I haven’t been able to update the blog as much as I would have liked recently because I’ve been doing a couple of things behind the scenes.
I’ve been giving workshops on giving feedback to students and clients here in Berlin with a particular aim of focusing on making the positives more objective and clearer. This proved to be very fruitful for all involved and I was glad to see that the participants got a lot out of it. I also came away with a lot of food for thought, for instance, when reformulating students’ utterances, am I giving them sentences and words that they would actually say in their context? Am I speaking in their voice or my own? Building rapport and understanding my students’ situations and world has a newfound importance for me. It also got me thinking about how I can get the students to utilise the emergent ideas and language more, and how to stretch that further. This is quite exciting for me, and I hope to research these paths over the next few months.
It’s been a year since I started this blog. The fact that I have kept it going is huge for me because I didn’t think I had it in me to do it and maintain it. As I had detailed in my very first blog, I had several reasons why I wanted to have one. Have I managed to keep to my initial goals? More or less, yes.
I have explored and detailed some interesting areas, such as being on the other side of the fence as a language learner experiencing a placement test and later trying to survive an intensive course. This experience helped me to understand students a bit more closely. Some of the intricacies of being a student can only be gained from being one.
Teaching higher-level students can be quite daunting for teachers a lot of the time; it certainly was for me in the early stages of my career. As students move up levels, they have certain expectations of learning ‘sophisticated’ or ‘professional’ language when they reach C1 and C2 levels; these expectations and wishes just come with the territory. To better prepare ourselves we are oftentimes scrambling to get dictionaries to equip ourselves with concrete definitions of words and phrases we sometimes don’t use productively, or checking a corpus like SKELL to share examples of collocations that are seen as correct instead of saying to the student, “this collocate just doesn’t go with this word” which can leave the student frustrated.
While this is all true, there is something that I have recently learnt after receiving feedback from a C2 level student.
At the time of writing, it has been 3 months since I started this blog and there are still things I want to tweak and add to it, so it is still very much in its infancy, but I am enjoying this journey very much. However, it has been 3 weeks since my last blog entry which makes me a bit uneasy. Granted, I have been putting my efforts into renovating my house (at the flooring stage at the moment) and don’t have much energy and motivation to write in the evenings, but I also realise that I am somewhat off the tracks and need to get myself back on it.
Now, I may have periods like these when I don’t, or can’t, sit down and write something, and I just need to accept that, but I hope I don’t leave it for too long, otherwise I fear this blog will turn into a lonely, inactive place like my Instagram account. Having said that though, leaving the blog alone for a week or two allows past entries to shine.
If you are blogging for the first time or suffering from a lack of motivation to write, I have noted down some traits in my routine that have helped me to knuckle down and write that you may wish to incorporate into your routine. I’d love to hear yours as well, so do get in touch and comment below.
Entering the blogging world, and maintaining a blog seems like a very daunting task to undertake, but it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. The reasons why I want to start a blog are quite varied.
For me, just coming off Delta, I need to be able to keep developing as a teacher. Having a blog would be a small step in the right direction. This will motivate me to keep reading and keep researching, something which I really enjoyed doing on Delta. I was encouraged to consider starting one by my peers and tutors and they were instrumental in getting my confidence to where it is today to take this plunge into the blogging world, so, thanks a mill!