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Teaching English without Teaching English | Roberto Guzman | TEDxUPRM

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In this talk Roberto discusses his three phase system which he uses to teach English without teaching English, to improve the learning experience for students and the teaching practice for professors. Robert Guzman is a full professor at the University of Puerto Rico, Aguadilla Campus. Guzman teaches undergraduate English courses in which he stresses the development of critical thinking skills and hands on language development skills. He’s also a freelance writer and political commentator on the WPRA 990 AM radio show Comunicando with host Toti Figueroa. So far Guzman has published, among other books The Devil’s Advocate Reader, Tropical Tales of Terror, Mitos y Conflictos en la Biblia and Heroes. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
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Text Comments (411)
vaishali sangram (5 hours ago)
aynagul makisheva (5 days ago)
teaching this way, how should we evaluate students in the end of semester?
Tatiana Rychkova (14 days ago)
Great! Thank you very much! It's very interesting and mind-broadening to listen to you!
Nina Lezioni (16 days ago)
Inspiring!!!! Thanks for sharing! I wish I could reach the same in my classroom!
urso3000 (21 days ago)
Great 👍
Marina Terrosi (21 days ago)
Me ha gustato mucho este video. I'm a teacher and I'd like to improve and improve and improve...Thanks very much for this brilliant video.
liz smith (23 days ago)
Really thought provoking. With the rise of CLIL and developing critical thinking skills this approach makes sense. As an EFL teacher I am constantly looking for ways to improve my approach as a teacher to bring the best out in my students. Thanks.
Waw.... very interesting!
Jenita Lawal (27 days ago)
I love this! This is similar to how I have approached TEFL. As much as I love grammar, it's really not the most important part of communication. For my lessons, I use current events or interesting articles and I ask my students questions. That in turn gets them asking questions. Often, they allow their "lack" of English skill to overshadow their beautiful intelligence. Thank you for this, Professor. I am currently studying for my PhD in International Education and may come to visit and observe you in action.
haiiithereee30 (26 days ago)
what country are you currently teaching English in? :)
Roger Whittemore (1 month ago)
Outstanding! Watch this if you want to be better at life regardless of your occupation.
Sean Quick (1 month ago)
Useless... This has nothing to do with teaching "English" and he says no specifics about how to get them to think like this. It wouldn't work for lower level or general English anyways...
Rene Descartes (1 month ago)
Is he talking about trump BS?
Thomas Eisner (1 month ago)
I wish I would have had such a teach in my childhood. But the late 70s and 80s were quite different. I don´t know if it has changed meanwhile. But his statement was awesome. Thank you!!!!
孙长青 (1 month ago)
amazing。thank you very much。
yulin feng (1 month ago)
This is a life changing speech that everyone whether you are a student or a teacher should study this deep, logical and educational talk. Content is more important than the form. Every language learner should keep this in mind.
Andrea Ferraz (2 months ago)
kath (2 months ago)
I am sorry but I don't understand how they can learn the English language like this. In order to be able to ask questions to use critical thinking and share their opinions they need to know vocabulary, grammar that needs to be taught with examples repetition reading e.t.c
peter butter (1 month ago)
In his case, his students DIDN'T have problems passing exams, but they weren't good at talking in English. In his way, I think students would be more interested in using English, even tho they may have grammatical/ vocabulary errors, which is fine. But I do wonder how they learn grammar.
Bidolla Magzam (2 months ago)
Ideas are not people we must question them. I love this idea!
Bidolla Magzam (2 months ago)
I just wonder, is he native English speaker?
Suemy Marin (2 months ago)
I love it!!!! thank you for sharing!!!
Story Paul (2 months ago)
This is the best way to teach! Thank you, Roberto, for opening doors for teachers, too! Muchas gracias!
ebefl (2 months ago)
This is what we need in every language school! Thank you so much professor, I love your teaching style. I'd love to be your student!
Jimmy McGee (2 months ago)
Lovely....some great advice in here. At first I was thinking “where's this going, when's he getting to the teaching ?" But I'm glad I persisted....the cookbook and Steven king analogies are great...plus the "content before form"...great. I'm also going to add "ask a question" to my set of class "rules" Thanks for this...the speaker also seems like a lovely man.
