Blog

Introduction to writing reports for the IELTs exam

Here is an overview of how to get started writing reports for the IELTS exam. We will look at mindmapping for planning, how to understand and analyse charts and graphs, and, finally, how to put it all together coherently and articulately.

Click on the image below to watch the full interactive multi-media presentation and read the supporting text below.

Launch Presentation

 

I am using public domain interactive graph samples from Google that go one step further in bringing visual data to life. Apart from the wealth of information, interactivity, and sample texts from these resources, I find that the topics being explored are socially relevent and intrinsically interesting. They serve as a spring board into the speaking and reading parts of the IELTS also, and they add extra challenges for you to develop your own insights into global phenomena and powers of written expression. Topics range from life expectancy to economics, science, gender roles in society, infectious disease, unemployment, environmental issues and so on.

I will be embedding a number of graphs and topics into another blog post that will explore new ideas for writing and overall exam preparations, success at work, in university and, in  general, become a well-informed global citizen. Let us now start with a sample graph, exam-type question and a mindmap depicting a sample plan for your report.

Sample Topic for discussion

The bubble chart below explores the correlation between life expectancy and fertility rates all over the world from 1960 to 2016.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

( At least 150 words)

How does one translate visual data into formal academic text? 

Tables, charts and graphs not only present a lot of information in diverse visual formats, but they also show how various strands of information can be linked together to create global insights from emerging patterns of data.

The above bubble chart, for example, displays information that depicts an interesting relationship between fertility rates and life expectancy. Colour-coding is used to identify different regions of the world and bubble size reflects the population of each country.

While this rich display of interconnected data seems daunting at first, we can learn to extract important trends and organise the information efficiently. See the mindmap below for a sample outline on extracting and plotting the information we need to write reports.

Overall plan

reports_mindmap

Introduction

The introduction to a report expresses the purpose of the report and gives  a general overview of what the graph, chart or table represents. It outlines general trends and specifically mentions the topic and crucial dates or facts.

Common mistakes to watch out for

a) Not being specific about topic or dates.
b) Repeating the examination task title word for word.
c) Not identifying correct general trends.
d) Not using the correct formal language.
e) Not using effective descriptive language.
f) Incorrect usage of tenses and prepositions.

Body of the report

The body of the report would normally consist of two short paragraphs. Each paragraph identifies  a  notable trend, describes specific changes and gives examples. This often involves comparing and contrasting results, as well as, grouping types of global trends so as to give a clear simple description of the bigger picture without getting bogged down in too much detail.

Identifying trends is, therefore, one of the first skills to master when it comes to writing reports. Using Google public data graphs and charts as resources, we can get lots of practice in analysing, discussing, taking notes on, and mindmapping trends and patterns from all kinds of significant global data.

Cultivating your writing style  is the second skill to develop. Once you have a picture of graphic trends and patterns in your mind’s eye, it’s time to clearly describe them using an appropriate formal academic writing style.

howtosayit

This, too, may seems daunting at first, but there is a simple science and system to mastering the terminology of reports. The multi- media presentation above builds up a sample report for you and identifies the factors that make up a powerful description.

Taking you from here ……..

 

mashup
To here ………………………..

Scroll down through this sample report to read and comment or even add your own questions, ideas and reports to the social stream.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Analysing Data For IELTS Writing Part One

ieltsblog

The IELTS academic writing exam involves analysing data from tables, line graphs, bar charts, process charts and so on. One of the first steps in mastering this part of the writing exam lies in understanding facts and statistics that are represented in diverse visual formats. Once you have trained your eye and mind to understand the bigger picture as well as finer details of visual data, learning how to express this in writing becomes so much easier.

Here is the first in a series of writing lessons using Google Public Data.

This is an amazing resource that transforms authentic public data into infographics. We can look at the same data through diverse formats to enhance understanding and practice describing the types of information presented.

Here is an example of some public data from a bubble chart that I embedded from Google.

Can you make sense of it at first sight?

 

Here are some key words from the related Google report.

google_info_wordle

If you are new to IELTS and writing about visual data, you may find both the graph and word cloud confusing, or else you might feel that it’s impossible to write about such complex data.
Success lie in simplifying the complex.

Task one for Beginners

Look at the key words in the word cloud.

1) What is it the subject matter or topic of information represented?

2) Why do you think some words are larger than others?

3) Can you write one sentence based on the largest key words that could express the topic of this report?

