transitionu

Life Coaching, Observations, Reflections, Things that make you go hmmmmm

Category Archives: English

I Love This Card!

I Love This Card!

I’ve played my “English Teacher” card a few times and I like it!

I too, officially, can be a grammar snob and a giant keeper of the word PITA, pain in the ass. I was that way prior to getting the English Teacher Designation and higher education made it official.

If I say it, I’m correct, you’re just not, so stop it! Great fun!

Shortly after I passed the assessment that gave me the, “I’m a teacher” designation a good friend who is not a native speaker of English showed me the assignment their child was given. I told my friend I really liked the kid’s thought process on one of the questions and I knew where the smartass on that answer originated.

Nice parenting indeed! That was an honest statement and not a facetious one. A little clowning with humour aint a bad thing at all. I enjoy it, in small doses.

What really got my attention was the error in one of the questions. The assignment is a “Cloze”, fill in the blanks.

Lene English Paper Response

That 4.2 was shown to a couple friends who went, “What, that isn’t right” but didn’t peg the error in the moment. English is a strange thing.

Question 4.2 was shown to the parent who did return me a correct response and I trust will for ever more realize their ESL is just fine.

Playing the “English Teacher” card on that little exchange was satisfying!

I have been asked to chime in from my exalted position on several occasions as well. One of them was just identifying the word being sought and the word needed, “Voracious” was already in my vocabulary before my anointment

What isn’t satisfying is when the card plays me. I’m not sure I care for this behaviour even though it’s my own damn fault for getting the edumucation. Not a typo.

I haven’t had the same “Sarcaustic” feel to some of my opinionated pieces. I and “Good Friend” were disappointed to find that my new word was already on “Urban Dictionary” when I unleashed it. Damn! GSTA I suppose. Great Smartasses Think Alike.

All said and done, this old cunning linguist is more so and loves it!

G.R. Hambley ©
January 22, 2018

My Exit Slip

My Exit Slip

The powers that be informed me when I asked them why I hadn’t received certain things after being shown as course complete. I was told I had to complete those “Specialty Electives” before receiving their official blessing and benefits.

Ring kissing was not involved, and the electives are done.

I had looked to change “Teaching English to Korean Speakers” but it was a no. So, in I went in and did that elective over 4 days. I had waited the previous 4 days without a response to a few questions and had to resend the email.

I made my choices and that is it. Fair enough, and it didn’t hurt to ask.

South Korea has the Winter Olympics in 2018 and my plan was to do the Korean elective after the Olympics were over.

When I elected to take my TEFL through University of Toronto and OISE, well that was part of the appeal, University of Toronto and OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education). I told the powers of higher education that when I ran in to some serious technical issues that those issues didn’t have to happen. I’m midway through the course and they rolled out a new and improved web site design. I went so far as to suggest they get the old site back online.

I hit glitches in both Specialty Electives, and both of those were presented in the old format.

If you look at my results on the “Teaching Test Preparation Courses”, final assessment you will see I passed by making 70% with zero attempts.

We’ll just call this an exemption on the final assessment for my demonstrated knowledge. No, I don’t like that “70” number and I’m reasonably certain I could get the “100” but I aint going backwards for the sake of that number!

I’m somewhat disappointed because Teaching those who are preparing for an ELPT (English Language Proficiency Test) or ESP (English for Special Purposes) is my preference for my Teaching English. I can do them all and as I just noted, teaching the ELP and ESP is what I like best.

Yes I am receiving some of what goes with a certain completion level. China among other places is looking very interesting,

As I’m writing this I received email notice on how to get my Certificate. Name as it appears on your Passport is recommended. I asked for my Certificate to show in the same way my name appears on my Passport.

I would have entertained using “Gary R. Hambley” as it appears on the business cards I had made up.

I haven’t had the entire benefit of course completion long but these folks are showing me some real good stuff! Yeah watch me tell you what I’m pursuing on the teaching abroad front.

There were technical issues that never should of happened and I addressed that with U of T.

Simple stuff, your new and improved aint working, get the old and functional back online!

You want to change the rules of the game, that’s fine too. But when you do that you create 2 paths and those already on the path stay there and those coming in new, they go on the new path.

There was flat out hypocrisy that I never addressed with the School and will address that here. I also hit a few things that flew directly against what I know to be true as a Life Coach.

