07 Jul Learning through Doing and Sharing

I received a link with an excerpt of a book by Peggy Anderson, entitled Great Quotes from Great Women. I thought some of them were particularly relevant when teaching or learning to teach!

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face….you must do the thing you think you cannot.” Eleanor Roosevelt.
“We have too many high sounding words and too few actions correspond with them.” Abigail Adams
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
Encouraging our students to have a go, to work with us and with each other in a positive way, is the key to motivation in the classroom. It’s essential to set up an environment where we learn from mistakes and don’t fear them, where action and tasks focus and direct students.

Whether we refer to this as reflective learning, task-based learning, experiential learning etc. is not important; what is important is that we allow learners to learn through doing. Try it, learn from it, try it again, learn from it, and so on.

We support this through pair work, group work, peer work, so everyone is comfortable in getting and giving feedback at all times. This is even more important in TESOL lessons, where we are constantly endeavouring to increase student talk time to increase accuracy and fluency.

So I would add to the “learn through doing” premise slightly and say that we “learn through doing and sharing”.
A perfect example of this is crosswords. I love doing crosswords, but somehow, I never get round to them. However, when my parents come and visit, they always do the daily crossword, and it becomes a social half hour together with an afternoon cup of tea. My mother always reads out the clues and the three of us work together to bounce ideas off each other and solve the answers. I rarely manage to finish a crossword when I do them by myself, but I can guarantee that when I do it with my parents, we complete it nine times of ten.

What better motivation – a high success rate and fun at the same time!

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