Cooperative Learning: Kagan Structures for English Language Learners.

The teacher no longer is the “sage on the stage” but rather a model and facilitator of learning

Why use this method of teaching?
The 21st century learning skills* require students to build reading, writing, problem-solving and application competencies. The teacher is supposed to teach less content and more skills. Cooperative learning is the perfect teaching methodology to teach students strategies and skills. It also a great model to show students how to apply those skills to study content.

*The 21st century learning skills are often called the 4 C’s: critical thinking, creative thinking, communicating, and collaborating. These skills help students learn, and so they are vital to success in school and beyond.

If you teach your students skills, they will become proficient, adaptable and life-long learners. And this works for ALL SUBJECTS. No matter the content, students who are skilled learners can study any subject, at any time and at any place. Cooperative learning also fosters a student’s ability to work in a team and to regularly reflect on his/her learning.

Groupings
The teacher* assigns students in groups with specific roles and jobs. After team members are organized into these small groups, usually of four people, and receive instruction from their teacher, students within the team cooperate with one another and work through the assignment until each team member successfully understands and completes it. Ultimately the shared goals are accomplished individually by each team member, and collectively by the group as a whole.
Teacher-selected groups have been proven time and again to be the best method of forming teams because it ensures a good mix and avoids friends from working together, which neglects to achieve the goal of improvement of social interactions among students who do not know each other as well.kaganpresentation

Team members.

Team members are responsible for their own individual learning as well as for their teammates learning. Members benefit from the contributions of the individual team members. Groups are heterogeneous are made up of high, medium and low academic achieving students. Team members acquire new skills and knowledge. Rewards are oriented towards individual and group.
Classroom Management
If cooperative learning is not accompanied with an effective classroom management system, serious problems are likely to occur. (Spencer Kagan)

Teachers usually provide verbal information along with worksheets, outlines and study guides during a cooperative learning lesson.
Students who are unfamiliar with the cooperative learning model will need to be taught about the model and be clear on their roles as well as the teacher’s expectations during this type of lesson
Reflection (group processing) is an essential part of the cooperative learning process. By clarifying and describing which actions and decisions were helpful and unhelpful the group continues the learning process and improves each members effectiveness when contributing to a collaborative group.
Researchers
The leading researchers of cooperative learning include Robert Slavin, Roger & David Johnson and Spencer Kagan, all of whom have slightly different approaches and emphases

The research of David and Roger Johnson, provides the foundation for how cooperative learning is structured in most of today’s classrooms. Their research shows that merely because students work in small groups does not mean they are cooperating to ensure their own learning and the learning of all others in the group.
Dr. Slavin suggests that cooperative learning is doubtlessly a great tool for handicapped and disabled students. Cooperative learning encourages these students and molds them to work in a professional environment. Cooperative learning of disabled and normal students is another great way of encourage disabled students. According to Slavin, when disabled and handicapped students work in mainstream and heterogeneous environments, they learn in a more productive and skillful manner.

Spencer Kagan has developed more than 100 structures to incorporate the basic principles of cooperative learning. “We are very clear with teachers that they should make cooperative learning part of any lesson,” Kagan says. “Ours is an integrated approach rather than a replacement approach.”

Kagan Structures
Kagan Structures are easy-to-learn and easy-to-use instructional strategies, ideal for promoting second language learning. In classrooms in which the Kagan Structures are used regularly, students for whom English is a second language learn both English and academic content far more quickly and far more thoroughly than when traditional instructional strategies are used. The Kagan Structures also promote language and content learning far more than does group work.

All of the Kagan Structures are very carefully designed. They are carefully structured to implement four basic principles of cooperative learning, PIESPIES

P  = Positive Interdependence
I  = Individual Accountability
E  = Equal Participation
S  = Simultaneous Interaction

For example, Kagan instructs teachers to use a “Timed Pair Share” structure. In this exercise, the teacher divides the class into pairs of students and poses a question. Within each pair, Student A talks about his or her answer for one minute, then Student B does the same.

