Discipline! Neither formula nor even magic

This anecdote happened to me in the last days when I was teaching in secondary school. It was in my Spanish class in a very inadequate place where I was working: a classroom made of woods, cartons and plastic with no solid floor but sandy soil and the room was designed like a rectangle with a small white board on one of the smallest sides. So, my voice turned lower just a few steps away from the place I was standing and from the half-length the room to the opposite direction the students were chatting or focused in anything but the class.

So, in a way long classroom, with no electricity, walls made of sound-absorbing material, it was me having to use a book totally out-of-date with no so challenging elements and in a one of those days the kids did not stop talking. (Besides, it was a very famous group for being sort of conflictive!)

I mean, this could happen to me in the two or first years of teaching, not now! But it was like this.

In a desperate try to get the class into my management I took out a small recording cam I used to carry every day and started panning the whole place especially to the faces of the most communicative teens who tried to hide when they saw it. It somehow worked until one of the most mischievous realized I was not using it properly and the recordings were too short to register what was happening.

It was one of those days.

A day the kids had an impossible mood, a day I did not realize the class’s theme was not motivating to them, a day I would like to forget soon!


Image from internet

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Clothing and its usage (An exercise with a thinking taxonomy)

On the goal of identifying clothes and the situations they are used, student could practice with this:


Remember: Describe what clothes are used in: At school, in sports, in a festivity or family party, in a formal job.

Understand: Offer reasons why these are the clothes used in these occasions.  

Apply: Think and state the origins of the type and colors of these garments.

Analyze: Search in the web and books and explain if in other countries or societies they wear the same clothing.

Evaluate: Assess if these clothes used in Mexico are the best choices or they are just something chosen and decided by ancestral customs.

Create: Design and preset to the group a new model more flexible that can be useful in more than an activity.


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Thinking of cognitive skills (Bloom’s Taxonomy)

Bloom himself recognized that the taxonomy was being “unexpectedly” used by countless groups never considered an audience for the original publication.

Forehand, M. (2005). Bloom’s taxonomy: Original and revised…


We live in a world where everything is in hierarchical graded. Since we were kids we learn to distinguished ranks, positions, roles, degrees of difficulty previously defined by others and that is how we pass our lives.

In any school organization, for instance, it is easy to recognize the levels of authority (rankings), from the lowest to highest we find: the watchman, the janitors, the secretaries, the assistants, the prefect, the teaching personnel, the academic coordinator and the sub-principal and the principal. Any student immediately recognizes this order and accepts it as normal. However, there might be some other unconsidered scale in this example (?).

Some knowledge, some abilities or skills are considered more difficult than others (even if they are not), and that is the order we follow and respect.

So, to think in hierarchical way is not bad when we live in the West side of the World and this thinking really helps us to conceive a paradigm of working and designing. Models of this hierarchical way of representation have great influence in how we see the world and interpret it, so, they can be useful tools.

It is said we must learn basic things and then grow to make harder tasks. Another example of this was Piaget’s theory, a well-respected one that really helps to understand kids and adolescents.

Maslow’s pyramid of human needs comes as illustrative to consolidate these patterns. In this framework are explained how a person has to fulfill his needs from a basic stage (hunger, cold) passing through intermediate (love, affection) to reach the highest levels (self-accomplishment) and with this a great amount of human behavior have successfully explained.

NO doubt those were magnificent and practical tools for any person who has to deal with people, however we are into an age of constant change and renewal of knowledge.


Almost half a century ago, a group of scholars proposed a hierarchical order to cognitive skills. These psychologists defined plenty of mental activities and categorized them into major groups, each group was assigned to a certain degree of complexity of thinking and like this was born Bloom’s taxonomy.

Bloom was, actually, the chief editor of such study, and it was his name that became much more than famed and praised –at least for three decades-. Bloom’s taxonomy was an attempt to help educational goals by defining the mental skills from a lower stage to the most complex. And this was helpful and accepted many years.

“After almost 50 years, Bloom’s taxonomy is still being used by educators and trainers as a pedagogical tool for the analysis of learning objectives. Originally designed as a method for the development of test questions, the six levels of the cognitive domain (knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation) have become almost standard in the “learning business.”

Jarche, H (2004). Better than Bloom? Available at: http://www.jarche.com/2004/03/old28/ (Visited on Nov. 27, 2012)

Teachers are very far away of being intellectual, scholars or academic people. Teachers (and I am one of them) are more like blue-collar men, dedicated to work in front of students and with lessons plans to help them to manage our classes. So, no matter that a construct like this half a century aged may be into the eye of the storm, it still helps in planning and teaching, it really does.

If we decide to go deeper and find out what are the weak points of this taxonomy here I suggest some ideas to think over it:

·        Categorizing cognitive skills into fields from lower to higher is a more complicated task that it seems. Let us say for instance that some cognitive skills from a lower field may be mixed or reconsidered in the higher levels.

·        Into this taxonomy, how can I include the multiple intelligences theory or the types of learning? Do these theories go together well? Are they somehow related or should be considered from streams apart?

