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Herbert Puchta: Developing 21st Century Skills in English language teaching


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Herbert Puchta: Developing 21st century skills in English language teaching

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Herbert Puchta: Developing 21st Century Skills in English language teaching

  1. 1. Eaquals International Conference | Madrid | 11-13 April 2019 Developing 21st Century Skills in the Teenage ELT Classroom: Thinking Skills, Values and Self Esteem ©Eaquals #eaquals19madrid Herbert Puchta
  2. 2. Seven 21st century survival skills 1.Critical thinking and problem-solving 2.Collaboration and leadership 3.Agility and adaptability 4.Initiative and entrepreneurialism 5.Effective oral and written communication 6.Accessing and analysing information and 7.Curiosity and imagination. (Wagner, 2018
  3. 3. What do you / your teachers find rewarding about teaching teenagers?
  4. 4. • What challenges have you / your teachers come across frequently in the teenage classroom? Take one minute to list them. • Compare your findings with a partner’s and categorise the challenges you have found.
  5. 5. The chemicals of emotion, such as adrenalin, serotonin, and dopamine, act by modification of synapses; and modification of synapses is the very root of learning. James Zull
  6. 6. Research into the teen brain shows: The limbic system changes dramatically: they become prone to risk-taking, develop strong interests in novelty and interaction with peers. Important from a biological point of view - creates a genetically healthier population BUT: potentially dangerous, especially when mixed with modern temptations
  7. 7. Research into the teen brain shows: The mismatch between the development of the limbic system and that of the pre-frontal cortex results in a lack of maturity lack of ability to run present, past and future what-if simulations in the teen mind.
  8. 8. Adolescence: A time of great danger, and a time of great opportunity: “Society should realise that the teen years are a turning point for a life of peaceful citizenship, aggression, or in rare cases radicalisation. Across all cultures, adolescents are the most vulnerable to being recruited as soldiers and terrorists, as well as the most likely to be influenced to become teachers and engineers.” (Jay N. Giedd, 2015)
  9. 9. Adolescence - an artifically extended childhood? In this world of working parents and video games, in some families, teens can go through childhood and adolescence without a real sense of responsibility. They're occupied, but not prepared for a successful life. Having responsibility for things that matter and that contribute to the welfare of others is part of a teen's preparation for the future. (Todd Kestin, 2015, become-responsible-adults_b_5811766.html)
  10. 10. • Teens are very capable; aren't given enough responsibility or credit in their daily lives. • Teens spend an average of 70% of their time with peers and the media - making them their role models rather than their own parents or other healthy mentors in their lives. (Todd Kestin, 2015 adults_b_5811766.html)
  11. 11. Adolescence - an artifically extended childhood?
  12. 12. Each time we check a twitter feed or Facebook update, we encounter something novel and feel more connected socially (in a kind of weird impersonal cyber way), and our brain gets a dollop of reward hormones telling us we accomplished something. But remember, it is the dumb, novelty-seeking portion of the brain driving the limbic system that introduces this feeling of pleasure, not the planning, scheduling, higher-level thought centres in the prefrontal cortex. Make no mistake: email, Facebook, and Twitter checking constitute a neural addiction. (Daniel Levitin, 2014)
  13. 13. Voluminous information is available, but the quality varies greatly. The skill of the future will not be to remember facts, but to critically evaluate a vast expanse of data […], to synthesize content and to apply that synthesis to real-world problem solving. Educators should challenge the adolescent brain with these tasks, to train its plasticity on the demands of the digital age. (Jay N. Giedd, 2015)
  14. 14. 3 key messages for educators • Develop basic and critical thinking skills
  15. 15. Going beyond superficiality: Things that are cognitively stimulating are important. Watching talking cats on YouTube isn't as good for cognitive development as reading or taking classes. (Jay N. Giedd, 2015)
  16. 16. The plasticity of the teenage brain suggests that constructive dialogues with teens about issues such as freedoms and responsibilities can influence development. (Jay N. Giedd, 2015)
  17. 17. • Develop basic and critical thinking skills • Foster exploration of values • Help develop self-esteem and… ? 3 key messages for educators
  18. 18. • Develop basic and critical thinking skills • Foster exploration of values • Help develop self-esteem 3 key messages for educators
  19. 19. • rebelling, resisting, provoking • undermining the teacher’s authority • lying, cheating and / or copying • failing to take responsibility for actions • bullying and threatening others • withdrawing, daydreaming, giving up • denying there are problems, refusing help offered • escapism, including truancy or in extreme cases even drug / alcohol abuse A lack of self esteem and self worth often leads to an attitude of ‘defensiveness’
  20. 20. Experiences with self-esteem programmes in some US schools: Recent mainstream publications criticize the over-emphasis of self- esteem work in American schools. (see e.g. Aaron Goodman, Letting go of self-esteem, Scientific American Mind September/October 2013).
