Acronyms can stand for anything

       As they prefer everything done fast, among the things learners today excessively do is shortening their words and expressions so as to save time and “energy” and also embarrassment as they no longer spell correctly well. Therefore, they don’t bother to check for spelling or whatever. All that they are interested in is to transmit their messages (  on Whatsapp, facebook, messenger or else ) the fastest. This becomes a habit for them and it has tremendously affected their learning. They write in abbreviation and acronyms, and this serves two main goals, to be quick and in order not to be corrected. If they don’t know how to spell “because”, they either write it “coz” or “b.c.”, this last one is not used by everybody; it is almost exclusive for one or a small group of students. I saw it on one of my students’ paper. He wrote it this way on purpose. He could have written it like this “bicouse“. Most students write this way when they are forced to do. I am sure they won’t be able to write it even in its incorrect spelling form anymore sooner or later. This generation is imposing its own new awkward spelling “rules”.

         I asked the students what “LOL” stands for, and they immediately started giving me what they use and what others use it for,

  • Lots Of Love
  • Loads of Love
  • Laugh(ing) Out Loud
  • Lots Of Laughter
  • Lots Of Luck
  • Load Of Laughs

Whereas the same acronym could stand for anything depending on the settings it was used, for example it could stand for

  • Laughing On Line
  • List of Links
  • Love of Life
  • Language of Love
  • Leg of Lamb
  • Learn Online
  • Live-On-Line
  • Live Out Loud
  • Land of Love
  • Language of Literature
  • Loser on Line
  • Living on Line
  • Love of Literacy
  • Lying Out Loud

But, to my astonishment, one of the students said it can also stand for “Lucifer Our Lord”. Here is the corner stone of the whole subject. Teaching learning skills must guide the digital literacy skills. This culture is blossoming and it is gaining space. No one can stop it now. The worst of all hypotheses is when each one of the learners adopts their own signs which maybe no one else can decipher unless it goes viral on social networks. And the teens quickly adopt anything that goes viral on the net without evaluation, validation, and synchronisation. They accept it as good just because some people on the web say it is. Learning needs critical thinking skills to know what and how things are on the web. It is not all bad, but you need to know exactly what you are navigating for.

Advertisements

Job burnout

       Some teachers blame themselves for not being able to make some of their students better than what they are. Blaming oneself in this case is an indication that there still is some conscious love for the job going on. This kind of self evaluation, leads to action research and subsequently to innovation in methods and teaching approaches and techniques. Unfortunately the ministry doesn’t seem to appreciate hard working people because its measures are loose and ineffective. All the same, there is a logical explanation to this. Teachers are left alone. They are not encouraged or even noticed. As there is no assistance and no motivation in accompaniment, there is waste of huge amounts of energy.

       I doubt any of these teachers would stand for long the stress of working hard while their efforts are being neglected with persistence. This is the worst of all sensations. As far as there is no serious solution to the situation, more burnout teachers will surface in great numbers. Most of them are workaholic that’s why more cases will show up every now and then. To deal with burnout disease, many teachers pretend they would take it easy and be indifferent. They only mock themselves. They just can’t. It’s in their blood to blame themselves for the students’ inefficient, so they keep challenging themselves until they suddenly collapse. Teachers who don’t see themselves in this, they are doing the job by mistake. Case closed.

English for learning

       You need to provide a strongly convincing reason for learning English and you will get the students suddenly motivated. The problem is that no matter how strong the reason is, some students seem very indifferent. Their motivation is permanently low. Although English itself is the motivation, there’s better: money. If any other language can make the learners rich, they will surely get them motivated just for the sake of learning it.

       Everybody knows English is important for updating knowledge especially in the fields of sciences and technology; updating means becoming able to make money by doing a job which has never existed before. The learners today are very pragmatic. They learn for money and only few of them who take their studies seriously for personal development. As the majority of learners look for short cuts to get where they can get money faster and with less effort. They cheat to get good scores, but how could they cheat in real life communication?!

       I believe that learning English is almost a reason and goal in itself. It can open locked doors and it can provide plenty of opportunities for students to have quality learning. The world, nowadays, is seen in terms of a vast (virtual) place with no boundaries due to the tremendous development in the field of communication and technology. It is agreed upon that the world has become a small village, and to be able to live and communicate with every one, you need to learn lots of languages; which is generally impossible. Therefore English has all the reasons to be the lingua franca of this age of multi-media. Once you learn English, you become able to connect to the whole world. Now what if the English language is being taught in crowded classrooms?! No matter what teachers do to find suitable ways to teach English in uncomfortable environment, the result is always mediocre. Several theories how to manage and large classes have been suggested, but none of them seems to work perfectly well.  Teachers have tried almost all of them, but they always face indifference, unwillingness and idleness from the part of the learners. English is a language and it is normally learnt to be used; however, in crowded classrooms, some students have never had the opportunity to say a word in English. Active learning could be of some utility, but on very poor scale. Briefly, no theory so far has proven valid. All in all, the less students there are, the better learning takes place.

