I thought I would stop planning my first lesson and take a break to write to you. Writing before I meet you this afternoon, that is. This is an introductory letter with a very wide audience and a late arrival. What do I mean? Some people have already read this because they have subscribed by e-mail or RSS to my blog, but the specific addressee of this letter, you, my new student, will only know about its existence after you meet me in class and I point you to this blog url as a kind of homework. Well, not quite.
This blog is not homework, but an invitation. There is no proper way of reading this. See the menu or help yourselves. Read it all or just a bit every other day. Either way is equally perfect. You decide.
This blog is all about learning, developing autonomy to study and reflecting all along. Exams and certificates are papers. Communication with the world is magic.
Every year, every new start of a course is something exciting for me. This is how I see my challenge with you:
-you have enrolled in this course either because you want to know more English at this level or because you need to present a certificate to a future employer. Maybe some both.
-I particularly do not like teaching exams. I like teaching English. More accurately: I enjoy learning with you. Yes, teachers learn a lot in the process of preparing lessons for you!
My challenge? How to balance the two extremes. (I can feel many a teacher nodding at this point).
In my class I will always be inviting you to explore on your own, to be curious, to read voraciously. Are you ready?
I have been taking a good look at the new book we will use this year and I am glad there is lots of writing practice. Writing these days, writing when you don't know how far a Facebook post or a forwarded email gets to, is difficult. You need to think a little bit like bloggers do: you do not always control how the message is received or who reads it or what for!
When you write for an exam, you also need a split target reader in mind: an imaginary friend, a story reader or an employer receiving your application letter. At the same time, we write for a teacher, an exam corrector who is interested in your skills to get a message across.
It doesn't matter if you write on or offline: you always write for people you know and a lot more people you do not know.
Enough said for starters. There is so much I want to share with you, but we have time till the course ends in November. We'll meet in class or online soon.
All very best,
P/S: Oh, one last thing. I can imagine you saying "Wait, tell me about the exam!"
Here is a presentation a teacher called Hellen has made. She summarizes the task you'll have at hands.