The following examples illustrate a few of these instructional methods used:

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“Which Kagan Structures should I learn and use first?”, and “Where do I begin?”

Inside-Outside Circle: In concentric circles, students rotate to face new partners and then answer or discuss teacher questions.
Rally Table: In pairs, students alternate generating written responses or solving problems.
One Stray: On each team, one teammate “strays” from his or her team to a new team to share information.
Rally Robin: In pairs, students alternate generating oral responses.
Rally Coach: Partners take turns, one solving a problem while the other coaches.
Showdown: One teammate reads a question or problem aloud. Students work independently to solve the problem, then show their answers when a teammate calls, “Showdown!” They then celebrate the correct answer or coach to get the correct answer (Kagan 1994).

For more details about Cooperative Learning

On Kagan Institutes, workshops and conferences go to www.T2TUK.co.uk and www.Kaganonline.com

The “Round robin” technique

What is cooperative learning? SlideShare

Cooperative Learning Lessons Starter Kit

The Essential 5: A Starting Point for Kagan Cooperative Learning

FIVE COOPERATIVE LEARNING ACTIVITIES TO DO ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

Kagan Structures for English Language Learners

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Sing Songs while you learn English

I am back again and I have missed this little blog and you all! I didn’t realize how much this little space on the internet actually meant to me until I kept apart for weeks. I felt a little guilty not posting more frequently and although I cannot find a good enough excuse, I have to say that It has been a busy few weeks. This post is to encourage you as well as me to undertake new projects to learn and teach second languages.
To begin with I would like to start very energetic and courageous with this quote: “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can: positive thinking is half the work …”

Having said that, I would like to show you a new free on-line language learning tool that is particularly useful for students of foreign languages who want a fun and entertaining way to learn the correct pronunciation of words and it will improve their listening skills as students must identify words from a song. One of the best ways to learn English or any language is music. If you would like to know what the lyrics of your favourite songs say and, moreover, improve your English, playing Lyrics Training is a good alternative.

That is:  .

In LyricsTraining you can choose from a wide selection of songs and try to complete their letter while watching video clips. LyricsTraining also has a special Karaoke mode that lets you sing and enjoy the full lyrics.

There are three levels of difficulty Lyrics Training: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Depending on your choice, you have to hit a single word or directly the full track.

LyricsTraining helps you to learn new vocabulary and expressions, and reinforce grammar concepts through continuous exercise of writing the missing words.

But above all, LyricsTraining helps you train your ear to improve your capacity to recognize sounds and words of a foreign language in a very short time, training your brain almost unconsciously, whether you know the meaning of all the words or not.

Just try it and let me know your experience in this web application that allows you to read and listen to the lyrics from music videos and can be used as a fun and interactive way for language teachers and trainers to introduce new vocabulary and grammar to their students in a classroom setting.

Please write your comments or leave me a reply.

Kidblog for easy and safe e-portfolios

Last year I found the site Kidblog. I researched the site and found that it was free to use (for a generous limited amount) and had great teacher privacy controls. I found it really engaged the students in the course work and  helped collaboration and creativity. On a very practical level, I think the pupils found it very useful and engaging.

Kidblog is designed for primary and secondary teachers who want to provide each student with an individual blog. Students publish posts and participate in academic discussions within a secure classroom blogging community. Teachers maintain complete control over student blogs and user accounts.

E-Portfolio.

“An electronic portfolio, also known as an e-portfolio or digital portfolio, is a collection of electronic evidence assembled and managed by a user, usually on the web, Such electronic evidence may include inputted text, electronic files, images, multimedia, blog entries, and hyperlinks.” (Wikipedia)

Benefits of an E-Portfolio

  • keep a record of work in one place.
  • can include different forms of student work:
    • examples of students  performances
    • demonstrations of achieving a particular objective
  • show achievements (students and teachers). they provide a window into student learning
  • shows best work and allows for creativity
  • use through the year and through school career
  • allows for reflection on work. They allow students to think critically and reflect upon their work
  • make classroom learning more accessible to parents, teachers

This year I have started to keep an E-Portfolio with primary 5th and 6th English classes.  I hope it will give pupils of all abilities a better chance to create and collaborate. Students continue to become creators rather than simply consumers. I hope to report back later on in the year with how we are getting along.

