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With a little help from my friends

As some of you may know “With a little help from my friends” is the title of a song written by the Beatles John Lenon & Paul McCartney in 1967 to be sung by Ringo Starr as part of the Sargent Pepper’s Album. A great example of collaboration. Many cover versions have been made, but Joe Cocker’s was one of the best, if not the best.  Much has been said about him, and you can find the different versions of the song on YouTube, together with the lyrics.Vernon in Joe Cocker's band. Sheffield 1965

My reference to it is a homage to Joe Cocker, a Sheffielder, who died on 22nd December 2014 and, above all, to my husband & partner Vernon Nash, second on the left standing on this picture and who was in Joe’s band back in 1965.  Above all, it is a way to thank all the friends, colleagues, students and family including Vernon, for all their help, patience and current and future collaboration.

Not with a little but with loads of help from my friends is how I get by

I am not going to bore you with acknowledgements…let’s leave that for books and the like. But I’d like to mention here just two aspects suggested  to me or openly expressed:

  1. Teachers’ collaboration.
  2. The competitive exam’s assessment criteria.

In both cases, the comments came from English teachers with a permanent post in the state education system.

Teachers’ collaboration

Let’s talk about collaboration first.

Back in the days when I was teaching at secondary schools, I found that few teachers were willing to exchange information, views or materials about their classes. Most of them, for one reason or other, seemed suspicious when you asked. And, mind, I’m talking about exchanging, not giving your work in for…nothing.

Talking to one of my valued former students, an English teacher with a permanent post, she commented that the above still held true in many cases. Yet, she was not only willing but eager to prove and show that everybody benefits much more from collaboration. Therefore, she’s happy to share some of the ideas & materials she is implementing in her classes.

Wouldn’t it be great if different teachers collaborated?

Photo courtesy of iosphere. Published on 22 May 2014 @ freedigitalphotos. net)

cartoon-businessman-and-businesswoman-with-twisted-idea-bulb-100262153With her permission, I am going to publish some of her experiences in the classroom. I think this is very generous and brave and have thanked her for it. She will, of course, be credited for the work published.

If different teachers shared, they could not only develop a pool of resources which would save them time in the long run, but they would also benefit from their colleagues’ ideas.

Contrary to what many people seem to think, collaboration does not rob you of anything. Istead, it enriches you.  It’s not just “You rub my back, and I’ll rub yours”, you truly expand your knowledge. Try it, and you’ll see the benefits.

Wouldn’t you like to do the same and collaborate?

Collaboration & the competitive exam

Well, this may be perceived as an oxymoron: how can you collaborate if you are competing against other people?

I appreciate and value what one of the participants in my first experiment with Poppies I. Mini-course 1 said to me:

… after having taken the exam three times and having attended lessons with several preparadores, I realise that opositores don’t like showing what they do so as not to get copied and that really annoys me because I always try to do everything.

I know that this behaviour is negative if we want to learn and I didn’t use to think this way, but last year with the preparador in XXXXXXX some of my classmates never presented any unit or the syllabus and I did. All those times my preparador pointed out things he liked from my presentation and told the others to do the same. The ideas signalled were those which I thought made my presentation more personal  and those which I thought could make me stand out above other candidates. So, I finally ended up preparing two presentations, two syllabi, two units for each of the fifteen I have, etc. One  to present in class and another for myself because I didn’t want to get  copied, which resulted into doing double work.

Now, I certainly do not want the candidates who are with me having to prepare two units, two syllabi, etc. with the sole purpose of not being copied by other candidates.

And yet, I do believe that they are going to benefit from collaborating with others.

So, it means that I need to think of ways where they can both collaborate and not feel that they are being robbed of their ideas.

Assessment Criteria

But I have run out of space for the second part I wanted to deal with here. So, I’ll leave the competitive exam’s assessment criteria for my next post.

Tell us how you feel about collaboration regarding:

  • Classes.
  • Competitive exam preparation.

You can write a comment here, or send me your views from the contact form

Desde sus orígenes, el objetivo de PoppieS es ayudarte en la preparación de la oposición a profesores de inglés y contribuir a que la escuela pública ofrezca la enseñanza de calidad –de y en lengua inglesa– que tus alumnos necesitan en el s. XXI

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