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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 (383)
Maria-Rosa (7 hours ago)
Wow....Great presentation!!! I wish I can have someone like him to teach me....mn
Ainun Haniya (3 days ago)
Anyoneee please. What is BS?
Kelly Aslan (4 days ago)
This is my approach to teaching writing skills😂😂
Daniel Tham (4 days ago)
Acting without acting
Yosef Michael (4 days ago)
He's not teaching English. He's teaching critical thinking. Two different things.
This guy is a genius!
FaithJVIM (7 days 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 (8 days 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 (8 days 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.
Nathan Raymond (9 days ago)
Awesome. I can tell he’s a Trump supporter like me. I love Teaching English!!
Alma Y (10 days ago)
i still don't know howto apply his principles into my classroom. I need a practical guide?
Stiven Henao (12 days ago)
Great talk!
KatSK Brown (12 days 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,'
Steve Hatting (14 days 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 (24 days 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 (1 month 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.
Amina Guyo (1 month ago)
Well said. Even class room is the worst place both for teaching and learning languages.
Sabrina Landesman (1 month 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 (1 month ago)
The precursor of Jordan Peterson right here!
Who is the watching while reading comment !! Cmiiw
Brandon Chai (2 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 (2 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 (3 months ago)
It was great😘
Age of Reason (3 months ago)
Finally a good Ted talk.
Rahila Ehsan (4 months ago)
well done.👏👏👏👍👍👍
carolina paredes (4 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 (4 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 (5 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 (5 months ago)
Aligazy Aidarkhanov yes... That's also important but not the main way.
Melody Dlamini (5 months ago)
Johnny Hayes (5 months ago)
What a great man/mind.
Camila Mendoza (6 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 (6 months ago)
Remarkable 'teacher' in the true sense of the word. My hat off to you sir!
Nina Vekua (7 months ago)
such a cool prof
Andre Machado (7 months ago)
It's very awesome! :)
Tây Như (8 months ago)
Thank you very much Mr.Roberto. You inspired me on English teaching!
Carlos Torres (8 months ago)
I love this. this is my life right here 😂
blueaspen (8 months ago)
either miss takes ar aloud or no, day AR inevitable
Surtikanti Surtikanti (8 months ago)
This is brilliant. Roberto Guzman am stealing your genius!
sovan mom (9 months ago)
I start to learn some from him now!
Luis Godinez (9 months 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 (9 months ago)
The reference on Benjamin Bloom is highly noted!
kiranvarma kakarlapudi (9 months ago)
This guy is brilliant!
antyszwed (9 months ago)
what a nice guy <3
Richard Arte Digital (9 months ago)
Beautiful speech!
Joe Alabarces (9 months ago)
Excellent...I love the way he thinks. Mandatory viewing for all educators, tutors and instructors.
Ines ABADA (9 months ago)
Amazing talk with great ideas!
Haider Jasim (10 months ago)
Thank you
JLW (10 months ago)
Thank you teacher. Eu aceito meus erros.
reempal patel (10 months ago)
This is amazing Sir..... superb idea...
Sirin Ins (10 months ago)
100% agree
Amalia González (10 months 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 (10 months 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 Carlos Medina Alejo (10 months 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 (10 months ago)
Guzman is a deep thinker himself.  His opinions are applicable to all sorts of Life Skills, not only learning another language.
Franklin Carranza (10 months 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 (10 months ago)
I would love to see your classroom in action. Wouldn't that be a great idea?
A really great person!
Vishnusathasivan Jogheee (10 months ago)
If there is a thing to shape the world, it is English only.
Jane Hardy (10 months 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 (10 months ago)
Wonderful. Love it so much as an English teacher.
Marcos David Ortiz (10 months ago)
this was awesome
Sajid Hasan (10 months ago)
sir can you please suggest a good english grammar book
Coastal Patios 1 (10 months ago)
i wanna hear him teach a class in this insane trump era! lol
Razia Sultana (11 months 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 (11 months 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 (11 months 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 (11 months 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.
Taha Tahri (11 months ago)
Taha Tahri (11 months 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.
Bạch Dương (11 months ago)
Thank you so much, Roberto Guzman!
Mohammed Shabbir Ahmed (11 months ago)
i used to do this in my classes
mohammed ali (11 months ago)
The true key for learning English language is to be motivated in order to achieve your goal.
Larchy95 (11 months ago)
Genial!! So glad I've just found this video. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with the world, Roberto Guzman! 👌👍
Faisal Irfan (11 months ago)
He is true inspirational speaker regarding English as a second Language, we should focus on speaking without bothering mistakes instead of grammar in some extent.
David Saraza (11 months ago)
Se nota que es el mejor profesor de ingles del mundo... Con la facilidad que habla y lo bien que habla.
thesearethesuns (11 months ago)
This gentleman is right on point. I often discuss similar things with my students about specificity. I will definitely us the BS detector lens though in the future. Great stuff. :D
Türkler beğeninde sayımızı bilelim 😅😅😅
ItchyKneeSon (1 year ago)
Japan needs this. Hard. I've been an English 'teacher' here for a number of years. But the traditional methods always leave the students (and me) scratching their heads. I've executed a number of the points mentioned in the talk, but never really put them all together. Maybe I should learn how to cook.
