How to help children love writing in English

Many if us don't  often use a pen and paper to write at length in our daily lives, yet this is what we expect of young learners. In this article I wrote for British Council Voices , I come up with some fun class activities that will help students between the ages of 10 and 12 learn and love to write. 

Have fun and Enjoy your teaching!

Defining my Moment: Goal #1 from the 30 Goals Challenge for Educators -

" God does not ask perfect work but infinite desire"
                                                                           ( St Catherine) 

photo by ELT pics

            Last weekend I was invited by Shelly Sanchez Terrel to be interviewed for the 30 Goals Challenge for Educators. I could not describe the feeling of happiness and scare at the same time; a mixture of happy feelings and a bit scared by the challenges we have to face just when you think the Earth had stopped spinning and nothing else will happen to challenge you. Well, it has not stopped and it will never stop! And this is the reason why I decided to make a change in my life, for better, I hope, and share this moment with you here. 

            2012 was a very peculiar year in my life as I would never expected so many changes were to happen. I had to change my job after 18 years working in the same place. At first it seemed that there was no life outside, no light , no floor, nothing. And I thought , innocently, that I was ready for such a big change. I was not ready at all. However, it was about time for a change. It was time to innovate, to see the outside world with other eyes. Time to make new friends, to get to know new people,  to reinforce old and solid friendships, to cover the mirrors , forget the outside and look at me inside. 

            As an educator, it was time to re-start, to find something different to make me feel motivated and to find new ways to motivate the others rather than giving up. 

                                            photo by ELT pics

" There's nothing permanent, except change"
                                          ( Heraclitus 535 BC - 475 BC )
         Thanks to all these changes and to the priceless support of my family, friends and colleagues, I started to get familiar with a brand new world full of wonders and wonderful people. I met friends and people from everywhere .Some of them I have never met face to face. However , it's as if we have lived our lives together for a long time. What a great world full of amazing people!  I also had the opportunity to visit lots of new places and make my PLN grow. In addition, I have tried to make the most I can of my teaching and learning. 
        So here I am a year later, on August 2013. Now I find myself completely different, still facing a lot of big challenges and having to be wise when making choices. This is how I would like to introduce  goal #1:" Define your moment". 
        The word cloud below shows a bit of  what my moment is like:

                                                picture created by Roseli Serra

        2013 has been a very special year, indeed! A hard-working year, but still very special! The first surprise was to become a blogger and have my thoughts read by people from all over the world. In addition, I had this blog nominated twice for the respectful Teaching English British Council award as the blog of the month. And this is just my 9th post! I could never imagine this could happen to me the same way I would never imagine I would be here writing this post thanks to Shelly's invitation. 

         It's not that easy to define your moment, specially when your moment is a complete mind map full of things to do , deadlines to meet and dreams to come true. This is the moment I should start thinking about how I can perform my plans and achieve my goals. This is my turn, my moment to become a more independent professional. It does not mean I do not want to or that I am not bound to an institution. I am,  and I am really thankful for the place I work and I am happy to work there. I am also happy for the SS I have and for what I do. However, it is time to make things more independently, by myself. 

        I have heard, from a lot of colleagues, a kind of mantra which says:" I am not only an English Teacher". Yes, I am not, although sometimes I feel this is what I am most of the times: An English teacher, an educator and an educational psychologist. Being all this, this is my moment of producing and discovering the new. I  am trying to bear in mind that I should never worry if I am impressing people by doing extraordinary things. I am not doing any extraordinary things at all and this is not my goal. I am just trying to be a better person and a better professional. This is my goal for the moment. 

      How could I become a better educator? I am a believer. I believe in studying, in better practices, in caring and sharing. Yes, I am a believer. And I think caring and sharing make me feel great both as a person and as a professional because if I care and share, I will be able to  make my SS feel they are progressing and lead them to learner independence. 

photo by ELT pics

 " Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school. "  (Albert Einstein)

This is my moment of reflection and there are lessons I do want to apply to my life:

  1. Never, ever be afraid of the new
  2. Be brave to share, be brave to try, be brave to recognise your mistakes and learn from them . 
  3. Intelligence is a gift, but wisdom values more
  4. Unpack the standards and use them to develop new teaching and learning goals. 
To sum up, if I had to pick a defining moment as a teacher and/or as the learner I am, it would be something that began last year and which is leading to something even greater next year. You all get the idea: Nothing is too small! 

Enjoy your teaching!