Sunday, 21 March 2021

The Different Educational Approaches and the Philosophy of Freedom

      Many people across the globe have fallen in love with Harry Potter over the years. But most people, however, have not thought how the books that started this global phenomenon have impacted education. So, when reading about the Hogwarts school I observed the four different teaching philosophies displayed by J.K. Rowling which the education authority wants to sort into the varied classroom settings here in Russia, and this is not magic — it is logic in the first place.

  1. Essentialism is teaching accumulated knowledge for the great and bold using core courses like maths, science and FL or fear learning, i.e., learn to fear the unified state exams (USE) which turn out to be a nightmare for students and staff alike and most hated by the parents.
  2. Promoting reasoning for caring and kind: using paper and scissors to teach opposites to the Western democracies, especially to America.
  3. Progressivism philosophy focuses on curiosity and real-world experience for the wise and clever that help them turn a deaf ear/blind eye to the fact that the senior party muggles deposit millions of stolen dollars outside school classes.
  4. And finally, parennialism is a philosophy that does not include flexibility in the curriculum, rather is it quite rigorous in the standards promoting empathy for Voldemort, living in the power-hungry and sneaky Slythering House, Gelendzhik, Russia. 
     Each approach have produced outstanding witches and wizards. But, when subjected to this environment, kids are not able to enjoy their time spent in these classrooms since the last thing on the teacher’s mind is the philosophy of freedom… We must admit the educational authority is going to fail abysmally! That said, unlike professor Dumbledore, I have excluded all those above-mentioned weird Hogwarts enchantments from my English lessons. To put it simply, I am a die-hard Tolkien fan of Elvish singing & dancing 💚😃💚.


        All things considered, do you want to know where you stand? Take this quiz; sort of sorting hat thing (sorry for the pun). ⏩ What Hogwarts House Do I Belong In?

Monday, 16 November 2020

My Humanistic Alternative to Hangman Game

   Growing up in the USSR, a popular classroom board game was Hangman. The teacher would think of a secret word and write the number of spaces at the bottom of the board and the kids would try to guess the letters. Each time the kids guessed a letter which wasn't in the secret word, then the teacher would draw a man hanging from a gallows bit by bit. The object of the game was to guess the word before the man was hanged... It is actually pretty gruesome, and perhaps unsuitable for young learner classes.

    I don't like it. I recommend playing a better game than this which is known as "Bring the shark fin nearer"! Do you see the difference?

    You still have a secret word for the pupils to guess, but this time, a shark is getting nearer and nearer to a pupil drastically trying to swim away doing a magnificent front crawl stroke. It is easy to draw on an interactive whiteboard and the kids will love it. This will make a nice change for them and for me too.

Veronika is the 1st lucky winner, who has escaped the Megaladon teeth!


Here you can see very lucky swim spectators.


Friday, 23 October 2020

A Good Day in the Woods with My Son

   Well, I took my son hunting today. We didn't shoot anything, but there were some great promising signs and a nice large squirrel rubbing on a tree on the property. I think it was a fox squirrel. He was on the ground and stole a whole apple. A few good shots were illegal: one on the road and one too close to some trailers. The birds, fresh air and autumn leaves, ivylike climbing plants -- yes, I'm "hung up" on the trees!

   Disclaimer: We're against killing animals; we will never hunt for real. 

   Tony just felt like showing off the .25 cal rifle we built ten years ago. I know, it's not all tacticool but it has some reach to it. 

Well, I know where this love for weapons and guns comes from...

... and China rooted too, ha-ha!

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

My Online Advice

E-learning is an incredibly powerful tool that many schools abroad have embraced following new Covid-19 cases which resulted in the lockout. But here in Russia, remote learning without quality platforms is becoming less personal, less engaging, and less effective. It is solely dependent on  school teacher enthusiasm and usually involves primitive correspondence courses wherein the student corresponds with his teacher via e-mail.

But, let’s take a look at some of the advantages of e-learning; let's imagine that we are working with an ideal distance learning system. Then what our e-learning - now with Smolensk connection - would be like if we were using such awesome platforms?

Also, I will talk about phrases  and concepts rendered in English which teachers of English as a foreign language can find useful when speaking about remote learning environment.

Point 1. Excellent online advice team.
Often your students need reassurance and lots of conversations to explore the option of online learning; how validated and valued the course is.

Point 2. Fantastic tutors and course leader.
Need enthusiasm, professionalism and knowledge during these challenging times? Look no further!

Point 3. All programmes are 100% online.
Basically, you choose the programme you want, enrol and enjoy access. You take classes at a time that works for you.

Point 4. A wide range of online learning platform activities.
Online tasks must engage the whole spectrum of learners; to be accessible and well-explained.

Point 5. Well thought out modules.
The material for study should give a great deal of flexibility to the student; lead to a more thorough understanding of educational issues, be very formative in their range and depth.

