June 25, 2017

Ten affective activities to play and learn with alphabet letters



Every English teacher has given classes in which he or she has taught students the sounds of letters and has given support for them to spell their first and last names. Even though letters appear in the first levels, it is not unusual even for intermediate students to have some trouble spelling. 

In this post I share 10 affective activities for you to expand your activity repertoire beyond singing the ABC song and playing hangman. I call them affective because we always have to play using our affect, either by choosing words we like, creating strategies, or just playing. Make sure you have 3 or 4 alphabet sets for these activities for a small group of students. If you are with a larger group, you will need many more. 

Here I share some creative alphabet activities that will engage your students. 

1. Choosing words you like: here students choose words that they have read or listened in a story and then they write these, spell them and say why they like them. This activity can be done in the following two ways: students can choose the word and write them and other students check and spell or the student who chose the word can spell and other students have to guess and write it with the letters. Make sure that students always share why they have selected that word. If your students are really motivated, you can even invite them to make a song with the words the group has chosen!


2. Letter theater: here you can create a scenario with your students in which they add things that can be seen in a certain place. You can decide with them any place, ranging from a spaceship, the classroom, a kitchen or the beach. Each student adds one piece at a time.

You can have students use a structure such as "I see a/an ... ", "Have you seen there is a/an ... ?" or any other that you are working with. After you finish the setting, you can ask students in pairs to remember what each letter stands for and even to create a story with all these components.

Here you have a beach setting with the following elements starting from the bottom to the top: whale, fish, wave, surfer, sand, child and her mother, seagull, cloud and the sun!

And advanced variation would be to give all students a chosen combination of letters and they come up with a setting.

3. Letter interaction: here students pick a letter and say a thing that starts with that letter. If one student has chosen B and a banana, he or she can pretend to be eating it. Another  student can have a B which is a butterfly that suddenly flies away, and a third one can have a U for an umbrella that he has in case it starts raining.  Once learners have their things you can ask them to exchange the things they have for others, ask them which go together, make a story, or even line up according to some criteria (size, price, etc).

Variation: you can have the first person starting with a letter and a thing and the next has to do something related to that first thing. Let's say the first students has a Flower, then the second has a Bee, than the next one Honey, and another the Sun, etc. It is easier if you allow students to choose the letter instead of having them come up with something with the letter they have been given.

4. Letter story with words that begin with the letter: here students make sentences with each word starting with the letters that are in a certain order.


Students can make the following sentences for the letters in the sequences above: 

In the easy variation students can insert other words to make their sentence: 
An elephant watched a duck climbing on a white goose. 

In the harder variation students can only use words that start with the letters:
Once upon a time many lions ate spinach. 


5. Anagrams: in this classic activity students write a word for every letter of their names. These words can be adjectives that are characteristics of the students, verbs that they like to do, or things they have. As you have probably thought this is a great activity for students to introduce themselves. The words can either cross any letter of a student's name of can start with the letters in a student's name.

Anagrams be done both at the beginning and at the end of courses. In the beginning students do their own names and at the end students do the name of one of their classmates.


6. Scrabble: in a similar way students make a crossword writing words about a certain topic using the letters they have available. You can play it individually or you can have them playing it in groups.

7. Wordsearch: here you can prepare a wordsearch like the one below for students to find words related to a certain topic. The catch here is for you to tell students only the topic, and not the actual hidden words.

See you can find five words in this wordsearch that I have prepared for you. The topic is teaching. Write the words in the comment session below!



8. Guess before I finish spelling it: a fun way to play with the letters is this game that I play with with my students. I start spelling a word and students go finding the letters and writing the words. The challenge is for them to discover the word before I spell it until the end. It's quite fun!

9. Socratic Answers: here students have to answer questions using words that start with the letter that they have chosen. Example for a students that got the letter B:

What's your name? Boris
Where are you from? Bulgaria
What's your favorite food? Bulgarian banitsa - contribution from Mineva Rositsa! Thank you!
What do you do during your free time? Bake cakes
What is your favorite sport? Basketball

 

10. Domino: in this easy and fun activity students make word chains always using the first and last letters of the words that have been played. As a challenge you can tell students that they have to close the chain finding a word that starts with the first and last letters of the words in the beginning and in the end of the chain. In the picture here that word could be "sum".




And here you get the traditional bonus activities! Gotta make the reader satisfied! 

