Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wrapping up the course 'Web skills development'

Hello Courtney and course participants,

In fact, the time has passed very fast and we are wrapping up. But the good news is we are leaving the ‘Supermarket WEB SKILLS DEVELOPMENT’ with a lot of baskets full of delicious food. Food for our further teaching ideas and improvements. The course made a revolution in my personal teaching. There were number of interesting and useful topics both theoretical and practical I am going to use in my teaching:
-          The ABCD learning objectives framework;

-          Creating an academic blog;

-          Skill building websites for oral/aural skills;

-          Skill-building websites for Reading/writing skills;

-          technology-enhanced lesson plans;

-          Delicious bookmarking system;

-          Padlet wall;

-          Interactive PowerPoint;

-          Teacher resources online;

-          Rubrics.

I do understand that I have a lot to study ahead concerning using technology in the classroom and would appreciate the opportunity to be enrolled in a course “Teaching English language online” if there is any.

I would be happy if my students miss the course they are completing as much as I do!

Hugs and lots of thanks. 



Sunday, December 7, 2014

Week 9: Learning styles - technology connection

Hi again, 

I cannot believe that this is one my final posts for this course. Obviously I have hardly noticed how far these weeks passed. They were full of amazing resources, interesting thoughts, ideas, and reflections, open and thought-provoking questions. Our highly qualified and professional guide Courtney did a wonderful work. 

For the first, she opened the new horizons for Web tools and resources. Having quite extensive work experience I cannot remember a course I have benefitted so much. This course has already changed my teaching style but there is a lot ahead. My students use web resources drilling grammar and vocabulary skills ( is their favorite now). The ‘Best sites by Larry Ferlazzo’ are fully utilized by them too to improve speaking skills and expand the vocabulary. They are very enthusiastic to work with Padlet wall. Students willingly create the Word searches and crosswords. They find it more interesting than just learning the words by heart. 

This week we were focusing on learning styles and I was specifically interested in the article by
Howard Gardner.  I completely agree with his opinion that ‘human potential lies in the fact that people have a unique blend of capabilities and skills (intelligences)’.  He provides a wonderful example of student mis-labeling because of inappropriate assessment. I have to admit that it happens rather often in the classroom because instructors do not consider the variety of learning strategies and styles. There is a helpful chart in the article highlighting the primary seven intelligences with further details on their attributes. Refer to this chart I have easily identified my husband learning style and preferences and my own: my husband - logic and numbers; my personal - words and language.

Summing up I would like to say that this week readings made me rethink my teaching style in terms of addressing to multiple intelligence.

Good bye week 9 for now,




Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 8: Teacher Resources On-line

Hello everybody,

One more week is coming to the end. The hectic week full of new experience, findings, and presents from Courtney. I have never expected to get that bunch of tools she shared with us this week. I was full of desire to try and check everything. But it was impossible, so many resources. I will definitely be back and check them again.

It was interesting to get more about ANVILL 2 and Trace Effects specifically. I am looking forward using it in our Children’s Academy

I have always spent a lot of hours making Word Searches and Flash Cards. Now I am doing everything within 10 minutes. The only problem I still do not know how to safe them.

I have created my first Padlet for phrasal verbs and going to use it coming week. I am wondering how useful and appealing it would be for my students.

All of us had some partners for peer-review. It turned to be challenging for me. I could not edit the Checklist provided on the site. So I had to create word document. It means there is a lot ahead to learn.

Great week,




Sunday, November 23, 2014

Week 7: Learner Autonomy and Mobile Devices

Hello everybody,
Obviously, autonomous learning is a crucial component of modern world of education. The education system in Kyrgyzstan has changed a lot joining Bologna Process. According to this system the students have to work a lot individually. For instance we used to meet five days per week with the students of International Relations Department. Now it is only once. Sounds unbelievable. Both students and instructors are not ready for this change. So autonomous learning is a way to adjust to this change more smoothly. It allows students to see their learning from a different, more active perspective and take control over their own learning. The world develops very rapidly and in order to keep track we have to think about the necessity of autonomous learning again and again.

I cannot miss in my blog an article by Hayo Reinders ‘Twenty ideas for using mobile phones in the language classroom’. I would like to expand the title and say ‘in education process’. Most of my students here in Kyrgyzstan are the slaves of their gadgets and we have to make advantage of it. I liked all ideas but choose some which would work for my students. They are: use the note to collect everyday language; use text massaging; use phones for “phlogging”; use phones to distribute listening/readng material; use phones to check student comprehension and get feedback.

