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Learning Communities

Started by Allan Richards in Teaching and Methodology Oct 27, 2017. 0 Replies

Hey everyone!I am new to the forum and am curious how you feel learning communities benefit educators when it comes to developing a collective responsibility as educators. Do you feel a forum like…Continue


Started by Christina Shepherd in Teaching and Methodology. Last reply by ddeubel Oct 26, 2017. 1 Reply

How does implementation help you out throughout the year? I am curious to know what things have worked for you and what things have not worked for you through an implementation standard.  Continue

ABCs - Alphabet Resources or Ideas?

Started by NEWS NOW in Teaching and Methodology. Last reply by ddeubel Sep 19, 2017. 74 Replies

I guess the alphabet is our bread…Continue

Tags: children, abc, kids, phonics, reading

Top 5 Game

Started by susie silver in Teaching and Methodology. Last reply by ddeubel Sep 17, 2017. 14 Replies

Hi David Maybe its obvious to some but I'm not sure how to play and I also want to create a top 5 game as well. What is the point of it. There are always 5 answers. Do the students guess according to…Continue

Tags: 5, top




Here are a couple of books that work well to teach idiomatic language.

This powerpoint I put together reviews many of the major idioms.
 Get it below.

This presentation rocks!  Great way to present idioms in class 4 students. Also read all the books about idioms on Gif Lingua Books. 

Also see this category - Metaphors/Similies   or  many of the popular VOA videos about idioms on EnglishCentral where students can self study. 


Find more videos like this on EFL CLASSROOM 2.0  |  Download for offline viewing

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Ah, I will have to look at these closely, David. My husband LOVES idioms... For the first ten or so years of our marriage, he would ask me to get him an idiom book every time he knew I was going to the bookstore! I would say you already have 3 of them, why do you need more??

I don't know if it is a particularity just to him, or if it is especially satisfying for Vietnamese speakers... he is very creative with the limited English language he knows : )... have you ever noticed that about non-native speakers, how sometimes they can express something so perfectly, in a new and creative way you have never heard before? I love it, it is one of the delights of communicating across language.

I very much agree. Those who stick with it, when learning a second language, have great insight and creativity that another native speaker might not have. Conrad would be the literary example but so many millions have passed this way....I"ve even had this sort of mention in terms of my Czech....

It really points to the fact that language, like anything that governs "perception" so pervasively (take ideology/culture as a more complete example), is as much a tyrant as a liberator. Entering through the door of a second language can be a sort of freedom.

It also reminds me of a talk by Wole Solinyka, the amazing Nigerian novelist, which I attended years ago. He so properly pointed out that literacy is not an increase in intelligence. There are millions in the world, illiterate and of an oral tradition that are powerful in their perception, uniquely because of this. I"m sure you know of the book, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night"? - same sort of thing for this autistic. Another world, another perception so powerful and "telling" about our own lives. Life is amazing and what is even more amazing is that in many cases - an outside is what is needed to really tell us about our own condition. The cryptic reason Camus named his book so......and point much overlooked even by so many learned critics, so engrossed in this world that they can't see / say "that".....

It really also behooves us to cherish the gift of language, which is also insight. So many languages dying and with each last speaker, the world loses its ability to know itself....that's the biggest tragedy of all in my opinion (the unexamined life said Socrates, being not worth living...).

This reminds me of the discussions in our "Language Thinker" group...I went back to see what we had written there, and to see if I had written some of the thoughts on language I was having at the time... no, just kept it as thoughts : )

Sometimes I have wondered and been frustrated by not being able to "see" how my particular language molds and limits my thinking... what blind spots has English imposed on me? And in what ways has English enabled me to think in a slightly different way from other languages? And of course, what unique ways of perception are gone forever when another language is lost? In what ways would I be different if I spoke an Inuit, or an Indian, or an African language? Would the difference be great, or small, and how would I know?

And the thinking of babies... their thinking, when they are content, is so intent and engaged, they are so full of openness and personality.... what is thinking like before language? It is like the inescapable reality that as we develop in some areas, we cannot help but prune some of our potential to develop in other ways, it is part of the process. (I wish it wasn't!)

Ah well : ).

Yes, I see what you are saying about literacy. A few years ago I wrote a paper for a course (developing literacy with special populations) I was taking about literacy. I went afield of the topic of the course, and not because of research or serious study, just thinkin', but I liked it. Here are some excerpts that seem to apply to our discussion here:

...Literacy is the ability to use written language to build knowledge and communicate ideas. Animals think and problem solve, and infants think before they acquire language, but their ability to communicate depends on “this minute” experiences- meaning they cannot communicate past and present ideas and feelings, but are limited to the NOW. Oral language (speech) frees us from the never-ending now of communication, but still, we are limited to learning from and communicating with people we can actually see, touch and hear (whether through our ears or through sign language.) Still, even with these limitations, oral language is the foundation of literacy...

...It is through literacy, reading and writing, that our ability to communicate overcomes the physical limits of oral language and our world can expand through time and place and culture to the point where every thought humanity has put to paper (or stone) can be accessible to us, as long as we are literate in the language of the writing (or someone has translated it for us.) It is as true for mathematical reasoning as it is for literature and technical knowledge. Great mathematical ideas, and even simple ones, can not be shared without having a system to represent those thoughts so others can “see what you are talking about”. Even commerce could not have developed to the same extent without record-keeping systems, which again are dependent on our ability to read and write...

