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Public Speaking 101

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(Source: https://pixabay.com/en/chairs-public-presentation-class-1734148/)

Whether you are a confident or shy person, I don’t think that anybody out there enjoys getting up and presenting in front of a large audience. As part of a module that I am doing this semester called ‘TESOL 1’, we were required to do a PowerPoint presentation in front of 150 people.

Daunting right?

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(Source: https://pixabay.com/en/music-undertake-job-training-class-1729496/)

We were firstly put into groups of 5 or 6 people, which I felt made the task a little less scary. I think that the fact that 5 other people are standing at the front of a lecture hall with you takes a little bit of pressure off the speaker. The most daunting part of the whole assignment was the fear of forgetting what to say while in the spotlight.

Something that I found beneficial while preparing for my presentation was writing out exactly what I wanted to say on cue cards. In the event of losing track of what I was saying, these cards were there to prompt me in the right direction and keep me focused.

Overall, I found this task very useful. Although it was intimidating standing up in front of such a large volume of people, I feel that it was aided my confidence and that I would not find a presentation task as daunting in the future.

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Good or Bad? You Decide!

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(Source: https://pixabay.com/en/google-www-online-search-search-485611/)

Recently during a module I am doing called ‘Writing for the Media’, we covered how to distinguish a good website from a bad one. We looked at many very poorly designed websites which contained a lot of contrasting bright colours and unreadable font types and sizes. We also looked into well-designed websites such the famous as Joe.ie and RTE.ie. These websites clearly showed how a clear, consistent, user friendly and readable site looks like.

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(Source: https://pixabay.com/en/ipad-mockup-apple-business-632512/)

What I learned from identifying good and bad websites was that:

  • Colour scheme and font size and type are very important so that the site is readable
  • The site should be easily navigated by having categories and sub-categories
  • Keeping advertisements to a minimum is advised
  • Not to use backgrounds or themes that are distracting for the user

Knowing the above information has allowed me to quickly identify the problems presented in poorly designed websites. This is a important skill needed throughout the module ‘Writing for the Media’. I believe this skill with aid me in any future tasks or assignments I will complete in the media area.

Writing for the Media!

This semester I am taking a module called ‘Writing for the Media’! Nearing the end of the college year I am pleased to be able to say that I have found this module both interesting and beneficial! This class has two assignments which we are graded on:

  • Creating an interactive blog that you update regularly
  • Creating a website and filling it with appropriate and relevant content

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(source:https://pixabay.com/en/pencil-sharpener-notebook-paper-918449/)

I have found both assignments very useful. As I am not very good with technology I initially found the thought of setting up a website and blog quite daunting. I never imagined that I would be able to master how to navigate around Google sites and my Word Press account. After a few days of trial and error I found myself more that comfortable with these media outlets.

This module has given me confidence both in my writing skills and the use of these websites. I was surprised at how much I actually liked expressing my feelings and experiences through my blogs. The practical hands on assignments contributed a huge amount to my learning from this course.

I would definitely recommend anyone that is contemplating about whether or not to do this module to go ahead and do it as it is practical and beneficial!

Jane Eyre; Conservative or Radical?

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(Source: https://pixabay.com/en/living-room-victorian-historic-581073/)

For a college module we had to read the Victorian novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. The question was raised whether this work is a conservative piece or a radical one. From my reading of the book I believe that Bronte’s text is leaning on the more radical side.

The protagonist Jane is seen in the very beginning as a poor orphan. However, the reader sees Jane:

  • Climbing the social ladder, moving from lower to the upper class, something that would be very rare during this time period.
  • Breaking the rules of gender roles and not allowing Mr Rochester’s masculinity to overpower her
  • Edging her way up in the educational system, something that was perhaps hard to do in Victorian society

I believe that this rise in social class, breaking of gender roles and success in the education system can be seen as a radical thing in such a conservative period. To the readers during this period, this social advancement was like a fantasy. In my opinion, Jane Eyre’s character development in social standing, gender roles and the education system, was the keys the success of the novel. The audience received a radical portrayal of a female character which I believe broke boundaries and shifted opinions.

Co-Op; Go somewhere different!

When you think of the word Co-Op you imagine a 9am to 6pm office job, five days a week. This is certainly not what Grupos Organizados consisted of for me.

