Giving is Caring

Always remember:

The value of time, the success of perseverance, the worth of character, the power of kindness, the influence of example, and the obligation of duty.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

The 19th Británico Annual Convention

Today I participated as a guest and as a speaker in the 19th Británico Annual Convention and I had the double pleasure of meeting some good old friends-since I used to teach at Británico myself- and attending some interesting talks. The event was impecable and cozy and all participants were very well attended.
The first plenary was Jeremy Harmer´s Focus and Creativity in the Classroom. As usual, Jeremy is a showman and a guru so everybody was very attentive to his talk. I used two of the many pieces of advice he gave because they seemed appropriate for the talk I was going to give some hours later on Critical Reading : " Focus on the text, create the need and students would want to learn". I also liked his claim that even if technology helps, there should also be instances of teaching "unplugged", the ultimate interaction in the classroom is between the teacher and the student and we want students to "focus on things they need".
Then I attended a semi-plenary: Brain Rules by Craig Huxley from Express Publishing. This was also very interesting and fun. Craig made us move a bit since exercise (physical exercise) improves cognition and that is why everytime we ask our students to perform a dialogue, it should be done with students standing up and facing each other.
He also showed how information is registered through the senses, how long it takes for information to be "stored" in the immediate memory (30seconds) before it was moved to the working memory where it stays for about 20 minutes (with a máximum of 7 pieces of information a time). For information to get stored in the long term memory, it has to be meaningul and make sense to the learner- sounds familiar?- he also claims that attention is connected to memory, interest and awareness so we need to find out what our students are interested in and we, teachers, need to make students repeat to remember (so as to actívate their working memory) and they should remember to repeat so thi information would pass on to the long term memory. As the saying goes: "Use it or lose it!"
Next semi-plenary was Skills for the 21st Century: The New Literacies by Francisco Lozano from Cengage Learning. Do you know what the new literacies are? Visual, Digital, Cultural and Critical thinking. These are all wrapped up in a cross-curricular, multi.cultural approach.
It was a pity I could not attend any other talk, especially because of the variety of the offer, there was practically something for everybody and there was so much to be learned but I hope there will be another opportunity for this.
In sum, the event brought up a lot of food for thought. Regarding my talk on Critical Reading for EFL Learning ... it will be the topic of another post.

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