8 September 2010

Welcome to my ELT SkyBox!

This will be my second year teaching in Ras Al Khaimah and as the new academic year begins, I am filled with enthusiasm and curiosity about my new students.  Although I have not yet met them, I wonder what hopes and dreams they will bring to college and how I can best enable them to reach out and achieve their goals. 

As a teacher, I am constantly learning as well and for me, learning is often a spiral experience. 

Sometimes I take a step forward in my learning and there are times, when I am on the verge of confusion until the light suddenly switches back on in my mind and all is clear. It is only natural that with the beginning of a new academic year, how best to learn, how best to keep motivated while learning and learning how to become an independent learner, are thoughts which I find myself returning to. 

A serious challenge to many students at higher education in the UAE is the use of English for their academic studies and future professional lives. Whenever I have learnt a new language, words words words are all I want! There are already several well known on-line dictionaries (Macmillan, Cambridge, Oxford and Longman) which are always helpful for everyone. 

Another on-line tool which helps with learning new words is Visuwords. It's more than an online dictionary or thesaurus as it offers graphical connections between words. Below I include a screen shot reflecting the word learning:

I find this tool quite useful as it also provides a colour code to parts of speech, making it easy to understand how to use a word in a sentence. 

In this blog I hope to offer ideas and tools for my students to help them improve their English language skills as well as to become more confident as independent learners - not only for their college subjects, but also as life-long learners. Learning does not end at the college gate and in our 21st century, change has never been as quick paced as it is today. 

So, how is  change and learning related to teaching and a new academic year? Let me explain by asking you to watch the clip below:

I may not know all my students' dreams and goals yet, but I would like to share with you some of mine for this new academic year:

Wordle: My Goals

Wordle  makes wonderful word clouds which highlight ideas, goals and dreams.

Lastly, my Voki has an invitation for you - let's collaborate and make this academic year a most remarkable and fun year for all!

Get a Voki now!


  1. Hi Cristina,

    Lots of great ideas here - thanks for sharing. I think the key to effective learning, especially with our students is to have fun!

  2. Hi Nathan,

    Yes! Totally agree with you - the learning process and discovery of being an autonomous learner has to be filled with fun and engaging tasks which motivate us as life-long learners.