Frank's Class

Why kidblog.

Kidblog is unique among the web tools featured here because it is built by teachers for teachers. Kidblog provides teachers with everything they need to help students create their digital portfolios safely. It gives teachers administrative control over student blogs and accounts. Though Kidblog is private by default, teachers can choose to make posts public or password-protected. Kidblog is fully COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) compliant and does not require any personal information from students.

Furthermore, Kidblog makes it easy to publish rich multimedia content. Seamlessly embed slideshows, videos, podcasts, artwork, Google Docs, and your favorite Web 2.0 tools like Storybird, Animoto, Glogster, etc.

Create a E-Portfolio

Do you want to create a e-portfolio using Kidblogs or others tools? Here are some easy instructions:

Creating an e-portfolio using kidblog

Using E-Portfolios in the Classroom

Digital portfolios: guidelines for beginners

e-portfolios in the classroom

Final Portfolios: Ending the Year with Meaning

Why Blog? Blogging Suggestions for Teachers

As far as I am concerned, it is necessary for teachers to be writers and to share strategies, lessons, and resources with one another, as we are able to provide glimpses into our daily lives, while sharing effective ideas that are realistic and classroom-tested.

There are several reasons why teaching, writing, and blogging complement one another.  Following various teacher blogs, commenting on the entries, and interacting with other teachers is an excellent form of professional development.   What better way to improve your teaching than to have hundreds of teachers in your professional learning network?

If you are a teacher and are unsure about writing your own blog, here are some suggestions that you may find useful:

1.) There are so many excellent teacher blogs out there that you may find interesting.  A quick search would provide you with some great blogs that are related to your own teaching and are interesting to read.

2.) Every teacher is busy—between teaching, planning, marking, coaching, and our personal lives, we all have a lot on our plates.  How do we find time to write? We find writing to be a reflective practice that helps us become better teachers.  If you find a topic that you are passionate about, then writing will not seem like a chore, but more like a goal that you are inspired to reach.

3.) Be professional when writing! Never blog about anything that would compromise your integrity, that of your students, or your colleagues.  Respect and professionalism is of the utmost importance.

4.) Don’t think that your thoughts, reflections, and experiences shouldn’t be shared.  What you think is not that great, may be just what another teacher needs to read!

5.) Learn from others and reflect! Take what you see, make any necessary changes or additions and try it out! Once you have tried it for yourself, reflect! Then, share the experience again! As we pass it on, we continue to learn from others and others continue to learn from us!

Do you have any blogging tips? Share them in the comments section!

 

Digital Natives (part 2)

“Everyone talks about leaving a better planet for our children. Why doesn’t anyone try to leave better children for our planet?”

Many of us grew up in a pre-digital era – we made phone calls and wrote letters, while public information was distributed through broadcast media. But now there’s a whole generation at college that has never known a world without the web. They bring with them a new way of engaging with the world, with information, and with each other.

An excellent video to understand how Digital Natives fit technology and open up to a world where anything is possible.

From Google+, Facebook, and Twitter to SMS and corporate messaging, this generation is developing an instinctive set of behaviors and expectations around these tools. They are very savvy in understanding which medium is most appropriate for the message and for the recipient, whether it’s a dinner invitation or asking someone out on a date.  They know they have to find the appropriate interrupt signal, and that different channels send different signals, with numerous subtleties that we are only just starting to understand:  Following Generation Z

In Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology, Allan Collins and Richard Halverson argue that the knowledge revolution has transformed our jobs, our homes, our lives, and therefore must also transform our schools. Much like after the school-reform movement of the industrial revolution, our society is again poised at the edge of radical change. To keep pace with a globalized technological culture, we must rethink how we educate the next generation or we (the Digital Immigrants) will be left behind. This groundbreaking book offers a vision for the future of American education that goes well beyond the walls of the classroom to include online social networks, distance learning with anytime, anywhere access, digital home schooling models, video-game learning environments, and more.

