will be more effective in delivering information to students who can absorb in audio-visual at the same time.

In this regard, if schools should include an electronic library in their websites that can be accessed by students using their specific username and password education would have been made available without the restriction of place and time. In order to make this electronic library beneficial for both students and teachers the service must be diversified. For instance, sections in it should be reserved for teachers only and other sections reserved for students based on their academic needs.

For the purpose of encouragement and motivation, students can accumulate points and credits in relation to their positive usage of the library in visiting and reading. At the end of a specific period students with the most accumulated points will be honored with gifts and prizes. In this there might be competition and more interest on the part of the students to utilize this service for their own academic advancement.

In addition, for private schools who wish to attract more customers to their schools, a service like this will be an added boost for them, as parents would to send their kids to schools with more facilities.

In conclusion, it is known that that traditional method of reading in libraries is by using hard copies of books but reflecting on the interest that this present day generation has for anything digital, I am wondering if whether future generation will ever handle physical books; What do you think about it ?