·        The hierarchical structure of Bloom’s Taxonomy simply did not hold together well from logical or empirical perspectives… The structure claimed for the ierarchy, then, resembles a hierarchy.

Marzano, R. & Kendall, J. (2007). The new taxonomy of educational objectives, Second Edition, Corwin/ Sage Publications, p. 9

  • It assumed a rather simple construct of difficulty as the characteristic separating one level from another: Superordinate levels involved more difficult cognitive processes than did subordinate levels. The research conducted on Bloom’s Taxonomy simply did not support this structure. For example, educators who were trained in the structure of Bloom’s Taxonomy were consistently unable to recognize questions at higher levels as more difficult than questions at lower levels of the taxonomy.

Marzano, R. & Kendall, J. (2007). The new taxonomy of educational objectives, Second Edition, Corwin/ Sage Publications, p. 8


Two new taxonomies to keep in mind. The first is Bloom’s updated, the second a more complex proposal…

New Blooom's Taxonomy

A new taxonomy of cognitive skills


Marzano, R. & Kendall, J. (2007). The new taxonomy of educational objectives, Second Edition, Corwin/ Sage Publications, p. 14

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Observing TEFL class and my reflections

My variation on the Venn Diagrams

I was sort of complicated to put my ideas into circles, so, I turned them into a three column squared graphic where the middle section represents the intersection or the things I would surely do in that way.

The segment I watched was a class in France, where there were African and Latin-Americans students, the segment was brief, although I found things to take a look at them!

The segment will be found here!

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A speaking exercise

This is a rehearsal of a way to evaluate a speaking exercise. My proposal goes like this: I make an invitation to talk about songs (assuming everyone loves music and has favorite songs). I make an example of what I ask and then, I let the invitation open.

I attach the rubric, always is good to understand how will we evaluated, this makes the students get ready for the requirements!

The exercise is here!

My rubric to download is here!

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Three short and nice songs to use in class

With these three themes the goal is to sing (speak), I used them in my three grades in secondary school and, sometimes I could dug into meanings and vocabulary… but this is not necessary to do… just make your students sing and joy!

Hello Good-bye is a longer theme but amazingly simple, I could just suggest it in second grade without many problems! But finally, you have to try it out!

A hero comes home (song from the movie Beowulf)
Here it is!

Just wait

How wide he may roam

Always a hero comes home

He goes where no man has gone

But always a hero comes home

He knows the places unknown

Always a hero comes home

A place in time (theme from The 4400 t.v. series)

Here it is!

So long ago, Another life
I could feel your heart beat
It’s not a dream, remember us
I can see it in your eyes

We’ll find a place in time
A place in time beyond the sun

We’ll find a place in time
A place in time to call our home

Hello Goodbye, a classic from The Beatles

Here it is!

You say “Yes”, I say “No”.
You say “Stop” and I say “Go, go, go”.
Oh no.
You say “Goodbye” and I say “Hello, hello, hello”.
I don’t know why you say “Goodbye”, I say “Hello, hello, hello”.
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello.
I say “High”, you say “Low”.
You say “Why?” And I say “I don’t know”.
Oh no.
You say “Goodbye” and I say “Hello, hello, hello”.
I don’t know why you say “Goodbye”, I say “Hello, hello, hello”.
(Hello, goodbye, hello, goodbye. Hello, goodbye.)
I don’t know why you say “Goodbye”, I say “Hello”.
(Hello, goodbye, hello, goodbye. Hello, goodbye. Hello, goodbye.)
Why, why, why, why, why, why, do you
Say “Goodbye, goodbye, bye, bye”.
Oh no.
You say “Goodbye” and I say “Hello, hello, hello”.
I don’t know why you say “Goodbye”, I say “Hello, hello, hello”.
I don’t know why you say “Goodbye”, I say “Hello”.
You say “Yes”, I say “No”.
(I say “Yes”, but I may mean “No”).
You say “Stop”, I say “Go, go, go”.
(I can stay still it’s time to go).
Oh, oh no.
You say “Goodbye” and I say “Hello, hello, hello”.
I don’t know why you say “Goodbye”, I say “Hello, hello, hello”.
I don’t know why you say “Goodbye”, I say “Hello, hello, hello”.
I don’t know why you say “Goodbye”, I say “Hello-wow, oh. Hello”.
Hela, heba, helloa. Hela, heba, helloa. Hela, heba, helloa.
Hela, heba, helloa. (Hela.) Hela, heba, helloa. Hela, heba, helloa.
Hela, heba, helloa. Hela, heba, helloa. Hela, heba, helloa.

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Learning styles and multiple intelligences

As a way to increase my own knowdledge, a fact that will help me to be a better teacher, I did this couple of quizzes. It was funny to answer them and discover new things!


Listen to my Interpretation here!


Learning Styles Quiz

In: http://www.howtolearn.com/learning-styles-quiz

Multiple Intelligences Test

In: http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/ks3/ict/multiple_int/questions/questions.cfm

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