Teaching Tips 125
Last week we briefly looked at a way to help students begin with 'modelling', a term used in NLP for looking at people who do things you would like to do & modelling their behaviour.
For Wikipedia's short explanation of modelling:
As the Wikipedia page says:
'Typically a "modeling project" might cover the following sources of behavior:
* Internal strategies
* Sensory perceptions and submodalities
* Physiology (body movement and body language)
* Language patterns
* Fall-back strategies ("what if it isn't working")
* Conscious and unconscious communications
* World view
* Locus of consciousness (ie where ones attention is)
Each of these is individually a deep and rich field; there is no point where one knows everything, but as a process of replication, the goal is met when the modeler has enough parts of the puzzle to piece together and document how the subject seems to be doing his competent skills.'
Taking all of this on needs training & is over-ambitious for our students. We can look at one aspect at a time, as in these past Tips that are related to modelling:
This helps students model language and accent.
Promoting a healthy profile.
This looks at attributes that go to make up the 'good language learner'.
This looks at a way of consciously noticing strategies students use when doing tasks & the idea of sharing these strategies at the end of a lesson.
This last idea is a particularly useful way of getting your students to take on new strategies. Other ways of making strategies overt could be to:
- talk to the students about why you ask them to do the tasks you set them. There is then a greater chance that they will transfer them outside of the classroom.
- talk about ways they could tackle a task before they begin, providing choice, & they decide which are most suited to their learning style.
- use listening & reading texts of language learners describing how they go about different tasks.
- give individual feedback on how your students might be more effective learners. This could be on face-to-face tutorials or in feedback through their learner diaries.
Don't forget that your students are also using you as a model. One more obvious example of this is when they are trying to sound like you as you provide language models & they repeat them. They may well be copying other aspects. Have you noticed any?
So far we have been referring to our students but this is applicable to us as teachers. Think back to the excellent teachers you have had. Which aspects of their behaviour would you like to use in your teaching? Do you consciously try to take on aspects from other teachers? Has it dawned on you anytime that you subconsciously do it? And then there are the not so effective teachers. Why were they ineffective? Do you react in a similar way?
World Health Day
World Health Day, on 7 April, marks the founding of the World Health Organization and is an opportunity to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year. In 2008, World Health Day focuses on the need to protect health from the adverse effects of climate change.
The theme “protecting health from climate change” puts health at the centre of the global dialogue about climate change. WHO selected this theme in recognition that climate change is posing ever growing threats to global public health security.
Through increased collaboration, the global community will be better prepared to cope with climate-related health challenges worldwide. Examples of such collaborative actions are: strengthening surveillance and control of infectious diseases, ensuring safer use of diminishing water supplies, and coordinating health action in emergencies.
Photos on climate change for matching with descriptions followed by discussion.
Download the toolkit for ideas on celebrating the Day.
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Watch out for April Fool's Day next Tuesday. There's lesson material on the site at:
'Pigs can fly':
April Fool's Day hoaxes':
And talking of April Fool's hoaxes did you hear about the Hussein's Iraqui hoaxes? Apparently, on this day, they used to either announce the lifting of UN sanctions or the addition of a can of Pepsi, a banana & chocolate to the food rations. The Iraqui people must have been in fits of laughter for days.
And then there was the Romanian newspaper that announced the release of prisoners on this day. Relatives made it to the prison to be told that it was an April Fool's joke!
You can see a list of the top 10 worst hoaxes at - interesting lesson material:
Another notable Day this week is April 4th, the day Martin Luther King was shot in 1968 in -Memphis.
There's a lesson plan around the 1963 'I have a dream..' speech, including the mp3s, at:
You could tie this in to the Democrat nomination in the US where the race issue has become prominent lately.
We've had a few Tips on Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques in the classroom. One of these was the Tip, 'Influential English':
One of the central ideas in NLP is the idea of 'modelling', looking at people who do things you would like to do & modelling their behaviour. This can be on the level of copying actions through to a deeper level of getting inside their skin & feeling things as they do.
This is looked at in the excellent 'Handing Over' the second book about NLP-based activities for language learning by Revell & Norman (see the end of the newsletter for links for these books).
To expose students to the idea initially they provide a series of questions to focus them while they watch a video.
- What facial expressions do they use?
- Do they make eye contact? How often?
- What do you notice about their mouth movements?
- Do they use gesture with their hands? What sort? How big? How often?
- How are they standing or sitting?
- How close are they to one another?
- Do they touch one another? How? Where?
- How loudly do they speak?
- How fast?
- What do you notice about their rhythm of speech?
