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Describing Learners J Harmer (2001)

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Describing Learners J Harmer (2001)

  1. 1. Jeremy Harmer (2001) Describing Learners
  2. 2. The Age Factor <ul><li>Teaching Children: the younger the better, brain plasticity, Steven Pinker. Lateralization. </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching adolescents: Myth. Unmotivated, surly and uncooperative. </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching Adults: greater use of abstract thought. Self-motivated. </li></ul>
  3. 3. YOUNG CHILDREN YLE <ul><li>They respond to meaning. </li></ul><ul><li>They often learn indirectly. </li></ul><ul><li>Their understanding comes from VAKOG. </li></ul><ul><li>They are enthusiastic and curious. </li></ul><ul><li>They like to talk about themselves: here and now principle. </li></ul><ul><li>They have a limited attention span. </li></ul><ul><li>They need teacher’s approval. </li></ul>
  4. 4. APTITUDE: <ul><li>Problems with IQ tests that favour analytic learners </li></ul><ul><li>Some students are better than others at learning languages: Peter Skehan (1998) relates this to unusual memories but there are other factors: sound discrimination, rule formation and capacity to infer and use deductions. Risk- taking. </li></ul><ul><li>Disadvantage of IQ tests: self-fulfilling prophecies. Students may become de-motivated. </li></ul>
  5. 5. GOOD LEARNER CHARACTERISTICS : <ul><li>What is a good learner? </li></ul><ul><li>Neil Neiman (1978): </li></ul><ul><li>Tolerance of ambiguity. </li></ul><ul><li>Positive task orientation. </li></ul><ul><li>Ego involvement. </li></ul><ul><li>High aspirations, goal orientation and perseverance. </li></ul><ul><li>Joan Rubin (1982) listed 14 good learner characteristics. </li></ul><ul><li>Students who can find their own way without being guided. </li></ul><ul><li>Students who are creative and make intelligent guesses. </li></ul><ul><li>Seek their own opportunities for practice. Autonomous. </li></ul><ul><li>The idea of what a good language learner is , is also influenced by the culture. Different cultures value different learning behaviours. </li></ul>
  6. 6. LEARNER STYLES: <ul><li>A major factor in psycholinguistic research. There are different kinds of learners. How can we tailor our teaching to match the personalities in front of us? </li></ul><ul><li>Keith Willing, quoted by Skehan (1987) produced the following descriptions. </li></ul><ul><li>The term &quot;learning styles&quot; is commonly used throughout various educational fields and therefore, has many connotations. In general, it refers to the uniqueness of how each learner receives and processes new information through their senses. The National Association of Secondary School Principals defines learning style as, &quot;the composite of characteristic cognitive, affective, and physiological factors that serve as relatively stable indicators of how a learner perceives, interacts with, and responds to the learning environment.&quot; Other phrases are used interchangeably with learning styles. Some include perceptual styles, learning modalities, and learning preferences. </li></ul>
  7. 7. MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES
  8. 8. Table 1. Summary of the Eight Intelligences <ul><li>Intelligence Area Strengths Preferences Learns best through Needs Verbal / Linguistic Writing, reading, memorizing dates, thinking in words, telling stories Write, read, tell stories, talk, memorize, work at solving puzzles Hearing and seeing words, speaking, reading, writing, discussing and debating Books, tapes, paper diaries, writing tools, dialogue, discussion, debated, stories, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Mathematical/ Logical Math, logic, problem-solving, reasoning, patterns Question, work with numbers, experiment, solve problems Working with relationships and patterns, classifying, categorizing, working with the abstract Things to think about and explore, science materials, manipulative, trips to the planetarium and science museum, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Visual / Spatial Maps, reading charts, drawing, mazes, puzzles, </li></ul><ul><li>imagining things, visualization Draw, build, design, create, daydream, look at pictures Working with pictures and colors, visualizing, using the mind's eye, drawing LEGOs, video, movies, slides, art, imagination games, mazes, puzzles, illustrated book, trips to art museums, etc. </li></ul>
  9. 9. MI by Howard Gardner <ul><li>Bodily / Kinesthetic Athletics, dancing, crafts, using tools, acting Move around, touch and talk, body language Touching, moving, knowledge through bodily sensations, processing Role-play, drama, things to build, movement, sports and physical games, tactile experience4s, hands-on learning, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Musical Picking up sounds, remembering melodies, rhythms, singing Sing, play an instrument, listen to music, hum Rhythm, singing, melody, listening to music and melodies Sing-along time, trips to concerts, music playing at home and school, musical instruments, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Interpersonal Leading, organizing, understanding people, communicating, resolving conflicts, selling Talk to people, have friends, join groups Comparing, relating, sharing, interviewing, cooperating Friends, group games, social gatherings, community events, clubs, mentors/ apprenticeships, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Intrapersonal Recognizing strengths and weaknesses, setting goals, understanding self Work alone, reflect pursue interests Working alone, having space, reflecting, doing self-paced projects Secret places, time alone, self-paced projects, choices, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Naturalistic Understanding nature, making distinctions, identifying flora and fauna Be involved with nature, make distinctions Working in nature, exploring living things, learning about plants and natural events Order, same/different, connections to real life and science issues, patterns </li></ul>
  10. 10. Language Levels
  11. 11. INDIVIDUAL VARIATION: <ul><li>Accounted for by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Neuro-linguistic programming (VAKOG formulation). Internet. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MI Theory (Howard Gardner). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WHAT TO DO ABOUT INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES? Teaching a Mixed-ability class. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use of several tests to assess Learning Styles. </li></ul><ul><li>Use of sensory system, test by Revell and Norman (NLP) (page 49). </li></ul><ul><li>Use of different teaching techniques. </li></ul><ul><li>(*) Discuss how different learners respond to a task: </li></ul><ul><li>A multi-national group of students were asked to write an imaginary film scene based on a particular piece of music. (Sensory stimuli). </li></ul>
  12. 12. Guide to analyze the chapter: <ul><li>PRACTICAL Nª 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss the following issues which appear in the chapter: </li></ul><ul><li>What are the consequences of Steven Pinker’s citation? (1994:293) </li></ul><ul><li>Why is it that children should “learn by doing”? </li></ul><ul><li>Read A1: Young Children and comment on these characteristics. </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss the different learner styles described by Willing (1987) and Skehan (1998). </li></ul><ul><li>As regards language levels, how can the plateau effect be explained? </li></ul><ul><li>What should be done as regards METHODOLOGY, LANGUAGE and TOPICS when teaching different levels? </li></ul><ul><li>What does NLP state? What is VAKOG? (Norman and Revell, 1997) </li></ul><ul><li>What does the MI theory by Howard Gardner state? What are the implications for the classroom? </li></ul><ul><li>What can be done about individual differences ? </li></ul>

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