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Superlearning Techniques in Language Teaching
by Marjorie Rosenberg
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Active Concert

In this phase the learning material is presented to the students. It is called "active" because it is read with lively music (from the classical period) in the background and the students have a copy of the text. The target language (English) is on the left side of the page and a translation (in this case in the English word order) is on the right side. Vocabulary words are in bold type. The reason for using this type of translation is to give the students a safety net with the knowledge that when they don't understand a word that they can find it quickly and easily but it also encourages them to begin thinking in the target language.

Decoding

In this phase the teacher can either check comprehension by asking questions about the text, give tasks to the students dealing with content or elicit questions from the students themselves. With beginners the teacher may also stress grammatical structures in the text and have the students search for specific forms of speech. Decoding can also include explanations of grammar or specific vocabulary.

Practice and Activation

This is the longest phase of a superlearning lesson. The information which has been presented to the learners should be activated and practiced in order for a transfer of information to take place. The text which has been read in the active concert is used as the basis for grammar structures and vocabulary which are to be learned. These texts are normally written in the form of a dialogue and after the presentation by the teacher, students are selected to read several pages aloud. Then the teacher decides which particular point to stress and explains it, elicits explanations from the group, does a language game, etc. This is where the creativity of the teacher and the students really comes into play. Grammar and vocabulary are practiced using pictures, movement, music, etc. In the practice phase we try to make sure that the students are comfortable with a particular grammar point or vocabulary words. This can be done with normal drills, exercises, reading in chorus, etc. In the activation phase the students should begin trying out what they have learned and this is the place for role plays, creative writing, pair work, and communication games. I feel that it is important to appeal to all learner types so I try to use activities with visual, auditory and kinesthetic aspects, as well as activities which have physical, emotional and intellectual elements. This part of the lesson consists of about 80% of the superlearning cycle.

Passive Concert

In this part of the lesson the students close their eyes and are lead into a relaxed state by the teacher who reads a special relaxation text to relaxing music. After this induction the teacher changes the music to Baroque music (Largos or Adagios) and reads the vocabulary (English-German-English) again as a review. These words can either be from the text or words that have come up during the course of the lesson. They should be words that the students have seen. This phase should always come at the end of a lesson or before a break and not at the beginning.

As mentioned in the explanation of the phases of superlearning, it is important to be aware of the different functions of the two halves of the brain. When we consider that most logical, analytical thought is found on the left side and the creative, artistic, musical abilities on the right we understand the basis for the creation of activities for a superlearning class. It is also important to know that the left brain can think sequentially, and in words but is also the place where the short-term memory is found, while the right brain understands concepts in their entirety, remembers pictures and emotions and contains the long-term memory. It is, therefore, obvious that the ideal learning situation combines the two halves of the brain. This can be done in language classes by using "brain-friendly" activities, such as combining pictures and words (in story telling, for example), music, rhythm, and words (with songs or chants), movement and grammar rules and so on. We are lucky that there is an enormous selection of books describing games for us to use and once our creativity is awakened we find that we can create games on the spot which directly address the needs of our students. We also need to consider that our students all have different learning styles. Some of them need to think things through and prefer to work alone, others like to watch before they do something and need a good learning atmosphere. Then there are those who have to try things out for themselves and enjoy working in a group, especially as the leader. To reach all of these learners we need to devise activities combining elements which appeal to each of them. We also need to recognize the individual strengths and weaknesses of our students and acknowledge that their personal learning styles are valid and important for them. When we accept our students as they are and help them to discover further resources within themselves, we not only help them to learn a language successfully but also give them skills which they can go on to use in many other aspects of their lives.

Recommended Music for Superlearning Classes

Relaxation music:
Any instrumental or synthesizer music that has no specific melody. This type of music
can be found under "New Age".

Passive Concert:
The Largos and Adagios from:
Bach: Symphony in C Major
Symphony in D Major
Fantasy in G Major
Aria from Suite No. 3 for Orchestra in D Major
Prelude & Fugue in G Minor
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
Handel: Four Sonatas for Flute, Op. 1
Pachelbel: Canon in D

Active Concert:
Haydn: Symphony No. 67 in F Major
Concerto for Violin & String Orchestra, No. 1 in C Major
Mozart: Haffner Symphony
Prague Symphony
German Dances
Concerto for Violin & Orchestra, No. 7 in D Major


References:
Suggestology and Outlines of Suggestopedy, Georgi Lozanov, Gordon & Breach, 1978 Suggestive Accelerative Learning Techniques, Donald Schuster & Charles Gritton, Gordon & Breach, 1986
Teaching for the Two-Sided Mind, Linda Verlee Williams, Simon & Schuster, 1983 Accelerated Learning, Colin Rose, Dell, 1985
Superteaching, Eric Jensen, Turning Point for Teachers, 1988
The Everyday Genius, Peter Kline, Great Ocean Publishers, 1988
Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition, Stephen D. Krashen, Prentice Hall, 1987
Learning Another Language Through Actions, James J. Asher, Sky Oakes Productions, 1977 The Act Approach, Lynn Dhority, PLS, 1991
Quantum Learning, Bobbi DePorter with Mike Hernacki, Dell, 1992
Righting the Educational Conveyor Belt, Michael Grinder, Metamorphous Press, 1991

Biodata

Marjorie Rosenberg is an instructor of English at the Pädagogische Akademie des Bundes in der Steiermark. Marjorie also works as a free-lance language trainer for various companies and for the state government of Styria, Austria and a free-lance NLP trainer for both teachers and business people. She is an active presenter and has given talks and workshops on NLP, Cooperative Learning and Learning Styles at conferences in Europe and Canada. In addition, she contributes to various ELT and educational journals. Her book 'Communicative Business Activities' which uses an NLP approach to teaching business English, came out in autumn 2001 and she is currently working in an international team to create a new English text book for the Austrian school system.

Marjorie

Marjorie Rosenberg can be reached at:
Petersgasse 86/4
A-8010 Graz, Austria

Tel and Fax:
+43 316/ 473499

mrosenberg@aon.at

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