Bonus 1 - Scrambled letters: here you give the scrambled letters of a word and then students have to guess and write the word. You can give one hint at a time to make the students discover it. You can tell the context where the word is used, if it's a verb, and so on. Then students do the same to each other. 

Bonus 2 -  Bananagram: in this game a group of students has to use all their letters they have to make a crossword like the one in the picture. In order for them to achieve this goal they will need to change their words several times. Getting the actual game is really nice, but you will need many sets to play with a large classroom. The plastic letters will do fine and you can just use the rules of the game. 
Bonus 3: Make a letter doll: I saved the most creative to the end! I always like to present different kinds of material without telling students what we are going to do with them. I remember being with this very creative girl that started making letters characters as soon as I put the letters on the floor. It really pays of wait and see what your students will come up with!                                                                                                                                                                         You can them use the letters here to describe the personality of the character and the things it likes doing. Our character here has white hair, and it is very elegant, it's a violent and likes to fight, but it can be docile sometimes. It has a watch and a medal for playing soccer! 

Wow! What a fun-tastic post!
I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

Do you have any different activities do you do with letters?
Share them in the comment area below. I will love to hear from you!



Hugs,


Juan


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June 16, 2017

Ten affective and effective ways to prevent indiscipline with young learners





Some years ago I wrote a post sharing my experience in taking a course at the University of Toronto in which I learned ways through which we can dismantle the issue of indiscipline by understanding and eliminating the causes that promote a series of problems. According to professor Joseph Ducharme, indiscipline can be understood as students communicating us  of that they have unmet needs. The interesting thing is that after the course I was able to see misbehaviour much more as a game of chess, in which we have several strategic moves, than a tug of war in which there is resentment of having a winner pulling the other to a desired side. 

But just before I go on, I will repeat a concept that was repeated over and over during the course: the best moment to work on indiscipline is when things are going well. Make sure you read this extremely important learning again and write it somewhere as this is something you will forget and then you will have to invest much more time and effort once you already have disruptive behaviour. 

It is with great pleasure that I share here 10 strategic moves that will decrease the frequency of indiscipline in your class: 




1.Welcoming: make sure you are totally available to receive your students at the beginning of classes as your reaction to their arrival can set the tone of your class. Arrive five minutes before class, look at them in the eyes, smile, and greet them using their names. Very simple, right? But it does not always happen as many teachers are figuring out photocopies, writing on the board or doing something else.


These five minutes are a great period time to invest in connecting with them on a personal basis. Wanna bring it to an advanced level? Write an affective  quote on the board and welcome them with their favourite songs that you collected on the first days of school.

2. Have a routine: letting students know about what you have planned is not only a sign of respect to our students but it is also a great management procedure. Informing your students about the planned activities reduces stress, eases transitions, and allows you to talk about the expected learning in every different moment. Wanna know more about how you can engage your students using routine cards? Then read this post about routine cards.

3. Circle time: students always have a lot to share with you and with their peers when they arrive. As they will do it anyway in class, the best way is to have moments in which you allow them to release their excitement do all this sharing in a structured way. During circle time you can also review content, tell students what will happen, discover their likes, and notice how students are feeling; these is important information that will help you tailor and carefully adjust the class to your students' lives. Remember to tell students that what happens in circle time, stays in circle time. Well, if it was really nice, it can go to Instagram!

4. Plan movement: young learners simply need to move. Well, I would say that more than that, all students need movement in their classes.  Movement makes learners get their attention span back, oxigenates brains,  and allows students to learn kinesthetically. It also allows students to change learning peers, see things from a different perspective, and express themselves with their bodies. Including movement in your classes will certainly make your students more engaged and will make them learn in a more holistic way. Bonus: you will not be complaining that your students can't sit still!


5. Share personal stories: here I share an attention magnet that can be used whenever you are losing control of the room or when you notice that you need to build rapport with the group. Personal stories are special and valuable because we only tell them to people we care, they are also real and carry authentic learning pieces. Regardless of being funny, amazing, or tragic personal anecdotes allow us to display our humanity and to use English as a means of communication.


Once you tell your story, make sure you have planned time to listen to their questions, comments and specially to know their stories. Remember that the more we listen to them, the more they will listen to us.