Finally, the tool of the week PADLET. Lots of heavy applause! The wall could become a course-going tool to post links and video, pictures to describe. I would use it to see how active my students are and what they actually use to study language.

That’s  it. Waiting for one more interesting week!





Saturday, November 22, 2014

Week 7: Project on the run

Hello everybody,

Week 7 was hot and busy, full of arguments and agreements, problems and solutions.

We meet three times per week and work 1/20 minutes. So on Monday I made some changes in my plan and introduced students one more article which helps them to make their presentations more interactive. We started with ‘Top 10 Slide Tips’

In order to get a full picture each student was assigned to read about one or two tips and present it to the class. Then we had a short discussion about every tip answering some questions like: Do you consider this tip to be useful or not? Think about your own PPP slides. How different are they? Are you going to make some changes in your slides? Are there any culture related comments? (All students have experience presenting with Power Point. Most of them are in English). Finally the students were assigned with one more article ‘Best Practices in Presenting with Power Point – from the UO’s Teaching Effectiveness Program’ Two students expressed a will to bring their own presentations to analyze and improve in the class.

We started Wednesday with reflection on the assigned article and carried on running through the presentation created by my student Umutjan for Department use. With the whole class we tried to analyze this presentation according to the tips we agreed upon the class before. Actually the discussion turned to be very hot and lengthy so I did not have time for presenting the Presentation Rubrics. As a result I e-mailed Rubrics to my students and asked for a short written reflection.

I am fortunate to have a group of diverse and very enthusiastic learners, so on Friday luckily we agreed on Rubrics. But all students admitted that they have never had it before. They asked many questions and were amazed to know that Rubrics are widely used in Europe and the USA. The educational system in Kyrgyzstan does not use Rubrics. The second part of the class was devoted to the ‘Interactive Elements’ suggested by Rick Finnan and Donna Show in their article ‘Teaching large classes II – Enhancing Learning by Engaging’. I focused on the part of the article called ‘Small-group Informal learning Activity’.  Most of learners seemed to have never thought about making their presentations Interactive.

Summing up, I would like to say that I feel like learning with my students.



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week 6: Creating Student-Centered Classes and Interactive Power Point

Hello everyone,

Obviously, we are learning a lot and this week is to introduce our project ideas to the class.

As I have already mentioned in my posts, my students are adult learners specializing in finance. And it makes them different in terms of responsibility and professional interest to English language.

At first step the students were assigned to read three articles on public speaking skills. On Monday we had a fruitful, productive discussion on the topic. Two students were out of the country so the sent their written comments. The hot issue was cultural issues in terms of Public Speaking. The learners go abroad very often so they provided many examples and comments from own experience. It is necessary to mention that they were very active to suggest more links to read.

On Wednesday class I introduced them to the ‘Best Sites to Practice Speaking English’ by Larry Ferlazzo and everybody signed for English Central. In fact, they were very inspired. All students agreed that web opportunities are numerous, providing them with autonomy and a chance to follow their own pace studying English. The students stayed in class more longer after the class.

On Friday we carried on with ‘Tips for making presentation better’ and 'The Presentations Secrets of Steve Jobs 2' in the computer lab. Finally we agreed on the list of Best Tips.

That's our week!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Week 5: Project-based learning, WebQuest and rubrics.

Hello everyone!

This week we faced an array of interesting, useful, new issues and tools. We focused on alternative assessment, investigated the world of project-based learning and WebQuest opportunities.
Language assessment has always been a critical issue in pedagogical context. In fact, rubrics and project-based learning offer a lot of opportunities both for learners and instructors. Unfortunately I have never heard about RubyStar and thought that educators create every item of the rubrics by themselves. So I was amazed to know about RubyStar options. Different in scope and structure rubrics are important because they clarify for students the qualities their work should have. Well-composed rubrics have suitable criteria and clear descriptions of performance.  There is no doubt that this tool would be a part of my teaching practice.

The idea of project-based based learning is not a new for me, but I have never gone so deeply with the matter. Obviously well-implemented PBL can improve students’ attitude towards learning and increase long-term retention of content. I completely agree with Bulent Alan and Fredricka L. Stoller (2005) when they say that ‘project work can be more effective when teacher relax their control and students regard the teacher as a guide’. Moreover PBL is a wonderful tool to teach leadership. The students are taught how to solve the real-world problem.

Finally we have made a step toward the final project implementation, speculating about a suitable solution. My choice fell on Larry Ferlazzo’s  ‘Best sites to practice speaking English’.

Hope you had a productive week too.