Teaching and Learning

Discovering the Bullet Journal

Toward the end of March, I discovered Bullet Journaling. I had never heard of the concept before until I stumbled across a recommended YouTube video. Don’t you find it scary too how well that little imp can, sometimes, guess what we are going to love?

I have been trying it out since and can say: I really do love it. It filled a void I’ve been latently aware of for a while but never took the time to deliberately tackle. When I saw the Bullet Journal, I instantly knew that this might be something.

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Why Are Schools Still Killing Creativity?

While I was having an interesting discussing on education with a fellow language teacher, we somehow ended up talking about a TED talk on creativity that I had come across a while ago and that he turned out to know as well.

Remembering how much I liked it, I thought I’d re-watch it and share it with you guys. If you are interested in the topic of education, this is a definite must-see:

At the TED conference in February of 2006, Sir Ken Robinson spoke about “How Schools Kill Creativity.”

As I looked closer now, I found that since then he’s done two more TED speeches. They might not be as popular, but they are also very good and make vital points: “Bring on the learning revolution!” from 2010 and “How to escape education’s death valley” from 2013.

Before I discuss those speeches, I’d like to give you a concise summary of his main arguments from all three videos: Continue reading

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Writing in other languages

Some time ago, I attended a fair on language learning and teaching. It was fun. There was, among many other interesting things, a panel discussion on growing up and living with more than one language. This made me think somewhat about my languages.

If you have followed my blog for some time, you might have noticed that while I write in English, I sometimes recommend German websites. I admit it: 😉 I’m a bilingual with two mother tongues: English and German.

In my case, like probably with most people, this was not a conscious decision. It just happened to be that way. But at the moment, I’m getting the feeling that it is en vogue among parents to want to raise their children bilingually, something to aspire to. Maybe a result of globalization.

For a long time, I have not given my bilingualism much thought. But recently, I’ve started to notice things. To be honest, being a bilingual is sometimes kind of weird and you run into problems non-bilinguals could not comprehend.

Sometimes I enjoy being bilingual. Sometimes I wonder whether my life would not be much easier if I had just one language and I think about whether it is at all a good idea to artificially try to raise children with more than one language.

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The Subject of Subjects

I have thought some more about how I would redesign school, if I were given the chance. It is an intriguing task, but also very difficult. I could easily create a school that would be perfect for me, but it is a real challenge to come up with a concept that would suit everyone’s needs (if that is at all possible).

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Learning Cards – Make your own

I recently realized that I had been using learning cards like these for many years, both in my own learning and in my teaching.

Working with these self-made cards in my one-to-one tutoring in the past few weeks, it suddenly dawned on me what potential they offer. They are handy both in small and in large groups.

In this post, I will tell you how to make them and share my experiences of how to use them in class.

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New Category: Teaching and Learning

Education seems to be one of those topics that I just cannot get off my mind for long. I’d been thinking about how to incorporate my ideas on education into a blog post for some time when I happened upon the daily writing prompt of December 29, 2013, The New School:

The prompt says this:

You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?

I was thrilled by the idea to get to redesign school completely — even just as a mental exercise — and immediately sat down to write a response, starting, as usual, with a brainstorming session about what would have to go in. Continue reading

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