Season’s Greetings to everyone! Now, when we are getting into the festive season with a carousel of holidays, one can’t help but picking up the fairy tale mood. Let the “fairy tale” concept help us not only enjoy this glorious time, but make us “richer, more prosperous” (at least in the field of EFL Methodology) teachers! J
What makes a fairy tale? The internet has many lists, but universal points are: good vs bad, a lesson, fantasy characters (including elves, fairies, forests, castles, etc), somebody in distress and Magic! Look around – we have plenty of that in life. Are you (according to C. S. Lewis) “old enough to start reading fairy tales again”? “Do you believe in fairies? … If you believe clap your hands”. (James M. Barrie Peter Pan.)
“With a sparkling of fairy dust, and a wave of the wand…
You are invited to
Join us for a magical time!”
This magical time is next to you – if your students like stories about Camelot, take them to this site and in five minutes every kid will create a fairy tale of their own:
http://www.quest4camelot.com/games/fairytale.html ...and remind them that it will work only if they “Let the little fairy in you fly!” (Rufus Wainwright)
We, meantime, will look for elements of fairy tales (http://www.folktale.net/openers.html and http://www.surfturk.com/mythology/fairytaleelements.html) that will help us bring magic into life.
1. Special beginning and/or ending words
~ Once upon a time...and they lived happily ever after
In the beginning, when the earth was set down, the sky was lifted up, some things were not quite finished, and the EFL teachers of Russia were not united and didn’t know about the benefits of being members of a Teachers ‘Association… Many seasons have passed since that time and what has changed? Just go to the http://www.eltrussia.ru website and join http://www.elt-russia.ning.com and put “like” to SPELTA, MELTA, ATES, TUELTA, and ELTA- Urals face book pages. Lots of Associations (more than 50!) have been born and they started to create their own fairy tales and.. .share their findings through new magic tools. Here is what Amina Ulbasheva from Nalchik shared at FB:
“This is a little story about four people named
Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done
Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.
Everybody thought that Anybody could do it,
But Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody
When Nobody did what Anybody could have done.”
And as far as anyone knows, they are living there still to this day
2. Good character
~ Do you see a kind, innocent character? Is the good character clever? Is s/he helped by others?
Joan Kang Shin, one of the best world experts in teaching Young Learners and Teens English, is generously sharing her videos and a link to her site. Joan visited Russia a few times and taught teachers and students how to sing “The Peanut Butter and Jelly Song” as well as “Sushi Song” and the “Weather Song”; her New Year's Jigsaw and other activity ideas were always the hit of her visits. Isn’t she a fairy lady?! And now you will have Joan Kang Shin in your classroom! Please check out her TEYL Channel: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnYl60cS-4hnGtESHDM0Mmw?feature=guide
3. Evil character
~ Do you see a witch? A demon? An evil stepmother? A sinister gnome?
In the end, the evil character usually loses somehow…
Here is a beginning of a story from an American school: “Playful checking” often lead to bullying when verbal exchanges became unwelcome, quickly turned mean and even lead to fights” http://www.niot.org/nios More info at http://www.pbs.org/parents/itsmylife/resources/bullies.html?anchor=lesson_plans and http://safesupportiveschools.ed.gov/index.php?id=1480
Isn’t it familiar? Intolerance, bullying, conflicts with those who are different, are part of practically any school. Should EFL teachers do anything about this? Many of your colleagues said “YES!” at the last Umbrella Conference and have started to work on a Project “Fostering Tolerance and Cultural Awareness Through English Language Teaching (ELT)” that will teach students how to “embrace otherness”. If you are interested in participating in this Project, please send an e-mail to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and Anastasiya Khodakova at email@example.com And we are sure that in the end, the evil character usually loses somehow…
~ Is there a castle? A prince? A princess? A king? A queen?
