These flashcards doubled as an introduction to the days of the week, and as an easy-to-deduce etymological breakdown of each name.

Designing Effective Class Materials —the Passive Voice

As an educator, a large part of material design is finding what works for a given class of students, and finding ways to scaffold a given class content (i.e. simplifying through achievable steps). One such instance for me was teaching the passive voice to beginner, EFL high school students in Japan, e.g. 'Lisa was seen by Jack'. Successfully forming the passive voice involves a complete understanding of all the syntactic and morphological changes a sentence undergoes.

Going from an active sentence ('Jack saw Lisa') to a passive sentence ('Lisa was seen by Jack'), there is movement of the object to subject position (with a change in form for pronouns), the tense of the verb in the active sentence is used to determine the tense of 'be' in the passive sentence, the past participle of the main verb is added, and the subject is moved to the object of the preposition 'by' (see explanatory GIF).

(Near-)Native and advanced level English speakers do all that in their sleep, but for beginner EFL learners, it can be challenging learning it for the first time. It's just a lot to take in. After a couple of trials and errors, I was finally able to create a successful lesson, complete with a scaffolded worksheet and an accompanying PowerPoint/ Keynote presentation (sped up below as the GIF). Through this combination, I was able to walk my students through the activity step-by-step. By the end, they were working in reverse: creating active sentences from passive ones!

Interactive Activities

One way to make language learning fun has been through interactive activities and art and craft.

Edutainment Videos

Online, I share fun, educational videos under the monicker 'YaadPikni'. Some videos come directly from the classroom.

Language & Education
Jamaican linguist analyses Jamaican spoken in Marvel's Luke Cage Season 2
Play Video
Jamaican Linguist Analyses || Brad Pitt's Accent in Meet Joe Black
Play Video
Let's write Jamaican || the official writing system
Play Video
An Anthropological Look at Jamaica
Play Video

Language & Educational Materials

As an educator with a Masters degree in Linguistics, I've been in the language and linguistics field for over 18 years, teaching in it for around 15. I've taught at universities in Jamaica, at a high school in France, and at every level in Japan, from kindergarten to university. This has made me pretty adept at adapting my work to meet students’ varying needs and proficiency levels, as well as to meet new and differing international and academic environments.
My experience in using digital media in the classroom came in especially handy during the COVID-19 pandemic when several of my fellow educators reached out for help/ advice to create effective, student-centred materials for their online classes.

Classroom Materials

My design aesthetic can be seen in my original classroom materials: clean lines, crisp images, symmetry. These worksheets were created for my elementary and high school students.