This is applicable to all courses of study and not just “English as a Foreign Language”. You are taught about fair and valid assessments. You’re taught that you don’t spring surprises on the students in your assessments.

After the rollout of the new and infirm web platform that replaced the old and functional with poor typography platform assessment changed. The passing grade on Quizzes in the lesson sections went from 70% to 80% while the passing grade for the entire lesson assessment remained at 70%.

I don’t disagree with the number and in fact agree with the number the school set to pass the quiz. It was the hypocritical manner in that the change was made that perturbed me.

They changed the rules of the game after the game had started and that is one giant no no!

In the “Teaching Test Preparation Courses” elective “Exam Anxiety” was brought up. This is the statement that is made, “Help students to change or suppress negative thoughts or worries”.

No, no, no, not ever do you teach suppression!

If you have “Exam Anxiety” and I have it a bit more than the average person, you contact me and I’ll work with you to get you more comfortable and at ease. We Coaches and others call that endeavour, “Coping Skills”. Taking the exam is still gonna suck but you’ll be much better prepared to cope with those feelings and at no time will you ever hear me say, “Suck it up buttercup”.

Previous to that tidbit of information it was noted that if you’re finding yourself possibly over critical, put a Coach in the classroom with you to monitor your performance. I gave that piece of information when I hit it an audible, “no shit”. I had good reason when I hit what I hit to say what I did and more reasons later.

One of the things that Higher Education appears to need to learn is that their students are clients. I made that point clear on a couple of occasions because it was necessary to enlighten the bringers of Higher Education that while I am a student, I’m a client as well.

Education is different now. I’ve been computer literate for over 25 years. The changes in education brought on by the functionality of the computer in the last 25 years is wonderful. The delivery method of this education suits me to a tee. It didn’t take me long to tune out the audio and stick with the visuals of reading and then exploring the material outside the course work.

There were exceptions to me eschewing the audio and the “Teaching English to Korean Speakers”, I listened to everything! I will learn to make those sounds.

I learned a lot. I adapted myself. My thinking is different and the way I speak and express is a little less bombastic. I have my moments, as we all do.

Through this course of learning for me I created a teaching philosophy and figured out what my preference to teach is and why I have that preference.

So as the University taught, “Exit Slips” from your students regarding how they saw the lesson and even critiquing the teacher at term and year end are excellent sources of information.

Careful what you wish for because you just might get it and did you like, “My Exit Slip”.

Now if you’ll excuse me, the powers that be have placed the world at my fingertips and shown me how to go about garnering a teaching position.

G.R. Hambley ©
December 20, 2017

Writings from on the path.

Orbital Thoughts
Forever More, I Am A Teacher of English
It’s The Final Countdown
Oh My Head Again, or Watch Your English
Adapting Me
There Goes Perfection, For Now
Teaching Philosophy, Mine
English 101, 100
The Final Act

Forever More, I am a Teacher of English.

Forever More, I am a Teacher of English.

At 9:31 am on Wednesday November 22, 2017 I clicked “Complete” on an exam. From that moment on and forever more, I am a Teacher of English.

 

I was a poet before I became a Coach and I remained a poet. In the journey to this point I had a moment where I knew, I’m a writer. The poet still burns brightly within me. Now I am “Officially” a Teacher and the heart of the poet continues to beat madly.

Poetry is my gift. I can just do it and do it well. Poetry is important in language. The educators stress the importance of bringing poetry to the classroom. I know the learners I get will leave with an understanding of the importance of poetry that other learners won’t get because they don’t have me.

I have a teaching philosophy and you can read it.

The Word. I love “The Word”.

I hope to infect others with love of “The Word”.

Gary Hambley, Teacher of English.

Adapting Me

Adapting Me

I’ve had to make adaptation to myself and what I know to be correct. I’ve had to remind myself more than once that this is also, “Language Arts”.

Another TEFL module complete with a return on assessment of 100%. This adventure’s name is “Adapting Subject Specific Material”. To achieve this, I had to give them what they wanted even though I disagree with their logic. “If it walks like a duck, if it smells like a duck, if it talks like a duck, it’s a duck”. There is of course the remote possibility I’m incorrect. I’m never wrong.

