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PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

Module 1: HOW CHILDREN LEARN Aim: By the end of this module, you will be able to: - explore your own images and understandings about childrens learning - deepen your own understanding about childrens learning - think how the ideas about how children learn can be applied in the PELT classroom Section 1: HUMAN BRAIN & CHILDRENS LEARNING Task 1: Look at the picture of human brain and complete the blanks with some important parts of the brain below. brain stem limbic system cerebellum cerebrum (cortex) midbrain

1 5 3 2

Task 2: Match the parts of human brain with their functions.

PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

Parts of brain 1. cerebrum e 2. brain stem a 3. cerebellum d 4. limbic system c 5. midbrain b

Functions a. controlling most basic life activities, including breathing, blood pressure and heartbeat b. controlling motor activities, appetite and sleep c. controlling emotions, behavior, body temperature and long-term memory d. coordinating movement and balance e. regulating speech, vision, hearing, decision- making and controlling thinking, reasoning

Task 3: Amazing brain Quick quiz Choose the correct answer for the following questions. 1. At birth, a babys brain has: A. one million brain neurons B. ten thousand brain neurons C. one hundred billion brain neurons 2. How fast does a childs brain grow in the early years? By age three, a childs brain A. has tripled in weight B. has doubled in weight C. is the same weight as at birth 3. Which of the following statements is accurate? A. After birth, the brain does not change. B. The experiences that we have in our lives help to shape the brain. C. The brain is already fully developed at birth.
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PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

4. Which of the following statements is accurate? A. You can continue to learn new things/ new skills at any age. B. The brain is like a sponge. C. Your genes are your destiny. Task 4: Children as active learners Read the following statements about the brain and how children learn. Predict if the statements are True or False: 1. _______ The structure of some parts of the brain can change depending on the way they are used. 2. _______ There is no relationship between a child brain development & his early experiences. 3. _______ Children tend to remember what arouses strong emotion easily. 4. _______ Feelings, positive or negative, can facilitate childrens learning. 5. _______ Childrens experiences (visual, audio) can be all stored in the same part of the brain. 6. _______ Children are unable to reconstruct different parts of their experiences back together. 7. _______ The brain takes in every experience no matter how boring or interesting it is. 8. _______ Children like to do activities/ tasks which are relevant and meaningful to them. Task 5: Read the text and check your predictions A. Experience shapes the brain We used to believe that the brain you were born with was the one you had for the

PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

rest of your life. But, in fact, our brains use our experiences in life to build themselves. So some studies show how the structure of some parts of the brain can change depending on the way they are used. Taxi drivers in London were given brain scans by scientists. The scientists found that parts of taxi drivers brains were different from non-taxi drivers. The part of the brain associated with finding their way around the streets (navigation) was much larger in taxi drivers. So the brain had actually changed its structure to cope with the huge amount of finding their way around the streets that taxi drivers do. Children can help to lay the foundations of the way their brains will develop through the early experiences they have with music, art, maths, language learning and other types of learning. All the experiences we have and all that we do help to shape our brains. B. Emotions and learning Brain research shows that the emotions shape what we remember and how we remember. These guide our future responses. We have positive experiences which we find very interesting, very relevant, exciting. On the other hand, we may have negative experiences which are very unpleasant, embarrassing, or which cause us anxiety. These experiences are stored as memories together with the emotions associated with those experiences. We remember experiences with strong emotional content more easily than those which do not arouse strong emotions. When we recall those experiences, we also recall the feelings associated with those experiences. Children may have positive feelings about a particular experience e.g. learning football, or learning a language. This means they are likely to have a positive attitude towards such experiences again in the future which stimulates further learning. On the other hand, children may have a negative experience at school in some lessons or associate a type of learning activity with negative feelings or anxiety. Perhaps, a child failed in his English language test or he/she

PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

felt very embarrassed in having to do a role play in front of the class. These feelings may create a block for future learning when similar experiences or activities are involved. C. Memory is multi-sensory When an experience enters the brain (e.g. a visit to the zoo, an art lesson), it is broken down and stored in different parts of the brain. For example, the emotional content of an experience is stored in one part, visual images in another, where we had the experience in another and so on. When we try and remember information about that experience, you have to put all these parts back together again, to reconstruct it. So the more ways in which learners have the information represented in the brain (through hearing, seeing, doing, smelling etc) the more ways they have for reconstructing and recalling the information. For example, if children learn some new vocabulary by hearing the words, writing them, illustrating them, acting them out, they have used many senses and so will create more vivid and richer memories. This will make it easier to recall those words later. D. Making sense is essential for learning The brain is naturally designed to look for experiences which are meaningful i.e. it can make sense of them. It rejects things which are not meaningful. Many school activities are not meaningful to children since they do not understand why they are doing them or what their purpose and relevance are. For example, copying things from the blackboard is a very common activity for children but few can see any purpose in copying, a part of obeying teachers order. However, if the teacher asks them to choose which words to copy down because they will use them on a bingo sheet, the copying begins to make sense to children. There is an interesting reason

PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

for doing so. If a child finds an activity boring and cannot find any meaningful purpose in it, her brain may have difficulty in connecting the information to existing information already stored. So the information may be quickly forgotten or may be difficult to remember on another occasion. The conclusion is that children need relevant and meaningful experiences in order to make sense and learn.
References Smilkstein, R 2003. Were Born to Learn, CA: USA: Corwin Press Smith, A. 2004. The Brains behind it. Stafford: network Educational Press. http://www.brainconnection.com/content/160-5 http://www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/htmpubs.4356.htm

Task 6: What do ideas about the brain mean for PELT teaching? Complete the following sentences with your own words. 1. Children need experiences and learning activities in which they can see the ________________ and purpose. (meaning) 2. Children need varied, rich and _______________ experiences to help the brain grow. (stimulating) 3. Teachers need to create a ______________, caring and stimulating environment in which children are appropriately challenged and feel free to take risks. (child-friendly) 4. Children need to learn using a variety of activities and _____________ to maximize the chances of remembering. (senses) 5. Children need plenty of _____________ with learning activities they find meaningful and many opportunities to use ________________ they have learned. (practice/ information or skills) Task 7: The young language learners

PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

Section 2: CHILDREN & ADULT LEARNING Aim: By the end of the session, you will be able to become more aware of the way how adults and children learn foreign language. reflect on your own beliefs about childrens first and foreign language learning. apply your understanding of childrens second/foreign language to analysing conditions for effective foreign language learning. Task 1: Discuss in groups about the question, How do adults learn? Make some notes on Ao paper. Task 2: Think Pair Share about the question, What are children like? With a partner, brainstorm all the characteristics which make them different from older learners/adults. Then read the following statements about how children learn a foreign language. Consider if you AGREE, DISAGREE, or NOT SURE with the statements. Write your opinions before the statements. 1. _____________ Children have their own reasons for learning another language. 2. _____________ Children learn languages more easily than teenagers or adults do, so they should start learning early. 3. _____________ Children can initially be motivated by the teacher they like and interesting activities. 4. _____________ Children never lose interest in the lesson. They try their best to be engaged.

PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

5. _____________ If a child does not like the activity, he or she can say so to the teacher. 6. _____________ Children are able to control their behaviour and feelings. 7. _____________ Children tend to focus more on the meaning of a situation than the words used to express the message. 8. _____________ Children have very good ears, so initial teaching should focus on developing good pronunciation and intonation. 9. _____________ Children can only work out the rules of the new language with the teachers help. 10. _____________ Children are more likely to acquire vocabulary and grammatical points when involved in playful or communicative activities. 11. _____________ Children learn a language only by imitation. 12. _____________ Children tend to pick up ready-made phrases or chunks of language. Task 3: Read the text below and check your opinion in task 2 How children learn a foreign/ second language 1. Children have no reason for learning English Children do not have their own reasons for learning English. The decision to learn English is taken for children by a local education authority or by parents on behalf of children. The child may not know what language learning means. By contrast, adults know what it means to learn a language. They usually have very clear reasons and a need for learning a language. Thus, with children, the teacher has to motivate them so that they are willing to try and use the new language. Children are initially motivated to learn English because they like

PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

their teacher or because of interesting activities. As children get older (9 onwards), they become more aware of the importance of English and begin to find their own reasons for learning English. 2. Miss I am bored! Children are still developing their ability to manage their own behavior. Children tend to lose interest in things they are doing in unpredictable ways. One minute they seem engaged and then suddenly they seem to have lost interest. This makes them different from teenagers/ adults. Children will quickly let the teacher know they are bored through their actions: they become restless, move around in their seats, distract other children, and so on. Very young children may innocently announce to the teacher, I dont want to do this activity anymore, without feeling any embarrassment. Adults may also feel bored or frustrated with aspects of their language learning class but because they have chosen to learn English, they will usually keep trying and hide their feelings. Children are not quite clear why they are in school and they have not chosen to be there. Therefore, they will need to be managed far more carefully than adults when they are carrying out activities in pairs or groups. They do not yet know how to manage their own behaviour. However, as they go through school, they will gradually learn how to regulate themselves. 3. Children give priority to meaning, not words Children tend to focus on meaning of a situation rather than the words to express the message. They are very quick to work out what is happening by using situational or context clues and knowledge of peoples intentions. The general tendency in children is to give less attention to the words themselves. Teachers need to build on childrens instinct for meaning as it is very useful for language learning- children can work out what is going on before they have

PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

acquired very much language. Once they understand what is happening then it is easier for them to begin to associate certain words with the meanings in that situation. Teachers need to respond positively to childrens attempts to make sense of things even if this is expressed inaccurately. Accuracy is important but can be dealt with later once children are familiar with the meaning. 4. Children can learn from direct experience and activity Children have strong urge or instinct from birth to explore and interact with their environment. Young children like to touch and play with things. If they see a puddle, they will jump over it or splash in it. If they see switches or buttons, they want to press them. This strong tendency enables them to learn about the world and build up their understanding of the world they live in. When children are engaged in doing activities, the language is closely related to the physical actions. So they can get clues about the meaning of the words from the physical activity and the context. Through their involvement in such activities they pick up some of the language associated with the activity quite unconsciously. Children are much more likely to learn/ acquire key grammatical points when involved in playful or communicative activities. In such situations, the particular grammatical structures naturally arise out of doing the activity; there is no deliberate focus on the grammatical forms.

Task 4: Conditions to support L1 & L2 Look at the picture and the dialogue between a mother and a son who is getting dressed. Discuss in groups conditions to support L1

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PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

Conversation: Mother: Now were nearly dressedOk, good boy. Where are your shoes? Child: Sus Mother: Yes, your shoes. Where are they? (Both look around for the shoes.) Mother: Oh there. Look.. Your shoeson the chair. Child: Sus. Sus. Mother: Yes shoes.

Task 5: Most normal human beings successfully acquire the first language but not all successfully acquire/ learn the second language. If we look at the conditions for

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PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

L1 learning and compare them with the typical school situation where children learn English, we may understand why. 1. In groups, compare the conditions for L1 learning with L2 learning, using your knowledge of YL classrooms. 2. Make notes of differences or similarities in the chart below. Conditions supportive of L1 learning 1. Plenty of exposure. Child is surrounded by the language. 2. Rich input: children are exposed to many different varieties/ uses of language 3. Plenty of repetition. There is routine in a childs life so language gets repeated naturally in similar situations. 4. Friendly warm environment: Both mother and child are interested in each other 5. Children are motivated to talk based on desire and need to communicate with others. 6. Language is used for communicative purposes not for learning about grammar 7. Unlimited time available for learning the language Task 6: DVD watching OBSERVATION SHEET Conditions to support effective FL learning
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Do these apply to L2 learning?

PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

Extract 1: Analysing classroom materials for learning English Watch the video and tick the teaching aids and visual techniques you can spot in this extract Picture flashcards Word flashcards Number flashcards Songs Chants Music Rhythm sticks Puppets Models & dolls Posters for vocabulary Posters of students work Posters of pictures Videos/ DVD Chalkboards whiteboards Masks Role-play/ drama Clothing/ costumes Mime/ gestures computer Toys dice Reference reading CONDITIONS TO SUPPORT EFFECTIVE FOREIGN/ SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING create a real need and desire to use English provide sufficient time for English provide exposure to varied and meaningful input with a focus on communication Big books and readers Board games puzzles

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PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

provide opportunities for children to experiment with new language provide plenty of opportunities to practice and use the language in different contexts create a friendly atmosphere in which they can take risks and enjoy their learning provide feedback on learning help children notice the underlying pattern in language

Moon J. (2000). Children Learning English. Macmillan, p.10 Extract 2: Creating the right environment for language learning to take place Watch the video and tick the conditions you can spot (Yes/ No) in this extract Yes 1. Does this activity create everyday, real situations within classroom? 2. Does it have real interaction and communicative activities? 3. Does it use topics that are related to everyday situations and routines which are relevant to learners? 4. Does it support and extend childrens learning as caretakers (scaffolding)? 5. Does it create a stress-free, interesting
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No

Comment

PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

and supportive environment for learners? 6. Does it recycle input in a variety of different contexts?

Reference reading CREATING THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT FOR LEARNING TO TAKE PLACE create everyday, real situations within the classroom in which one of the only new aspects of the interaction is the foreign language have a continued exchange of meaning in our activities in the classroom through real interaction and communicative activities use topics that are related to everyday situations and routines which are relevant to our learners support and extend childrens learning as caretakers (adult helpers) encourage the learner to be a thinker and problem solver and to respond to and develop through challenge create a stress-free, interesting and supportive environment for our learners recycle input in a variety of different contexts which will create a highly meaningful and purposeful learning environment Adapted from Hughes, A. (2001) The Teaching of language to Young Learners (p. 21)

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PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

Section 3: MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES Task 1: Put the following people in order with the most intelligent person first. David Beckham Michael Jackson Leonardo da Vinci Issac Newton Wolfgang Amadous Mozart Martin Luther King

Task 2: Look at the diagram of the theory Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner. Fill in the gaps with kinds of the intelligences. 1. linguistic 2. visual/ spatial 3. logical/ mathematical 4. bodily/ kinesthetic 5. musical 6. intrapersonal 7. interpersonal

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PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

Task 3: Match the types of intelligences with their abilities and skills they are good at.
MIs Verbal/ Linguistic intelligence Abilities i. understanding the visual world and responding well to it Skills a. singing, playing musical instruments, composing music, remembering melodies, understanding the structure and rhythm of Logical/ mathematical ii. controlling the body and music. b. recognizing their strengths

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PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

intelligence

handling the objects

and weaknesses, reflecting and analyzing themselves, understanding their roles in relationship with others. c. seeing things from other perspectives, listening, communicating both verbally and non-verbally. d. problem solving, classification, and categorizing information, performing complex mathematical calculations, working with geometric shapes e. listening, speaking, story telling, analyzing language usage f. reading, writing, understanding charts and graphs, sketching, painting, designing practical objects. g. dancing, sports, using body language, crafts, acting, miming, expressing emotions through the body

Spatial/ Visual intelligence

iii. being sensitive to words and sounds and the use of language

Bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence

iv. being sensitive to feeling of others and responding well

Musical intelligence

v. understanding our own feelings and controlling our own behaviour vi. seeing number patterns and following an argument