4) Can you think of one phrase that summarises the subject of this visualisation?

Task one for more experienced IELTS students.

If you have already written a number of reports and are practising for a higher band score, you can try writing an introductory paragraph for this report, based on the chart above and the word cloud key words.


TASK TWO

View the same data in different formats.

Here is a line graph representing the same information.

Is it easier or harder to analyse than the previous chart? Which of the charts below do you think best depicts the date to be described?

LINE GRAPH

BAR CHART

MAP CHART

Although we may have preferences for how data can be depicted clearly, the IELTS writing task will feature just one type for you to analyse and describe in your exam. Therefore, it’s important to be familiar with different forms of visual representation and infographics.

Apart from exam training, it’s also important to know how to interpret, present and create your own visuals in the world of business.

TASK 3

Read this short report from the Google Public Date page.

Living longer with fewer children

This chart correlates life expectancy and number of children per woman for each country in the world. The bubbles are sized by population and colored by region. Over time, most countries have moved towards the bottom right corner of the chart, corresponding to long lives and low fertility. Note the progression of the bubble for China- in the late 60’s and 70’s life expectancy rose quickly, then the implementation of the one-child policy caused a drop in the number of children per woman.

1) How is this similar to or different from the kinds of reports you are expected to write for IELTS reports?

2) How can you expand upon it?

4) How would you plan a detailed report in 3 or 4 paragraphs?

Use this essay mapping tool from Readwritethink to help you plan your ideas.

Use Wordle to create key word visualisations.

TASK 5

Play with the Google public Date page.

1) Browse through different topics and types of infographics and charts.

2) Search for topics that interest you.

3) For each topic create a mindmap or word cloud of key words, or just jot some notes into a notebook. Maps and word clouds are good for revision archives that you can refer to closer to the exam.

4) You can make up your own key words, then use key words from the Google examples and compare your notes with the official report.

Now you are ready for the next lesson. It will show you how to plan in detail and also give you excellent tips for developing vocabulary, phrases and sophisticated sentence construction.

Stay posted.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

12 Ways To Find & Refine Your Teaching Voice Online

novelty

Image based on 6 principles: Chip & Dan Heath: Made to Stick

Who are you?

As teachers of the digital age we are no longer passive consumers of information. We still have things we want to learn, but most especially, we have things we want to say. In fact, these things are no longer mutually exclusive. Social learning occurs where voice and opportunity meet beyond time zones, culture, gender, politics, or isolation.

You may be a teacher who feels isolated in a large school where your own ideologies are misunderstood, isolated because you work from home, or isolated because you are doing the ”done thing”; conforming to the status quo in ways that stifle your personal values or smother your true teaching instinct.

You may want to find international colleagues who share your struggles and insights, entertain your ideas, challenge you, and support you when times are tough.

Or you may be a teacher in love with your school, work, and students and you want to shout it from the rooftops and share your passions with the world.

You may also wish to document and publish your work in meaningful ways, find like-minded colleagues who can inspire you, or simply answer a calling to share your message with the world.

No, really, who are you?

It can, however be a very noisy social world out there, and you may be put off by the apparent chaos of social media, and the relentless churning of thoughts being plastered onto your screen  and onto your mind 24/7.

The last thing you want to do is become part of the noise. You want to stand out, not for careerist reasons, but because communication has no meaning if you have nothing of value to communicate. You cannot make a difference if you’ve nothing different to say. You cannot reach the hearts and minds of your teaching networks if your own principles have become trapped in swamps of tasteless goulash.

Your core message is the spice, the missing ingredient.

Who you are at the core of your professionalism must shine through authentically, brightly and unequivocally.

The medium is the message.

 The medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium – that is, of any extension of ourselves – result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.

Marshall McLuhan

Digital footprints.

footprnt

Social media has transformed the way we communicate, although our basic evolutionary make-up remains the same.  That’s why the social principles that shaped social behaviour in pre-historic times and led to the survival of Homo Sapiens, are the same ones we now need to translate into the digital world. In some ways it’s easier, because we have multi-media and interactivity at our finger tips. However, it’s also harder because too much choice can lead to paralysis of the mind, overkill and too much of a good thing.

In many ways, we are now more accountable for our thoughts, words and actions, because we have the power to shape our own digital footprints for good or for ill.

This also means that we no longer have to suffer the indignity of being ‘‘one of the masses“, herded into dominant culture-speak by the powers that be.

 How your message becomes associated with your digital footprint depends upon three things.

