Saturday, November 26, 2011

Grown ups: Home Remedies

This very funny scene is great to discuss the topic remedies. We usually talk about it in class, especially when we want students to practice giving advice.

Home remedies and natural cures or medicines made at home from natural ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, herbs are catching a lot of attention due to its very nature of cure: simple, no side effects, no chemicals, inexpensive, plus the pleasure of being able to cure yourself!

A home remedy is a treatment to cure a disease or ailment that employs certain spices, vegetables, or other common items. Home remedies may or may not have medical properties that treat or cure the disease or ailment in question. Many are merely used as a result of tradition or habit. A significant number, however, have been demonstrated to effectively treat ailments such as headache, fever or the common cold.

Class Discussion:
Do you agree with the statements above? Why (not)?

I. Discuss these questions in groups.

1. Are home remedies common place in the country you live? How so?

2. Have you ever used them? What for?

3. Why do you think people make use of home remedies?

4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of home remedies?

5. Do you know any home remedy that is popular in your country?

6. Do you always go to the doctor when you have a cold or a flu? What do you do to get better when you don't look for a doctor?

II. Try to match the remedy and the problem, according to the site Herbal Ayurveda Remedy

1. Cataract

2. Constipation

3. Wrinkles

4. Insomnia

5. Cold and Cough

6. Sunburn

7. Migraines

8. Snoring

9. Dandruff

( ) apply a cloth dipped in milk on the affected area.

( ) Eat papaya before breakfast everyday.

( ) Apply beaten egg whites, let it dry and then wash off.

( ) Grind fresh ripe grapes and drink without adding any water.

( ) Eat raw carrots regularly and also consume fresh carrot juice, twice a day.

( ) Take half a teaspoon of ginger juice with half a teaspoon of honey, three times a day (morning, noon and night). In winter, warm the mixture by mixing a teaspoon of warm water in it.

( ) Drink 2 glasses of orange with a table spoon of honey at bed time.

( ) Take 2 to 3 sips of olive oil before going to bed.

( ) Mix olive oil and almond oil in equal proportions. Leave it for about 5 minutes.

Answer key:, 6, 2, 3, 7, 1, 5, 4, 8, 9

III. Do you know any remedies for the problems above which are different from the ones in the exercise? Talk about them.

IV. Watch the movie segment from the movie Grown Ups and discuss the questions:

1. Describe the scene.

2. What is the old lady's problem?

3. What's the remedy she has been using?

4. Has the remedy worked? Why (not)?

5. Should she be treated with a home remedy or go to a doctor? Why?

V. Role-Play. Make sure you come up with an agreement in the end of the role-play.

Student 1: You're the old lady. Describe what your problem is and ask for advice, but you do not like taking traditional medication.

Student 2: You're a doctor. You believe the old lady's problem is serious and you don't agree with home remedies to treat certain diseases. Talk the old lady into joining a traditional therapy with medication


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mona Lisa Smile: Methodology Teaching

This segment from the attractive movie Mona Lisa Smile is to be used with teachers of English or Methodology students, just like the previous post from the movie Temple Grandin. It is a great idea for reflections teachers should make so that they can reach all kinds of students.

I. Watch the scene from the movie Mona Lisa Smile. Then work with a partner and make a list of all the adversities the teacher faced in her first class with this group of students.

II. Work in small groups:

1. Describe the teacher's expectations before the class.

2. Describe her difficulty with the students.

3. Describe the group of students.

4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of such a group of students?

5. Describe the teacher's feelings during the class.

6. What would you do if you were in the teacher's shoes?

7. What would you do if you were one of the students?

8. How effective was this class? Was it well-planned? Why (not)?

III. What would you do to make these students interested in the content she is teaching? Think about a lesson plan and strategies to make the following class more effective. Share your ideas with the class.

IV. Watch the second segment from the same movie, Mona Lisa Smile, and answer the questions that follow in small groups.

1. How effective was her class? Why?

2. What were the teacher's strategies to make the class more effective this time? How successful was she?

3. How do you think the teacher's and students' relationship be from this class on?

4. Did you think about the same kind of strategy the teacher did? What did your ideas have in common and how different were they?

5. What kind of learners do you think they are? Visual, aural (auditory) or kinesthetic? Explain it.



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Temple Grandin: Learning Styles, Methodology

This is one of the best films I have seen recently and it teaches us, instructors, how to deal with different learning styles and disabilities. This is the story of an autistic woman who managed to have her Master's despite her unique learning style and disability. This activity is for Methodology students or teachers and students who are taking a Teacher Development Course.

What is a "learning style"?
An individual's natural, habitual, and preferred way of absorbing, processing, and retaining new information and skill (Reid 1995)

I. Read the techniques or strategies below and decide to which kind of learning style it is most suitable. Write the number before group of sentences.

1. auditory or aural (learning by hearing)

2. visual or spatial (learning by seeing)

3. kinesthetic (learning by doing)


- Listen to instructions and information given orally.

