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English Language Festival- 2015. page V

Mikhail Nokhov, 

Honored Teacher of Dagestan

Teacher of English from Gymnasium # 1,

                                                                              Khasavyurt, Dagestan.

Use of New Technologies and On-line Communication at the English Lessons and in Extracurricular Work

Three years ago the State Duma of the Russian Federation approved and adopted the new Federal State Educational Standard in Foreign Languages which is also called the standard of the second generation.  The Standard stipulates the following requirements regarding the results of the students mastering the basic teaching program:

-          Personal

-          Meta subjective

-          Subjective

Personal results

-          formation of  world outlook, which corresponds to the contemporary level of the development of science and public practice based on the dialogue of cultures, and different forms of public awareness, and perception of a persons place in the multicultural world.

-          tolerant behavior and attitude in the multicultural society, readiness and ability of having a dialogue with other people, coming to consensus, finding mutual purposes and cooperating in order to get them.  

Meta subjective results

-   the ability of clearly, logically correctly expressing his/her point of view;   use of adequate      language;

-          the ability of cooperation in the process of mutual activity, considering the position of other participants of the action, effective problem-solving skills. 

Subjective results are divided into two levels: basic and advanced

-          the basic option is for those students who are oriented on getting secondary education.

-          the advanced option is for those students who prepare  for further professional education, develop their individual abilities and capabilities by independent extracurricular work.

 

Having read all these requirements I started thinking about the role of the English language teacher who works at an ordinary city and country school. What must he/she do to achieve the goal? With the introduction of English into the Unified State Exam as a compulsory subject the role of the teachers of English has become very important. To teach the students to be creative, to be able to have an unprepared talk with their coevals in English, to analyze the work of art in English, the teacher must be well prepared him/herself. Who does he/she or his/her students speak English to in their free time? To be frank to nobody, not only in the village schools but even in large city schools, too, which are well equipped with modern educational equipment. The introduction of the Internet into our educational process helps us solve the problem of how to make the teachers develop their speaking proficiency and the students learn English properly.

 Use of the Internet helps the teacher  widen the borders of the textbook, make the process of teaching English fruitful, interesting and cognitive to all students, both to the bright ones and those who are lagging behind in their studies.  Participation in the International projects and programs is one of the solutions to the problem of how to make the process of learning English interesting to students.

Our Aim is to:

-  teach a student to use new technologies effectively and thus raise the quality of education;

- help a student understand the changes in the purposes of education, from learning to knowing.

What is it for?

A student must learn to use the global network Internet as a means of informational supply.  The importance of the development of this branch of education is always stressed by the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin, because the Man of the Future must know the techniques and methods of self-dependent acquiring of new knowledge; ways of creative approach to the choice and solution of different problems.

What Result Should be Expected?

-  acquiring the new informational technologies;

-  creation of a desired product in the form of either a project or writing an essay, or development   of the ability to hold an unprepared talk in English, getting the students ready to pass the Unified State Exam;

-  getting rid of computer fear;

-  professional use of computers by the teachers.

None of the textbooks can substitute the lively communication of the students from different countries of the world.  The role of the Internet is indispensable here. Not long ago the communication of the students from different countries at the lessons was something from the field of science-fiction. Now it is a part of the English lesson, a common working process.

New teaching technologies and educational facilities that we are having in schools nowadays help us provide our students with very interesting opportunities of communicating with their peers from the English-speaking countries all over the world. One of these facilities is an interactive program The Global Classroom which is a research based, international, interdisciplinary, interactive website providing a cross cultural and heterogeneous mix of students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in  reading, research, rhetoric and writing in the disciplines of World Geography and World Literature.  

 I got acquainted with Mr. Michael Bailey, a teacher of World Geography, Literature and English from the city of Belfast, Maine, U.S.A., during our participation in the  International seminar in the Cold War period in Cambridge, Great Britain, where I was in the group of ten   teachers from Russia in 2005.   He told me a lot about his school, students, use of computer technologies in the process of teaching and finally invited me to participate in his interactive educational program Global classroom. 

It is a research international website that gives the students from different countries of the world a chance to master their reading skills, go in for research and learn how to write essays in World Literature and Geography.

The web-based classroom environment   offers our students an opportunity to participate in a collegial exchange of images, ideas, experiences and opinions with the students from around the world.

What Do Students Find Here?

The Global Classroom experience   introduces students, on a personal level, to students from different cultures and   different perspectives on common questions that these cultures may entertain.

What Do We Deal With?

First Semester                                                              Second Semester

The World                                                             East Asia

 Maine                                                                   South Asia

Middle East                                                           Africa

Russia                                                                    Latin America

Europe                                                                   United States

Australia                                                                Maine

Subjects to be studied: Each region is evaluated on specific criteria which are connected to the Unit Question.  They are designed to provoke analysis of key areas pertaining to the Unit Question and are the building blocks of the Unit Essay.