1) How well you can express the essence of your professionalism.

2) How skillfully you can choose and use the various platforms and types of multi-media available to you.

3) How good you are at stripping down complex issues into their core truths.

A designer knows he has achieved perfection, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Be yourself

Therefore it’s better to make an art of your daily tweets, or status updates, as long as your are ideas clear and authentic, than it is to spread yourself thinly all over different slices of publishing media if you are going to lose your voice in the process.

In fact, I’d say that this is the first step in finding your true voice, and when you do, you will automatically find your message embedding itself into all kinds of other publishing arenas you never would have imagined possible.

The principles I’ve highlighted in the image above can help us to focus, even in the most unruly of circumstances. They can also help us to remain constant as we find our voices online and, ultimately, fulfill our basic needs to share, learn and make a difference.

These are social principles discovered by science through trial, error, research and experiments. My experience tells me that these principles ring true and they certainly help me to focus more as a professional.

The Six Principles:

1) Simplicity – makes your message both simple and profound.


2) Unexpectedness – a counter-intuitive twist in your message attracts attention.

3) Concrete imagery – abstraction dulls the mind.

4)  Credibility – integrity, humility and honesty are your gold standard in social currency.

5) Emotions – feeling felt, mirror neurons, social intelligence, contagious synergy.

6) Stories – the proverbs of your mind in micro-bites.

Bearing the above principles in mind, here are some insights into building up a powerful digital footprint and strong voice within your networks.

The steps outlined below will help you to find your own teaching values by virtue of social journalling and interacting with other professionals.

When your interests become clear, that’s when the fun really starts.

1) Social media

Starting with Facebook and Twitter, follow professionals whom you find inspiring, even if you don’t know why they inspire you.

2) Sharing

Respond to their posts and share or retweet them if they resonate with you. What you share often says more about you than you know about yourself. Sharing is also a great way to ”listen’‘ to conversations and get the feel of social media dynamics.

3) Community

Join groups or like pages that mean something to you professionally, and contribute when you have something important to say – less is more.

4) Micro-chats

Join passionate colleagues in their Twitter trenches – Two great communities for English teachers are #Edchat and #ELTChinwag.

5) Growth spurts

After some time on Twitter and facebook, your online personality and teaching values will begin to redefine themsleves. This is an important stage in your development.

We could  call it the first milestone.

Many teachers are very happy at this stage and turn social networking into its own fine art. There’s no need to go further if you are aready fulfilling your personal and professional mission.

6)  Settling down

However there may come a time when micro-blogging urges you into more focused publishing. You need your own online home. This happens when you realise that your status updates and comments are nuggets of wisdom being flushed down the ever-flowing newsfeed never to be seen again. It may be  time to start your own blog. Here are some things you can do first if you’re still not ready or don’t have time.

7)  The blogosphere

The best way to get into blogging is to become active in the blogosphere. The blogosphere is a richer layer of the standard social media cake. It is beyond social media, yet an integral part of it via links, shares and social contagion.

Commenting on blog posts and subscribing to blogs is also something that I would describe as a higher purpose in social media, similar to sharing, listening and appreciating great minds and great colleagues. This is what will elevate your own presence  in the long run.

 8) Collect & curate.

The Scoopit curation tool is so professional and simple to use that it’s like publishing your own newspaper. Your Scoopit account has your brand name on it, you share interesting articles from those in your field or from the niche area you’re interested in. Your work spreads like a blog, your colleagues and those you follow are part of your publishing journey. It’s extremely educational and rewarding. It’s a wonderful preliminary step to blogging and it’s a complementary medium to blogging.

If you are more visually inclined you may wish to use Pinterest instead of, or in conjunction with Scoopit. Pinterest is a social inspiration board where you pin your favourite collections of links from the web, based on images. This is a fun way to collect and share. Pinterest packs in a lot of clout indeed. If I were to compare Scoopit and Pinterest, I’d say that Pinterest is the glossy magazine and Scoopit is the newspaper.

We could call this the second milestone.

9) Blogging

By the time you are ready to blog you should be passionate about your newly-discovered teaching values. The title of your blog will become your core message to the world.

10) Challenges

Apart from building up your own blog you can also take part in blog challenges within the blogosphere, start your own blog challenges, and write for educational newletters. Two inspiring communities for taking part in blog challenges are 30Goals.com and The ELT Blog Carnival.