Trace Absence (2 months ago)
I’’ve been a teacher for more than 20 years, have worked in many parts of the world. And while I agree that content is fundamental, he doesn’t tell us how he would teach different levels, different nationalities and age groups. Clearly one can’t expect the same output from a beginner as one would from a more advanced student. And there are great many other questions that need to be answered, but I won’t go into them now. Ironically he didn’t ask these questions and wasn’t specific enough as to the exact step by step process that would take place in the classroom. Furthermore, if a teacher is working with students who have paid for the course and demand to be taught grammar more than anything else, the teacher has a problem. The client is always right and I can’t go against the school, which is a business more than an educational institution, that has a specific curriculum as to how English should be taught. I’ve had many complaints that I don’t teach enough grammar. At the end of the day, I have to keep my job. It’s sad but true.
peter butter (1 month ago)
I agree with his opinions, but I also understand your situation. In his case, he mentioned his students didn't have problems with English exams, but they have problem taking in English. Thus, he found a solution- teaching english without teaching English. Now, in your case, your students' learning goal is grammar, which is good for exams. But why do you say " I’ve had many complaints that I don’t teach enough grammar"?
Apel Pie (2 months ago)
He's so right, I had English classes from 3rd to 11th grade and didn't learn a thing in them. You can only learn a language by having to communicate in it
Oscar Picon (3 months ago)
As a 4th grade teacher, I took his approach (without knowing of Roberto Guzmán or having watched this video) 3 years ago with a student from México. It works. Immersion into the language with cooperative learning, casual conversation and inclusion into the school’s culture.
Kameleonic (3 months ago)
Paris R (3 months ago)
That explanation of logic describes so many of the questions on the LSAT lol
; p (3 months ago)
Excellent talk. I used this in my teachings and we'll. It's most effective.
Maria-Rosa (3 months ago)
Wow....Great presentation!!! I wish I can have someone like him to teach me....mn
Ainun Haniya (3 months ago)
Anyoneee please. What is BS?
Ainun Haniya (3 months ago)
+; p thank youu. Are you an english teacher?
; p (3 months ago)
A negative stand, curse word... Means it's a lie.
Kelly Aslan (3 months ago)
This is my approach to teaching writing skills😂😂
Daniel Tham (3 months ago)
Acting without acting
Yosef Michael (3 months ago)
He's not teaching English. He's teaching critical thinking. Two different things.
Yosef Michael (2 months ago)
+Terry Platt To criticise something does not equate to being negative. Those are two different things.
Terry Platt (2 months ago)
Yosef Michael sometimes the title must be put in a simplified way. Language acquisition does not occur without critical thinking. He’s not the absolute authority but he’s onto something that many teachers are missing. To sit back and contradict seems negative for negativity’s sake.
This guy is a genius!
FaithJVIM (3 months ago)
I also really liked this video, thank you very much! I will try to apply it in my teaching. But one question please 🙏🏼 : what does BS in BS detector stand for? I was able to get a general idea, but I want to make sure.
Celestino Taylor (3 months ago)
I want my students to speak English with confidence and not just merely learn grammar structure. Grammar is nice, but speaking is better!!!!!
Celestino Taylor (3 months ago)
I have been teaching English without teaching English and yet many of my students complain that I do not explain grammar. I try to get them to talk. I use the 'Keep Talking' method and still students complain that I do not teach grammar. Some get so frustrated with my 'method' that they stop attending. Usually 50% of the student like my 'method' and the other 50% say that they are not learning grammar. I explain that 80% of their learning takes place outside the English class. I tell them that I am the English Conversation Coach and that my job is not to teach them English, by rather to coach them. Most student do not do any extra class work, only the minimum required work to pass the course. Thus I feel that a failure as an English Conversation Coach!!!!! Pretty much, I have been using Roberto's method even before I knew about his method.
; p (3 months ago)
If they need grammar and ask for it. I would add it in.
Nathan Raymond (3 months ago)
Awesome. I can tell he’s a Trump supporter like me. I love Teaching English!!
Alma Y (3 months ago)
i still don't know howto apply his principles into my classroom. I need a practical guide?
Stiven Henao (3 months ago)
Great talk!
KatSK Brown (3 months ago)
You can fall in love with your primary, even native tongue but to have had so much practice and information in another language that it actually helps you understand the nuances of your 'mother-tongue better! I think everyone should live, study and work abroad for a year with the aim of gaining competence in another language, whether you are a scientist or a nanny. Evolution,'
Stepan Stepanov (3 months ago)
This sounds a lot like CLIL, but for adults. This guy may be onto something given CLIL’s success in EFL classrooms around the world with children.