6. Get the adequate difficulty: in many cases students misbehave because an activity is simply way too easy or just too hard. Make sure you study activities well beforehand not to fall in this trap. ( I have been there so many times!). If you notice you have a hard activity, you can get students to work in pairs, give models, and have scaffolds. If you notice that your are losing the class because an activity is just too hard, just apologize and stop doing it. If you have a mixed-ability group, you might need to have two levels of activities in the same theme  or you can pair strong-weak students to promote peer teaching.

7. Give them choice: sometimes students misbehave because they do not have the degree of control of the class that they would like. One way of addressing this need is by giving them choices, which can be done individually or as a group. Choices may include what, when, how, and in which order activities will happen. By giving learners more control over their learning, we promote engagement and motivation as they have made their choices regarding their learning. Studies have shown that giving options for homework have brought much more engagement and pleasure than assigning a fixed task. Personal anecdote: in my swimming classes I loved when the teacher would let me choose between two exercises and I would cheat the distance when given an exercise I did not like. The next strategy is also aligned with this idea of giving students more agency, but instead of giving them choices, we can listen and discuss about their learning through the good and old feedback.

8. Give and ask for feedback: it's not always that students are asked for feedback. Specially asked for feedback in the beginning or middle of a course with the intention of valuing learners' opinions and changing aspects of how the teaching and learning happen.

We should ask feedback when we care and because we are concerned with the experience students are having with us. We should also ask for feedback as it is an opportunity for us to learn as groups are different and have diverse needs. Feedback can happen in many different formats and the very essential follow up is to quickly act upon students' suggestions, so then that group  can see that it is for real. You will see the beautiful energy in the room when they notice things have changed!

Another important thing is to give feedback about how you see their learning, how they have cooperated with each other and what it means for you to be with them. The next strategy has to do with feedback as well, but it is so important that I am giving it its own number!

9. Pay attention to the ones that do well: this is a very important one, so make sure you write it somewhere you can always see it. Remember that the best moment to work on discipline is when things are going well? Here I share how you can do it. You can prevent indiscipline from happening by giving students attention and praise when they are involved and working with well. This can be done right after you notice appropriate behaviour by either just looking at the student and doing a thumbs up or by stopping everything and enthusiastically telling how that behaviour has allowed learning to happen. I hug students and give them high fives. Try to avoid giving much attention to students that are misbehaving. Another way to show that you value and notice adequate behaviour is to bring the theme during the circle time and wrap up moments.

10. Circulate and monitor: some students might misbehave as a escape of the pain of needing individual attention, not understanding the instructions, or being stuck in the task. Moving around the classroom bring many benefits: it allows us to  make ourselves available to students,  we can check how students have understood our instructions, we can check how students are doing individually, and also praise the ones that are going well. When seeing interesting participation, we can ask specific students or groups to share something interesting with the whole group.

Hint 1:It is important to avoid making a pair with any student or joining any group during an activity as this would not allow you to circulate and get to know how and what students are doing.
Hint 2: Try to get students to sit in a horse shoe or in small groups and reach the students standing behind them. In this way you will not intimidate them and you will also maintain eye contact with the whole class.


Congratulations, you have just gained three bonus strategies!


Bonus 1: Intercalate easy and difficult tasks: this is one that I like and have been doing intuitively for many years. The idea here is to give students some confidence boosters in the middle of the classes with activities that they can perform well. By including these activities we can attend the need that children have for success, which when not fulfilled can be one root of indiscipline. We can also mix creative and unstructured activities with more demanding tasks, and also some individual and group activities. Variety rocks!


Bonus 2: Use humour: have you ever heard that the shortest distance between two people is a smile? Humour has its secret powers that heal, release stress, and connect people. It works in a similar way as the personal stories in the sense that we tell jokes and riddles to people we care.



Jokes and riddles are not only good to prevent indiscipline, but they are great ways to use and teach language as they have narrative and the double meaning of words.  Make it a tradition to have jokes in a certain moment of your class. I usually say "But before you leave, I have a question for you .... ". Humour works great as a class wrap up. Make sure here also to listen and have a great time with your students' jokes.

Here you have: alphabet riddles, country riddles, and easy jokes for young learners.

Bonus 3: Celebrate: this is the last strategy, but certainly not the least! I believe it is essential for us to acknowledge and celebrate the development that students have achieved. Celebrate both small and big achievements. You can celebrate a nice class by having a surprise, bringing cookies, or dancing with them. If you have a puppet, it can the messenger of the good news.  Show students and their parents the students' journey with pictures or with a video in which you praise them by giving specific feedback on what they are now able to do. Mention how their dedication and their behaviour has contributed to make all this learning possible. Here again it is essential to let students talk and express what they enjoyed doing and how they feel at this moment! These closing ritual are moments that will always be remembered and cherished!!!