11)  Multi-media

After you’ve got comfortable with text and image, you may wish to start experimenting with video, podcasting and even livestreaming webinars or holding online professional development classes where you can share your ideas. These can be embedded onto your blog, creating a colourful multi-media vlog.

This opens up another new world of teacher communities who may invite you to speak at their events and broadcast your voice to the world.

12)  Web tools

You can challenge yourself to learn one new multi-media tool per week. Then your blogs can turn into a platform for showcasing elearning materials that you have created.

We could call this the third Milestone.

13) Publishing a book

A time may come when your multiple blogs posts are developing into deeper themes. You find yourself writing beyond the scope of an article. You may even think you’ve become stricken with the curse of knowledge. Too many facts in your head, too many perspectives.

This is when you have to revisit the six principles above once again and strip down your knowledge into it’s newly evolved core. This may be an evolution of your first insights or it may be a metamorphosis.

Whatever it is, it means you’re ready to publish a book.  You can easily self-publish on sites such as Issuu or Scribd. You can also try publishing with The Round and learn more about publishing with ELT Teacher2Writer.


Last but not least, no matter how strong your voice gets, never stop listening.


“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said” –Peter Drucker


( This was a minimalist look at the main tools and stages in growing as a professional online)

My core message is …..

create_001

More about blogging:

References: Heath, Chip & Dan, Made to Stick (2007)

Related articles:

30 reasons why your blog can make a difference

Teacher appreciation & the art of clicking

Five reasons why conferences can change the way you feel about your work with Sophia Mavridi

The future of education through the looking glass

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Dear me, myself, and I – letter to my #youngerteacherself

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Dear  me, myself and I

I’m writing this to you from the future, even though you think you’ll never be a writer. Let me just start by saying that you are lucky enough to have had one of the greatest starts in life – that of studying literature. You’ll still think of William Blake and quote him on your blogs twenty years from now when you realise that 40 is the new 20, and that while you still haven’t given up your day job, you have, in fact, invented your own way of working and that you have found a new medium for writing.

Oh yes, if I had to go back to in time again, I would study literature all over again. In fact, one never stops reading about human nature, life, love & the art of living throughout a thousand life spans.

Oh, younger me,

It’s so strange for me to talk to you now, knowing that blogs still haven’t been invented – at least not as a teacher/writer tool, though one of the first bloggers started in 1994 – one year after your graduation from university.

You will be a late bloomer and start blogging in 2010;)

Right now you are telling yourself that you need to live more in order to have something worth writing about. Well, younger self, now it’s fair to say that you have lived, and lived & lived – a lot in twenty years – enough for a few compressed lifetimes – so what I have to write to you now is worth writing about;)

My message to you is a challenge because I know that you will spend your life meeting them.

The big, bad world out there will try to roughen you up and pull you down, but even though it’s tough being ‘too nice’, you will develop your own kind of strength much tougher than the rough edges of cruel experience.

“Life will try to gobble you up but you’ll  read your away out of the cookie jar”

 


CookieMonster

From where you’re standing right now, you think you have become a teacher because you’re not brave enough to become a writer. But the truth is that we are all teachers and learners in this life. You will join this teaching journey with many inspiring people who may also have thought they weren’t brave enough to do other things. Yet, you will be inspired by their bravery.

We all bring our souls into the job, and the teaching experience is transformed by each personality, each learner, each struggle and each achievement. You will become a teacher who reflects a lot, shares a lot and appreciates a lot. You have seven magical strengths that will keep you out of the cookie jar & forever cognizant of the finer things in life.

1) Your love of reading.
2) Your optimism.
3) Your experiments.
4) Your creative instinct.
5) Your friendships.
6) Your moments.
7) Your mystery.

When everything else falls apart, your seven magical strengths will recreate something new from the shattered pieces.

Your greatest ”aha” moment will come to you at the age of 43 and a bit.

Walking along your lovely yellow brick road along the seashore on your beautiful Greek island….(yes, Greek island…..)

….You will KNOW that things are going to be okay, you will know that your desert will once again become a garden of roses and that you will help other people out of their own deserts.

Some friends will inspire the planting, some will join you in the gardening, & some others will paint your garden for you and show you its beauty.

desert   You will already have a personal legacy when you are in your ‘new twenties’.

There will be children – I’m not telling you how many – it’s a surprise – oh yes – surprises indeed;)

Your children will learn strength, resilience and learn about love – love of family, love of self, love of learning, and love of humanity.