  21. 21. … lessons designed to raise students’ self- esteem, as carried out for example on a large scale in Californian schools with dedicated ‘I love Me’ lessons, where students were e.g. encouraged to complete the phrase ‘I am…’ with positive words such as ‘beautiful’ or ‘gifted’ – irrespective of the students’ actual performance, did not bring the hoped for results. Goodman, 2013
  22. 22. Research shows: “…the quest for greater self- esteem can leave people feeling empty and dissatisfied.” (Goodman, 2013, p. 27)
  23. 23. “…focusing less on self, and having compassion for others and yourself, may be an effective strategy for boosting self-esteem in the long run”. (Crocker and Canevello, 2011) Research shows:
  24. 24. • Develop basic and critical thinking skills • Foster exploration of values • Help develop self-esteem 3 key messages for educators
  25. 25. Leadership is about creaJng a world that people want to belong to. (Gilles Pajou)
  26. 26. Qualities of a classroom culture that teens want to belong to • conversational • respectful • participatory !37
  27. 27. If the structure does not permit dialogue, the structure must be changed. Paulo Freire
  28. 28. Exploration of values
  29. 29. Values Never give up 1 Tick (✓) the sentences that show what you think you can learn from this story. • Being passionate about things you like is extremely important. • A hobby you really like can have a positive effect on your health. • It’s important to have friends you can trust at all times. • You should always think positively and never give up hope! • It’s very important to eat healthy food and take enough exercise. 2 Talk to a partner. Compare which sentences you have ticked. 3 Which of the sentences you have ticked is the most important one for you? Give reasons.
  30. 30. Self esteem
  31. 31. Self esteem: Being happy 1 Read these statements. Tick (✓) the ones that you think are important for being happy. Write a cross (x) against the ones that you think are not so important. 1.There is no ‘right’ body shape or size. Healthy and happy people come in all shapes and sizes. 2.You can only find out what kind of person someone is if you get to know them better. 3.Never laugh about people for being too thin, too short, too tall or to fat. 4.Never laugh at other people’s jokes about people’s looks. That’s unfair and it hurts. 5.Being thin is not the same as being healthy or happy. 6.Like yourself for who you are. 2 Work in pairs. Say what you think is important for being happy
  32. 32. Meta-discussions
  33. 33. S1: It’s fascinating listen to someone saying something about you when your eyes are not open. T: Why’s that? S1: I don’t know. Maybe when I don’t look at a person, not look in their eyes… I’m more… erm… [vertical movement of both hands in front of face and chest, palms inwards] T: Focused? [T mirrors the student’s hand movement] S1: Yes, focused. Focused is…? T: Concentrated. S1: Ok, yes, concentrated. I think this is true. More concentrated. Focused. Yes, that’s right. S2: For me it was a feeling of [gestures pointing at her own head, then at the student’s next to her] like to know… what is going on in Sandra’s head.
