Dopełniacz has been vanquished – well, sort of

This is chronicling my attempt to learn the Polish language. You can find my first post here.

The battle rages and the fight continues. Dopełniacz the hardest case to learn as far as I am concerned has temporarily been defeated and subdued.

It took me over a month to complete the A1,A2 and B1 sections of the case in my Polish grammar book. The exercises were constant and seemed to be never-ending. To top it off, the endings for this case are also never-ending! Jesus! I kept getting hammered night after night, my 40min routine has now become a ritual after about 3 months. Dopełniacz kept fighting back telling me ‘Quit dude, this shit aint for you! I am too complicated and my rules are well, I got no rules fool! So get lost’.

It was, sometimes quite humorous while doing the exercises, especially on food items and how their endings change depending on the amounts you wish to buy, weight, liters etc. Those endings were absolutely insane but I was rewarded towards the end of the unit when I came to learning the endings for numbers and months when referring to dates and times. That was a piece of cake since it all ends in -ego. Fun!

Finally, I got to cover the family tree and all the extended family members which was quite straightforward. With that said, the war is just heating up and I’m on my way to Mianownik now. I’ve been forever altered mentally with my Dopełniacz experience and I am also fully aware that I must return to it for revision sooner rather than later, otherwise I, will become the vanquished and there will be no comeback.

I am a fighter! I got endurance and eat healthily. This language is kicking me in the nuts but my confidence hasn’t wavered much, it has been shaken at times. Some evenings I question the purpose of this self-inflicting damage but I always come back for more.

Mianownik, I’m ready and standing by for more!

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Security and Privacy lesson

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This episode(98) covers vocabulary that can be used for an ESL lesson idea. The topic is incredibly relevant and current while also providing plenty of opportunity for speaking practice expressing personal preferences, justifying opinions and debating issues.
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Episode 97: Teaching ESL online effectively

In this episode I share some tips and tricks that can help teachers conduct their online lessons more effectively. There are lots of tools and features that can be utilized and in this brief video I cover the ones that have made a huge difference in maintaining a high standard of learning and teaching in my lessons. Online teaching is not all bad, there are some significant advantages though ultimately face to face will always win out adapting during our current situation(pandemic) is always important.

Extra tips for online learning

This post accompanies episode 97 of the ESL Trailblazer series on ESL teaching online. You can find complimentary tips and tricks there too.

Emoticons for communication

They are available on most communication platforms so it doesn’t really matter which you use. They are useful though for getting feedback from your students. Simply put, you can pose questions verbally to your students and then get a show of hands on who agrees/disagrees. This can save quite a bit of time if you have a large classroom and gives you valuable feedback without wasting much time. Furthermore, you can use it to ask students to signal to you when they have completed a task/exercise or activity. This is how I use it mostly because it helps me avoid speaking to a sea of black screens and asking repeatedly if they have finished 🙂

Poll the class

This feature is on the ZOOM platform but I believe it’s barely used. It can add a nice little twist to your lesson by surveying the class on questions related to your lesson topic and springboard a conversation between teacher and student. It also takes the pulse of the class so to speak to see where they stand on certain issues. It can be used for debate style activities and further feedback like the emoticon hand-raising above, albeit with more options.

Recreate the pairs

You know that time spent making pairs and getting students to remember numbers or what not? Well, that’s all gone now.

The recreate button is a nice little weapon to have in your arsenal when making pairs and it’s just been updated as well. You can automatically ‘recreate’ the pairs each time you start a new breakout room session. It now also allows you to manually assign pairs or even let students pick the breakout room they want to enter. This seems minimal but I use it throughout a lesson to mix it up as much as possible, and students are not getting annoyed from physically moving around with their stuff all the time 🙂 Moreover, they get to work with many different people which keeps them on their toes and alert while forcing them to adjust the way they cooperate and communicate with each other.

Polish Grammar is my enemy!

It’s been weeks since I started and after about 5 pages of words and expressions learned I am encountering resistance anew!

I was feeling the momentum build as I recorded words and practiced them over and over again. But now I have come to the realization that there is no escaping the reality of the Polish cases. The truth is ugly and real. I’ve avoided, ignored and despised with true passion Polish grammar for a long time. It’s so foreign than anything I’ve ever know, learned or understood. Everything in my mind is telling me that it is a real horror and the effort is pointless. I should quit before I even start and let other losers and very few winners (with special linguistic abilities) take on this tremendous and ludicrous mountain.

A thankless task

I know that there is no pat on the back, consolation or sympathy to be received. Nobody cares if I succeed or fail and barely anyone will really notice or congratulate the effort it requires. The hours, days and months needed to reach any kind of decent end of what can barely be called success. I shouldn’t expect anything less or more. The fact of the matter is that these Polish cases are difficult and so are many things, so what? Day by day, little by little I’ll begin the climb to reach respectability. And so it has begun in earnest. DOPEŁNIACZ is my first obstacle. Nothing else matters than conquering this Polish case.

No plan, no problem

It’s true. I’m just going for it without a real plan. Just an old notebook, a grammar book with exercises and google translate.

A pencil.

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Academic writing: being cautious

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If you don’t want your claims to be dismissed you need the appropriate language to express them. In academic writing specifically, it’s crucial to allow for open interpretation of data as well as on the validity of your conclusions. In this episode I provide some examples and tips on the language you can incorporate into your writing that will show reader a high level of fluency in English, correct register use as well as acceptance of your claims.

English fluency – Being diplomatic

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Being diplomatic is a skill, some may say an art. And one that is increasingly valuable in our world today. Whether you’re having a conversation with friends or with coworkers, it’s incredibly valuable to know how to approach such conversations. In this episode I share some language you can use that could make all the difference in the conversations you take part in.

TOP Teacher DONT’S

This episode focuses on teacher development and improvement by avoiding some bad habits or easy traps when teaching in a classroom. However, I highlight how these DONT’S can also be applied to online learning especially now with COVID and more lock downs forcing us to teach online. If you know that you make these errors than it’s worth fixing them one at a time and not all at once. There is no rush to make all corrections simultaneously. Focus on the you think will make the biggest difference to your teaching approach. Good luck and please comment with your own DONT’s.

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