School leaders and teachers need to understand how learning technologies work and how they change the basic interactions of teachers and learners. Technology leaders need to work together with educators as collaborators in creating new opportunities to learn.

Technology is changing what is important to learn in a variety of ways. There are new literacies that are becoming important, such as creating videos, animations, and web sites. Computers can carry out all the algorithms taught through graduate school, and yet mathematical reasoning is more important than ever. Hence we should spend time teaching students to solve sophisticated problems using computers rather than executing algorithms that computers do well. Memorizing information is becoming less important with the web available, but people do need to learn how to find information, recognize when they need more information, and evaluate what they find. People will be changing careers often and transitions are difficult. They need help going back and forth between learning and work.

As technology continues to transform our society, those responsible for our current systems of learning and education are facing overwhelming pressure to adapt. Education technology, connected learning and the rise of the Networked Society is transforming the established concept of learning, teachers’ roles and even the nature of knowledge itself.

The revolution in education will alter not just the lives of students, but the entirety of modern society. As with any revolution, there are will be both gains and losses. Pessimists see people becoming subservient to their technologies and being left behind as technology comes to dominate our lives. Optimists see a golden age of learning opening before us, where people will be able to find resources to pursue any education they may want.

TAKING ACTION

Strategies:

1. RETHINK ASSESSMENT

With few exceptions, all the things our children are using to connect and learn outside the classroom — social media, cell phones, Internet connections — are banned inside classrooms. Move from a standardized testing teaching approach to a style that incorporates more creativity and adaptability.

Remaking assessment starts with this: stop asking questions on tests that can be answered by a Google search. Or, if you have to ask them, let kids use their technology to answer them. More often than not, we ask questions that can be easily answered by technology. That is unfortunate. Take a quick look at any of the state standardized tests for graduation, and you’ll see more of those than you can imagine.

Let’s scrap open-book tests, zoom past open-phone tests asking Googleable questions, and advance to open-network tests that measure not just how well kids answer a question, but also how literate they are at discerning good information from bad and tapping into the experts and networks that can inform those answers. This is how they’ll take the real-life information and knowledge tests that come their way, and it would tell us much more about our children’s preparedness for a world of data abundance.

This is an excerpt from Will Richardson’s new TED e-book, Why School?

2. CULTIVATE MENTORSHIPS

Encourage two-way intergenerational mentorships and interactions. This would create opportunities for youth adults to learn from each other. Gen Z comes to the workforce a wide set of new technology skills, determination and passion, among many other factors. Older employees can benefit from the connectivity, flexibility and creativity that are unique to this generation. These youth are still young, however, and have a lot to learn from their older mentors that will help better integrate them successfully in the formal working world. As these youth become a larger part of the emerging labor force, business must plan for Gen Z’s entry and the succession of the Baby Boomers as they retire. Mentorship programs not only get youth interested in and prepared for work in new fields, it introduces fresh skills and attitudes that help businesses flourish in a changing economic atmosphere.

Extract from GENERATION Z CHALLENGES 

3. EMPHASIZE PUBLIC SPEAKING AND CONFLICT MANAGEMENT SKILLS.

These skills are increasingly valuable in the workplace and society more broadly. Greater emphasis should be placed on their development. The ability to manage conflict is probably one of the most important social skills an individual can possess.

5. ENTREPRENEURIAL EDUCATION

According to the Key Competence Framework, the entrepreneurship key competence refers to an individual’s ability to turn ideas into action. It includes creativity, innovation and risk taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects in order to achieve objectives. Include business and entrepreneurial skills in school curricula in order to equip students with a background in that area, making entrepreneurship less of an idea and more of a viable possibility for those students.

