Mindfulness for You and Me — Let’s Talk about Language Learning

If this PhD thing actually happens, then I think I found the topic of my dissertation. Because of my background and education and educational technology, I already knew I was fascinated by language learning and using technology to support learning in general. But I recently discovered that there is research looking into mindfulness as a way to support the emotional side of learning a language.

I am so intimately connected to the anxiety that accompanies learning a new language because I live with anxiety on a daily basis. This extends, and increases exponentially, to language learning as I’m often in a state of panic when I’m surrounded by speakers of other languages and then I’m expected to perform. It’s already challenging to learn a language for most of us, but adding a layer of underlying anxiety and it can be a painful experience.

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Just Do It by Mark Garton

Mark is pretty much saving my life right now or, at least, helping me to follow-through on my commitment to post content every other week. So a big thanks goes out to him for another post! For the next week a book review, I swear. Apparently, it takes me much longer to get through a book than it used to because, well, the Internet.

This current post of his looks again at language learning and technology, or the lack there of . . . with the intention of adding it in but not just yet . . . but soon. How? He wonders aloud for us. See his other posts here.

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Lessons Learned, Lessons Taught Part 2

Guest author: Mark Garton

And so eventually I grew up and got a job. And then, well, another one. The point is, I’ve been teaching ESL ever since, and I’ve come to a few conclusions that I’d like to share with you now:

Through all my experience and studies, I’ve found that there are about three basic ideas to keep in mind when you’re either practicing a language yourself or teaching it to others:

  1. Conversation is good.
  2. Reading is good.
  3. Motivation helps too.

Those aren’t too hard to remember. So now my question is: How can I help my students in these three areas?

Continue reading “Lessons Learned, Lessons Taught Part 2”

Lessons Learned, Lessons Taught Part 1

Good news! I finally will no longer sound schizophrenic by calling myself “we.” Starting today there will be a real live other person involved – at least temporarily. My good friend Mark has kindly offered to write a guest post. Besides generally being a good guy, he has taught ESL for many years, was the director the Intensive English Language Institute at Divine Word College, and for you erudite academics out there, holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics.

Soon I will get back to making the singular role of blogging sound like a 24-hour party by calling myself “we” again. In the meantime, enjoy his take on language learning part 1 of 2.

 

 Lessons Learned, Lessons Taught

by Mark Garton

So why do I teach the way I do? It’s going to take some time to explain.

First a little background: My adventures in language learning and, eventually, teaching, all started for me when I was in third grade at West Elementary in Knoxville, Iowa. My teacher had just married a Mexican, and she came in one day with little Berlitz phrasebooks for her students. We learned a few numbers and other simple words, and I remember taking the book home, riding my bike up a hill overlooking the highway, sitting under a tree and reading it.

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I must have been a bit of an unusual child. My teacher’s husband came to school one day, and we got to practice what we’d learned. I suppose this was my first exposure to language learning. If you’re from rural Iowa, you don’t get much of that.

Continue reading “Lessons Learned, Lessons Taught Part 1”

First Post! For Reals!!!

Welcome to blog post number 1! Lord I never thought this day would come. But here it is! If you haven’t checked out my info page then here’s a synopsis. I will reimagine a research article about Education or Educational Technology and present it to you. It may come in the form of fiction, a video or any other medium that inspires me. There you go. You’re all caught up.

The following is a fictional interpretation of the research study done by Pasfield-Neofitou, Huang, and Grant (2015) called,Lost in second life: virtual embodiment and language learning via multimodal communication.”

 

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The Princess and the . . . Dragon Slaying Warrior Girl

“Actually, I don’t want to be the princess. I’d rather be the prince or the dragon . . . oh wait, even better, I’d rather be a fighter princess that saves the other princess.”

After having won the coveted role of princess without a fight, Genevieve nodded her head vigorously.

Aalimah continued,Anyway, my mom says princesses have, ‘Dubinous intellectual capabilities and that ‘We need strong Muslim women role models instead.’”

Clearly seeing the value of agreeing with this train of thought, Genevieve added more enthusiasm to her head nodding.

Aalimah’s family supports her active imagination. Her father even plays her games with her and often agrees to be the princess because, “Someone has to be rescued.” She likes these games better than any others. She likes to play different characters “as long as they’re not mushy.”

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