My last-minute #nurture1314 post :-)

Felix Felicis
Felix Felicis – also called “Liquid Luck”, is a magical potion that makes the drinker lucky for a period of time, during which everything they attempt will be successful.
Image from Rebekah Hughes via Flickr

This is my contribution to #Nurture1314 initiated by @ChocoTzar and pushed forward by @rlj1981 – it’s been a very busy, exciting and fast paced year and I’ve really enjoyed reflecting on it.

13 reflections from the past year and 14 to look forward to (in no particular order).

13 things from 2013:

  1. Dresden. We changed flats and we now live in the best city of the world: Dresden. A very important lesson: changing flats during the hottest days of the summer with a girlfriend pregnant at 6 month is NOT recommendable.

    Dresden, GER 2013

  2. Father. I became father of a little girl. As it is my first time, everyday is still a little adventure and she already knows perfectly how to twist me around her little finger.
  3. University. I finished my PhD about the use of IWB in physics. A very good feeling to close that chapter. 


  4. School. I started to work at school to complete my “Referendariat” (kind of 2 year practical period) and become a fully qualified teacher by summer 2015. 

    2013-06-20 09.55.19

  5. TeachMeet. It was the first time for me presenting some stuff at a TeachMeet – and not any TM, it was at BETT 2013 in front of a lot of teachers. This was definitely a highlight for me. 


  6. #ukedchat. Engaging with #ukedchat and presenting the first time at TeachTweet to show that I’m not just “taking ideas” but also can give something. 


  7. GDrive. Starting to experiment with student feedback using Google Drive forms – very easy and with surprising results. Helpful for reflecting on my teaching and astonishing to see how my students perceive their lessons with me. 
  8. Blogging. I wrote 17 posts in my blog this year, often with help from my friends who offer their time to correct the biggest mistakes.
  9. Twitter. It’s my second year on Twitter and I’m preferring it to Facebook. One important lesson was followers are NOT (automatically) your friends, nor does following mean that you agree or even support the message of the person you follow.
  10. Camera. I really love my Casio Exilim ZR 400, not only because it’s able to capture high-speed-videos – it also makes pretty good pictures. It has become a constant companion.CIMG0390
  11. High-Speed-Videos. They are cool, they are fascinating and they could be used in the science classroom. My posts about how to make them generated some positive reactions and I hope some readers will try it themselves.
  12. #EDchatDE. This hashtag is the German equivalent of #ukedchat with a fast growing community of German teachers. Answers are provided in English and German – so everybody is welcome to participate! It takes place weekly on Tuesday between 20.00 and 21.00 (German time, 19.00 till 20.00 UK time), you can find more details here.
  13. Sharing. I started sharing my materials via Flickr, this Blog and other resources (like Dropbox). I benefit from a lot of people who share their ideas on their Blogs or on Twitter, so I think it was just fair to give something back – even it is as little as what I can offer.

14 things I’d like to do or learn in 2014:

  1. PhD. Get my PhD published as a book to get the official doctoral certificate. Should be done by end of January at the latest.
  2. Student Feedback Systems. Write an article about the use of student feedback systems for a German physics education journal. I will also write about the usage of these in my own lessons in the second state exam thesis.
  3. Model Boats. Finish my biggest model ship and use some time to drive the two finished ones on the lake.

    2013-01-17 18.04.07

  4. Learning Platform. Introducing a learning platform to my school. The internal network to share material is fine, but there are more things I’d like to do!
  5. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Persuading our school leadership team that the use of smartphones in physics should be allowed – and if not, doing it anyway.
  6. Blogging. Keep on blogging. But definitely reduce the requests for help. One reflective post per week would be great.
  7. Arduino. I had already a first go on Arduino but I’d like to explore more possibilities – at the moment this kit is just lying around.2013-01-17 21.13.55
  8. Responsibility. Stop trying to feel responsible for everybody and everything.
  9. Focus. I’m interested in a broad spectrum of topics, but I need to force myself to focus on fewer things. Otherwise I’ll go crazy in 2014 🙂
  10. Time Management. Optimise my time management, especially in free hours at school. The goal is that I don’t take too much work home and can enjoy my little family.
  11. Latex. I used Latex to write my PhD and it doesn’t just look much more professional, the writing is a bit like coding.
  12. Friends. Due to the very exiting 2013 we didn’t have much time to meet our friends, this is something I’d like to work on in 2014.
  13. Spending less time with my smartphone. It’s tempting to check mails, read the news or check some apps. I’d like to use these little moments of spare time to interact with the people around me – this is a much better way of investing my time. And it’s a lot more polite.
  14. Reduce moaning. During the last few months, I spent a lot of time moaning about different things, mostly related to our educational system and the bureaucracy or stupidity within. It’s not worth the time.