  34. 34. T: Mmh. Understanding the other person intuitively [T repeats gesture] S2: Yes, exactly. It’s interesting. Sometimes I know very good what someone is thinking. S3: Me too. Thinking, or feeling. T: Is this helpful? S3: Yes, helpful. Very helpful. When you know what someone is thinking you can help them… you can understand them better. It’s good for friendship. Good for give a person the feeling that you like… the person. S4: But not always. It’s not always good. Sometimes I think I know what another person think, but it’s not true. It’s just I’m thinking it. Not their thinking. My thinking.
  35. 35. Sequences are initiated by trials in both speech and gesture, followed by other-repetition often leading to overlapping, synchronized speech and gesture, followed by new repetitions by learners during integration, occasionally followed by further repetition of the original sequence. Typically interlocutors repeat both gestures and speech until both parties are satisfied that a common understanding has been reached. (Gullberg, 2011)
  36. 36. Just like native speakers, learners are keen to keep the floor, to save face, and so on. And just like native speakers, they prefer to find solutions to the problems without interrupting fluency, if possible, and without overtly appealing for help. However, self-repair will often be impossible for learners – even when they do manage to find a circumlocution or approximation – and learners therefore often must resort to interactive multimodal solutions. (Gullberg, 2011)
  37. 37. Such discussions are carried out in order to give the teacher and the students a chance to discover how they experienced a certain exercise or teaching phase, what problems they encountered, and what could be improved. They help learners become aware of how different individuals react to the same task. This helps to develop empathy; that is, it fosters their ability to put themselves into other people’s shoes, a vital social skill. Meta- discussions also play a role in raising awareness of learning processes (…). Growth in awareness of ways and stages in learning is essential if students are to come to feel responsible for their own learning. (Puchta and Schatz, 1993)
  38. 38. Qualities of a classroom culture that teens want to belong to • conversational • respectful • participatory !51
  39. 39. Taking learners seriously and not mistrusting them and not thinking the worst of them is one of the key variables in creating the conditions for good language learning. (Mark Andrews, 2014)
  40. 40. Qualities of a classroom culture that teens want to belong to • conversational • respectful • participatory !53
  41. 41. No outside in+luence or force can cause a brain to learn. It will decide on its own. Thus, one important rule for helping people learn is to help the learner feel she is in control. This is probably the best trick that teachers have. James Zull, The art of changing the brain
  42. 42. Giving students choices !56 • Small choices: Do you want a bit of silent time to go through the irregular verb forms before we do the activity? Do you want to practise the dialogues in pairs first? • Either/or choices: Would you like to do exercise 3 or 4 first? Would you like to act out the roleplays now or at the end of the lesson? • Invite individual students to make choices. • Bigger choices, e.g. give them a chance to decide on a project you want to do with them. • Invite them to develop tests for themselves / the class. • Occasionally, use a ‘Menu for the day/week’.
  43. 43. We’ve been looking at… • recent neuroscienctific findings into the workings of the teenage brain • mismatch between the development of the limbic system and the pre-frontal cortex • risk-taking behaviour among teenagers, and a lack of the ability to foresee possible consequences of their risky behaviour
  44. 44. • developing their thinking skills from basic to critical thinking • getting them to explore values as a means of helping them to go deeper in their thinking • helping them develop their self-esteem Key classroom culture qualities: • conversation • respect • participation Key points
  45. 45. These, then, are two dimensions within which you will be of greater or less help to your students: developing their communicative competence (…) and perfecting their linguistic competence (…). There is, however, a third dimension without which these first two can lead at best to an academic, flat, sterile achievement.
  46. 46. The question is whether as teacher – or how much, as teacher – you can hope to help your students in this third dimension. I’m not sure, but let me set before you, briefly, what I see here. The third competence is personal. (Stevick, 1982)
  47. 47. Eaquals International Conference | Madrid | 11-13 April 2019 Thank you! ©Eaquals #eaquals19madrid Herbert Puchta