Well, this was our journey on proactive strategies to prevent indiscipline. If you have enjoyed it, please share this post with other teachers. Together we can change the overall experience of teaching and learning!

A frog-hug,


Juan

Please leave a comment below sharing the strategy you will start using more. I get very little feedback from my readers and I would love to hear from you! Thank you!!!




March 20, 2017

Interviewing Affective Educators: Beatriz Siqueira


                                                    

                                                            


I met Beatriz when both of us were classmates studying Education at the Catholic University here in São Paulo. Since then, Beatriz has worked at several schools, including  Juan Uribe Ensino Afetivo, and has recently ventured to live in an amazing island off the Brazilian coast. There in Ilha Bela, Beatriz shares her time between her own English school for children, which is called Beatriz Siqueira - English for life, yoga classes for children, and her personal projects. Needless to say, I admire Beatriz both personally and professionally. Here is our interview!

Juan: I would like to thank you again for the lovely days I spent with you and your husband Jorge in the inspiring place you have on the beach. I have really enjoyed being with you and learning more about your work teaching young learners in the lovely area you have in your house. In our conversations I have notice your eyes shining when you talk about promoting the holistic growth of children. Could you please share what this is in your view and how you do it?

Beatriz: What I call holistic growth, or development is looking at the student as a whole, looking at everything the student is and brings with him/her when they come to my class. I happen to teach mostly kids, but it's the same with kids or adults. So, for example if the student comes to your class very angry because he/she just had an argument with his/her mother, this has somehow to be included in the class, or I might need a moment to deal with this before I start the class.  

Beatriz: I have to know,  as a teacher,  that the student's head is going to be on the argument at least for a while. Notice I'm giving a very simple example, but many times teachers don't do it or don't know how to deal with student's emotional issues, because they don't know how to deal with their own emotional issues. So in a deeper level, I'm taking about emotional education, which is something we, as professionals and persons,  don't know how to do because we didn't learn it in our education, at home, in school, or in university.



Juan: What changes have you noticed in your students'  thinking, talking, and doing as results of your educational approach? 

Beatriz: Some changes happen slowly and others very fast. Something that I always work on is expressing feelings. I encourage students to say how they feel when we have any kind of conflict in class, instead of saying this is right or that is wrong. In the long term, they start doing it not only in class, but also at home too and in other situations at school.

Juan: I saw pictures of you telling stories, creating scenarios, and living adventures in English with the children. How do you see the relationship between fantasy and language learning?




Beatriz: Fantasy is one of the ways we people express ourselves and for children fantasy lives very strongly. It's a pity that after kids grow a little and intellect grows stronger, regular schools abandon or decrease very considerably the work on stories and fantasy, and creative activities.  I believe fantasy never actually die in us, even as adults. So it is certainly one very rich way of learning that is very much ignored by traditional education. 

The more involved the student is in the activities, the better he or she can learn because it becomes something very meaningful. So fantasy should be part of the teaching/learning process as well as intelectual activities. 

Beatriz: I have to know as a teacher that the student's head is going to be on the argument at least for a while. Notice I'm giving a very simple example, but many times teacher don't do it or don't know how to deal with student's emotional issues, because they don't know how to deal with their own emocional issues. So in a deep level, I'm taking about emotional education, which is something we, as professionals and persons don't know how to do because we didn't learn it in our education, at home, in school or in university. Juan: What changes have you noticed in your students'  thinking, talking, and doing as results of your educational approach? 

Beatriz: Some changes happen slowly and others very fast. Something that I always work on is expressing feelings. I encourage students to say how they feel when we have any kind of conflict in class, instead of saying this or that is right or wrong. In a long term, they start doing it not only in class, but also at home too and in other situations in school.

Juan: One area that I am really interested in is creating the conditions for learners and teachers to be fully present when they are together as I believe this presence can not only boost learning, but also make it very memorable. I remember that you are mentioned having a minute of silence in the beginning of classes and that students really enjoy it. How did you start fostering mindfulness in your classes?

