These are the main points from a webinar I delivered for mostly Turkish teachers
on Saturday 29 May 2021
What is literacy?
What we read / write
Where we read / write it (from books to digital tools)
Engagement with the written word
Learning through literacy – it’s the key to knowledge
We do live in a digital world but
Children do not have equal access to digital technologies due to
· school focus and resources
· family circumstances
· cultural influences (e.g. a focus on traditional education)
Learning to read and write is
· a fundamental right
· a gateway to gaining knowledge
· has never been more important
While many people believe that children’s literacy is declining in the digital age, Professor David Crystal has done research into children’s use of mobile devices
Children using mobile devices have better literacy scores and spelling and are able to process information more quickly.
Schools shut and we moved to online teaching
Learning remotely meant using platforms like zoom / videos / links / handouts
So, learners have to be more independent and resilient
And teachers, too
Pros of remote learning for teachers
Explored different resources
Became aware of support e.g. Cambridge websites
Discovered learning could be more flexible
We all missed the real classroom –
people, interaction, humour, variety, spontaneity, encouragement, touch
The fact that learning is often a group experience
We need to learn together:
Social interaction plays a fundamental role in the development of cognition = community plays a central role in the process of making meaning.
And we shouldn’t abandon the tried and tested older tools for learning.
Evolution is not simply change, it is development – an accumulation of knowledge
The brain has evolved over thousands of years. It has evolved to be able to take action and navigate appropriate behaviour. In order for the brain to develop in the best possible way, we need to use it for what it’s best at. We need to live an authentic life. We have to use all our senses, be outside, experience all kinds of weather and meet other people. If we don’t challenge our brain, it can’t reach its full potential. And that can impact school performance.
Eva Ose Askvik, F. R. (Ruud) van der Weel and Audrey L. H. van der Meer, July 2020, Norwegian University of Science & Technology
We need hands on learning because
• need different stimulation / multi-sensory
• learn in different ways
• need the capacity to learn autonomously
• need to be digitally and otherwise competent
• need to learn other skills in class
The use of pen and paper gives our brain more hooks to hang memories on. Writing by hand creates much more activity in in the sensorimotor parts of the brain. A lot of senses are activated by pressing the pen on paper, seeing the letters you write .. These sense experiences create contact between different parts of the brain and open the brain up for learning. We both learn better and remember better.
Audrey Van der Meer, Norwegian University of Science & Technology
There are lots of great Pre-literacy tasks, which develop multiple skills:
Ball-throwing & catching
Arts and crafts
Using plasticene, spaghetti, pipe cleaners etc to shape letters and words
= they develop motor skills, coordination, focus and aid memory
Learning tasks need to be kinaesthetic and haptic.
Through these kinds of activities they learn to:
Recognise shapes of letters
Link letters to sounds
Link what they see to what they have heard
Are also collaborative and communicative – these are key life skills, children need to develop.
Reading real books is
· Tangible, tactile and immersive
· Better for eyesight and sleep
· Easy to look back
· Focus attention
· Reading is a personal, reflective, imaginative experience
There is an important role for Digital learning as it’s a key skill for our children now and in their future:
‘the importance of developing autonomy / initiative to use technology independently outside the classroom
Elliot et al, 2000
BUT we also need to focus on
· Online safety
· Training teachers
· Is stimulating
· Offers great language learning opportunities
· Exposes learner to the world
· Develops skills for the future
· Useful beyond the classroom e.g. homework
· Can still be collaborative & communicative
· Can be differentiated especially for homework
We want our leaners to be
Keen to learn
Able to work independently
and make choices
Check out these websites / blogs mentioned in my presentation:
My blog: www.olhamadylusblog.com
www.opdome.com – a nice online dictionary (one of many)
www.noredink.com - a writing resource for older children
www.learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org – for lots of stories, songs, material
as well as Home | World of Better Learning | Cambridge University Press – www.cambridge.org/elt/blog - for lots of support for teachers
I didn’t get round to answering all the questions after my presentation, so I am adding them here:
Sajjad Hussain 12:15 PM
which method of teaching directly deals with online education
Erdoğan Dalmış 01:13 PM
As we know that the average of literacy is increasing, why do people try to be brutal to each error? I mean sneaky people are supposed to be good but they are not. Why?
Muhannad AlAli 01:53 PM
Do you think digital literacy will dominate the future of teaching?
Mark Demirtan 01:54 PM
what do you mean by "you want your students to be resilient
ozan tekin 01:54 PM
What do you think about interactive literacy teaching among students?
Theresa Sarigüllü 01:55 PM
Thank you for the wonderful seminar, what can we do for ss the are determined to learn but don’t have enough tech?
Hüseyin Subaşı 01:55 PM
What kind of activities do you suggest to abolish the silence between the students during the class as a teacher?
May May Win 01:56 PM
How should we correct the language (grammar) in kids’ writing? Thanks
Don’t correct it all for a start! Make notes of grammar mistakes common to many students and plan activities to go over that grammar and help them all progress.
If students are making a lot of mistakes when they write, it means they weren’t well-prepared for the task. Make sure you build up the skills and language they need before setting a writing task for them. Also let them write in pairs or small groups, so they can support each other – remember Vygotsky!
Beatrix Ivannovita 01:56 PM
Very young learners are easily distracted. Would you share some tips to get them actively engaged?
Rafi Ergün 01:57 PM
You haven't mentioned oracy skills in this seminar, do you ignore it?
Anonymous Attendee 01:58 PM
What is the difference between collaboration and co-operation?
ozan tekin 01:58 PM
Do you think that individuals are responsible for their own learning in the face of a lack of techs? What about equity and equality?
Anonymous Attendee 01:58 PM
In your own opinion , what do you think is the best way for students to improve on English speaking?
Merve GÜRSAÇLI 02:00 PM
what is your opinion about Bilingualism? Do you have any advice to read about it?
Ebru Topal 02:01 PM
You know during the online teaching road, parents were with us but we as teachers and schools mostly are keen to show how much they we could cover in the process so we are doing online portfolio, any ideas?
and this one for teachers:
Tips for Teachers: Creating a Teaching Portfolio Online - Blog