Point 6. Quick Delivery Of Lessons
As compared to traditional classroom teaching method, this mode has relatively quick delivery cycles. This indicates that the time required to learn is reduced to 25-60% of what is required in traditional learning.

Point 7. Access To Updated Content
A prime benefit of learning online is that it makes sure that you are in synchronisation with modern learners. This enables the learner to access updated content whenever they want it.

Point 8.  A vibrant online community.
You can study in your own home and this is convenient. But it can also be a little lonely. So you need a community, where you can collaborate with others on the course and even engage in online debate.


Due to the wide set of benefits it gives to pupils, e-learning may become quite popular and appreciated among students and teachers. But very often there are numerous important drawbacks to e-learning, which we have been experiencing for this month of coronavirus lockout.

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Declassifying Coronavirus Lockout

(Educational Approach)

Word of Experience

Teens like the funnies. Everyone used to have their own favourite but Covid-19 mass hysteria has become a hit getting joy de vivre out of students' heads. It is this aspect of miscalibrated Coronavirus that makes today's comics valuable as a training tool and a method of coping with stress and fear.

     Effective training is no laughing matter – but it could be if you do not subscribe to the social media hysteria peddled by the country's political elite. Just open the Sunday paper to the funny page and grab a pair of scissors...

     So, if you like the idea of using comics for learning, the resources to do so are right at your own ink-stained fingertips, which are hives of nastiness and are home to various types of bacteria, fungus, and yeast - pandemically speaking, of course!

     Time: 15 - 30 minutes depending on variation chosen.
     Materials:  several dozen colour comic strips from the Sunday paper.
  1. Spread a few dozen comics on a desk and invite pupils to read them with a metaphorical eye. What aspects of the characters or stories relate to the topic you are teaching? Are there parallel connections or opposite views that point out contrasts and contradictions? If someone were to write a sequel to a particular comic, what would it be? 
  2. Change the Equation. Take one of the comics and re-purpose it for your own use. Change the dialogue to tell a story or make a point that's relevant to you.
  3. Instead of comic strips, try using screenshots from debunked RT television network fakes... 
  4. Get Creative! Distribute comic strips with the words blacked out. Ask partners to write dialogue for the comic characters so the strip illustrates a key learning point.

* * *
Word of Innocence

Rescued from the shelves of linguistic oblivion, 'decrassify' is a wonderful old word you are probably meeting for the first time. Decrassify is the act of removing what is unrefined, unsophisticated, or unintelligent in something...

I still wonder what the world would be like if we simply had more people who cared about us and fewer people who controlled us. So face-time with family, greet the teacher across the street with a cheery wave, celebrate your Faith, celebrate your hopes and wishes for the world and for each other. We need a bit of good news to look forward to, for a change.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

English Week in 37 Comprehensive School, Smolensk

Here's another great outlet for creativity and ideas which enormous fun will sharpen your wits and help you brush up your English. (Click here to read about 9 Men's Morris I posted on my blog site. )
  At our English lesson, we rolled the Rory's Story Cubes and told cooperative tales! Each story was random and there was never a wrong way to go about telling it! The students started with what we call Stasis, then we continued the ball (the cubes!) rolling with Catalyst Event. Next came Climax, and the last - Stasis Returns. 
  On each face of the cube is a unique image that represents anything from an apple to a zapping lighting bolt. The images are surprisingly detailed, too, making it easy to distinguish what the image is attempting to represent. Although, what the image really represents is up to the individual to determine. For instance, a symbol of Camel could mean Asia, Summer, or Perseverance. In addition, there are lots of expansion packs. The Actions set is probably more useful for learners (each cube illustrates a common verb). However, the Voyages set can be used much the same way as the basic set. The cubes are heavy without being bothersome and easy for little hands and my bigger hands too. 
  My adult logical mind is often left perplexed and wondering when exactly we story and that’s where it stops; the majority of the responsibility to provide the fun and game rules is placed on the students  playing the game. Play the game with individuals who choose not to be creative or get into the spirit of the game, and your experience will most likely be less than satisfactory. You have been warned, Poor Yorick!

Here's a transcript of one of the stories I liked.

Stasis Roll (#1): [Abacus]. Once upon a time, an abacus sat on a teachers’s shelf, gathering dust. 

Setup Roll (#2): [Tree].   It stared out the window at a large, willow tree in the front yard.

Catalyst Roll (#3): [Fire]    Suddenly the tree erupted into flames! The abacus jumped with fright!

1st Turning Point Roll (#4): [Sad Face] The abacus felt terrible that such a beautiful tree would be destroyed.

Complication Roll (#5): [Cane]  I... just... maybe won’t use this one. It's not really a cane to me but rather a magic alethiometer hand (or golden compass hand). OK, I think I’ve got this. The aged teacher ambled into his study and noticed that his old abacus was not displaying the code to unlock his phone anymore. He looked around to see if anything else was amiss, and noticed the burning tree. As quickly as he could, he shuffled off to find his phone.

