Friday, May 13, 2011

Being a "Good" Student

I am about to start teaching a new group of students in two weeks, and once again, I will talk to them about how to be a successful student. On the first day of class at the university, it is not uncommon for some of my students to come completely prepared with a notebook, pencils, and a dictionary. Other students come with a cell phone, but nothing else. What do you think are the characteristics of a "good" student?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Learning Strategies: How to pick up a language

As an ESL teacher, I have found that some students don't know effective strategies or ways to learn better. In fact, I often how to teach student how to be students because some people have never learned how to learn and put in the effort to make progress.
 In some cases, I am surprised that a student arrives to class with a cell phone (or two), but he/she doesn't have a pencil or paper to write on. Unfortunately, this isn't an unusual case. Then, with no study plan or skills, the student may not make much progress and becomes frustrated.
While I try to help students learn better, they sometimes see me as a wall, rather than a bridge, to their success. Thus, I discuss learning strategies on a daily basis.
One simple thing students can do is to build their vocabulary by using a picture dictionary to learn the vocabulary of a specific theme and then create sample sentences around the grammar they are studying. Just having a dictionary sitting on your desk isn't enough. You need to know how to use it.