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(source:https://pixabay.com/en/tower-castle-old-tossa-de-mar-5394/)

For my placement I headed off to Tossa de Mar, Costa Brava with the intention of teaching English to Spanish children. I spent five months doing so and enjoyed every minute of it. This whole experience was both challenging and rewarding. Be it a group of children from a disadvantaged background or a group from a higher socio-economic group my experience was eventful.

I was able to get hands on teaching experience throughout my Co-Op placement. Being with the children for the majority of the day really gave me a taster for what teaching entails. I was able to discover how much enjoyment I received from teaching and how well I worked with young children.

This whole experience gave me the confidence to pursue a career in teaching and allowed me to gain insight into what is involved. Besides all this hands on teaching practice, I also got to discover Spain and all it had to offer. I have gained so much for this five months abroad and feel that it will prove very beneficial for me in the future.

So if you are sitting down contemplating where to go on your placement, think outside the box and look into going somewhere new and exciting.

You won’t regret it!

Erasmus; Where to go?

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(Source: https://pixabay.com/en/stamp-commitment-approval-study-451285/)

As there are numerous options of University’s to attend on the Erasmus programme, making a choice is not easy. When I sat down last year wondering which European city stood out to me I found myself swaying towards the Scandinavian countries. What excited me about this region was the fact that it wasn’t an area everyone would head off to for a ‘city break’. I felt that Scandinavia was off the beaten track and could offer me an experience that I may not receive in main land Europe.

I was definitely not disappointed. I chose to go to a city down south of Stockholm in Sweden called Gothenburg. Gothenburg was a city of the youth with everything at an easy reach. I was able to commute everywhere by tram and other cities such as Copenhagen and Oslo were a short train ride away. I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful scenic countryside Sweden had to offer as well as their fast-paced cities. I found their forward thinking and efficient society eye-opening.

When choosing where to go on Erasmus I advise you to go somewhere completely different to home. I think that everyone should experience a completely different culture and embrace it. Go somewhere that you never thought of going before and I ensure that it will be one of the best things that you will do.

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(Source: https://pixabay.com/en/hands-world-map-global-earth-600497/)

How well do you really know your own language?

 

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(source: https://pixabay.com/en/books-stairs-reading-read-to-study-1185628/)

When I learned that I has the opportunity to complete a TESOL course as part of my degree programme I was more than delighted. Besides not having to pay to do it externally, I was looking forward to all the opportunities it was going to give me.

As a native speaker of English I assumed that I knew everything there was to know about the language. I was quite shocked to discover how little I really know about the language I call my own. We speak the English language for as long as we can remember and we don’t question the way we say and structure sentences. We don’t learn off lists of verbs and tenses the way non-native speakers do. We simply just know what to say and we never bother to question it. I found this so strange that I have been using this language for 20 years and never knew the proper rules and structures behind it.

In such a short period TESOL has taught me so much about the English language. I have already gained insight into the syntax of the language and why certain words such as nouns and adjectives need to be put in a certain place in a sentence to hold meaning. I have also gained a perspective on how non-native speakers learn English and the difficulties that they incur.

TESOL has given me insight into what I need to know to pursue a teaching career. I look forward to completing the rest of this module in the coming weeks and to see what opportunities this qualification will offer me in the future.

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(source: https://pixabay.com/en/apple-education-school-knowledge-256261/)

Erasmus; The good stuff!

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When I was first told about going abroad on an Erasmus programme, the idea of living away from home for an extended period of time was daunting. Moving to a country that have a different mother tongue seemed like something that only adventurous people did. However, once I settle in to my new surrounds in Gothenburg, I was more than comfortable.

I found that Erasmus offered much more than just a semester studying in a foreign University. It allowed me to mature and discovering myself in my temporary home. It was also a platform for me to travel across different European countries and cities with friends in a cost effective way. I gained a new perspective on cultures that were unknown to me.

The Erasmus programme gave me the opportunity to learn skills that I did not have much experience in such as cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and washing clothes. I was all alone and could not rely on my mother to do these chores any longer. These are valuable skills that I would not necessarily have learnt by living in my home house.

This period spent living away from home introduced me to the real world and allowed me to learn how to fend for myself. I think that every student needs to experience living out of their comfort zone in a new and fresh environment which allows them to spread their wings and discover what they want in life.

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