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ENG 404

Saleh Alajmi
May 1, 2017
"You can translate words easily, but you can't quite translate meaning (Timothy
Doner, 2014) I really admire this quote from Timothy who is as old as I am and he speaks
23 languages that he studied by himself. In order to learn a language, one must create a
new fresh place in mind to start from zero and make words that can stand alone by
themselves and dont need backtracking to translate them or what does in mean in ones
first language. I chose those topics because the students that Im focusing on are
interested in politics and whats happening around them and this uses the 1st principle
(achieve impact), the themes that I chose and ways of introducing them may vary but the
goal is one and steady and its teaching them English with relevant topics going with the
4th principle (be perceived as relevant and useful) and the 15th (principle do not rely on
controlled practice), and those topics and ways of teaching them open up a big gate
towards what I want to do in future and what types of lessons that I want to give.
Using topics that achieve impact on students and lets them use their
communicative English rather than the scripted English is more effective in my opinion
because its open-ended and that lets the students to say whatever they want to say and to
explore new ways to express their ideas. Also not all of materials are the same because
some change with the focus of the activities such as the Prewriting Graphic Organizer is
amid at writing and also can be used with general arguments that used in debates and
other activities focus on speaking such as Building an Argument Graphic Organizer and
this achieves the 11th principle which is (vary in learning styles) so the students get a little
bit of everything. In Kuwait people are contently following the news and whats
happening right now in nearby countries and countries on the other side of the planet. I
believe with topics that move their emotions and catch their attention, they will can have
a debate or a moderate conversation that uses advanced-relevant-authentic English
language and words and they can learn new ways of expressing ideas and being aware of
whats acceptable to say and whats not and to avoid any misunderstanding in future.
Choosing the topics wasnt an easy task for me because I didnt want to repeat the
same topic or the same idea again and again and wanted each activity to be different. The
4th and 15th principles which the are (be perceived as relevant and useful) and (do not rely
on controlled practice) happen to be my main focus when creating each one of the 8
materials. Form personal experience I have learned English quickly by learning how to
listen to English and how to speak English. My spelling skills are no better than a 4th
grader and in collage I have been developing on a slow base but its not may main
concern at the moment and I doubt it would be, because nowadays everything is done by
technology and papers today are generally made using computers and not by hand and
thanks to auto correct and fast Google searches I never worry about spilling. Another
thing worth mentioning is that in collage the professors rarely check sweat on spelling
and grammar, and instead their main concern is the content. Spelling and proper grammar
have never been the main problem in academic writings, and what really matters is what
ideas are being presented.
Everyone begins with a step and now one can run before they can crawl. In my
case I have to explore the ideas that I want to teach on and the political realm is a good
start in my opinion because it covers up the humanities and I can corporate English
learning with it. As mention in the book in chapter 5 figure 5.2 page 113, right after the
identification of need for materials, comes exploration of needs then contextual
realization of materials. This is where I always go when creating my material even
thought I know my students background and that Im going to use politics to teach them
English, I have to think about how and why this part of the lesson is being used with this
topic in politics. One of my favorite activities was the scaling debate activity because the
question that I have asked is important to the students and Kuwaiti people in general
(What destroyed our country Kuwait?) and then I brought up the concepts that truly
made an impact on Kuwait; Bribes, power and family connections, pollution, lake of
work ethics, top business men/women and men/women in power, outside interference,
Kuwaiti people, the government, culture, unknown factors. The students have to scale
those factors from most effective to least effective and they as a class after they discuss it
in small groups, they have to give a unified scale that is being written on the board that
everyone agrees on. I made sure in this activity to give as much specific factors to scale; I
gave factors that involved big scandals and big problems in the country such as power
and family connections, so the students dont agree on one thing which is a good thing,
because it develops discussions and by that they get exposed to authentic English while
still talking about serious topics.
Overall learning a language is classrooms is cooperative practice and students can
help each other learn more when they understand how to navigate by themselves without
the teachers help. I havent fished yet with developing English materials for Kuwaiti
students and Im in the learning proses of it. 4 of the material that I have done for the
class have changed completely by the end of the semester because I wasnt seeing any
good feedback from them from my point of view even some of my classmates liked them
but its a case of either doing it right or dont and thankfully I managed to change them.