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City Centre Murcia

One of the cool things about my job is that I get to see all sorts of different teachers teaching in all sorts of different ways and in all sorts of different countries.  It is quite an experience.

This week is my first presentation in Spain so today we were out going round the local schools finding out what help the teachers need with teaching English, what sort of issues they have and of course if there are any cool things we can learn to share with you guys.

As with all countries the overriding concern is getting rid of the ancient, underperforming grammar translation types of teaching.  Yep, this still is the norm in just about every country.

Luckily the teachers I mostly deal with are the cool new ones who are trying new things and want to make a difference.

Bilingual Education

This region is also trialing a huge bilingual education programme where the kids learn other subjects in English.   In general I’m not a big fan of bilingual lessons as although their English skyrockets it often has a detrimental effect on the actual subjects they are studying.   But they seem to be keeping on top of it here.

The challenge, as always, is getting started as the teachers often struggle a bit with the English and the kids are brand new so it takes a while to get going.  Which is where Genki English comes into its own because I designed the focussed nature of the current curriculum to get non-English speaking kids speaking, reading & confident enough to go into all-English classrooms as quickly as possible.  It all seems to be working well with the only problem reported being the 5th grade kids who haven’t been through the programme and how to bring them up to the level of the younger kids who have.  I guess some form of intensive course for them might be the best option.

Am I doing it right?

The biggest things that came up today were teachers who were wanting to learn more methodologies and generally just to learn more themselves so that they can be more confident that the things they are doing are right,  or indeed need changing.

You often see this with the very best of teachers,  they try things, see it working, but we often tend to look at our own shortcomings too much and often miss just how good we are compared with everyone else.  And in general the teachers today were really, really good.  They just need to see it.  Which is of course where the workshops come in. :)

Ninja Tip:  If you do see a good teacher teaching, do tell them, it will make their day. :)

One new teacher was really great saying how she is blown away by just how good the kids coming into her 2nd grade class are and would love to be able to teach so well herself.   The teacher responsible was sitting next to her and I think it just made her year to hear that.

Is that phonics?

A few problems came up with some teachers not quite understanding what phonics is – it is rather too technical a name isn’t it! – one teacher was doing a days of the week song and then saying things like “So everyone, Monday,  EM OO EN DEE AY WHY”    She caught the look on my face and then went back to “correct” herself by saying “Oh no,  MMM,  O, NNNN etc.”  but of course Monday is a phonetic exception, it’s not “Mon”day, so you do have to be careful and leave the phonics till much later. :)

Non-Interactive Whiteboards?

Plus I was also asking about interactive whiteboards.   In most countries I’ve been to where they have interactive whiteboards, it’s very rare to see teachers taking advantage of any of the actual interactive features. (Apart from the drawing programs, which of course you could do just as easily on a chalkboard. ) And today was similar where they were playing Youtube videos. Which is of course a fantastic resource but you’re just using it as a big TV without any of the interaction.  So that’s good to see and they’ll love it when they see what the Genki English software does for an interactive board.

We also had a few other things like not knowing why it’s important to teach in full sentences, a few complaints about resources (Floppy phonics anyone??)  but in general just lots of good stuff.

Plus we’re going to have loads of Genki English fans at the workshop so that always impresses the primary school teachers when they see what you guys can do – you are amazing! :)

So it’s all looking very good so far.

See you soon!

Be genki,

Richard

 

P.S.  I think we are full now for this weekend’s Murcia workshop.  But if you haven’t paid yet and still want to join, get in touch with Juanjo and he might be able to put you on the backup list just in case there are any cancellations!

 


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Thanks to Martin for the prompting Margit and I have been working on some more Phonics Stories for you.

This next one is for use after the current phonics stories and the “igh” lesson and it is still in beta test form i.e.  it should be OK but there might be some mistakes still so please let us know if you find any!

For example when writing a phonics story it has to:

  1. Use only the phonemes/graphemes used so far.
  2. Kids understand all the words (i.e. they are covered in the curriculum) unless…
  3. All the words not in the curriculum we have to introduce with illustrations here.  (There are quite a few this time!)
  4. Any “funky words” i.e. words you can’t read with phonics either have to be introduced here or have been used in previous stories.
  5. It’s got to have something fun in the story. :)

As you can see it’s quite a bit of work.