...I suspect that what we are inventing now with computers and nano-technologies will supplant written communication, simply because written communication is a few steps removed from actual experience. Most of us still learn best by seeing how it is done, and the computer, coupled with video technology and the internet, makes it possible for us to learn visually without the limitations inherent in face-to-face interactions. In a way, we are returning to our most natural way of learning, but with the expansive knowledge base and speed of access provided for us by new technologies. I think it will be like the passing of rich oral traditions, something beautiful is lost, and something very great is gained. Not yet, though : )
In a way, we are returning to our most natural way of learning, but with the expansive knowledge base and speed of access provided for us by new technologies. I think it will be like the passing of rich oral traditions, something beautiful is lost, and something very great is gained. Not yet, though : )

This , I totally agree with and we really think along the same lines. Lots of people rue the fact we are not "remembering" and education is becoming something other than "remembering" and "filling/filing away". I don't. I think it is liberating. It isn't about being able to remember but being able to retrieve (up to a point). We are heading somewhere which I really think will enrich us and not have our thought trapped by our "set' and "memorized" ideas.

However Ellen, I really think you take the notion that oral traditions have no past. they are not limited to the "now" and their past is rich and accessed in another fashion, that is all. I think of the Jewish tradition and why they do so well in professions such as science, law, medicine. Part is because they can remember so well, so richly. Their past is of another way....this also plays into the obsession of Jews to "not forget" the holocaust.... But paragraph 5 -- I agree with and you really get the arguement right ........ reading and writing allow us to expand so much...a revelation. We will lose something when the Gutenberg Galaxy comes to pass. With every gain, a loss....just like how we lose when an oral tradition dies......

What can we do? I'm all for diversity. It doesn't have to be either or.... I really admire America, or used to, for its ability to let societies experiment and be "themselves". A respect for "individuality" (different than the "individual"). De Tocqueville recognized this and really stated it was much more than "individuality" but more the freedom to belong, that made America special. I want the world to be like America is/once was....where diversity is cherished and other ways of being/thinking/existing are valued and not struck down...

Maybe we should take this to the Language Thinkers page? When I start back with my Masters course...I'll invite all the teachers there to join and discuss... but I don't care where we speak , like thanksgiving, it's the eating that matters!


David writes:

However Ellen, I really think you take the notion that oral traditions have no past.

Gee David, I wonder what I wrote that made you assume that! Of course human history has a rich oral tradition... writing systems weren't even invented until about 4,500 years ago, how did we manage to communicate and pass down knowledge before that? And really, it wasn't until the invention of movable type, a mere 550 years ago, that written language had even the possibility of being accessible to the "masses".

My simple, perhaps unstated point was that my ancestors, living as peasants around Scotland or as Germanic tribes in Europe, could not have had the opportunity to be aware of the rich oral traditions of the Chinook people in NW America : )... Oh I see (I just reread a bit), my use of the words "the never ending now". Well, partly the statement sounded good to my ears :D, I didn't mean it quite so literally, just that oral traditions are limited by the capacity of the knowledge to be passed person to person... even with the exponential math involved, geography, differences in language and culture, stop the transmission at certain points. If the person who possesses the knowledge dies without having transmitted it to another, the knowledge is lost with him/her. And in that sense, oral traditions are limited to the "now"... to one person having another person physically available to communicate with.

GD, David, I just lost the rest of my post!! I hate that! I had the good sense to do a copy/paste to this point, then wrote on for awhile!!!!! Grrrrr... occasionally the side of my hand hits some random key on my keyboard, and deletes everything! But I was going on to say that with recording technology came the ability to partially preserve oral traditions, but the power of these traditions is diminished by the filtering of the technology... that it is quite a different experience to hear a tribal chief tell the stories of the Chinook people while sitting in a smokey longhouse accompanied by drumming, in the same environment that the stories arose from, than to listen to a recording of the same orator accompanied by a beautifully produced book of relevant Chinook art (still good), to watching a video of the "performance"- a big yawn for me, it is so removed from the sensuality of the actual experience.

Anyway, I was on a hot roll about the decimation of american ideals of individuality by the domination of corporate interests, when I accidentally deleted the post... and on the other hand being careful when I find myself romanticizing america's past, remembering that the first official Thanksgiving proclamation in the new colony was given by the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a celebration of the 1637) massacre of 700 Pequot people... (The first lines of the proclamation read, "The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy,..." )... to our very recent past... when was the last time a black man was tied to the bumper of a car and dragged to death, just because of the color of his skin? Or a homosexual man kidnapped and tied to a fence in Montana, beaten and left to die? (Two specific, recent in terms of my memory (10, 15 years ago), incidents that I remember... I am sure there are many that I am not aware of...)

But all this can be left for a later post. I will copy and paste our conversations in language thinkers, ok? Maybe others will join in : ).
My simple, perhaps unstated point was that my ancestors, living as peasants around Scotland or as Germanic tribes in Europe, could not have had the opportunity to be aware of the rich oral traditions of the Chinook people in NW America : )...

Yes, that's key. It is also my hope for media - the internet included, to make us a more diverse but smaller place. Seems contradictory but I don't think it is so...

Yes, I shouldn't taken your use of "now" so literally also.

As for romanticizing the past -- bang on! This is the worst habit of tribalism (the proper term for nationalism). The communists focused on some glorious future, that's the other horrible flip side. .....

I'll visit the group this week. Got to run, just a few comments. It's the typical Mon. morning confusion here!!!! And I'm always the center of it, it seems....I need to get me to a quiet cabin!

Here is a nice list of idioms in English. Also use THIS FLING THE TEACHER game which reviews many common idioms...

These flashcards could be useful for teaching idioms.

This presentation is cool - students can guess the popular expressions and idioms




Here is a great ppt to review basic idioms. 


Here is a nice ppt and worksheet for teaching food related idioms. 

Lots of idiom related video lessons on EnglishCentral. Sign up as a teacher here.


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