The ”aha” of your existence will lie in finding the answer to life, love and the universe.

I can tell you what it is now without spoiling the mystery, because the elixir itself is its own mystery.

The answer to life, love and the universe is creativity – for you, your children, your family, your friends, your colleagues, & the students and teachers whose lives you touch. Your brand of creativity will express itself through motherhood, blogs, books, literature, psychology, art therapy, storytelling, nature, cloud-watching and star-gazing.

Let’s not forget technology.

Technology is allowing me to send my thoughts and dreams back in time to you now, my younger self.

What is my final message?

I can’t shelter you from your challenges, but your challenges will turn you into someone greater than you know.

It would even be wrong of me to undo your mistakes, because each mistake will help you to teach others – and that is your purpose. You are not teaching because you’re afraid to be a writer, you’re teaching because your life is going to be the novel of a heroe’s journey – the same journey that’s imprinted in the souls of all people.

You are Every woman, Every mother, Every …?

I’ll let you find the rest out for yourself.

That’s the beauty.

Younger self, I’m proud of you and who you are becoming.

PS – my lovely me, This is still my favourite quote:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour.

William Blake

I mentioned  it here for my #eduheroes.

I even made a comic strip of the heroe’s journey that you are about to embark on. Thanks to Shelly Terrell for #Edugoals and #Eduheroes – she’s one of the special people you’re going to meet on your journey;)

There are others – you’ll know who I mean when you meet them;)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

How Do We Create Compelling eLearning Design That Supports Learners?

 

7463124842_8736c3f3e7_z

 

This article is dedicated to:
 #EVO Crafting The eperfect Text For Teachers.

Week four challenges us to accomplish missions that take us closer to our publishing goals.

Here’s a look at the agenda on the ePerfect textbook Wiki.

Here are overviews of collaborative work, inspiration and goals set in the previous three weeks broadcast from Google hangouts.

I think a lot about elearning design as I love to create digital materials and write.
Actually mapping out the characteristics of effective design is something else, but I’ve decided to just jot out a quick list of factors that may be significant for language learners.

Whether we are thinking about thinking, or thinking about text book design, it’s important to be aware of our own metacognition before developing critical awareness in our students. As an English teacher, I’ll focus on language today, although learning and cognition as a broad topic can help all subject teachers.

 

Understanding How We Think In Order To Make Our Students Think:
I recently took part in a Twitter chat organised by ELT Ireland on metacognition for students. It really made me think that teachers have to be self-aware before expecting students to tap into their own insights.

The Twitter chat itself raises questions about what kinds of tasks and exercises may cultivate learner autonomy and creativity in students. This is of great significance to teachers who create their own materials or  ebooks, as we can control the whole syllabus while simultaneously deciding how much freedom to give our students within the overall framework.

Here’s a storified record of the  #eltchinwag  Twitter Chat :

Here are two important links I shared during the chat:

a) A teaching journal written by David Deubelbeiss that helps us to become more aware of ourselves as teachers.

A reflective journal for teachers.

b) Some articles by Larry Ferlazzo.

My  best posts on metacognition.

c) Here is an article written by another prolific blogger in the field who has a special interest in metacognition.

A write-up on the chat by Lizzie Pinnard
Plan your Books To Set Your Students Free:

If we choose to create brain-friendly and user-friendly books for our students, we can  open up potential for more exploration, healthy risk-taking, confidence-building, self-expression and playing with the visual arts through the target language.

Creating a student-centred experience through non-linear thinking strategies:

 

dive

Just to be brief, I came up with 11 important objectives that I believe in:

( Teachers are designing all kinds of wonderful books in the #EVO etextbook community, so these are just my opinions and ideas that inspire me)

For me:

1) A new kind of relationship:

Students should be able to build up a relationship with their ePerfect textbook – because it is, after all, a dynamic, interactive and even socially-enabled publication.

2) Map The Plan:

It’s good to map out which  interactive elements we need to make the book come alive without turning it into a messy labyrinth.

3) Web-based Creativity:

The book should do much more than simply  impart information. It should challenge students to use the language and create their own communicative tasks through the wise use of simple web tools.

Here’s a sample idea from John Natterlab at our EVO community.

“This looks fun… get your students to make their own learning apps based on apps made by others or make one yourself! “

learning apps.org

4) Designing environments for meaningful experiences:

Tasks should be designed to create unique learner experiences, which, in turn create unique learner environments, so that learners can use these experiences & environments to design their own learning.