Build-towards-Crisis Roll (#6): [The die ended up noticeably tilted] lol! We did a couple of imaginary air-push ups and tapped gently the dice tray (human solution) but it didn't work. It is called negative dice tilt. Neutral or positive tilt (you can guess what that means!) is better. Bigger LOL!

Climax Re-roll (#6): [Scarab] ... er... In all of its long, lonely years on the shelf, the abacus had made friends with the mice and the bugs. So, the teacher called to a little bug and clicked out a message to help all the poor aphids and ladybugs and cicadas in that tree. Soon enough, an armada of beetles were swarming in with teeny, tiny buckets of water and slowly, slowly, the flames diminished.

2nd Turning Point Roll (#7):  [Fish] What a... #!/usr/bin/local/bash! Finally, the last bug, a giant one with a giant bucket of water came under from this fish shell shebang, and he dumped that water to extinguish the tree. The tree looked like it might be OK, but up in the blackened boughs was a large, wriggling, golden fish. The English teacher dislodged the fish with his cane and carried it inside, where he filled a sink. Once the fish was in, it said “Oh, thank you, kind sir! I shall grant you three wishes.”

Move-to-Resolution Roll (#8): [Apple] The teacher replied, “Boy, I wish that I had an apple for every time I’ve heard that fish story.” Just as soon as you please, three apples appeared. “Huh,” murmured the comprehensive teacher, “I could have sworn that I’d heard it more often than that.”

Outcome Roll (#9): [Clock]  “OK, OK,” said the teacher. He apparently had second thoughts,  “I won’t waste my other wishes. I wish to turn back the clock to be a school boy  again.” Before he could blink, time reversed! Years rolled back in seconds. When he looked around, the school boy saw no laptop, no cell phone. Shrugging his shoulders, he took his abacus off the shelf and they lived happily ever after until the invention of the calculator. 
Do you like this kind of interactive fiction? 
o Active Listening & Communication
o Logical & Critical Decision Making
o Imagination
Learning Curve:
o Child – Easy
o Adult – Easy
Theme & Narrative:
o Whatever you create!
o Bits of Serendipity

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

An Amazing Site and a Terrible Introduction to the Outer World!

When I first opened the Hetty Feather book, written by Jacqueline Wilson, and saw that it was full of words like Matron-Stingking-Bottomly, my immediate reaction was a refusal to be impressed; on the contrary, I felt like being inside the whale, like Jonah in the Old Testament of the Bible. Hearing teens in the book swear or use profane language toward other characters can be horrifying.

Perhaps one might say that the author explains here that if we have children who are consistently docile and trying to please us, we might have children who are not accomplishing some of the necessary developmental work of adolescence: finding their own identity. Anyway, CBBC loved it! They loved this gang-show feel so much that they began to wonder if Hetty Feather could work for them in the longer term. Who knows? After all, Hannah Brown played Hetty brilliantly. But.. the old unshakeable comfort of childhood had gone... with the author of this bestseller. The great continent once affiliated with fond memories of childhood had sunk like Atlantis. It is sea and islands now! 

"I certainly hate my sister Lulu Angel Wink. She is only two years older than me. But she's dinky-looking and she talks in a special lispy baby voice. It really sucks so that everyone treats her like crazy. She's sneaky too. I don't want to be mean but she tried coming to school in my bedroom slippers one day." (Jacqueline Wilson)

Click the link below and you find initial sign up form (if you want to). Create your own customisable bedroom and post in Storyland, maintaining false beliefs and illusions. Click on the different stalls to enter exciting competitions, view the magazine website or play games. You can also click on the icons on the conveyor belt to download fun activity sheets and vote for your favourite character to be prefect of the month.

To crown this all, keep an eye on the sweet shop, there’s exclusive content. You can also find Jaqueline Wilson's friends there. Their names are Zippy Bluebell Writer, Stormy Stinking Bottomly, Rosa Trapped Wind, Lady Cynthia Telescope, Riley Fashion Meadowlark Jr, Delilah Balloon Meadowlark Snr, Lady Cherry Robot, Tracy Angel Snowflake, India Apple Pants, Opal Kaleidoscope Bluebell, Jacky Balloon Sequin, Riley Dinosaur Lemon, Carrie Breezy Smarties, Ditzy Breezy Fairy, Sadie Sparkling Sky, Jessie Orange Tulips, Crimson Sparkle Giggle, Jacky Bluebell Dreamer, Rosaline Orange Feather, Beauty Echo Hat, Molly Rabbit Lipstick, Dolphin Cynthia Smarties, Electric Silly Jewel, Ivy Dinah Tickles, Stormy Dinah Sparrow, Richeldis Breezy Cuddlepie, Sam Bluebell Parachute, Wendy Strawberry Eyes, Sam Harmony Sweeties, Archie Cynthia Swift. 

Have you ever wished you had that 'perfect' nickname that would fit your personality? Registered & Protected