Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fashion and clothes at our school

These two collages have been created to chime in Schools Around the Globe fashion and clothes topic.
At our school students wear what they like – there are no uniforms. Our school is a technical school centre - it includes many technical secondary schools (computer science, mechanical engineering, electronics, metalwork...) and some college courses. There aren't many girls around, we mostly have boys' classes.

This group are mechatronics students:
This is their view of fashion and clothes; their reply to my questions: How important are fashion and clothes to you? and How would you describe a typical student at our school?
We generally don’t care much about fashion. We wear casual clothes, whatever we feel comfortable in. A typical TŠC student wears jeans or sports clothes, perhaps a hoody and a jacket - simple and practical clothes. Different students like different styles, like everywhere else – ranging from metal to emo or skaters' or metalhead looks. Clothes sometimes tell a lot about people who wear them – about the kind of music they listen to, how much money they spend on them, how much they care about their looks.

This group are informatics students:
And this is their reply to my questions above:
Some of us seem to care about fashion more than others, but the general view seems to be that it's more important that you feel good in whatever you put on and that there's not much point in spending a fortune on clothes. A typical student at our school wears jeans, a t-shirt or a pullover, a jacket, sports shoes or trainers – casual clothes, not necessarily latest fashion.
Students lego avatars have been created using The Mini-Mizer I was alerted to this site via Nik Peachy's blog.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What makes Slovenia unique?

Inspired by Ronaldo's wonderful What makes Brazil a UNIQUE country my class travelled in our minds a bit to the sandy beaches of the sunny Brazil. When we returned home, we created two responses. One with the informatics group and one with the mechatronics group.

As set out by Ronaldo, my students came up with a word or phrase explaining what makes Slovenia unique and 2 or 3 cc licensed photos in Flickr supporting it - they posted their answers in this Google form.

Here's a video created with the help of the informatics group:

And here's a video created with the help of the mechatronics group:

Nice, aren't they? Here's a wiki, where such Multicultural Uniquenesses are brought together by Carla Arena, who is responsible for the spreading of this bug. ;-)

Diversity, uniqueness, stereotypes

A few years ago, a German blogger came up with a world map that shows what traits different nationalities are especially known for. It's called "The Prejudice Map" and it is kind of a catalog of stereotypes and clichés.

Slovenia is not included, so I asked my students how they would describe us. They came up with a lot of interesting suggestions - nice ones (closely connected families, sport matters, nature too, don't like to stick out of the crowd...) and those darker ones (envy, inferiority complex, alcoholism, suicides...).
We then checked what Google says "Slovenians are known for". This is what came up:
- incredibly beautiful women,
- partying abilities,
- extreme athletes
- low confidence
- historical presence in Istria
- entertainment lovers
- excellent parties
- excellent speakers of several foreign languages
- horrible choice of gown in Miss World beauty contests

Sunday, October 4, 2009

English and English learning

I asked my new class what comes to their mind when they hear the word 'English'. This is what they said:

And this is what comes to their mind when they hear the word 'English learning'. (I like BetterThanMaths ;-))

We did this survey in paper form and in groups (it's anonymous, you are welcome to fill it in too). Some of the answers that brought a smile to my face are:

Q: What do you remember from your English classes best?
A: A view from the window.
(Great idea for next Clasrooms Across the Globe topic, isn't it? Literally sharing views from our classrooms ;-)).

Q: Is perfect English necessary for successful communication?
A: Good is good enough. Perfect is unnecessary.

Learning English is important - English is the language of international communication, the language of the Internet, the language of many films and songs we love. It's the first foreign language at our schools and it's good for us to be able to successfully communicate in it. That's more important than worrying too much about mistakes we make along the way. According to our little survey, we teachears here seem to be guilty of focussing rather a lot on grammar and mistakes learners make... But if our students find it difficult to see the forrest for the trees we are missing the point, aren't we?

My new students' advice to me and fellow English teachers?
- If possible, invite native speaker guests in class. (Kay, Bob, have you read this? :-))Make class activities meaningful. Allow students to use language to express themselves. Involve students in class discussions. Do fun group activities. Encourage student interaction. Make classes communicative.

Here's the advice Wordle:

Looking forward to another year's learning. :-)