** Not your ordinary, endless list – just what’s number 1.
I remain firmly convinced, based on years in the classroom and the research out there, that language learners older than 4-5 are “disabled” learners. They are “special needs” students, there isn’t enough processing power, the brain easily gets overwhelmed, the learner can’t attend to two things at once (form and meaning). See my article for more background on this. In particular the findings of Dinklage and his study of Harvard language students.
Teachers need to borrow from the practices, techniques and beliefs of special educators. We also can do more to borrow from the technology that benefits the disabled and helps them communicate. There is a lot of crossover. Many training programs have new teachers experience the frustrations of learning another language – I’d go further, let them experience things like the teachers in this video and truly walk in their student’s shoes.
I know of no other video that speaks in volumes to the practicalities of teaching than Rich Lavoie’s How Difficult Can This Be: “Frustration, Anxiety, Tension” workshop. Ignore the 80s hair, ignore the insecure giggling – he shows us some fundamental principles that will benefit all language teachers. This video had a big impact on me, I know it will on you. Go here for a few more parts of the workshop.
Here’s the first part (can’t show the whole thing due to copyright).
If you enjoyed this, you might enjoy – “More On Killing Creativity“