The personal learning network for educators
As much as learning a language is important, it is also of equal value to teach your students your own culture. This past 3 weeks we have gone through a journey of learning with our students teaching them the basics of what is Easter.
As such we were not just teaching a bunch of vocabulary and grammar, but getting them fully immersed in the culture. So when we were talking about the different candy you get at Easter, we did not just show some pictures and say the words. We gave them some to try to smell, touch and, of course, taste. This engages all 5 senses, making for a more memorable experience.
As stated in Donald Ford’s research paper, how the brain learns (http://www.trainingindustry.com/content-development/articles/how-th...), there are many ways in which to make it stick:
This also increases the emotional investment in the learning, not only did they learn some new words and sentences, but we also got to eat something we like! Which also brings us into the next point about unusual and new scenarios. The idea of a bunny coming to your house and hiding candy for you to find is a very strange one, so to is the custom of painting food. As part of the experience we had the kids painting hard-boiled eggs. For many westerner’s this practice seems normal for Easter, but here in China it is weird and wonderful!
We also had them taking turns at hiding and finding the eggs. Even though its not the same experience that I had growing up. I hope that just the process of them trying would emulate the same sensation that made me love Easter as a kid.
This kind of learning theory can also be applied to any lesson on any subject (although not all the senses can be engaged all the time, I don’t think the parents would like us getting the kids outside to like road signs) it also makes for a memorable experience for the kids, which again is another way of making it stick. I hope this has been an interesting read for everyone, and one that everyone can take a little from. I welcome any feedback and other ideas in which to improve or add to our event.
So now we look forward not only to next year, but our next big event (our biggest of the year) Halloween!
NB: If you want to watch an interesting TED talk on engaging the senses, then watch Jinsop Lee’s video here (although not for kids): http://www.ted.com/talks/jinsop_lee_design_for_all_5_senses