Interpersonal intelligence

Intrapersonal intelligence

vii. hearing and making sounds and rhythm in music

Task 4: Where does your true intelligence lie? This quiz will tell you where you stand and what to do about it. Read each statement. If it expresses some characteristics of yours and sounds true for the most part, jot down T. If it

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PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

doesnt, mark F. If the statement is sometimes true, sometimes false, leave it blank. 1. _________ Id rather draw a map than give someone verbal directions. 2. _________ I can play (or used to play) a musical instrument. 3. _________ I can associate music with my moods. 4. _________ I can add or multiply in my head. 5. _________ I like to work with calculators and computers. 6. _________ I pick up new dance steps fast. 7. _________ Its easy for me to say what I think in an argument or debate. 8. _________ I enjoy a good lecture, speech and sermon. 9. _________ I always know north from south no matter where I am. 10. _________ Life seems empty without music. 11. _________ I always understand the directions that come with new gadgets or appliances. 12. _________ I like to work puzzles and play games. 13. _________ Learning to ride a bike (or skates) was easy. 14. _________ I am irritated when I hear an argument or statement that sounds illogical. 15. _________ My sense of balance and coordination is good. 16. _________ I often see patterns and relationships between numbers faster and easier than others. 17. _________ I enjoy building models (or sculpting). 18. _________ Im good at finding the fine points of word meaning. 19. _________ I can look at an object one way and see it sideways or backwards just as easily. 20. _________ I often connect a piece of music with some event in my life.

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PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

21. _________ I like to work numbers and figures. 22. _________ Just looking at shapes of buildings and structures is pleasurable to me. 23. _________ I like to hum, whistle and sing in the shower or when Im alone. 24. _________ Im good at athletics. 25. _________ Id like to study the structure and logic of languages. 26. _________ Im usually aware of the expression on my face. 27. _________ Im sensitive to the expressions on other peoples faces. 28. _________ I stay in touch with my moods. I have no trouble identifying them. 29. _________ I am sensitive to the moods of others. 30. _________ I have a good sense of what others think of me. Task 5: Put a tick () by the item you marked as True in MIs test. Add up your total. A total of four in any of the categories A-E indicates strong ability. In categories F & G, a score of one or more means you have abilities as well.
A B C D E F G

Linguisti c
7. ______ 8. ______ 14. _____ 18. _____ 25. _____ Totals: ________

LogicalMathemat ical
4. _______ 5. _______ 12. ______ 16. ______ 21. ______ ________

Musical

Spatial/ Visual

Bodilykinaesthet ic
6. _______ 13. ______ 15. ______ 17. ______ 24. ______ _________

Intrapersonal Interper sonal


26. _____ 28. _____ 27. _______ 29. ______ 30. ______ ________

2. _____ 3. _____ 10. ____ 20. ____ 23. ____ _______

1. ______ 9. ______ 11. _____ 19. _____ 22. _____ ________

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PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

Task 6: Move around and ask your peers if you and your peers belong to the same type of intelligence. Give specific examples about the abilities or skills that both of you can do. Task 7: DVD watching Watch the three extracts from classroom around the world and answer the questions: 1. What is the aim of the activity? 2. What type of multiple intelligences is involved? 3. List the teaching techniques the teacher uses to develop the childrens MIs.
Extract 1 Aim Extract 2 Extract 3

Type of MIs

Teaching techniques

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PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

Task 8: Reflect on MIs session


Recall what you have learned and done in this session. Write the types of intelligences that the trainer used to develop trainees MIs

I.

Activities Warm-up (crossword puzzle)

MIs

II.

Who is the most intelligent?

III.

Matching the types of intelligences from the diagram

IV.

Matching titles, descriptions and skills

V.

MI quiz

VI.

DVD watching

REFERENCE READING ON MIs

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PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

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PRIMARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING How Children Learn

References: Gardner, H. (1983) Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York Larsen-Freeman, D. (2000) Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching (2nd Edition), Oxford University Press

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