The art of thinking...

The art of thinking...

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Maturita funnies 2017 - Part 2

And so to the 2nd installment of this year's Maturita funnies:
Canada & Australia is always a good source for amusing misinformation:
‘’Kiwis live in Australia.’ - Well, can YOU spot the Kiwi?? :)
On describing a scene from a Shakespearean classic:
"Juliet was speaking from the balcony & didn't know that she (Romeo!) was there in the bushes below..."

No mistake here, but still an amusing insight :-)
"I was born in a house in Prostejov which later became an old people's home, and I will probably end up there!" just can't find the right word, can you?
"The river is very shadow." - Seems like the vocabulary was a little bit shallow :-) 
Oh those tenses!!
"I have choosen..."

History is frequently changed during these exams...
"The world Vietnam war..." - I don't remember it being so broad!

Another case of a bad word choice :-)
"There is a problem in the environment with exhale fumes..."

And the winner of the Master of the Obvious award!! - "The melting ice caps are...melting."

And the award for the most orignal pronunciation:
"MAPPEL SIGHRUP" = maple syrup

And a return for the classic: "There are beers in Canada."

And part of a conversation in a role play: "I would like to book a table in your reservation."

And finally, the last exam brought this gem: "Scotland is the most beautiful part of England."

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Maturita funnies 2017 - Part 1

I was really disappointed during the last two years, when I couldn't assist my colleagues with the English Maturita (as I had to survive my own!). Of course, I really enjoying listening to some of the excellent talks given by the students, but these exams are also a goldmine for some amusing English gems. Here is the first part of this year's selection. I hope you enjoy them, and you might recognise yourself among them. (Don't worry, the owners of these statements remain anonymous :) )

Sometimes, festivals get mixed up: "St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in Scotland." 
And even names! "There is the famous sportsman – David Beckingham."

Grammar truly does save lives...or some of my students are cannibals! - Me and my Mom cook. Sometimes I cook, sometimes cook her.’

‘Old people go to a nursery home.’ Perhaps they were confused with Benjamin Button?

The Scottish came in for some real punishment in these exams! 'The Scottish have their own language - Scottish Garlic."
And on the subject of health - ‘’If you get a cold you can have a rainy nose.’’
No matter how many times I warn my students, this old favourite still makes an appearance :-) - “In London is the eye of London."

And we also learnt thatTower bridge breaks in the middle.’
And some students have an interesting diet: We have two courses for Christmas dinner – the first is soap’

And, for today, last but not least - "Shakespeare was a screenwriter." 

Monday, May 29, 2017

English Maturita - Just the facts...

Before I relate any stories from this year's Maturita, I thought it would be good to share some of the facts about the results for the English Maturita exams. The following information includes the results for both the state & the school oral exams.

I'm not one to normally make a big deal about statistics - I am quite hopeless at Maths. But during the last 2 weeks while my colleagues & I have been examining students in English, some things have become very clear.

From my perspective, as a native speaker, these results are easily the best I have ever been involved in during my time at S.G.O! Over the years, I have worked with some exceptional students & classes, but collectively, this has been the most impressive. 

Before making some comments, I wish to stress that (in my opinion) my colleagues & myself were very firm & fair about the marks we gave. Whatever mark a student got, I believe they honestly deserved it - there were NO easy 1's, for example. There were some borderline cases, as there always are, but our consensus was always clear in the end.

I find it amazing that only 1 student got a worse mark than a 3! (Sadly, a fail...) I really don't think that has ever been the case before...

However, I must give a very special mention to 8A8 - collectively, this was a very strong class (& it must be noted that the score of 1's could have been higher, but some students had slightly worse marks than they would normally get, perhaps due to the choice of topics?) - it truly has been a pleasure to work with such a strong class. I taught them 4 years ago, and it's been a real thrill & joy to see their English develop over the years. Well done, all of you! 

And why are the results so good this year? Do we have better students? Are the teachers doing a good job? Is the use of English becoming more common in a student's life these days? Perhaps it's a mixture of all of them - but one thing is for sure, it's a great reward after a solid year of teaching. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Klid -not a word...more of a concept :-)


I just love the Czech word 'klid'. Those who know me know that I love to play with words. I mess around with the Czech language (I will give some example in another post :-)). But there are times when I believe that no matter how rich the English language is (and we do have a HUGE lexicon!), some Czech words just capture the thought/feeling/image much better. 