So if you’re up to “igh” in your Genki Phonics and want to try it and help us check how it works then here you go!

phonicsighstory

 

Ninja Tip:  When showing parents the power of the phonics programme, the “igh” page is always the one that impresses the most!

Would you like us to continue with the rest of the stories?  Do let us know in the comments!

P.S.  Obviously your kids have to be at least this far in the Genki Phonics curriculum in order to do this page! :)


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Halloween games aren’t the usual thing I think about when it’s sunny outside….

So after a few days rest – I seriously was exhausted by all that travel! – I just arrived in Spain for this week’s workshop and it is beautiful.

But of course I’m still thinking of you guys and all your requests,  so here are a few more of my top Halloween Games for you.


Spider’s Web 
 - no English but  a fantastic, huge, wall decoration – thanks Miki!


Pop the Pumpkin Pics
 - this seems to be the most popular Halloween vocab review game for some reason!

And just one more …..

 


How much? Candies Game
 - a bit of maths & English!

And if you’re doing a Halloween Party….

Ninja Tip:   When handing out invitations to your Halloween party,  give each student one extra, just one, “invite a friend + parent/guardian” invitation.   This gets your amazing school exposed to a whole new class of potential students – who might otherwise have gone to the horrible school down the street! – but keeping the invitation numbers limited makes them valuable *and* gets a good balance between old and new students so their parents can see how amazing your kids are!

Hope that gets you Halloweened up,   or for those of us in none Halloween countries, this is what my view looked like this morning.

spainview

See you all here this weekend for an awesome workshop – there are cheap flights here but I think we’re fully booked!! :(

Be genki,

Richard

 


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I am absolutely shattered!

In the last 18 months I’ve been to Shanghai, Amsterdam, Auckland, Bratislava, Singapore, Vienna, Perth, Milan, Tokyo, Bangkok, Kiev, Moscow & London….

Phew.

changingworld

So we’re just two weeks away from the very last European workshop of the year coming up in Spain on October 25th/26th. 

We might be able to squeeze in a quick Christmas gig in Tokyo,  but this is the last main workshop of the year,  so if you’re wanting some amazing Genki English ideas plus all my remaining energy then do pop along and join us for what will be an amazing two days together.

Pre-registration finishes soon,  so if you are teaching in Europe & want the discounts then get in touch ASAP!

Then I’ve only got 4 more Time Zone changes before the end of the year! :)

See you all soon!

Be genki,

Richard


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It’s always amazing to see which games and ideas becomes hits and the ones that don’t.  I’d have never picked these as such winners, but Hugo’s Origami Games have become one of the biggest hits of the year!

So he’s just made up some more for the Happy Halloween lesson,   What do you want to be for Halloween?  and Let’s Make a Monster!

As with all the other Halloween worksheets, games etc.  they are on the right side of each lesson’s page.

You can find out how to play the games in Hugo’s Video here and you can find all the other Halloween Lessons on this page.

Enjoy!

P.S.  Also check out the Do not open!  game if you want lots of laughs in your class! :)

donotopen

 

 

 


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magicwandWhilst we can all guess what parents want from our lessons,  what we *think* they want (or what they *say* they want) is often very different from what they actually really feel they want from you.

Hence all the stress and conflicts.

So if you can find a way to find out what parents (or adult students) *really* want you’ll always have more students than you can handle.

That’s how all those schools with big waiting lists do it.

As anything, expert marketers use psychology to find this out from customers.

So instead of a vague “What would you like for your children?”  or “What sort of English course are you looking for?”   (or even worse, asking them in English rather than their native language!)

All you need to ask, in their language of course, is :

If I could wave a magic wand and make anything happen for you,  what you most want, right now, out of an educational programme for your children?

Sounds simple, eh?

But translate it exactly as it is written and it will give you gems.

( And if you notice this is the first question I asked you in the free email course :) )

If you want more students than you can handle,  sit down with the parents, give them a coffee and in their language ask them this question.

Then *listen.*

It will shock you.

It will change *everything* you do.

And it will make you the Grand Master Black Belt of Education in your town.

Be genki,

Richard


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Comment Competition: Every month I'll select a random comment to win a Genki English CD of your choice. Comment a lot and you have more chance of winning.