They’re not just smaller – how young learners are different
They are still developing physically
Hand – eye coordination
Handling pencil, pen, scissors
Sitting still / Self-control
Let’s face it:
it’s difficult for students to spend long periods of time confined to the small space of the classroom.
We need to be patient and allow for ‘wriggling’ and ‘walkabouts’
We need to teach handwriting skills
Children need opportunities to develop motor skills in class
• Throwing and catching a ball
• Cutting out
• Sticking stickers
• Art and crafts
• Movement games
They are still developing socially
Need to work together
Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development
The zone of proximal development (ZPD) has been defined as "the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers" (Vygotsky, 1978, p86).
Lev Vygotsky views interaction with peers as an effective way of developing skills and strategies. He suggests that teachers use cooperative learning exercises where less competent children develop with help from more skillful peers - within the zone of proximal development.
Vygotsky believed that when a student is at the ZPD for a particular task, providing the appropriate assistance will give the student enough of a "boost" to achieve the task
The brain continues developing until we are in our early 20s.
At the age of seven thinking is largely reliant on perception. Children are egocentric and lack the capacity for logical thinking.
From 7 -11 logical thinking begins to develop but understanding depends on immediate context and generalising is hard.
Teaching grammar rules just ain’t gonna work!
Focus on meaning
Give plenty of language input so that slowly children will notice patterns and acquire language
Give the students something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.
John Dewey (1859 – 1952, American philosopher and educational reformer)
John Holt – Natural Learning Style
The child is curious…wants to make sense of things… is open and receptive… experimental.. bold… not afraid of making mistakes… is patient…can tolerate an extraordinary amount of uncertainty, confusion, ignorance and suspense..
We ought to accept mistakes as ‘learning steps’
We should not be obsessed with the ‘right’ answer
We must create classrooms where the focus is on learning not ‘teaching’
I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.
Research in nursery schools by Tizard and Hughes showed that the girls they were researching asked 26 questions an hour at home and only 2 an hour at school. The teachers dominated the discussion with questions, only giving the children a short time in which to reply. Unintentionally the teachers were conveying the message that it was the children’s role to answer the questions rather than ask them.
• Encourage exploration and imagination
• Avoid questions which have only one correct answer
• Celebrate questions
• Ask ‘real’ questions
• Include activities that are Multiply Intelligent: music, movement, pictures, group work, working alone, problem solving etc
• Don’t teach the book, teach the children
• Remember - variety is the spice of life
Creating the right conditions for children’s language learning
• a need and desire to learn English
• sufficient time for English
• exposure to varied and meaningful input
• opportunities for experimentation
• opportunities to practise and use the language in different contexts
• a friendly atmosphere in which children can take risks
• help in noticing the underlying pattern in language
Jayne Moon, Children Learning English, Macmillan
We do not have to train children to learn…we have to avoid interfering with it
Frank Smith, Reading, 1978, CUP
Homework – is it a waste of time?
When students lack the support to do it well.
If we don’t plan for success, we’ll have a lot of correction to do.
When students are so overwhelmed with studies, they are too tired to do it well.
When it’s learning by rote.
When it’s just easier to copy off your friend tomorrow..
Or when mummy will do it..
When the work benefits from collaboration
When we haven’t actually planned how it links with what is done in class or considered its value.
When students are well prepared in class to do it on their own.
Writing a composition - Have you?
- pretaught useful vocabulary
- reviewed grammar to be used
- presented ideas
- discussed ideas
- drawn up plans together
When they see a point in doing it...e.g.
Letters to teacher
Preparing input for next lesson e.g doing research, collecting materials, rehearsing dialogues for taping
Part of an ongoing scheme of work e.g. extensive reading, a project, portfolio work
When the medium is appealing
When homework tasks can be chosen
When parents can help and encourage their children at home
When parents are trained/advised how to help their children
When it’s a pleasure to do
Checklist: does the homework:
maximize use of time?
provide pre or post lesson support
allow for personalisation?