A Chinese perspective

Image by Mudassar Iqbal from Pixabay

When the Ministry of Education in China announced a nationwide closure of schools and universities earlier this year in response to the coronavirus outbreak, many English language teachers in the country were caught off guard. Among them is Associate Professor Haifeng Pu of Tianjin University of Technology. Guidelines issued by the government and 2 weeks of teacher training conferences equipped them with tools and resources for online teaching. However, they were still unprepared for the challenges of transitioning to a virtual classroom.

What started as a temporary measure 6 months ago has now become the norm in the education industry…


Tell me what my learners mean

Photo by Noah Dominic Silvio on Unsplash

Teaching mixed-ability classes can be overwhelming. Most teachers are daunted by the prospect of having to assess how much each learner has been able to take away from their lessons.

During the first two weeks of the new school term, I was hard-pressed for ideas to help me determine each learner’s language level. I was searching for a way to achieve this without the rigors of formal testing. Thankfully, I stumbled upon a formative assessment tool on Teaching Young Learners Online.

The traffic light approach helps me identify learning gaps without my learners realizing it because they are fully engaged…

Creative Writing | Story Structure

Summarizing the five stages of a story

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

An important phase in the language learning process is the development of creative writing skills. To this end, learners must be trained to compose a well-written piece by following a structure. In the absence of a structure, no story will effectively convey its meaning. Therefore, learners must be well-versed in the 5 stages of a story that will guide their own compositions.

What is the humpback model?

The humpback model summarizes the 5 stages of a story:
1. Introduction
2. Problem (or Build-up)
3. Climax (or Conflict)
4. Resolution
5. Conclusion

The photo at the end of this article illustrates how closely this model resembles…

Bottled GiaB

And the family you’re going to have

Photo by M.T ElGassier on Unsplash

Hello GiaB community,

With many of us estranged from loved ones this Eid ul-Fitr due to the pandemic, it is becoming harder to navigate the ocean of life. Wishing cousins on WhatsApp doesn’t quite compensate for the excitement of meeting (in person) after months of being busy with school or work. And, there is nothing like the experience of traveling to your grandparents’ home for the holidays.

The tea and cakes served on the train, the fragrance of buttercups that line the rail tracks, the sight of filthy boys playing a game of cricket and green coconuts traveling in a…

Interview | Women | Writing

A published author shares her thoughts

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

A screenwriter, photographer, and recently published author, Arianna Kaminski spent the better part of her high school years recovering from a concussion. During the time she was housebound due to her injury, she poured her heart out on paper. The outcome of that is her book of poems, Earthly Thoughts, which was published last year and is available for purchase on Amazon. I’m sharing her thoughts on being a writer in the hope that we can extract the wisdom behind what she went through and apply it to our own lives.

Interview with Arianna Kaminski

Tell us a little about what you’ve written.

Arianna Kaminski: I wrote a poem book over the…

Ramadan | Faith | Women

Faith during hardship

Jasmine sat alone in the dimly lit dining room of her two-bedroom apartment. Her husband’s unexpected announcement of divorce left her speechless. A myriad thoughts raced through her mind. Her head throbbed, her eyes glistened.

The next few days were particularly challenging. Warm plates of home-cooked rice and fish curry filled her stomach, but her soul was famished. Mineral water hydrated her body, but her heart was perpetually thirsty for affection.

A month later, Jasmine’s guest arrived at her doorstep with the gifts of siyam and qiyam. Jasmine capitalized on her guest’s month-long visit. …

Ramadan | Community | Charity

Only if we do what is required of us

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

With no mask and not enough clothing to protect him from the cold breeze, the underage beggar rummaged the municipality dustbin for leftovers. Both he and his mother were fasting — it’s something they practice throughout the year. He hoped to find half-eaten chickpea fritters or fruit discarded by passersby on the way home from work. As the sun began to sink into the crimson horizon, he became more desperate to find food for iftar. To his utter surprise and delight, a traffic policeman handed him a bag of samosas, kebabs, puffed rice, and dates. …

Bottled GiaB

We carry it within us

Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on Unsplash

Hello GiaB community!

After a little more than a year since the pandemic started, many of us are taking stock of our lives — the things we accomplished and the things we didn’t, and the things we hoped to accomplish but didn’t. As an educator, this retrospection is an essential part of our professional development. As a writer, occasional glimpses of our past achievements build our confidence. As a parent, replaying the previous year in our heads makes us unsure of the path ahead. Nonetheless, we march on while internalizing the lessons fossilized in the legacy of those who preceded…

Bottled GiaB

An opportunity for self-reflection

Photo by FORREST CAVALE on Unsplash

Hello GiaB community!

It’s that time of the year again — a time for cleansing the body, the mind and the soul. Days are spent in abstinence and nights are spent in contemplation. The month of Ramadan is special in many ways — the most important of these is it prompts us to reflect within ourselves. Speaking of which, the editors have chosen the best works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry in response to prompt #17.

Editors’ Picks for GiaB Prompt #17

The Soul has intrigued many, perplexed many more, and inspired a privileged few. Among the few are those with a gift of the written…

Bottled GiaB

That is the question

Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Hello GiaB community!

Just as we were preparing for a return to some semblance of normalcy, covid-19 infections spiked again. Once more, national borders are closed and intercity travel is heavily restricted. Panic buying has surged in spite of community leaders advising against it, causing staples to become dearer.

The situation would have been better controlled if the general public followed social distancing rules and refrained from spreading misinformation via social media. Speaking of social media, the editors at GiaB have chosen the top three stories from the responses to GiaB Prompt #16.

Editors’ Picks for GiaB Prompt #16

The role of Social Media in revolutionizing…

Shaheena Chowdhury

Helping young learners thrive in the English Language classroom

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