New (academic) Year’s Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions

Today, Monday 5th September, marks the start of the new academic year for primary and secondary schools in the UK. It’s also the start of the academic year for the language school where I work, although here, plus ça change. We remained open (and I was teaching) throughout the summer, and so although it’s nominally a new year, all it means is new registers and coursebooks – many of the students are now familiar faces.

I’ve always rather liked the start of the academic year, and all the hopes of new beginnings it affords. I also have a habit of challenging myself with new year’s resolutions – more at the start of the academic year than at the start of the calendar one. I always find that professional resolutions seem more appropriate in September than in January, even if I’m returning to an old job rather than starting a new one.

So, my resolutions for the academic year 2016/2017?

Learn and really get to grips with IPA.

sound-foundations-chart-small
The dreaded phonemic chart

At times I feel slightly ashamed to admit that despite being an experienced teacher, I often shy away from this collection of strange hieroglyphs – but I’m sure I can’t be the only one. This year, however, I’m calling myself out on it, and my first resolution is to really get to grips with those pesky symbols. To help me on my way I’m now teaching a weekly pronunciation class, meaning that ignoring IPA is no longer an option. Any tips on how best to memorise/use it accurately are more than welcome!

Remember what it’s like to be a beginner.

Untitled design (1)Some weeks ago I signed up for Future Learn’s ‘Italian for Beginners’ course – more on that later this week. I’ve wanted to learn Italian for almost as long as I can remember, and am really looking forward to finally getting the chance! As of tomorrow, I also start teaching a daily beginner’s class. I love teaching beginner students as they make such rapid, tangible progress, and I hope that starting from scratch in a new language will also remind me of the frustrations and challenges that come with language learning.

Write more.

My final resolution for this new academic year goes hand-in-hand with this blog. In addition to sharing thoughts and ideas and training myself to become a more reflective teacher, I also started The Best Ticher in a bid to remind myself that writing is something I love, and to motivate myself to write more.

I’m working on an exciting new project at the moment – so watch this space!

Untitled design

Do you have any resolutions for this new academic year?

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7 thoughts on “New (academic) Year’s Resolutions

  1. Great resolutions! Very realistic and doable. I’m determined to work on my accompanying skills this year and I hope to finish translating in English my piano method and start a new volume…Maybe next year I’ll start looking for publishers :)))

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  2. Hi Elly,
    There are various things connected to IPA in the pronunciation section of my useful inks for CELTA post: https://sandymillin.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/useful-links-for-celta/ I found that the pictures from the English File version of the chart really helped me to remember the sounds: https://elt.oup.com/student/englishfile/elementary/c_pronunciation/?cc=us&selLanguage=en
    I’ve also got quite a few posts about being a beginner and teaching them too. I hope some of them might be useful for you:
    https://sandymillin.wordpress.com/category/diary-of-a-beginner/
    https://sandymillin.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/photo-box/
    https://sandymillin.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/a-beautiful-symmetry/
    Good luck!
    Sandy

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  3. Great resolutions – and they seem very manageable too, as opposed to mine which is a list of about twenty spread across different age groups! When I was trying to get to grips with phonetics a few years ago, I used to write as much as I could: shopping lists, crossword answers, lists of ten related items such as clothes or things in the living room. I still have problems with the /u/ in bull and the /^/ in up (sorry, can’t find the actual phonetic symbols to use here!). Also, if you want to really geek out, you can download a phonetic keyboard for WhatsApp…takes much longer to write messages, but it’s great practice, assuming you have other phonetically geeky friends to write to!

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    1. Great ideas Teresa! I’ll definitely try writing some shopping lists and things in phonetics… thankfully my boyfriend is also an EFL teacher so I might have to leave him some little notes in phonetics around the house! 😀

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