Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Grammar Games: Developing learner independence and excellence

   The first moments were very memorable. We preferred to have an early morning walk to the Convention center. The first day, we went to the registration office, got our badges and the book program. The book is a real treasure. Flipping through the book gave me a sense of responsibility I am not used to. We were attending lectures that are preset.Personally, I felt overwhelmed, because all titles of the sessions seemed so interesting and  appealing. What to do?
  This was in fact, the first lesson I got at the TESOL! "Be self-responsible and pick the workshops, lectures and presentations that most appeal to you!" " What do I need to know more? What interests me more? What do I need to add to my professional development?
What shall I attend?
What a wonderful occasion! It is high time I started thinking about my own needs and my interests. We do not feel the importance of such reflective moments unless we are put to the test.
    The challenge was that many interesting sessions were conducted at the same time. My first pick was a wondrous workshop conducted by Irene McKay and Tina Intini, two lively instructors at the George Brown College in Toronto and the title of the workshop is : Developing learner independence and excellence via Grammar Games.
    This was the first workshop I attended. It was conducted in a a very engaging way that I still remember the activities we took part in, the competitive spirit we were involved in so joyfully. I was part of the TESOL 2013 team, a good omen, I think. Lucky us!
 We were at the Philadelphia TESOL and the instructor divided us in two teams, the Philadelphia 2012 team and the Dallas 2013 team. We enjoyed so much the cozy, friendly and amiable ambience. So much fun, so much engagement that we sensed we were, ourselves, pupils actively participating, chatting, but most importantly revising Grammar in such a lovely, enjoyable manner.
 Below are some links that the instructors shared with us: They do sum up most of the amazing tips and ideas.Thank you Irene and Tina.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing these links. I was expecting such a treasure…
    As I was reading through these nice articles, I felt an immense bitterness at the way we have been made to feel LESS all along our career. When the validation of an instructor rests with someone else’s whims, that instructor will never improve nor reach self-satisfaction. Working to please others is not a promising outlook…it only leads to create parrot-like laypersons. When the teacher’s hands are tied up with uninspiring syllabi and restrictive framework, can he/she be creative? Creativity blossoms only in a free, easy atmosphere where the teacher should be true to him/herself and never wear a guise or a goggle to please or be falsely solemn. Setting up a rigid lifeless ‘preset teaching style’ for teachers to follow is a double-jeopardy procedure that kills both the instructor’s and the learner’s inner motivation. When both teachers and students know in advance -and in every single detail- the process and the end-product of the class interaction, the lesson will rather look like a tasteless overcooked or undercooked cake that can never make the mouth water…
    The catchword that should resonate everywhere in our country, in every educator’s or trainer’s ear is MODESTY. That’s the genuine aspect we are in dire need of.
    The American instructors meant to make you drop voluntarily your status as teachers and plunge into the learner’s shoes body and soul …. They enthused you all, enthralled all your senses, and grasped the kid inside you. To learn and have fun certainly wipes out the learners’ negative attitude and turns their counterproductive energy into a creative inexhaustible constructive force.
    Could our schools step out of that crippling threshold one day?

  2. Most welcome Mr.Hadji... I am really amazed at your awe-inspiring comment and in-depth analysis.Thank you for sharing your experience. I strongly agree that the teacher's creativity is killed if s/he is not given much space to prove it. To stress what you stated,What really made me awe-struck , while being at the TESOL convention, is the modesty, the solicitous reactions of the instructors, the flexibility, the goodwill gestures.
    Personally,I do think our schools would step out of any crippling threshold on the condition that all partners would like to! Let us be hopeful Mr.Hadji! Things are changing so much the better...
    Thank you again for your in-depth analysis...