Sunday, 18 December 2011

Objective Proficiency p 79.The Educators: Daisy Christodoulou. Extra Listening and Speaking

On BBC Radio 4. The Educators  Sarah Montague interviews the people whose ideas are challenging the future of education.

In this episode she interviews Daisy Christodoulou

It's a relatively new dilemma  /dɪˈlemə/ /daɪˈlemə/ for teachers. If the answer to almost anything is available with a search, should children be taught to remember facts, or how to find and use them?
Teacher and writer Daisy Christodoulou tells Sarah Montague why she thinks a generation of school children are being let down by discovery learning, which places emphasis on students finding out for themselves.
It's the opposite of traditional 'chalk and talk'. But have classrooms already moved too far towards skills and group work, in the interest of pleasing inspectors?
Based on her own time in classrooms, Daisy Christodoulou believes young people have vast gaps in their knowledge and understanding, and that traditional fact-based lessons would serve them better.


Vocabulary:  

mobile technology

mobile device: any small computing device that will fit into your pocket, such as a smartphone.

m-learning (mobile learning) a system of learning that uses mobile devices such as mobile/cell phones, small computers that can be carried, etc. so that people can learn anywhere at any time. 

glaring: (of something bad) very easily seen. Blatant. E.g. a glaring error/omission/inconsistency/injustice. The most glaring example of this problem. Glaring gaps. Both children and adults have glaring gaps in their knowledge. Children are left with glaring gaps in their knowledge.

myth: something that many people believe but that does not exist or is false. Fallacy. E.g. It is time to dispel the myth of a classless society (= to show that it does not exist). Contrary to popular myth, women are not worse drivers than men. She thinks that "teaching through discovery" is a myth.

outcry (at/over/against something) a reaction of anger or strong protest shown by people in public. E.g. an outcry over the proposed change. The new tax provoked a public outcry. There was outcry at the judge's statement. The publication of her book prompted an outcry from teachers. The bombing caused an international outcry.

prominent: important, well known. E.g. These ideas are very prominent across the education system.

dominant: more important, powerful or noticeable than other things. E.g. The firm has achieved a dominant position in the world market. The dominant feature of the room was the large fireplace. These ideas are dominant in education.

lack something: to have none or not enough of something. E.g. Some houses still lack basic amenities such as bathrooms. He lacks confidence. She has the determination that her brother lacks. They were lacking the basic knowledge that they needed to write an essay.

grasp: a person’s understanding of a subject or of difficult facts. E.g. He has a good grasp of German grammar. These complex formulae are beyond the grasp of the average pupil. As the drugs took hold, her grasp of reality began to slip slowly away. Students today have a shaky grasp of the fundamentals, a shaky grasp of the building blocks of knowledge, a shaky grasp of grammatical concepts and a shaky grasp of sentence structure. 

building blocks [plural] parts that are joined together in order to make a large thing exist. E.g. Single words are the building blocks of language.

frown on somebody 
frown on something
frown upon somebody 
frown upon something
to disapprove of somebody/something. E.g. In her family, any expression of feeling was frowned upon. It is frowned upon if you spend too much time teaching grammar.

explicitly /ɪkˈsplɪsɪtli/ clearly or directly, so that the meaning is easy to understand. E.g. The report states explicitly that the system was to blame. The text does not explicitly mention him by name. How to teach grammar, implicitly or explicitly?

implicitly: in a way that is suggested without being directly expressed. E.g. It reinforces, implicitly or explicitly, the idea that money is all-important.

"drilling kills" repetition. E.g. drilling kills students' interest and motivation. 

higher order thinking skills (HOTS): the idea is that some types of learning require more cognitive processing than others (i.e., analysis, evaluation, synthesis, critical thinking and problem solving). Students are encouraged to discuss things in class, to have group discussions. Such skills are more likely to be usable in novel situations (i.e., situations other than those in which the skill was learned).

lower order thinking skills: Lower order thinking is the foundation of skills required to move into higher order thinking.  These are skills that are taught very well in school systems and includes activities like reading and writing.  In lower order thinking information does not need to be applied to any real life examples, it only needs to be recalled and slightly understood.  If a person only obtains lower order thinking skills they will not be prepared for real life situations such as the labour market. Examples of Lower Order Thinking: Acquisition of knowledge (learning of facts and concepts) and comprehension of material.





"A guide on the side instead of a sage (a very wise person) on the stage."

facilitate something: to make an action or a process possible or easier. E.g. The new trade agreement should facilitate more rapid economic growth. Structured teaching facilitates learning. The teacher facilitates learning.

facilitator: a person who helps somebody do something more easily by discussing problems, giving advice, etc. rather than telling them what to do. E.g. The teacher acts as a facilitator of learning. 

golden age (of something) a period during which something is very successful, especially in the past the golden age of cinema

bedrock: a strong base for something, especially the facts or the principles on which it is based. E.g. The poor suburbs traditionally formed the bedrock of the party's support. Honesty is the bedrock of any healthy relationship. A bedrock of facts is fundamental for learning.
 
facts based learning vs skills based learning 

bypass something: to ignore a rule, an official system or somebody in authority, especially in order to get something done quickly. E.g. They let us bypass the usual admissions procedure. Some teachers bypass the facts.

ditch something/somebody (informal) to get rid of something/somebody because you no longer want or need it/them. E.g. The new road building programme has been ditched. He ditched his girlfriend. 

pitfall: a danger or difficulty, especially one that is hidden or not obvious at first. E.g. the potential pitfalls of buying a house

Wholesale: (adj) (especially of something bad) happening or done to a very large number of people or things. E.g. the wholesale slaughter of innocent people. We need a wholesale change to the way we teach.

Speaking
1. Are you in a quandary about what the best teaching methods are?
2. If the answer to almost anything is available with a Google search, should children be taught to remember facts, or how to find and use them?
3. Do you think that a generation of school children are being let down by "discovery learning", which places emphasis on students finding out for themselves?
4. Have classrooms already moved too far towards skills and group work? Do you think the traditional 'chalk and talk' should not be overlooked? How do you strike a balance between teacher-centred and child-centred activities?

quandary: /ˈkwɒndəri/ the state of not being able to decide what to do in a difficult situation. Dilemma. E.g. Mary was in a quandary about what college to go to. 

chalk and talk (Education) sometimes derogatory a formal method of teaching, in which the focal points are the blackboard and the teacher's voice, as contrasted with more informal child-centred activities.

strike a balance (between A and B) to manage to find a way of being fair to two opposing things; to find an acceptable position which is between two things.
 

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