Thursday, September 29, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
When we say the goal of language instruction is to "awaken the language learner within each student," what we really mean is "activate the language acquisition device (LAD) within each student's brain."
It is amazing to think about the enormous impact of Chomksky's ideas on modern linguistics. But even more interesting, Chomsky's ideas about education challenge all of us who teach. We all might get so focused on our own subjects and proficiency objectives, that we can forget about the big picture. Our work as teachers makes an enormous impact on the lives of our students, no matter what subject we teach and no matter how briefly we may be working with them. The most important classroom experience can be a momentary breakthrough, a flash of insight, that a person remembers all their lives.
As we are thinking about how games stimulate learning, a nice recap of Noam Chomsky's theory of learning on the New Foundations website caught our attention.http://www.newfoundations.com/GALLERY/Chomsky.html
The annual ACTFL conference in Denver is only six weeks away.
Are you attending this year? With the many budget cuts across the country, we wonder whether teachers will be able to travel.
We noticed that the Denver Art Museum is offering a "China Teacher Workshop" on November 1 and 8, so if you are in the area for a few extra days before or after the conference this might be worth checking out.http://www.denverartmuseum.org/learn_and_play/schools_and_teachers/teacher_classroom
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Boredom. Here is the student, trying to sit still, trying to look only at the teacher or at one's own notes, trying not to be distracted by other students' actions. Annoyed when the class is reviewing material one already knows, or completely at sea when the lesson content makes no sense, and yet if one asks too many questions, the other students will think one is dumb. When will the class period end?
Then -- hooray -- it's time to play a game. Everyone gets out of their desks, moves around, is able to interact and express personality, is allowed to enjoy being human.
Home that evening. What did you do at school today? We played a game.
A year later: Did you learn this material? Yes, we played a game, it went like this. Smiles, remembers, enjoys telling how to play the game. Wants to play it again.
A fun classroom game is not only exciting for teacher and students, it is highly effective for learning!!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Assessments should be experienced as a fun part of learning. Athletes know they must track their progress in order to improve. They also know the coach will not put them on the field if they are not ready. With language proficiency, the progress is often obvious to everyone except the learner. What if the teacher were able to wait and deliver the assessment only when they deem the student is ready? So the assessment can give them that perspective -- "Hey, look what I have been able to accomplish! Wow!"
Why not teach all students to make a game out of learning - and give teachers the flexibility and tools to make the game as much fun as possible, and include all the students?
Mass market magazine articles and popular books for business executives, students, and self-improvement wonks, have generated enormous awareness of how various learning and memory systems rely on scientific discoveries about how our brains actually work.
It is good to see that an academic discipline of Mind, Brain and Education is now recognized as a legitimate and important field of research.
Any serious researcher who would like to visit a QTalk classroom or construct a language acquisition study including the QTalk method relying on visual cues, neuromuscular rehearsal, and the QTalk four steps, is invited to contact us.