Nancy Guzman (4 months ago)
Roberto Guzman, I wish I learned using this method. Learning English was scary because too much emphasis was on grammar. Those of us learning two languages have to learn why passive voice is wrong in English but culturally acceptable in Spanish!
George Leonde (4 months ago)
My mother doesn't know English and is unemployed. I try teaching her but we end up arguing. Our debt keeps rising and I'm about to start college. I don't know if I should drop out or keep going.
peter butter (1 month ago)
For a long term, keeping studying is way more important
Amina Guyo (4 months ago)
Well said. Even class room is the worst place both for teaching and learning languages.
Sabrina Landesman (5 months ago)
Hola Roberto, un gusto contactarte! te escribo desde Argentina. Estuve intentando ubicarte en Facebook pero no encuentro tu usuario. Tienes algún email de contacto? gracias!
Tarik Rabhani (5 months ago)
The precursor of Jordan Peterson right here!
Who is the watching while reading comment !! Cmiiw
Brandon Chai (5 months ago)
This validates my argument for teaching content based lessons more than grammar lessons. I teach grammar as tidbits. Teaching English phrases in chunks is part of this. Thank you Mr. Guzman.
Wisepersonsay (5 months ago)
This time and age of ''globalization and digitization where English is the most ''convenient'' and simplest language of all to live by, the English teachers need to teach it with practical and applicable communicable approach. THe conventional scholastic approach is obsolete. Foreign language learning involves learning culture, history, national characteristics, politics, everything that surrounds and constitutes the language. Critical and clear thinking and articulate speaking, willingness to learn always something new - opening one's eyes and broadening horizon, cultivating attitude to relate to and digest international events are all necessary to master a foreign language. To this end, mastering English facilitates more access to majority reference and resources. Mahatma Gandhi once said while he was studying in England ''Learning English opens a new door to the world''. I always remember his saying when I learn anything new.
Ràna Asgharzade (6 months ago)
It was great😘
Age of Reason (7 months ago)
Finally a good Ted talk.
Rahila Ehsan (7 months ago)
well done.👏👏👏👍👍👍
carolina paredes (7 months ago)
Mr Guzman! No sé si me lea algún día, pero le comento. Soy maestra de inglés, acabo de empezar mi carrera, tengo solo 23 años. A veces me sentía igual que como usted lo describe, "incómoda" por el hecho de que algunos alumnos no quieren participar. Pero usted me ha dado herramientas valiosas en su TED Talk para aplicar como maestra. Muchísimas gracias! Le agradezco mucho. Espero no solo mejorar yo cómo maestra, sino que mis alumnos mejoren en el hábito de preguntar y cuestionar. Gracias!
Ethel (7 months ago)
Superior Presentation by a Man of Passion!🙏👏👏 WOW! And I thought I was just snooping out ESL/EFL! I had to watch it twice! The info in the 1st 11 minutes is very profound at this time. 7/26/18. We need teachers like this to train students 5 yrs thru 18 to ask questions and think critically, even if they can’t read! Since this video, Agent Trump and his gang have procured America, Puerto Rico was annihilated, and now the Russians are closing in on the Democracy......Crisis inspires change and creativity, and a whole New way of thinking. 🙏🤓.....💖🦋🌎 In God We Trust. En Dios Confiamos!
Aligazy Aidarkhanov (8 months ago)
Nice method! But I didnt understand one thing. Should we not teach grammar at all or how we should give this knowledge to students?
DogEatGod (8 months ago)
Aligazy Aidarkhanov yes... That's also important but not the main way.
Melody Dlamini (8 months ago)
Johnny Blaze (9 months ago)
What a great man/mind.
Camila Mendoza (9 months ago)
I had some ideas about effective teaching, but you made an amazing method because students want to talk, give their opinions and usually It doesn't happen in the classroom. Thank you for your idea, I am going to follow your steps and see what it happens.
Gila K (9 months ago)
Remarkable 'teacher' in the true sense of the word. My hat off to you sir!
Nina Vekua (10 months ago)
such a cool prof
Andre Machado (11 months ago)
It's very awesome! :)
Tây Như (11 months ago)
Thank you very much Mr.Roberto. You inspired me on English teaching!
Carlos Torres (11 months ago)
I love this. this is my life right here 😂
blueaspen (1 year ago)
either miss takes ar aloud or no, day AR inevitable
Surtikanti Surtikanti (1 year ago)
This is brilliant. Roberto Guzman am stealing your genius!
sovan mom (1 year ago)
I start to learn some from him now!