Beatriz: This is a very good start, to have a minute of silence in the beginning of classes. It makes them very present and children realise that. As a result, they start using silence in other moments of their lives, before they go to bed, before an exam. But the teacher must practice this as well, it has to make sense for the teacher, otherwise it will become an empty practice and the students will be the first to notice, it just won't make sense to them and it will definitely not work. 

Juan: I love when students talk about how they have progressed and are aware of how they learn best. How aware are your students about their own learning? 



Beatriz: Very much aware. This awareness gives the students a sense of responsibility in their on process ,which automatically makes them participate more actively. This is actually the "test" or "exam" I apply to them instead of giving them a grade.

Juan: What inspires you personally and professionally? Where do you get your ideas and energy from?

Beatriz: What inspires me the most is the change I see in my students and families. Working with kids means working with the whole family, and we as teacher should know the responsibility it entails. When I see how much English my students are learning, it makes me want to work more and more. Ideas and energy come from the interaction with students, the every day life, research, meditation, the awareness of my place in the world, my hobbies, my free time, vacation. These are things that nourish me.

Juan: Which message would you leave to teachers of young learners around the world?

Beatriz:  I'm going to quote B. K. S. Iyengar, an amazing Yoga master that left a great legacy to the world : "Teaching is a difficult art, but it is the best service you can do to humanity"

Juan: Thank you so much Beatriz for the lovely interview and congratulations on your amazing work! 


And here we celebrate one more interview that casts a light on how English can be learned affectively around the world. Do you know anybody that you think should be here in the blog? Let me know and I will interview this teacher! 

Hugs from Brazil, 













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Interviewing Affective Educators: Claire Venables




I met Claire earlier this year when she wrote me asking about my courses in affective language learning. She had lots of questions and I could immediately notice she had a lot of energy and interest in learning more and expanding her understanding and her skills in teaching English to young learners.

It was with great excitement that I learned that Claire, who lives in Vitória, was coming to São Paulo to attend a Braz-Tesol seminar on a Saturday. We managed to get together, I gave Claire a tour of Juan Uribe Ensino Afetivo, and over lunch we talked about ways of promoting more teacher development opportunities for teachers of young learners.

Claire also agreed to share her experience being an Australian teacher of English to young learners in Brazil. Here is our interview!

Juan: You are Australian and Australia is really far. How did you end up coming to Brazil?

Claire: Love brought me here!!  It sounds corny but it’s true!  After living for over a decade in Spain, I moved with my family to Vitoria, ES in 2011.  It was really important for us to be closer to my partner’s family.

Juan: I know how that feels, Claire. I am very happy that I am back home after two years travelling around the world. But coming back to you, what were your first impressions concerning ELT here in Brazil?

A koala puppet engages kids to speak at circle time. 
Claire: Well, my first instinct when coming to Brazil was to apply for teaching positions at a private language academy.  Much to my dismay, the ‘escolas de inglês’ here in Vitoria were a huge disappointment.  It seemed that the only requirement to teach was to speak English fluently.  The lack of qualifications required was reflected in the rates of pay which were unacceptably low.  



I quickly changed tactics and began applying at schools that had or wanted English classes for kids.  I have several programmes running now as well as my own office where I coach adult learners, too.  It has been an incredible few years dedicated to honing my skills, experimenting with new methodology, researching, and reflecting.   

I guess the situation I found myself in forced me to go out on my own and that has been both professionally and financially very rewarding. The downside of this has been my separation from the teaching community.  I think I got a bad early impression of the ELT scene here and developed some misconceptions.  It’s only in the last 8 months that I have begun reaching out to other teachers and participating actively in some great online teaching communities.  Through these I have met some fantastic people who I learn from and am inspired by.

Juan: I understand what you say, many schools had a similar attitude towards teachers of young learners when I started teaching, but fortunately things have changed for the better in many schools. Let me ask you my third question: when did you first notice you would be an English teacher of young learners?  

Claire and a group at Na Brinca!
Claire: There are a lot of teachers in my family.  Early Childhood Education was a natural career choice for me I think.  I didn’t become interested in teaching English until working with ESL students at a high school in London.  That was when I became really interested in pursuing a career in TESOL.  I’ve taught students of all ages and levels since then but teaching Young Learners and now Very Young Learners are what I am most passionate about.

Juan: Tell us more about this passion, please.