'Klid' is one such word. The above are definitions from the 'Seznam' online dictionary. In English, we talk about getting some 'peace & quiet'...we use many of those above-listed words to describe that sense that only a word like 'klid' can cover. When I imagine 'klid', I imagine being at the cottage (of course, when it's just the 2 of us - when some of the family, or indeed, all of them are there in the summer, klid is kind of....absent :-)). The peace & tranquillity that the cottage offers - or indeed, just being in the countryside, getting away from it all. That is 'klid' :-) 

It is a concept - not just a word. And if it's a club, then I'm a member :-)

Maturita exams - Advice for my students

Hard to believe that a year ago, I was in the very position that all of my students have been in before...and that some are now facing over the next 2 weeks. For me, for obvious reasons, it was a tough time, and they all have my sympathy - but the truth is, there WILL be tougher challenges in life, relationships, marriage, work, children... ;-)

However, life is only as hard as the current challenges that you face, so in view of that - from my perspective as both an examining teacher, and as an 'ex-student', I offer the following pieces of advice from my years at this school (which are coming to the end of their 11th :)):

  • EXERCISE! - It is not enough to cram your head full of knowledge (much of which you might not need...but you never know ;-) ) - however, it is good to get those endorphins moving around. You can sit on your brains too long! Take a walk, go for a run, cycle, have a swim...whatever - but MOVE!! It makes you feel good...and it will do you good, and keep your mind sharp & focused. 
  • BREATHE!!! It seems a silly thing, but sometimes students get SO nervous during the exams, and they talk so fast, and feel they have to get everything out of their brain as quickly as possible, and talk, talk, talk.... Meanwhile, the teachers watch them...until they start to go a certain shade of blue, and then we politely say, 'Breathe!' :) Such a simple thing, but easily overlooked due to nervousness. 

  • DRINK! And of course, I mean non-alcoholic drinks! You will be nervous, you will sweat, you will, make sure you have plenty to drink AND go to the toilet before you go to the exam room :-) 
  • STAY FOCUSED!! Yes, I'm repeating this - it is SO easy to get look out of the window...see something happening...and forget what you wanted to say... To not look at your teachers (look at them, but DON'T stare at them!! :-)) & to look over their heads & around them or at the floor...and notice something that causes your train of thought to derail... STAY FOCUSED!! 
  • IMPROVISE! Things might not go to plan, you might pick out a difficult topic, you might have a blank (like I did in history last year! :-O) - but don't give up! Dig deep - go deep in your well of resources, and...IMPROVISE! Sometime, you need pressure to find out what's inside. Pressure is not a bad thing, it can be very helpful. I call it the 'toothpaste tube experience' - the teachers do the squeezing, and we find out what's in might not have a lot left at the end (for some of you, it might be a cruise, a day at the beach) but for others, your brain will surely hurt...but it will be worth it. But make sure you've got something in that tube to be squeezed to begin with ;-)  

  • 15 MINUTES - that is the time you get to prepare your topic (20 mins for the State Exam), and in my opinion that is THE MOST important part of the exam. During that time, you should write as much as you know, or can think about for the topic you have. But do this in bullet points, not long-hand, as some students have done in the really don't have enough time to write a talk!! :) Fill up your paper with notes, prompts...and DO remember to look at it, and refer to it during the exam - be creative too :-) 
  • ENJOY THE MOMENT! It seems a crazy thing to suggest, but (if all goes well) this time will NOT come again, so enjoy it. For some of you, there will come a time in the exam when you WILL KNOW that you have it in the bag. Relax, but don't take your foot off the gas ;-) This is a unique experience in your life, and why should it be stress-filled? If you are good, and you believe you have done the hard work, then enjoy the results :-) 
And finally, I wish all of my students EVERY success. It can be a bit of a lottery with picking the questions...and there are a lot of questions to choose from, but accept your choices. Don't complain about them - face them. Now is the time to show your teachers that they were right to have faith in you & to let you go for these exams :-)
See you in the exams, and on the other side!
Mr E

Teacher SGO

Teacher SGO