Saturday, May 19, 2012

Interview to an English teacher
Good morning my name is Eleonora and I’m an ex student of this school, now before my specialist degree I have to do an interview to an English teacher and I thank you in advance, for the opportunity you are giving me.
You are welcome!
Can I start?
Of course, yes!
What’s your name?
My name is Gabriella Cuzari.
Why did you decide to do this job?
Well, actually I didn’t decide to do that. When I decided to attend a University course in foreign languages, I was just interested in foreign languages I wanted to work in the tourist trade to be a hostess for example.
Like me, it’s my dream!
Ok, but then soon, after I got my degree, I started teaching in a private school here in Messina. Here I am now.
Have you even worked abroad?
No, I have never worked abroad. I had to go to teach Italian in a Scottish school and I had my plane ticket that I had to give up for family problems.
Hmm...And in which course are you working now and have you ever worked in other places as a teacher?
Yes, now I’m teaching in courses with an emphasis on life sciences: psychology education, sociology, but I also worked in lower secondary schools and in financial-oriented secondary schools.
How is school organized or what are the courses?
It’s a big school, there are some forty courses and a lot of students. The school year is divided into two terms of four months each. Well I think the school is well-organized even if it is quite big.
How many hours do you have to work a day?
I usually work five hours a day. I’m free on Wednesday, but I’m often at school in the afternoon.
How do you organize your lessons? Do you use only books or multimedia instruments?
Not only books of course, multimedia instruments are necessary and essential. Today students are not used to spending long hours on books, so they need other instruments. We make use of CDs or DVDs, but also of smart boards.
Hmm ... what are smart boards?
Interactive boards! Ok?
Ok, ehm, so do you think it is important for students the use of internet or other multimedia instruments?
They can help, but not all of my students have the internet, an internet connection, so also books are necessary. On line lessons cannot replace traditional lessons.
And do you believe that an interview like this can help them to practice foreign languages?
Yes, we use role-plays as a rule in the classroom.
Then what are the characteristics of a good English student in general?
In general, yes, a good student of foreign languages, a good English student has to be curious, open minded and brave. Students are sometimes afraid of making fools of themselves and they are quite shy.
And do you believe it is important going to UK or other abroad to practice languages?
Yes, going abroad, of course yes. You don’t need necessary to go to the UK to speak English, you can also go to a country of Northern Europe: The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden for example. There English is a second language.
So for example is the Erasmus’ experience interesting in your opinion?
Yes, of course. Comenius for student of secondary school students and Erasmus for University students.
And in this school are they organized?
Yes,  there are Comenius activities, also stage in the UK, and stage in France, in Spain to practice foreign languages.
How important is English now? And we can substitute it to another language?
No, I don’t think English can be replaced. It is the world language, no doubts. It’s a pity because many other languages are as beautiful and interesting as English, but English is the world language.
It is said that it is the global language, since the first year of University we repeat it.
And do you believe that to understand English it’s better knowing also the culture of English people?
Culture and language are strictly connected, but the study of English also teaches you that many different cultures are connected to the English language, so British culture is quite different from the American one, but they all speak English.
Have you ever given any advice to your students to become English teachers?
Well, most of my students are not particularly interested in foreign languages. They are more concentrated more ... they focus their attention on other subjects: psychology, sociology, education. So I don’t think many of them will be English teachers in the future.
And have you ever worked in a Linguistic College?
No, never.
Have you ever asked to your students to make a similar interview?
Not, just this one. But role-plays in general.
Do you think it is interesting?
Role-plays you mean? Or such an interview?
Yes, it is a good activity!
Thank you very much for this opportunity and ... nothing, ... I hope not to have bored you.
No, of course not, you are welcome!
Ok, good bye!

Eleonora Giacoppo

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Special Announcement for Specialists

Extra lesson: May 9th, 4:30-6 pm, Course conclusion
This year’s experimental, non-frontal, non-vertical, project-based Specialist practice in English was intended to function as a bridge between the academic world and the real post-university world of work, social relations, aesthetic interests. That’s why we did the following (and posted many on our blog:
  • A complete transcription of the J.K. Rowling commencement speech at Harvard University
  • Europass curriculum vitae in English
  • A series of 8 translations of idiomatic English, done in groups to favor peer-teaching
  • A study of the Danish videos, “Teaching Teaching and Understanding Understanding”
  • An interview with a classmate on a personally-experienced historical event
  • A study of scansion followed by an analytical essay on sound in a chosen poem by Robert Frost
  • Telling an English joke in a natural style
  • Role-playing real linguistic situations
  • A translation of the songs on a favorite recording sent to the singer through their publisher
  • Advanced discussion of the terminology used in literary appreciation
  • Attendance at the 2011 TESOL conference in Rome
  • Collection and explanation of 10 slang terms or phrases
  • A study of regional accents through videos
  • An interview with an American and/or Brit based on our reading of the book, Brit-Think, Amer-Think, on perceived vs. actual cultural differences
  • Writing and reciting a sketch of dialogs in slang-jargon-idioms
  • A film review
  • Translation of a poem by contemporary poet Barbara Ras, then sent to her
  • Debating a topical issue in teams following the standard rules of debating
  • A letter to the editor, then a second written directly to an online newspaper
  • A multi-media presentation on women’s issues
  • Correcting bad translations and correcting old student papers
  • Interview with a working English teacher
  • Teaching a language lesson

We did a lot, maybe too much. If you were unable to complete any of these you may send them to me anytime at
Thank you for participating and good luck for your future,
Mr. Pedersen