The learner environment can be the actual book layout itself, companion web-based “learning management systems” – though I prefer prefer the term ” playroom”, what Shelly Terrell calls the “sandbox”, or any other fun, creative term.

5) Adapt & Build:

Students should be able to adapt and build upon the original etextbook, thereby creating their own mini-books and projects – this can be done naturally through focusing on the most practical tasks such as error correction, where student errors are corrected and then fed back into new stories, such as comic dialogues etc.

This means that nothing gets neglected and that nobody can dare complain that creativity wastes time;)

6) Use of Metaphor:

I’ve written about the power of metaphor before and was pleased to see that Donna Wilson from Edutopia in the article about the gift of metacognition incorporates metaphor into raising self-awareness in students.

Life is a story and learning is the story of our lives. The best stories are based on metaphor, described through metaphor , and speak to the intellect and emotions through the multiple contexts of metaphor.

Therefore, using metaphor in your book design, layout, lesson plans and missions can help students to put the spotlight on inner realities, feelings, motivation and personalised learning. For me, storytelling seems to be one of the most powerful and natural ways to help students become both consciously and unconsciously cognizant of their own learning patterns.

7) Simplify The Complex:

We all want our students to be confident, fluent, creative, tech-savvy explorers. Yet, the vast array of web tools at our disposal may  encourage us to get trigger-happy with all kinds of links and start inventing all kinds interactive somersaults for our ebooks and students.

Yet, we also want them to focus, reflect, stay calm and remember. Who wants to write the book that made everyone seasick or take their kids on a field trip to Las Vegas and let them lose their minds forever?

I believe that “less is more”, when the technology you choose is powerful, yet simple. Simple to use, yet powerful in its endless applications and serendipitious results.

8) Show off & be colourful:

Of course, this all depends on the kinds of books you want to publish, but it’s good to entertain the notion of a fun, shiny look, especially for children, teens and general English courses.

Why not use a comic interface, fun dialogues, a magazine-style flip effect, or artistic storyboard theme?

9) Let your Personality & eclecticism  design the book:

The big difference between self-publishing initiatives and the blander types of official publications is that big publishers tend to avoid personalisation. That’s why such books fail to engage world wide readerships.

However, when you take inspiration from your own passions and frame them in creative and open-ended contexts within lesson plans and ebook design, you’ll find all kinds of unique ideas emerging that will resonaate with students. For example, I enjoy creating lessons and writing because I use inspiration from psychology and the arts. Other teachers use ideas, metaphors, concepts and activities from cooking, music, and even fitness (think  kinaesthesia).

Many of us are eclectic. This is important, because digging too deeply into “one way” of doing things could become too prescriptive, or narrrowly focused. It may also prevent students from taking their own initiative and letting their own personalities shine through.
10) Metacognition, anti-cognition & unconscious competence:

Speaking of personalisation and storytelling, there comes a time when teachers have to follow their instincts, let things flow and stop trying to consciously control student output.

While we know a certain amount about teaching, learning, peronality and motivation, our students are really mysteries to us and we are often mysteries to ourselves.

This is why the only true way to release knowledge is through indulging in creative linguistic activities. When students create, the unconscious mind does it’s work effortlessly and the result is surprising for teachers and students alike.

To see whether deep learning has taken place, we need to experience the satisfaction of allowing the emergent language of students to express itself. When this happens, we get the full impact of their unconscious competence – things they don’t even know that they know.

Testing only shows us the limiting scale of conscious incompetence leading up to conscious competence – memorisation, short-term memory work, swotting, struggle.

Creative activities give us a glimpse of the mysteries of their hearts and minds through the target language that they’ve internalised till it’s become part of themselves.

11) Reflect and then let go:

It’s good to reflect and it’s fun to reflect, but there comes a time when we have to let go. This is the exciting part of learning and teaching.

Sometimes our instincts know more that we do, and sometimes they don’t. There’s only one way to find out. This experimental stage can be part of the open-ended multi-media projects.

By allowing our students to feel their way into the language, we can help them to build up intuition as well as cognition. Metacognitive skills will give them intellectual confidence and strong life skills.  Yet, our deeper ways of knowing when expressed through creativity can help them to develop a more personal sense of confidence that will influence all aspects of their lives.

Here’s a collection I’ve started with some articles on metacognition:

Metacognition & Anti-metacognition, by silversal

 

Here are some of my brain-friendly articles related to elearning ideas and designs.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather