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Opening lecture, Shanghai

Prof. Edna Aphek, seminar, Shanghai 18.6.2000

Computer Added Value

Two roads have been developing in parallel in the last fifty years or so, the road of modern pedagogy and the road of computers.
In recent years they have started to meet and to converge.

Looking at the "hot theories" in the "road of pedagogy" one can see how well the computer fits and empowers these theories and practices, for technology in itself is not and should not be the end of education,but should serve as a means to support and enhance educational values and pedagogic thinking.

So what are these new theories both of learning and instruction?

Here are just a few:

The Theory of the Multiple Intelligences


Cooperative learning

Service learning

Thematic instruction

The dialogue approach

Smart schools

Multiple Intelligences
The MI theory, which is has become quite popular in education, is the brainchild of Howard Gardner.This theory breaks away from the traditional notion that intelligence is a "single general capacity possessed by every individual to a greater or lesser degree."Gardner suggests that that there are a number of intelligences, which give individuals their unique composite. Gardner lists the following intelligences:
Musical, spatial, bodily,verbal, logical-mathematical, naturalistic, mystic, interpersonal and intrapersonal.
Gardner and other educationalists ,recommend different learning programs for different individuals, with different intelligences.

The EQ
or the Emotional Intelligence theory was crystallized by Daniel Goleman.
This theory claims that schooling the emotions is at least as important as schooling the intellectual abilities and that emotional intelligence is more important than the amount of IQ an individual might possess.
Goleman calls for schools to develop a curriculum geared for the literacy of the emotions.The EQ theory has great bearing in the on-going struggle waged on school violence.
In Israel an entire city ,Tel Aviv, has accepted this challenge and has introduced a program ( BINAT HALEV) geared to the schooling of the emotions, into its entire educational system.

Cooperative learning is a method of learning in groups
Learners in the group collaborate on an assignment , each sharing responsibility.
The final product is the group's product.
Cooperative learning frees teachers time as he/ she can work with individuals or move from group to group. Learners get an opportunity to participate in a variety of tasks and experiences: to dialog, initiate, use their strong intelligence, make choices and learn from one another.

Service learning
Service learning combines working outside the school, usually for the benefit of the community, with learning in the school.
Service learning lends meaning and context to the information taught in school, and academic work gives a theoretical basis for the work experienced outside the school.
In the Alon school in Israel, children 5-8 tutor seniors in internet skills.
In the Ben Zvi middle school in Israel, learners combine their school work with working in old age homes, hospitals,etc.

Thematic instruction
Thematic instruction,or interdisciplinary teaching and learning is the organization of teaching and learning around themes and not according to the disciplines.Thematic instruction breaks away from the traditional division of the curriculum into subjects.
The theory maintains that in reality there is no departmentalization between different areas, and that learning around themes is more meaningful .
(It would be interesting to note here, that thematic teaching and learning used to be the leading pedagogic theory in the fifties in the Kibbutz schools in Israel. It was abandoned later on for the sake of the more prevailing, then, departmentalized view of learning and instruction.)

The dialog approach
The dialog approach is an eclectic theory, developed by Aphek 1996 and implemented in several Israeli schools and afternoon learning centers.
The dialog approach views education as a five component complex system.These five components;
1. content and information flow
2. learning skills
3. social and emotional skills
4. individual intelligence
5. values,
must maintain an on-going dialog between them, in any educational institute.
Learning is conducted in groups, service to the community is an integral part of school's life , and the dialog is a tool for communication between the different parties involved in the educational activity.

Smart schools
The Smart Schools principles for good education, developed by David Perkins and colleagues at Harvard Project Zero, are based on the two guiding beliefs:

1.Learning is a consequence of thinking, and good thinking is learnable by all students.This is opposed to the more traditional assumption maintaining that thinking is a consequence of learning.

2.Learning should include deep understanding, which involves the flexible,active use of knowledge.

These principles provide a structure for schools with a vision of a learning community that is steeped in thinking and deep understanding, that engenders respect for all its members, and that produces students ready to face the world as responsible, thinking members of a diverse society.

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