Luis Godinez (1 year ago)
I am in the process of adquisition of the language and this talk is so inspiring. God bless you Roberto. The world needs more teachers as you.
Mauricio Lozano Perez (1 year ago)
The reference on Benjamin Bloom is highly noted!
This guy is brilliant!
antyszwed (1 year ago)
what a nice guy <3
Richard Arte Digital (1 year ago)
Beautiful speech!
Joe Alabarces (1 year ago)
Excellent...I love the way he thinks. Mandatory viewing for all educators, tutors and instructors.
Ines ABADA (1 year ago)
Amazing talk with great ideas!
Haider Jasim (1 year ago)
Thank you
JLW (1 year ago)
Thank you teacher. Eu aceito meus erros.
reempal patel (1 year ago)
This is amazing Sir..... superb idea...
Sirin Ins (1 year ago)
100% agree
Amalia González (1 year ago)
I have been teaching English for four months now and this was definitely an enlightening talk. I have been trying to get the students out of their shells, to talk more, to have conversations with them. I often take TED Ed videos to the classes for them to have a little debate, but it's very hard to get them to come out, but when it finally happens, it reminds me of why I love my job, and why I shouldn't give up on my students, because they and I know they can.
Semra Ren (1 year ago)
Great talk, he gives a very important message. 'I want my students know how to cook, not just how to read a recipe book.'
José C. Medina (1 year ago)
Professor Roberto Guzman, I've watched your talk repeatedly and the more I do it, the more interesting I find it. You seem to be the kind of teacher who has devoted a lot of time to thinking and trying to figure out how to teach better. You remind me of the teacher I will become in some years. Thank you professor.
Lula Zeta (1 year ago)
Guzman is a deep thinker himself.  His opinions are applicable to all sorts of Life Skills, not only learning another language.
Franklin Carranza (1 year ago)
This is an inpiring video and good for new teachers who have no absolute idea of what they are doing, spread the link XD.
Jill Billington (1 year ago)
I would love to see your classroom in action. Wouldn't that be a great idea?
A really great person!
If there is a thing to shape the world, it is English only.
Jane Hardy (1 year ago)
Wonderful talk! I wish so very nuch that he were my teacher. His priorities are correct, and not even touched on in many classrooms, even with kind and helpful teachers, because these skills aren't even on school districts' radar. Let us all together go to school board meetings and advocate (in a collegial spirit) for the fostering of these skills.
Margalit Grady (1 year ago)
Wonderful. Love it so much as an English teacher.
Marcos David Ortiz (1 year ago)
this was awesome
Sajid Hasan (1 year ago)
sir can you please suggest a good english grammar book
Coastal Patios 1 (1 year ago)
i wanna hear him teach a class in this insane trump era! lol
Razia Sultana (1 year ago)
I absolutely agree that a language can never be taught be teaching students merely a set of rules and asking them to use during and examination but it's beyond that. Creating the environment which is fear free of making mistakes and making experiments of what they know would optimally help students learn any thing. Using English or any other language is the realistic situations should be the core point of teaching them.
Megan Kirkendall (1 year ago)
Wow this is a really interesting Ted Talk! I’ve taught both English and Spanish and I’m constantly trying to find ways to engage students beyond the surface grammatical level. My question would be: how can we apply his model to ground zero level learners with barely enough language to introduce themselves?
Caroline Boisvert (1 year ago)
I have problems teaching like that with young children or teens... What do they like to talk about that can push them to talk or have a conversation? They are plugged into their phone and don't like to ask anything.
Caroline Boisvert (1 year ago)
I loved that. Just one thing about not being specific... That's my obstacle, because I don't remember where I take the information or the names, when I talk about spirituality for example, I feel it when something is true, but it's very hard to explain or to say where it came from, I just see some things coming up from so many people and it also resonates with my own understanding, so I talk about it sometimes, but cannot be specific enough even if I feel I know the subject. I just can talk about it with people who already have the knowledge. So it's a 4th case, after the people who want to abuse of others, those who don't know what they're talking about and an other situation.
tatou bim (1 year ago)
tatou bim (1 year ago)
great talk full of passion and warm language . i m so impressed . really that is the way how any learner of any language can taste its wonderful texture .... speaking and being engaged in communication without any fear or anxiaty.
I love the BS detector analogy, as that's exactly how I framed this while earning my MA TESL years ago. Love your quick connection to Bloom's.

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