Robert Guzman (7 days ago)
Hang in there friend. It takes time to change deep seated ideas and narratives. The proof however is in the pudding. Our students are in the end our best judges. They know what works and all we have to do is listen.
acajudi100 (1 year ago)
karma wins in the end. Google Judi Grace storycorps. Murders in Chicago.
MICHAEL NOLAN (1 year ago)
Give students meaningful content to respond to. However, this man doesn't say what level he's teaching. Beginning and intermediate students cannot read college-level economic theory, and they have even less of an ability to discuss it in English. He says he doesn't judge and doesn't grade, yet most schools require teachers to do just that. He speaks of writing content before form, yet he doesn't explain how he gets the students to use the correct form. We forgive a lot of mistakes when someone is speaking, yet virtually nothing is forgiven when it is written incorrectly. Your spell check can correct most spelling and even many verb tense errors, but it won't correct word order or run-on sentences, for example. Perhaps a 19-minute TED Talk isn't enough time to respond to these questions, but in Roberto's own words, this sounds like a lot of BS to me.
DogEatGod (10 months ago)
MICHAEL NOLAN come on over to Puerto Rico and go to one of his classes. He does give tests and such, but he focuses on getting them to shed fear and join in. He teaches beginners up to advance classes.
zuppao (1 year ago)
joe (1 year ago)
Ēiké Cpèdz (1 year ago)
I've watched it without watching it. I've learned a lot from this talks by reading comments. 😂😂 Thanks @RobertoGuzman for the insights. 💯👌👍🌠⭐
anhtu vole (1 year ago)
He is inspiring as an educator!
Renae Skarin (1 year ago)
Great talk.  And exactly what the best thinkers in the field are saying about learning a language.
Melissa (1 year ago)
I feel as though I'm listening to myself. I'm so happy this exists and that there are teachers out there with whom I can agree with completely. Keep up this excellent work!
Erica Pridoehl (1 year ago)
Seems like an awesome teacher! Great presentation. Cheers to his wisdom!
Anu (1 year ago)
I wish there were more professors like him who are really passionate. But sadly, many teachers (at least in the place/region where I live) follow the textbook and reprimand anyone who deviates away from the norm! And the teachers themselves aren't really passionate about teaching the subject or helping the students grow and get ready to apply the concepts in their life. I remember how they were in school when I was growing up- They came to class, taught the subject, praised the toppers, scolded the failures(often using negative words like 'I'm not sure what you are going to do with your life!'), left the classroom, and repeated the same year after year! Nobody is willing to try something new and be different. It's like the teacher was produced by a factory and that is all she/he knows what to do- build a factory-like class where the perfect products are polished and defective products are cast away. Nobody is willing to explore the capabilities of each and every student and modify their teaching to take everyone forward. That should be the goal of every teacher! Really happy that I clicked on this video. Every point he made was really good. I'm aspiring to teach English online and I'm really hoping that I can do it! :)
pep escuder (1 year ago)
A wonderful video, and no mistake. Thank you for sharing.
MGTOW Radio (1 year ago)
*i’ve emailed Ted talk. Because all I want is the chance to speak front of ppl. That’s all! But they never replied to my me. “ I guess it’s true. In life poor ppl have no voice”!!*
Selina Ali (1 year ago)
Sir you are a true teacher, I salute you. We need to change the way the education system teaches English, because it has no relevance. Equal attentions needs to be made on speaking and listening. Thank you for the talk xxx
Nice job in terms of metodology , i want to get in toach with Mr Guzmán, to ask him about the rest of logical fallancies. I never hear this point of view and i will investigate this topic for me is very interesting. For other hands i am trien to learn english by my self and will start to ask why the things am interested with. Thks a  lot. Regards from Mexico
debra creighton (11 months ago)
People are always breaking the rules!! This workbook could help you. "The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning."
That's inspiring! Thanks for sharing your thoughts
Joaquin Vonhoff (1 year ago)
Wonderful video ... very high quality content and also motivational. Congratulations.
Alonzo Kau (1 year ago)
I absolutely agree with this point of view, but I'm sure if we stop calling it error or mistake and tell all students of all ages that learning a language it's not a discipline as itself and has anything to do with academic matters it might clear their minds and really learn to SPEAK another language instead of acquiring knowledge they consider (by common sense, unspoken) useless.
The K’s channel (1 year ago)
Que Charlatan instructiva Profesor 100% de acuerdo con lo que ha explicado👏
system2 (1 year ago)
Lack of specificity can also be a trait of language skills, confidence and sometimes a disorder. Sometimes speaking in a roundabout way is not deception, just a weakness.
Pawel (1 year ago)
Amazing guy. Wish he was my professor
Dirk Diggler (1 year ago)
He said a lot of nothing. Typical TedX
DogEatGod (1 year ago)
Dirk Diggler only so much you can fit into 20 minutes. Want more? Get an education.

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