EFL: Motivating Learners In The Age of the Digital Native - Tesol France 2010

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Until the current generation of 20-year-olds starts moving into the ELT profession, EFL is a bi-polar pursuit: digital immigrants teaching digital natives. Our frames of reference and past experiences …

Until the current generation of 20-year-olds starts moving into the ELT profession, EFL is a bi-polar pursuit: digital immigrants teaching digital natives. Our frames of reference and past experiences with learning are vastly different. If we can unlock motivation in this generation by using the vast wealth of new tools and approaches today available to us, we can finally defeat the "Teen learners have high potential but aren't motivated" paradox.

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  • 1. Unlocking Learner Motivation In The Age Of The Digital Native
    Paul Maglione
    TESOL France
    27 November 2010
  • 2. The internet
    is now
    20 years old
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • 6. 2010
  • 7.
  • 8.
  • 9.
  • 10. “A subordinating conjunction always comes at the beginning of a subordinate clause. It "introduces" a subordinate clause. However, a subordinate clause can sometimes come after and sometimes before a main clause….”
  • 11.
  • 12. It’s high time we put these four things together and came up with a more effective way of motivating learning and teaching English to teens and young adults.
  • 13.
  • 14.
  • 15. Who Are Teens?
    • What’s going on with their lives?
    • 16. hormones / sexual development
    • 17. independence / autonomy
    • 18. questioning of authority / rebellion
    • 19. social hyperactivity / peer pressure
    • 20. What’s going on with their future?
    • 21. pressure over education, career prospects, type of friends, values
    • 22. What are their cultural references?
    • 23. What is their relationship with education?
    • 24. English: how do they see it as relevant to them?
  • What else do we know about teens?
    Their brains are in a very specific state of development.
  • 25. Teen Brain
    Phenomenon #1
    • Reasoning
    • 26. Organizing, prioritizing information
    • 27. Control of Impulses
    Not fully mature until age 25!
  • 30. Teen Brain
    Phenomenon #2
    Maturing of brain as Grey Matter is lost
    Adolescent Pruning Of Brain Cells
    The brain selectively strengthens or prunes neurons based on activity. Synapses continually used will flourish; those that are not used will wither away.
  • 31. Teen Brain
    Phenomenon #3
    Mylenation (increase in White Matter)
    Speeds the
    brain’s information-processing capacity equivalent to
    3,000 X increase in computer bandwidth
  • 32. The Teen Brain: UNDER CONSTRUCTION
    A framework, not an empty structure waiting to be filled
  • 33. Phased teenage brain development
    EFLteaching implications
  • 34.
  • 35. Use teen craving for NOVELTY and EXCITEMENT to get their ATTENTION
    video, music, movement, news, games, anecdotes
    worksheets, lectures, objective texts
  • 36. Break large, long-term assignments down into short-term objectives
    Remind them of concepts, objectives and deadlines frequently.
  • 37. Use short formats
    Teens can only focus on someone talking for 15 minutes at a time  they need a change in state of mind every20 minutes.
  • 38. Keep It Real
    For young
    (13 – 16)
    teens, don’t
    make topics
    too abstract
  • 39. The teenage brain
    into Communicative
    Task Work
  • 40. “Use it or lose it” brain cell pruning
    EFLteaching implications
  • 41. Focus material on what they see as relevant and useful to them
    The environment
    Racism / Diversity
    Jobs / Careers
  • 42. Repetition with variation
    Get them to not just read a vocabulary item, but also…
    use it in a sentence
    use it in a story
    see a photo of it
    play a game based on it
    hear it in a song
    unjumble it
    hear it spoken by a famous actor
  • 43. Explosion in brain processing power
    EFLteaching implications
  • 44. Exposure Input  Intake
  • 45. Manageable chunks,
    always in a context
    Multiple exposures to language items in different but similar contexts reinforces retention.
  • 46. Provide ANALYTICAL
    CHALLENGES that stimulate
    higher-order thinking
    Ask :
  • 47. Don’t forget: male and female adolescents mature at different rates
    Grey cell pruning
    starts at age 14 – 16
    Grey cell pruning
    starts at age 10 – 12
    Boys and girls may
    be ready to absorb
    challenging material
    at differentstages.
  • 48. …also don’t forget: the average teen isSLEEP DEPRIVED
    teens require 9.25 hours of sleep.
    Most teens report sleeping
    5 hours or less per 24-hour period.
    Sleep deprivation makes it more difficult for most students to learn, remember and think creatively.
  • 49. What about EFL Pedagogy?
    What have we learned these past 20 years?
  • 50. NEW EFL
    MOST of these match up with Cognitive Neuroscience-based
    principles for engaging teens and young adults
  • 51. What else do we know about teens?
    One of the things they really enjoy, even seem addicted to, is VIDEOGAMES. Why?
  • 52. What can we learn (and adopt) from Video Games?
    Failure is part of the game
    Try and try again without stigma
    Repetition breeds competence
    Positive reinforcement all the time
    Positive vs. negative stress
    Level design: progress to next level is always a challenge, but achievable
    Progress = status enhancement
    Social (multiplayer gaming; leader boards; in-game chat; challenge-a-friend)
  • 53. Where it all comes together for teens:
  • 54. Understanding Learner Motivation
    The “neglected heart” of our understanding of how to design instruction.
    Particularly an issue for teens, due to:
  • 55.
  • 56. Learner Motivation For Teens
    Exploit learners’ natural curiosity to explore the world, which is at its most powerful during teenage and young adult years
  • 57. Learner Motivation For Teens
    Make the input material relevant to them.
    Do they believe that what they are learning will be useful to them soon?
  • 58. Learner Motivation for Teens
    “The simplest way to ensure that people value what they are doing is to maximise their free choice and autonomy”
    - Good & Brophy, 2004
  • 59. Learner Motivation for Teens
    Three strategies* to encourage positive self-evaluation:
    Promote / Reward
    rather than
    not Grades
    *Dornyei, 2001
  • 60. A word about technology…
  • 61. Class Time Is Precious Time: Technology Can Optimize It
    • Exposure / input and repetition: outsidethe classroom as much as possible.
    • 62. Use precious class time for:
    • 63. discussion
    • 64. interaction
    • 65. group work
    • 66. tasks requiring teacher supervision
    • 67. face-to-face intelligent error correction
  • 68. The Web allows learners to go beyond learning: to create
  • 69. Some Ed-Tech Gurus
    #efl #esl #elt #edtech #iatefl #tesol #eltchat
  • 70. Some final points about teens and EFL
  • 71. Language is part of one’s identity and is used to convey this identity to others.
  • 72. Teens’ identity is in full-swing evolution, so both L1 sophistication and L2 learning have a significant impact on the social being of the learner.
    *Thanasoulas, 2007
  • 73. If we can integrate English into teens’ idea of self, we turbo-charge their learning, retention, and enjoyment of the process.
    *Thanasoulas, 2007
  • 74. Unlocking Learner Motivation In The Age Of The Digital Native
    Twitter: @paulmaglione
    Web: www.english-attack.com
    Blog: http://blog.english-attack.com
    E-mail: paul.maglione@english-attack.com
    LinkedIn: Paul Maglione