I said to a friend that I must rewire parts of my brain and when I explained my statement he agreed. A week or so after that encounter I changed my mind on having to rewire my mind. Analogy, “The junction boxes are already there in place and I have to build additional pathways that tie in to the existing circuitry”. I did tell my friend about the change of mind and why.

Thinking more simply is difficult. One of those new pathways I must build will allow me to think more simply and tie in with my critical thinking.

In the course of the course, I find myself having to go sideways and read more than is provided, so out I go researching the topic. I’ve read theory and practice and I find myself making judgements and decisions on those theories and practices. This is known as critical thinking. Were I not making decisions and judgements it would be abstract thought and not critical thinking.

In my journeying I stumbled in to the square root of all evil, “Common Core”. Lemme tell you, the square root of two isn’t the only thing irrational! Oddly or not, the PPP* was from Stanford University, “The Common Core For English Language Learners”. See slide 30, I had an elfin bovine with the conceptual ahead of the procedural in math! I said “ELFIN”, read it again.

The theories and concepts of Common Core in Language Arts from what I’ve seen and it isn’t a lot, is good. Art has far more room for the conceptual than Math and Science do. That art has far more room for conceptual approach than Math or Science do is a surprise to anyone how?

On another lateral move I wound up with “The Ontario Curriculum Grades 9 and 10 English”. This would have been a handy thing to have from the outset. In my opinion this document should have been provided as reference material for the glossary alone. Yes I told the educators about it, nicely.

From the Ontario document, “Teachers develop appropriate instructional strategies to help students achieve the curriculum expectations”. I’m finding the word “Expectations” in this Ministry document quite a bit. When I read, it certainly seems the philosophy is “No Child Left Behind” from the Common Core/Common Good theory.

The problem with “Expectations” is just that, they are “Expectations” and not “Demands”! Faulty and misleading language because these expectations they talk about should be, yes should be, DEMANDS. This “Demand” states what you must achieve to move on to the next level.

I’m just not seeing a problem with letting kids and these are kids in school, that we “Expect” the “Demands” to be met and if those demands are not met, there will be consequence. Maybe it’s just me again, but I believe learning the difference between “Expectation” and “Demand” is a pretty important life lesson.

I haven’t gone over the MoE Curriculum with a fine-tooth comb by any stretch of the imagination. I saw the grading scheme and it had 4 categories and they are, 50 to 59%, 60 to 69%, 70 to 79% and 80 to 100%. I didn’t see a designation for 0 to 49% so I’m guessing this is the, “Minimally Exceptional” George Carlin, who is an influence on me, was talking about in his take on language.

If you’re finding this writing clinical and analytical with a touch of snide that would be because it is. I have a structure that works for me and I like it because it is ordered. Even my “Snide” has order and purpose and is 100% ambiguity free.

Here’s a rather bold conclusion I’ve come to for you to chew on, you shouldn’t even be allowed to Teach until you’re 45. We need to revise the expression,” Those that can, do, and those that can’t, teach”. Change it in to this, “Those who can do, teach, those who can’t do are kept the hell out of the classroom”.

Me and “Good Friend” had some chatter going and at the time of writing I haven’t heard back from “Good Friend” on how it was received when I noted what appeared to be a “Comma Splice”. I’m hoping “Good Friend” sees how I’m changing and adapting and knowing “Good Friend”, yes and not so much.

I’ve moved in to the next module of this TEFL Course and I have encountered and satisfied the demands of, “Establishing Behaviour Norms”. Something makes me think most people wouldn’t want me doing that. C’est la vie**.

G.R. Hambley ©
October 14, 2017

 

*PPP – Power Point Presentation
** c’est la vie. french expression that is rather famous in english and other languages. it means “it is the life.” can also be trasnlated into english as: – “that’s life”

Change
simonboylan.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/change_our_greatest_strength-Copy.jpg

HG Wells
q.likesuccess.com/71/3528977-quotes-about-change-and-adapting.jpg

There goes perfection, for now

There goes perfection, for now

I finished the 3rd module of the TEFL course I’m taking. This module was large in quantity; 15 parts when you count the written submission that must be done prior to taking the 15th part, the whole module assessment.

My number on this assessment was 85%. I still passed the test with 15 points to spare. A passing grade is 70%.

stock-photo--percent-pie-chart-red-and-beige

This section entailed the “Fundamentals of English Grammar”. There are a few items I’m just not recognizing in accordance with the technically perfect that is required. Things like what is a fragment, and what is a mistake to name a couple.