Entrepreneurship Education at School in Europe. [Eurydice]

7. PROMOTE SERVICE LEARNING

Civic engagement is instrumental in building community awareness, teaching tolerance and cultivating socially conscious young people. Service learning should be integrated into K-20 education.

8. TEACH RISK-TAKING

We must teach our youth to look for opportunities and that failure in pursuit of them is a learning opportunity and not a stigma to avoid at all costs. To help our students, we need to directly ask for academic risk-taking behavior (e.g. asking questions, dwelling in uncertainty, and advancing untried hypotheses) and identify it whenever we ask for it, so students know we perceive and value the challenges they face.

Teaching Risk-Taking in the College Classroom

SOURCES:

RETHINKING EDUCATION IN THE AGE OF TECHNOLOGY:  THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION AND THE SCHOOLS. (PDF) By Allan Collins and Richard Halverson

http://www.scoop.it/t/digital-natives-by-frank-tudela

Digital Natives (part 1)

“Children are the future of the country” if you want to know the future you should know how children are nowadays. The succeeding question is how are the children today?

Today’s children are born digital — born into a media-rich, networked world of infinite possibilities. But their digital lifestyle is about more than just cool gadgets; it’s about engagement, self-directed learning, creativity, social networking and empowerment.

The author of “Teaching Digital Natives” Marc Prensky says: “Today’s students have not just changed incrementally from those of the past, nor simply changed their slang, clothes, body adornments, or styles, as has happened between generations previously. A really big discontinuity has taken place”…. “the explosion of technology over the last 10 years is just the start of a symbiotic new world. Computers and handsets are becoming an extension of body and mind, creating a Cyborg-like population”.

You only have to realize how they spend their entire days surrounded by and using computers, videogames, digital music players, cell phones, tablets and all the other toys and tools of the digital age. Computer games, email, the Internet, social media and instant messaging are integral parts of their lives. They grow up with this new technology. They are Digital Natives. [Marc Prensky (2001a2001b) employs an analogy of native speakers and immigrants to describe the generation gap separating today’s students (the “Digital Natives”) from their teachers (the “Digital Immigrants”).]

Prensky defines Digital Natives as those born into an innate “new culture” while the digital immigrants are old-world settlers, who have lived in the analogue age and immigrated to the digital world.

Here is an image of a mind map created to show the differences between Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants:   (click to enlarge)

Mind-Map-2eep58z-1024x378

Digital Natives are used to receiving information really fast. They like to parallel process and multi-task. They prefer their graphics before their text rather than the opposite. They prefer random access (like hypertext). They function best when networked. They thrive on instant gratification and frequent rewards. They prefer games to “serious” work. The following infographic takes a look at today’s kids as compared to the children of the past:     Click here

The single biggest problem facing education today is that our Digital Immigrant teachers, who speak an outdated language (that of the pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language.

Parents live with it. Teachers see it daily. You can’t observe young people and not notice how smoothly and seamlessly they dive into new Web 2.0 communication technologies. With a flick of the cell phone, they share more texts, photos, music, and video than any other demographic group on Earth. Either way, the teachers, moms, and dads among us find ourselves on the outside peering into a world we neither know nor understand. Too often, we draw conclusions that miss the point — and the promise — of what these new communication tools offer. Sound familiar? Perhaps it’s time for all of us to explore the Web 2.0 frontier.

digital-natives-copy

Digital Natives accustomed to the twitch-speed, multitasking, random-access, graphics-first, active, connected, fun, fantasy, quick-payoff world of their video games, social networking sites (facebook, tuenti, twitter, etc.), and Internet are bored by most of today’s education, well-meaning as it may be. But worse, the many skills that new technologies have actually enhanced (e.g., parallel processing, graphics awareness, and random access)—which have profound implications for their learning—are almost totally ignored by educators. Digital Immigrants typically have very little appreciation for these new skills that the Natives have acquired and perfected through years of interaction and practice. Every time Digital Natives go to school they have to power down.

Digital Natives1

The possible solutions will be discussed in the next post.

SOURCES: