It’s been a while – have you missed me? Since my last letter I’ve been very busy marking MA theses and then took 3 weeks out for a ‘holiday’. I say ‘holiday’ because it’s a weird word to use. Generally, a holiday is a time for relaxation (well I had plenty of that) and for reading (managed to read that book I’d been planning on reading for ages) and for fun with the family (yup, I have a great husband and three very amusing kids, plus my brother and his family were around for extra fun)…. yet the ‘holiday’ left an unpleasant taste. You may have read the news about a boat sinking between Tanzania and Zanzibar? Well a dear dear friend of mine and her husband were on that boat – they both drowned. I got the news on the first day of my holiday so needless to say I was somewhat preoccupied for the next three weeks. Now I’m back behind my computer, contacting friends and colleagues, organising things (together we formed the committee of a national language association, www.vedocep-levendetalen.nl) and trying to ‘move on’ (to use an expression made popular by television).
Other than that things are fairly normal. I’m now back to assessing the re-sits (unfortunately not all of my students pass everything first time – perhaps an idea for a post?), preparing my classes for secondary school which starts on Monday and preparing my lectures for my new students who start on August 27th. My letters to you this year will be somewhat less frequent (not that they were that frequent before) as it promises to be a very busy academic year, but I will be able to add new information about my first year secondary pupils. I’m curious to know who they are, what they think of learning English and I really sincerely hope I can somehow motivate them to become keen language learners and users – I’ll keep you up to date!
Below are a few of my plans for this year, if you have any great ideas to help me then please let me know:
1. ask all my pupils and students for a learner report (anyone got a learner report form with very simple language?)
2. try to set up a reading programme so that all my secondary pupils can start extensive reading by Christmas (any cheap/free (audio)books out there for false beginners?)
3. activate my students more during class – less ‘sponge’ behaviour and more collaborative learning (any good ideas for activating MA students?)
That’s it for now – just me warming up the old keyboard again. I’ll talk to you soon, take care!