I’d like to thank Dughall and Emma, who generously offered their time to proofread this last-minute post. All left mistakes are my fault 🙂

So this is my list with 13 things I think I did well in 2013 and 14 I would like to do during 2014. I’m curious to read your #nurture1314 list 🙂

Bang tidy! – Using Twitter to learn a foreign language

The Chamber Of Secrets

Twitter – your charm to open the the chamber of “language” secrets!

Why I learn English 🙂

For me learning another language was never an easy thing, it seems that I just don’t have the natural talent some people have (I just realized that this really sounds like I’m adopting my posts to Harry Potter books :-)). But there are a few reasons why I keep on trying it:

  • Curiosity: I’m absolutely curious, and learning to read and speak another language opens you a lot of “secret doors”.
  • Impatience:  I just can’t wait till someone else translated something for me. 

On the road with Twitter

There are some simple and obvious reasons why Twitter is a perfect tool to enrich your learning of a foreign language:

  • You can follow native speakers, no matter if you are a student or a teacher. I always compare Twitter with walk on a crowded street: You can go along with the crowd and listen – or stop and talk to people wherever you want. Watching my Twitter-stream makes me feel being back in London, isn’t that great? Like on a real street you should be polite and avoid shouting at each other – except you like the big stage 😉 You should be aware of that the “echo” of your tweets can last a lot longer then a spoken word!
  • You can follow a foreign news-channel: A constant source of text and multimedia in the language you want to learn. You have a wide range, from yellow press to the respectable daily newspapers. Another advantage: You can avoid eating “lasagne” even before the scandal reaches the German news!
  • And for me the most important thing: You’ll learn something about the language that no textbook can teach you.

I think the reasons why I like to use Twitter for improving my English are simple:

  • It is completely free!
  • I can learn, have fun whenever I choose it’s the right time – and mostly my friends are involved!
  • 140 characters is a good length for a quick lesson, isn’t it?

Let me explain this with two personal examples!

A little bit of “hanky panky”

I was on a conference in Prague, and like often I was listening carefully and try to understand – I can’t remember in which context the phrase “willy nilly” came up but I asked what this means. After a lively explanation my friend Dughall asked his Twitter-friends for similar expressions – and I had a language lesson I’ll never forget! You can find the whole range of answers here. What I kept in mind:

  • willy nilly
  • hokum pokum
  • wishy washy
  • and of course: hanky panky

And the list of these expressions in English language seems to be endless!

It was very interesting to see what different explanations people give me to describe the phrase “hanky panky”: There was a range from “having a little bit of fun” till something that sounds like near to sexual offence!  I have forgotten tons of vocabulary already –  but you can be sure I won’t forget this one!

You’re “bang tidy”!

The other occasion happened just a few days ago, as my Twitter-friend Rachel (@rly1981) posted this tweet just before Valentine’s day :

You may laugh but try to see this from a foreign-perspective! I asked myself: Is this a serious question? Is there irony in there? And what the hell does “bang tidy” mean? The only meaning of “tidy” I learnt at school is in the sense of “tidy up your room”. I asked my search engine and it prompted me to this site:

When male calls a female bang tidy, it means that they find them very attractive and worthy enough to have sexual relations with.
“That bird is bang tidy” (Urban dictionary)

Imagine a 6 year old giving a card with a meaning like this to a teacher could course a little bit of trouble – at least in the schools I have been in 🙂

It turned out that she has a quite different understanding of the term “bang tidy”:

As I said above – that’s something a normal textbook can’t teach you! And I’ll be careful about how I use this term in public, but one’s for sure: Rachel – you are bang tidy 😀

You can help others!

It’s always a nice feeling if tweeting is not a one-way-road and you’re able to help someone else. And it can be funny too!

What are you’re experiences using twitter for learning foreign languages?

Do you know about schools using Twitter for their MFL lessons?

If you like this post, tweet or leave a comment in a foreign language of your choice – and let me know 🙂

Thanks Rachel (@rlj1981) and Keven (@kevbartle) for your permission to post your tweets and Dughall for the very interesting English-lesson!