       English is the language for learning sciences and technology. Successful learners, nowadays, are exclusively those who master the English language for the sake of being informed of the novelties in almost all fields of knowledge. The English language is the key for success. Are the government, the ministry of education, and the unions aware of this? I have my reasons to believe they are. Even my grandma can say “Good bye guys!”

School as a factory for bricks

       Gone the time when the school’s utmost objective is to educate people on the basic principals of active citizenship. When the kids grow up, most of them are respectful and educated. Law and personal privacy were respected. School used to create the sense of responsibility. School was the place where people can meet greatness and self esteem.

       What remains of the picture is the frame. School now has become the worst place you can send your kids to. Well, let me explain. The school system is almost the same. It has not improved for decades. Your children can use your old school books but they cannot read or understand anything because they are all victims of this contrast between the old learning material and the new sophisticated technological devices full of various apps used to teach you all kinds of stuff. How come the ministry of education insists on keeping classrooms very traditional, ordinary and almost primitive, then asks for quality learning and excellence! It’s funny and ironic, isn’t it? The students as well as teachers do not feel comfortable in a place where comfort is a basic requirement for good teaching and learning processes. This type of school is not a valid means for learning any more. It is a suffocating environment. Who, among teachers and students, dares say the opposite?

       Besides, the syllabus is designed to produce identical individuals who must think, act and reflect similarly, and look the same just like bricks in a wall. So, the Pink Floyd were right. The syllabus wants every student to be good even though they don’t look like enjoying a subject. This reminds me of Thomas Alva Edison who was labelled “too stupid to learn” anything whereas he was exceptionally beyond those shallow lessons who has to learn no matter what. The syllabus is killing creativity in kids if it keeps teaching them the lessons they feel like learning. This type of learners have to think critically and creatively to solve problems which we know nothing about and then to make wise and sustainable decisions. Where is our school from this?! Miles and miles away, think about it.

 

Competition for cooperation

       It has a name the crime of testing learners at school. Do the tests really seek to evaluate the learners’ competences? Teachers can answer you, no. There is a big problem. This problem is the outcome of the failure of measuring the students’ competences since the early stages of school. The so called “the school of success” has failed dramatically. It allows the students from one level to the upper one without checking if the kids are ready or not. When they get to the baccalaureate level, they find out, they have been dragged to a trap. To be able for a student to get the Bac. Degree, they have to be efficient enough to answer exam papers in History, Geography, Philosophy, languages, math, physics, natural sciences and more. However, the background knowledge of these students do not permit interacting with these school subjects all at once. Some of them even have difficulty writing their names accurately. Most of them cannot know what the instructions in exams tell them.

            There must be a kind of paradigm shift to suit these learners’ type and learning strategies and capacities. You think you are smart enough to understand what the kids need. Wrong! You … sorry, we all have no idea what this generation is like. However we must try not to give in. This generation is particularly dependent in every side of their lives, so why then shall we exclude study. They are dependent on their mobile phones, and they rely a lot on what the internet tells them about what they need to know. In a word, you are dealing with addicted generation. Well, this addiction case can be treated in a way to make it positively affecting the learners when testing exploits the bright side of being a student who can do nothing without technology.

Two heads are better than one

        As the students are keen on working in pairs to feed from each other, they form this false concept about themselves, that the others are always better, why don’t we let them work in teams so that each one of them regains self-confidence and cooperates seriously to accomplish tasks. This kind of tests is more beneficial for both the learners and the school they belong to. They can work together to improve their abilities, skills and independence. Tell them what to do, but let them care about how to do it. Certainly working together allow them to be depression-free and then creativity is boosted through cooperation to give competition a new look. The learners should learn how to compete to improve their cooperative style for the betterment of results. The learners will understand and feel the importance of their individuality in the group. They start to compete positively. They indirectly encourage each other to be better than what they were before the contest. This is a new learning strategy which will become a habit afterwards. Individual tests have proven a failure in the age of technology. Students cheat openly thinking that it is their right to help themselves “recall” information. No one tolerates this kind of tests anymore. Variety in skills and competencies surely enrich collective tasks. If the group cannot come out with something original, it means that the group has no diversity in skills and that is the outcome of old school system.