- And their intonation patterns?
- What noises do they make which are not actual words?
- What other things do you notice?
The book suggests using a video with half the class looking at the non-verbal & the other half the verbal. Then they all watch with the sound turned down, then again with the volume on focusing on the sound, & then again in black & white. At the end there is an exchange of comments with a discussion comparing the speakers on the video with speakers from the students' mother tongues.
This is a nice list for several purposes:
- It helps learners to focus on the verbal & the non-verbal.
- It provides a starting point for modelling.
- It helps us as teachers notice these things when observing other teachers teach.
- It provides us with a checklist to help monitor or own non-verbal behaviour in class.
We'll look at modelling again in more detail in a future Tip.
A few NLP recommendations:
In Your Hands - NLP in ELT - J.Revell & S.Norman (Saffire Press)
Handing Over - J.Revell & S.Norman (Saffire Press)
Unlocking Self-expression Through NLP: Integrated Skill Activities for Intermediate and Advanced Students - M.Rinvolucri & J.Baker (First Person Publishing)
Introducing NLP Neuro-Linguistic Programming - J.O'Connor & J.Seymour (Thorsons)
Training with NLP: Skills for Trainers, Managers and Communicators -
Joseph O'Connor, John Seymour (HarperCollins)
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This week a quick look at using the theme of logos as a theme in class. Logos are everywhere & are powerful carriers of a brand's message. Have look at the following news item from a recent edition of the Developer Shed newsletter (20.3.08):
|A Good Side to Subliminal Advertising?
It's the classic cliche from the Apple commercials: Mac users are more laid-back and creative, while PC users have more of a corporate mentality. That story may tell more about branding than the users, but there may also be some truth to it. Recent research conducted by professors at Duke University and the University of Waterloo, Canada, suggests that being exposed to these brands may cause the attitudes associated with them to "rub off" on the person.
The researchers experimented with two logos, both well-known and respected by consumers: Apple's and IBM's. Each of these brands are associated with distinct "personalities," with Apple's creativity and nonconformity serving as a contrast to IBM's reliability. In the experiment, 341 university students participated in what they thought was a visual acuity test, during which they were exposed to either the Apple or IBM logo so quickly that they couldn't register having seen it. Afterward, each student completed a task that tested their creativity; they were told to come up with as many uses for a brick as they could imagine aside from building a wall.
Students exposed to the Apple logo came up with significantly more unusual uses for the brick than the students who were flashed with the IBM logo. Additionally, independent judges rated the Apple-exposed students' suggested uses as more creative. This experiment may have practical implications for advertising, and perhaps even for helping consumers in their performance on the job. As an example, Grinne Fitzsimons, one of the researchers, noted that "If you know you need to perform well on some task, say something athletic, you may want to surround yourself with images and brand logos that represent success in athletics."
(To follow up on this: http://www.physorg.com/news125073871.html )
Here's a very loose procedure to a lesson on the theme of logos:
1. You could begin by doing the same experiment on your students - not necessarily subliminally, but find two opposing logos & present one to each group before brainstorming many ways of using a brick - apart from building a wall. Students from each group could then compare their answers & then look at the short article above.
2. You could use the text above simply as a reading text, you could orally summarise it, use part as a traditional dictation, a running dictation or a dictogloss.
3. Then you could ask the students to make a list of logos that they would instantly recognise. Show them a selection of logos & see if they are on their lists.
4. The students can then discuss what goes to make a successful logo.
Here are some links to the history of some of the most famous logos:
There's plenty of material at the above sites for you to use, particularly the history of different logos which could be used as a jigsaw reading & speaking task.
You could then jump to stage 8 below & miss out the peace logo article.
5. Read out the following to the students & ask them to think about which very famous logo it might be.
'I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya's peasant before the firing squad.'
6. You could then go on to use the text below from the BBC, in full or part to suit.
There is an image on the current Tip page to explain the semaphore origins of the logo.
7. After reading & language work (there's a lot you can pick up on in the text), set up a discussion on the students' reactions to the peace logo - what do they think of when they see it? - & other responses to the text.
8. To round off they go on to design their own logo for whatever cause they like. Give them plenty of time to discuss this, go round feeding in language they need & at the end the groups present their ideas to the class, putting up their logos on the walls for all to view.
World's best-known protest symbol turns 50
20 March 2008
It started life as the emblem of the British anti-nuclear movement but it has become an international sign for peace, and arguably the most widely used protest symbol in the world. It has also been adapted, attacked and commercialised.