Why the problem? Why because I do things in writing that fly against the rules but make sense when you read what I’ve written is why.

I cross lines and blur edges in my “Communicative Expressionism*”. I don’t apologize for my behaviour either. I am not writing you a technical document or trade agreement and am telling you a story.

Within the context of the course and proper English, the keepers of the course are correct. It is incumbent on me to make sure I have this technical aspect wired in to my brain so I recognize the objects far more readily and correctly.

I had opportunity prior to submission to go back and change answers. I gave that option serious thought. I didn’t do it because I was concerned I could make it worse. “Guesstimate” is not in my action plans at the best of times and when it comes to test taking, not at all.

That module exam had to be done before you could even look at the next module.

I had to set that small section aside for the moment and move the ship on. Should I so choose, I can revisit and redo that test. I can go back and make the perfect number but I don’t think that’ll happen.

Revisiting and posting that number isn’t going to change the fact that there was an issue that required remediation. I’ll know it aint a real perfect number. I know it’ll look pretty on the façade if I revisit. If all someone is looking at is my façade in assessing my qualifications to teach, I probably don’t wanna be there.

I like that you’re asked for your philosophies. The administrators want to see what the tools and strategies are that you first person personal are bringing to the teaching. Simply, you’re being asked to identify your/the resources and how you’re going to use those resources.

In a previous submission I gave my teaching philosophy in my piece, “Teaching Philosophy, Mine”.

This one asked for philosophy on teaching grammar to others and myself. Verbatim what I said.

Grammar Philosophy

I’m a believer in the “Completion Backwards Principle”. The principle isn’t just a “Tubes” album and it works. I’ve been using this technique for years and the continued success is why I know it works. Before being able to define the term, I was exposed to the “Completion Backwards” usage by my high school trade teacher.

One of the things I am is a Life Coach, a CPC (Certified Professional Coach). An imperative in the process is defining the whole. Figure out what the whole looks like and then you can go about creating it from the blank sheets of metal or paper. I’m also a tradesman, a Tinsmith. I take the “Smithy” moniker seriously and wear it with pride.

My philosophy says that the Teacher is entrusted with building the learners relationship with the word. The principles and theories of “building” are universal and applicable to learning language. You provide the materials or building blocks and set the learners up with tasks so they can achieve small accomplishments.

It’s ridiculous to expect anyone to create “a whole” from the collection of grammar parts without knowing what the whole is and how it is expected to function.

Give the learners a couple or three paragraphs from a book or newspaper and let them engineer the paragraphs backwards. For the purpose of the lesson, the selected text is deemed absolutely correct. Deeming the text absolutely correct allows you to introduce different types of narratives.

Let the learners build mistakes in to the provided content and then let the class tear the altered passages down. In later exercises, you can define the types of grammatical errors you want to see written in to replace the existing correct word or sequence of words.

I’m going to have my students plugging their stories in their native language in to a translation engine and let the learners go English Grammar all over the return!

There will come a time that I let the learners take my narratives apart. I’ll let the learners critique the Context, style and flow. I’ll have the students apply formal rules where I intentionally went with communicative expressionism or slang. I expect that exercise to provide some very interesting reading that we can all have fun with! If an understanding and appreciation of a little self deprecation.

These are three of my pieces that will get used for lesson purposes in my classroom.
Tools, Weapons and Toys
https://transitionu.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/quoth-me-10-t-w-t-tnt/
Ranked Ballot System
https://transitionu.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/ranking-points-relevantly/
PC Language
https://transitionu.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/pc-language-women-are-to-blame/

Music is going to have an important part in my class. I’m going to use all those terrific tools that others made possible for today’s teacher to use. While “School House Rock” isn’t a television staple, there is no reason it can’t be a classroom staple. Music triggers memory and that is a fact the teacher should not only know but put to good use!

Part of my own grammar learning philosophy is to not have structural knowledge interfere with my writing style. I’m not writing academic papers and am telling stories.

I don’t know if you can call wanting to be knowledgeable and possess the latest greatest information on your chosen path qualifies as philosophy. Paying attention to what is taking place in the field of English Language Study. I’ll be doing that.

Of course, I’ll continue to write as well.

G.R. Hambley © – all rights reserved
September 27, 2017