Sugata Mitra argued with evangelical flourish that, given the right resources, children will learn without schooling. He said that the right resource has now come into existence and is potentially available to every child: the internet. To support this argument, Mitra described what have become known as “the hole in the wall” experiments.
Kathleen Graves’s title contained the paradox that in teaching, you sometimes have to be less efficient to be more efficient. In a time in which testing and accountability have become paramount, in an attempt to cut out the dead wood in education, we have neglected the learner and a broader vision of what learning is for.
Take a trip round the Map of Motivation. This is a tour designed specifically for English language teachers who find the whole conceptual area of motivation a bit diverse and difficult to hold in your head all at once. Just click on the movie below, and please give us any feedback that occurs to you, ideas for improvement and so on!
I've recently been drawn to articles and blog posts with (amongst others) a common thread on the nature and potential of teacher feedback. Giving feedback is something we do, almost as a reflex action, but how might we make it more effective so it plays a significant role in driving learning forward?
Mark began with a guessing game. Participants had to guess the word "attention" by seeing phrases and collocations with which it occurs. He then went on to point out the importance of attention for learning, and defined the job of a teacher as a "sculptor of learners' attention". He then compared two different was of manipulating attention - directing it and attracting it.
This is a short story which illustrates how too much extrinsic motivation can kill off intrinsic motivation. Bear this in mind when you try to get your students' attention with lines like, "Pay attention - this is in the exam!". If you do this, you may be killing off any intrinsic interest they might have had for the stuff you are asking them to pay attention to.
If you, the teacher, don't have your students' attention, they aren't going to learn anything from you. If that's what you want, here are some tips for you (If you DO want their attention, just reverse the tips!).