- Sit towards the front of the room so you can hear well and so that you won't be distracted by the noises other students make

- Sit away from doors, windows, and other sources of noise repeat information silently to yourself.

- "subvocalize" as you take notes - repeat information to yourself as a quiet "mumble" that's barely audible.


- watch for key words written on PowerPoint slides, or the board to help organize notes

- Choose a location where you can see the instructor and all visual aids well

- try to listen and write down what you hear; fill in your notes and check for understanding after each class


- Rehearse/repeat information either silently in your head, or out loud study with a partner and take turns reading to each other

- discuss key concepts.

- Work in quiet areas to minimize hearing music, television or other distractions.

- If you prefer to study with music playing, choose something with no lyrics, and keep the volume low.


- Take a small object (eg. stress-ball) to class to play with in one hand while the other takes notes

- Use class breaks to stand up and stretch.

- Do something physical before sitting down to read or study.

- Use your fingers or a piece of paper to help keep track of where you are break reading tasks into small chunks; stop after each chunk, think about what you learned, and write a brief summary


- If confused about a detail, ask the instructor for clarification, write down what she/he says, then review later to ensure you understand.

- Include a left margin with key words look for sketches, diagrams, or charts to help interpret information.

- practice re-drawing them to help remember.

- Make notes colourful; highlight notes so all information relating to one topic is in the same colour category


- Use rhymes or jingles to help remember important points

- Try to remember important terminology by thinking about how parts of the words sound

- Read instructions and questions out loud to yourself (or subvocalize in test situations)


- Personalize the information

- think about how the concepts apply to you or other people you.

- If you typically use your hands when talking to people, try using your hands when studying and explaining concepts to yourself.

Answer key:

Auditory: a, c, f

Visual: b, e

Kinesthetic: d, g

II. Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions that follow:

1. Describe the scene.

2. What kind of learner is Temple Grandin?

3. How does she process the information she is being exposed to?

4. What are the best ways to teach her?

5. What would you avoid doing, if you were her teacher?

6. What strategies would you make use of to teach her?

7. What are the difficulties a teacher will face if he/she had to teach her a foreign language?

8. What is the advantage and disadvantage of having a student like Temple in your class?


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Love and Other Drugs: Overcoming Difficulties, Parkinson's Disease

This scene from the movie Love and Other Drugs talks about overcoming difficulties and the Parkinson's disease difficult reality. It is important to use the language class to make students aware of issues that concern humanity. When you use the scene, make sure you check if the language used is appropriate for your learners. 


I. Work with a partner and decide if you agree with the tips given here. Then select three suggestions you consider to be the most important ones.

Article Source: THIS SITE IS EXCELLENT. Make sure you visit it.

1. Accept full responsibility for the problem- accepting full responsibility for the problem is the first sign of making sure the problem gets solved. Do not blame people, events or circumstances for your situation. One way or another, your choices in life have brought you to this point. Seek to own the problem.

2. Define the problem exactly---Ask yourself: What is the problem exactly? How did it happen? Get the facts! Seek to state your problem in your own words. It helps to provide more clarity on the situation. Also ask, what else is the problem? You'll be surprised to know that what you initially thought was the problem, was in truth something very different.

3. Next ask yourself: what is the worst possible thing that could happen if this problem is not solved? Then proceed to accept the worst. Be prepared to cut your losses. It will calm your mind in such a way that you wont believe!

4. Now with a calmer mind ask yourself: What are the possible solutions to this problem? Make a list! Brainstorm! Evaluate all the possible solutions. You'll be surprised at all the answers that will come to you.

5. Choose the best solution. Then seek to take action immediately. You don't have to get it right, you just have to get it going. Be prepared to accept alternative solutions.

6. Turn over your problem to your higher power. Before you go to bed at night or before a meditation session, turn your problems over to God, the Universe, Divine intelligence or whatever you label your higher power. You'll be surprised at how many new insights you receive, especially in the morning when you wake up.

7. Every Solution has a Problem. Focus on what you desire to achieve and not on what you don't want. Your thoughts, feelings, intentions and actions create your reality. Make sure that you are always thinking of the solution. As long as your goal is clear, those problems will vanish in thin air. Persist until you succeed!

You can't miss this site! Article Source:

II. Watch the scene from the movie Love and Other Drugs and discuss the questions:

1. Describe the scene.

2. What is the main character's problem?

3. What did she decide to do to overcome it?

4. How effective is this alternative to overcome a difficult situation?

5. What do you know about the Parkinson's disease now that you did not know before you saw this scene?

6. What are some of the difficulties her boyfriend will probably face if he continues dating her?

7. What would you do if you were in his shoes?

8. What would you do if you were in her shoes?

9. What would you do if you were the man in the conference? Would you tell the cruel truth about your relationship with your wife, remain quiet, or hide the shocking parts of the relationship? Why?