Claire: Well, I think it comes from the autonomy I have to innovate, create, and teach in the way I truly believe in. The English immersion programme that I created for Na Brinca, a "brinquedoteca" in Vitoria is a great example of this. It incorporates elements from methodologies such as Reggio Emilia. CLIL (Content Language Integrated Learning) and PBL (Project Based Learning). Having the freedom to create and teach in this way is so rewarding. The response from the children and their families has been very positive and this fuels my passion for working with kids.

Juan: What do you stay fully present in your classes with young learners? 

Claire uses models healthy ways to talk to each other.

Claire: First of all, I make sure I’m looking after my physical and emotional health. Developing a self-care routine is essential for feeling healthy and happy. This allows me to have the right frame of mind for working with children. I try to make connections with my students every day on an individual and group level. One way I've done this is to include a special moment at the start of the class to give them positive affirmation individually. "You are kind, you are awesome, you are so helpful and brave. I am so happy you are in our group." I love the way they have started doing this more with each other too.  



Juan: I had the pleasure of showing you around my school. How do you incorporate the ideas that you see in other schools?  

Pictures taken at Juan Uribe Ensino Afetivo in São Paulo
Claire: There are many things that we learn from visiting other schools.  I loved seeing the way the classrooms were set up, the noticeboards, the presence of the students through the work which is displayed, however, the heart of a school for me is the staffroom.  You can tell a lot about the health of a work environment by examining the heart.  I not only loved the staffroom you have at your school, but also the way you talk about what takes place there and your pride in your teaching team.  It sounded like the kind of environment where teachers could learn from one another and develop together.  Fantastic!!



Juan: You have mentioned you feel there is a lack of professional development opportunities for teachers of young learners. What are the needs that you notice and how do you conceive this challenge can be tackled?  

Claire: I think a serious conversation about professional development for the Young Learner Teacher is well overdue.  Children across the world have begun learning English at an earlier age and Brazil is no exception.  This situation has led to an increased demand for YL teachers and, consequently, the need for additional training for teachers wishing to work in this specialized sector of ELT.   Now, I’m all for the learning of foreign languages at preschool, but I truly believe that a child can only benefit from an early start if that experience is an effective and affective one.   Luckily, most of the teachers That I have met who work with young children are VERY passionate and committed to their work. I have no doubt that these are the kinds of people who would really appreciate and benefit from more training opportunities. I am all for more courses that are both practical and cost effective as for many teachers, professional development is something they have to pursue and pay for themselves.

Juan: What are your plans for the future?

Creating, contributing, and connecting with YL teachers.
Claire: My mission this year is to create, contribute, and connect. Not surprisingly, I would like to devote more time to teacher training in 2017. I feel this is where I can make the biggest contribution at this stage of my career.  I am currently doing research into the developing YL teacher with the objective of designing a course which will cater to their needs.   


I’m also big into connecting with teachers and sharing ideas and projects and I hope to continue doing more of that through my blog, social media and the talks and workshops I give. This passion for helping others grow and develop has led me to becoming the Vice-President of a new Special Interest Group called Voices. We are part of BrazTesol and we work to promote and support gender equality in ELT. As you can see there is lots going on this year!  Hahaha! 

Juan: Please leave a message to our readers from around the world. 

So many magic moments when you are learning with children.
Claire: YL teaching is something you have to be very passionate about first and then invest in if you actually want to become good at it.  When you do, you will find children to be the most rewarding students you have ever had.  I would also encourage new and experienced teachers alike to remind those around you that our work is not a mere extension of mothering but rather an incredibly important job which will have a huge impact the lives of our students.  


Don’t be afraid to charge what you deserve for your work.  Passion does not pay the bills!

Juan: There is so much involved in teaching young learners. Agree that the work of teachers of young learners has to be valued and be better paid!

Juan: Thank you so much for this interview, Claire.

Claire: You're so welcome, Juan! It's always a pleasure to talk to you.

Juan:Happy to have one more lovely interview here in our blog!


Do you know anybody that you would like me to interview? It could be even yourself!


Sending you a big hug,















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Thank you!





June 07, 2016

Questions about Affective Language Learning







During the course that I recently gave, one of the last assignments I proposed the group was for teachers to write ten questions that they still had about affective language learning. My idea there was to spark teachers' curiosity about different aspects of affective language learning and to help them choose future paths of research. I was also very curious about which questions would come up as these would give me important course feedback as well let me understand a little about what was happening inside their minds. 

I was thrilled to read their questions and wanted already to start answering many of them. I am happy to share these interesting questions here with you. I am going to group them and my plan is to have them also as a list of areas that are important for me to address here in the blog. In other words, I am going to learn a lot based on my learners' curiosity. I feel great about it! 



Understanding the concept of affective language learning


Why didn't I hear about affective learning before?
What is the history of affective learning? When and where did it come from? 
Is there any research regarding affective language learning?
Has there been much research in to the effectiveness of affectiveness in the classroom?
How different / similar is it to building a good rapport with students? 

Is affective learning an approach / method? 
When did it start?  Where did it come from? How much is it related to psychology?
What is the relationship, if any, between affective learning and positive discipline?
Shouldn't all teaching be affective by nature? 
Aren't many teachers affective but they just don't know about it?
Is affective learning exactly the same as humanistic learning or are there any differences?
What's the difference between an affective and a humanistic language teacher?
Are there hard 'don'ts' in an affective learning approach? What are they?
Can I say that in the school I work we promote affective learning thru affective teaching skills?
Does affective language learning have any possible relation with positive reinforcement? 



Affective language learning and the curriculum 

Is there an affective language learning framework for lesson planing? 
How do I default to an affective style for planning a lesson for YL whenever possible?
Most course books are still organised around a grammar type syllabus if you produced an affective coursebook series for ESL how would you organise it?
How do I balance the dual and mostly opposite demands of affective learning planning, delivery vs. curriculum completion?
Is affective learning as we know it only applied to teaching a foreign language?


Affective language learning in the classroom

What are the 5 most important activities to implement in a classroom to show affective language learning?
Can affective learning help teachers involve new students joining the course late (after having built an affective kind of atmosphere in class) ?
Can affective learning be particularly helpful with certain skills (like speaking) or it's just a classroom management tool that generally helps set tasks and get the best of them ?
What are the best ways to carry out proper differentiation with slow and fast finishers according to affective learning?


How can affective language learning be applied to stop bullying?What to do to stop name-calling?
How do I make finding/identifying the moments in delivering a lesson when an affective approach would be the best?
What can you do when students get frustrated because they can't perform in the language?



Affective language learning and assessment

Should there always be evaluation in affective learning?
How do I assess learners when using an affective learning approach?
How can we use a Needs Analysis at the beginning of a course to decide what kind of affective learning we need to adopt?
How long does it take to see the result of affective language learning in students?
In compulsory education, would an affective learner fail his/her students or envisage doing without the pass/fail system?
How is affective learning perceived by parents?
How can we turn evaluation into an affective stage of the lesson too? I know that we cannot skip testing, so how do we make it affective too?
How do you counter the argument from the parent who says this is just lovey-dovey crap you need to be teaching my child grammar and how to pass tests!


Affective language learning around the world


How to go about showing affection without being able to speak their mother tongue?
How can affective learning help us get learners of different nationalities engaged in a course more?
Is affective learning included in the curriculum in any country?
Why most private language schools around the world are looking for native speakers (ONLY) and don´t care about affective language learning?


How popular is affective learning and where is practised, by who and in what kinds of environments and institutions? 
Is affective teaching embraced in many countries at a national level and integrated into the curriculum of all schools?
Education systems around the world are shifting towards more tests is this at odds with affective teaching?



Affective language learning and adults

How do I use affective learning with older YLs i.e 11+?
How would an affective teacher best deal with a teenager who rejects English altogether ---as I have found during my practicum?
How different can affective language learning be with adults ?
Is Dogme: Teaching Unplugged written by Thornbury and Meddins a adult version of teaching affectively?



Affective language learning and technology 


Is technology an appropriate tool to use in the affective classroom?
Where do reward systems such as Classdojo sit in an affective classroom?







Teacher development on affective language learning

Were we affective teachers before this course?
Speaking a language perfectly doesn't mean we are going to teach effectively, does it?
How can we feel the difference between an affective teacher from a regular teacher?
What might make some teachers better than others in affective language learning?
How can I motivate my co -workers to be affective teachers? by telling them? By acting like one?
How do you help teachers feel comfortable teaching affectively, in particular using puppets in the classroom? 
How can I create a training session on affective language learning? Which areas/ what kind of content? 


Wow, so many questions! 

How was it reading a post with only questions? 
Was there any that you wanted to start answering straight away? 
Would you like to add any other questions? 
Which ones would you like to answer first here in the blog? 

I would love to hear you! 


Sending you all a huge hug,













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