It had its first public outing 50 years ago on a chilly Good Friday as thousands of British anti-nuclear campaigners set off from London's Trafalgar Square on a 50-mile march to the weapons factory at Aldermaston.
The demonstration had been organised by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC) and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) joined in.
Gerald Holtom, a designer and former World War II conscientious objector from West London, persuaded DAC that their aims would have greater impact if they were conveyed in a visual image. The "Ban the Bomb" symbol was born.
He considered using a Christian cross motif but, instead, settled on using letters from the semaphore - or flag-signalling - alphabet, super-imposing N (uclear) on D (isarmament) and placing them within a circle symbolising Earth.
The sign was quickly adopted by CND.
Holtom later explained that the design was "to mean a human being in despair" with arms outstretched downwards.
US peace symbol
American pacifist Ken Kolsbun, who corresponded with Mr Holtom until his death in 1985, says the designer came to regret the connotation of despair and had wanted the sign inverted.
"He thought peace was something that should be celebrated," says Mr Kolsbun, who has spent decades documenting the use of the sign. "In fact, the semaphore sign for U in 'unilateral' depicts flags pointing upwards. Mr Holtom was all for unilateral disarmament."
In a book to commemorate the symbol's 50th birthday, Mr Kolsbun charts how it was transported across the Atlantic and took on additional meanings for the Civil Rights movement, the counter-culture of the 1960s and 70s including the anti-Vietnam protests, and the environmental, women's and gay rights movements.
He also argues that groups opposed to those tendencies tried to use the symbol against them by distorting its message.
How the sign migrated to the US is explained in various ways. Some say it was brought back from the Aldermaston protest by civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, a black pacifist who had studied Gandhi's techniques of non-violence.
In Peace: The biography of a symbol, Mr Kolsbun describes how in just over a decade, the sign had been carried by civil rights "freedom" marchers, painted on psychedelic Volkswagens in San Francisco, and on the helmets of US soldiers on the ground in Vietnam.
"The sign really got going over here during the 1960s and 70s, when it became associated with anti-Vietnam protests," he told the BBC News website.
As the combat escalated, he says, so did the anti-war protests and the presence of the symbol.
"This, of course, led some people to condemn it as a communist sign," says Mr Kolsbun. "There has always been a lot of misconception and disinformation about it."
As the sign became a badge of the burgeoning hippie movement of the late 1960s, the hippies' critics scornfully compared it to a chicken footprint, and drew parallels with the runic letter indicating death.
In 1970, the conservative John Birch Society published pamphlets likening the sign to a Satanic symbol of an upside-down, "broken" cross.
While it remained a key symbol of the counter-culture movement throughout the 1970s, it returned to its origins in the 1980s, when it became the banner of the international grassroots anti-nuclear movement.
The real power of the sign, its supporters say, is the reaction that it provokes - both from fans and from detractors.
The South African government, for one, tried to ban its use by opponents of apartheid In 1973.
And, in 2006, a couple in suburban Denver found themselves embroiled in a dispute over their use of a giant peace sign as a Christmas wreath. The homeowners' association threatened them with a daily fine if they didn't remove it.
The association eventually backed down because of public pressure, but a member told a local newspaper it was clearly an "anti-Christ sign" with "a lot of negativity associated with it.".
CND has never registered the sign as a trademark, arguing that "a symbol of freedom, it is free for all". It has now appeared on millions of mugs, T-shirts, rings and nose-studs. Bizarrely, it has also made an appearance on packets of Lucky Strike cigarettes.
A decade ago, the sign was chosen during a public vote to appear on a US commemorative postage stamp saluting the 1960s.
The symbol that helped define a generation of baby boomers may not be as widely used today as in the past. It is in danger of becoming to many people a retro fashion item, although the Iraq war has seen it re-emerge with something like its original purpose.
"It is still the dominant peace sign," argues Lawrence Wittner, an expert on peace movements at the University at Albany in New York.
"Part of that is down to its simplicity. It can be used as a shorthand for many causes because it can be reproduced really quickly - on walls on floors, which is important, in say, repressive societies."
And can its success be measured? Fifty years on, wars have continued to be waged and the list of nuclear-armed states has steadily lengthened.
But the cup is half-full as well as half empty.
"There are many ways in which nuclear war has been prevented," says Mr Wittner. "The hawks say that the reason nuclear weapons have not been used is because of the deterrent. But I believe popular pressure has restrained powers from using them and helped curbed the arms race.
And the symbol of and inspiration for that popular pressure, says Mr Wittner, is Mr Holtom's graphic.
Peace: A biography of a symbol is published by National Geographic Books in April.
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