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Education

Education Multicultural Family

Raising Multilingual Readers

March 27, 2018
Anna, Oliver & Sam at the kitchen table reading with books and magazines around them

It’s Saturday night at our local microbrewery. Radek and I are chatting about the recent Czech presidential election with our neighbors. (Truth: They’re making jokes. I’m listening in hopes of improving my Czech humor.) The younger children have lined up plastic soldiers and army tanks on the wooden table and are preparing for battle. And my 13-year daughter is hunched over in an armchair at an empty table. She’s not pouting. She’s reading. …

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Education Multicultural Family

An apple a day

October 19, 2017

Staying balanced by teaching English After 15 years of teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in Prague (with a few gaps for birthing babies), this year I decided to quit. In lieu of teaching, I planned more writing, researching, and proofreading assignments – jobs I could do waiting at sports practices, after I put the children to bed, or in the mornings when they were at school. I had been teaching the same afternoon conversation lessons to the same…

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Education

School entrance exams – effort or result?

May 5, 2016
student taking a test

When your child’s best doesn’t make the cut In late April, after the snow thaws but before the lilacs bloom, thousands of Czech students aged 11 – 14, sit for half-day school entrance examinations in the subjects of Czech, math, logic and general knowledge. The results of the tests will determine whether these students will be accepted at a Czech gymnasium program. The tests aren’t mandatory and many students choose not to take this route. However, for those that attempt…

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Education

Making connections

February 12, 2015
English language written on black board in chalk with words hello, hi, how are you, and goodby.

Teaching English and learning to listen I come from a family of talkers. Making polite chitchat and navigating a conversation is a skill I learned in my early years, mostly by listening to the women in my family as they talked their way through church potluck dinners, monthly bridge group meetings, recreational league basketball games and Friday night high school football. Among Americans, women from the US’s southern states are particularly known for their conversational skills. Although my Virginia hometown…

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Education

Teaching the younger crowd

October 31, 2014
A little girl learning English

Generating enthusiasm and bolstering confidence How do you get ten wiggly second-graders, released from their loosely supervised after-school care and put back in the classroom, to stop poking their neighbor in the side or fiddling with their locker keys, to sit up straight, listen closely and speak clearly? Short of standing on my head or announcing a fire drill, I haven’t really found the ticket yet. There’s a popular classroom management tongue-twister where the teacher says, “1,2,3…eyes on me,” and…

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Education Language

Storybook connections

September 5, 2014
Reading story books

Growing through reading I had been bracing myself for the first day of school’s drive into town since last week, when I’d noticed workers blocking off a lane of traffic on our commute route to paint “BUS TAXI BIKE” indications. Getting to school on time had not been an easy feat in the past – and this was bound to make it even more of a challenge. Last year the traffic would start to back up by 7:50 a.m. Although…

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