Who didn’t hear about the Grimm’s brothers, the kings of fairy tales? Bridget Gersten has just shared a fascinating story http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/2012/1220/The-real-Brothers-Grimm-were-stranger-than-fiction The Google homepage celebrates the 200th anniversary of the first edition of 'Grimm's Fairy Tales,' a collection of stories which transformed Western literature. Here's a quick look at the men who worked tirelessly for 50 years to assemble the tales.
~ Do you see a poor working girl, a poor family, a poor shepherd? – Do you see poor people trying to eke out a living to have enough to eat?
“Overworked, underpaid, ignored” – these are typical complaints from teachers all over the world…A new attribute has just appeared – “ineffective”… Soon you “will come to understand that a kind of magic lies within you as well. Your own sort of magic wand. If you can tap into it, learn its essence and how to use it, you will no longer be …the victim of Fate. The word “destiny” will begin to make sense. And your Life, although it may not be just like a fairy tale, could become quite a different story. http://www.fairies-secrets.com/history-of-fairy-tales.html”
The “magic wand” was given to many participants of exchange programs and in 2013 there will be six teachers (from Komsomolsk-na-Amure, Petrozavodsk, Moscow, Tula, Surgut and Arkhangelsk) who will participate in IV program, five BVI teachers (from St.Petersburg, Izhevsk, Lipetsk) who will attend TESOL and also three teachers from Ekaterinburg, Syktyvkar and Tula who got special grants to take part in TESOL. During the past 2012 year more than 5000 EFL teachers could participate in various seminars and conferences thanks to the efforts of Associations and the grants that they could get.
You could participate in Webinar Course # 9 http://www.eltrussia.ru/articles_54.html and get official certificates. You could get higher evaluation scores through participation in various on-line courses and e-Teacher courses, seminar and conferences – don’t stop. Interestingly, 2012 was the year of fairy tales http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/24/why-2012-was-year-of-fairytale maybe because “the stories tell us that hidden within we are king or queen and our destiny is to rule over our own lives, take responsibility for others, and care take our planet”. And also to take care of those whom we teach – have a look at the 10 Jobs That Didn't Exist 10 Years Ago – your students, guided by you will surely succeed!
6. Magic and Enchantments
~ Do you see magical things happening? Do you see talking animals/objects? You might see fairies, trolls, elves, goblins, etc.
The real Magic of this year was a new video game “Trace Effects” http://americanenglish.state.gov/trace-effects , a collaborative English language video game experience for students (ages 12-16) to learn English and explore American culture through puzzles, games, and adventures in an interactive world. Teachers are welcome to participate in Trace Effects webinars (schedule is available at http://www.eltrussia.ru), the EL office has DVD-ROMs for teachers. And here are the first responses: “Thank you so very much for Trace Effects. Once I started playing it, I found it hard to stop. Actually we barely had a regular class with Access kids today as I brought the game to show them and we ended up playing it until the end of the lesson! I gave them the game home as well.” Sergey Umerenkov, Access Director in Kursk
Talking objects? Check the new site http://www.storybots.com , where learning is fun for kids and EASY for parents! You could start with http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2S2WmgPKIi0 and revise classical songs.
7. Trials or Quests
～The hero meets a humble figure in the woods who gives him three impossible tasks to complete. And so in order to free ourselves, we must do the impossible.
And here is a quest for you, our attentive reader. If you e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org before January 15th correct answers to three questions (with your full contact info and street address), be sure you will get an award! Ready? In what issue of Umbrella Newsletter you could find
· a link to Sing Out Loud Children’s Songs
· A link to TED
· Info on iBooks Author
8. Reoccurring Patterns / Numbers
~ Do you see any patterns? Often, you’ll see things, phrases, tasks appear in “threes," “sixes,” and/or "sevens"
Teachers know the magic of repetition so well…Andy Noonan, the Senior EFL Fellow in Kazan, in one of his presentations referred to a research that stated that students should hear a word at least 5-16 times before it will become his. We also try to repeat good links now and then. Here are the winners:
Are you getting tired of this story yet? No? Well I've had enough. If you want any more you can make it up yourselves. The rat's tail is off. That's the end.