Geography:   topography, water, natural resources, boundaries

History:         conflicts, governments, leaders, current events

Culture:         ethnicities, religions, languages, conflicts

World Literature

In the study of each region a selection of 4 5 short stories or poems, written by celebrated authors from the region, are read. Interpretive and thought provoking questions are provided for class discussion. Synthesis questions are offered to connect the central theme of the story with the regional question. The program provides the students with great opportunities of developing their reading and speaking skills, understanding and having an unprepared conversation. In our first introductory unit we have the opportunity to share with the Classroom our understanding of our own republic, town and gymnasium.  We discuss home, and family, and develop the skills of description and analysis. We deal with national and global regions and issues.  In each of the discussions throughout the year we study geography, climate, history, culture and economy of a region of the world and discuss how these different topics play a role in the regions prosperity or challenges for the future.  I think that participating in this cross-cultural exchange my students have become able to make deeper connections with the literature and develop a better understanding of the geographical areas they study all through their communication with teens who live there and hone their language skills. And what is more important the experience allows all the students to knock down the walls of the traditional classrooms and physical locations to challenge the stereotypes and preconceived notions they had about each other. Besides, the children make friendly relations not only with the students from the USA but from other 21 countries who are also participants of the program.

Every month I give workshops to the teachers of English at the Teachers Development institute in Makhachkala. I usually speak about the use of The Internet in the classroom. And every time I try to organize the workshop in such a way so that the teachers would have a chance to develop their speaking proficiency talking to the teachers of English either from Thailand,  South Korea, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, or western countries Croatia,  the Netherlands, Great Britain. It is difficult to talk to American teachers because of the time difference but still Guy Hamlin and Michael Bailey, teachers from Belfast area school, Maine, U.S.A. find time to talk to us.   It is a good practice for the teachers as they have a good chance to brush up their speaking skills and to be able to get additional information from the other side.  And here we observe that it is really a problem for many teachers to converse in English on the spot, they must have some preparatory activity.  It would be in a good taste to say that we have regular online lessons and different undertakings with schools in Russia Vladimir school # 42, the Honored Teacher of the Russian Federation Svetlana Galustyan, Samara Access School, teacher Eugenia Kudryavtseva. We speak about our country, how large and beautiful it is, our homes, schools, scientists, writers, and so on.   Our experience in using online communication was approved by the Ministry of Education and Science of Dagestan.

I hope this article will wake up the sleeping teachers and make them think of the year 2014 when the English Unified State Exam will become obligatory to all the school leavers. Of course, I cant say that the students can speak on all the topics fluently and without preparation, for at the most important moment they may forget everything and become dumb and deaf. Thats why they should be prepared. And how to prepare them youll see in the application.

            To finish this article up, I would like to thank the English language office of the American Embassy in Moscow for their support   . 

 

 

                                      Galustian Svetlana A.

The Honoured Teacher of Russia

The teacher of School # 42,

Vladimir

Principles of Project-Based Learning.

Project-based learning has become extremely popular in two past decades. What are the reasons for it?

 Project-based learning has gained a greater intergrating in the classroom as students become more engaged in learning when they have a chance to dig into complex, challenging, and sometimes even messy problems that closely resemble real life.

 Project-based learning goes beyond generating student interest. Well-designed projects encourage active inquiry and higher-level thinking (Thomas, 1998). Brain research underscores the value of these learning activities. Students' abilities to acquire new understanding are enhanced when they are "connected to meaningful problem-solving activities, and when students are helped to understand why, when, and how those facts and skills are relevant".

 (Bransford, Brown, & Conking, 2000, p. 23).

However, a great number of teachers avoid project work as it is time-consuming and requires a very busy schedule. But class time will not be wasted on projects as the work the children are doing is very important for their language development. They will think about English and use English to produce an excellent final result.

Some teachers dislike it when students speak a lot in their mother tongue and it can get very noisy. To avoid these problems teachers should equip children with the classroom language they need for projects and set rules before doing the project work. Our students must understand what is good noise and what is excess noise and that excess noise is not allowed.

What kind of projects can be considered really good? In their article 8 Essentials for Project-Based Learning John Larmer and John R. Mergendoller, educators with the Buck Institute for Education, identified eight essential elements of meaningful projects. Thus every good project should have the content which the teacher thinks is essential to understand about the topic and which is significant in terms of teenagers own lives and interests.

Then teachers can activate students need to know content by launching a project with an entry event which can be a video, an excursion, a discussion, a guest speaker, etc.  The most important reason for increasing students motivation in project work becomes clear: I need to know this to meet the challenge Ive accepted.There cant be a good project without a driving question which should be provocative, open-ended, complex, and linked to the core of the subject. A driving question helps students understand why they are undertaking a project and gives them a sense of purpose and challenge. Moreover, students find project work to be more meaningful if they are asked to conduct real inquiry when they ask their own questions, search for resources and discover answers, generate new questions, test ideas and draw their own conclusions. So questioning, hypothesizing and openness to new ideas and perspectives are the key elements of the classroom culture.

While doing a project students should have enough voice and choice they can select what topic to study or choose how to design, create, and present products. The role of the teacher is to provide a limited menu of options to prevent students from becoming overwhelmed by choices.

Involving into project work means building such 21st century skills as collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and the use of technology important skills in the workplace and life. In conclusion I would like to stress out that creating high-quality products and performances needs immediate feedback, revision and public presentation.