22nd June – The perfect student?

What makes a perfect student? I’m sure you can recall people in your courses who were a real pleasure to have. They did their homework, asked engaging questions, helped their classmates, made notable progress, and continued to sign up for the next course. Likewise, you’ve probably had poor students who showed none of these traits. There are also the mystery cases, when someone stops attending the course at some point for some reason, and we never find out why.

Read this short article for some insights. How do the factors listed fit with your experience? Can you use the strategies in order to foster more “perfect students”?

Come to our next get-together on 22nd June at The Fitting Room at Welle 7 in Bern and share! Hope to see you there.

Games and learning

What do video games have that language learning doesn’t? Why will some people (me included) repeat the same level over and over, trying to master the tiniest details of a game; but they lose concentration and give up after only a short time while trying to learn a language (again, me included)?

What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy by James Paul Gee takes a critical look at games from the perspective of a linguistics professor turned gamer. He started “helping” his 11 year-old grandson play a game one day and when his grandson eventually revoked his coaching privileges, he decided to play the game, and other games for himself. The first thing he realized is that games are long, difficult and they require the player to learn to do things in a new way. Next, he realized that he found this difficult struggle to learn something new to be “life-affirming”. He likened it to the time when he changed directions in graduate school and was pulled out of his routinized ways of working. He also points out that gamers want harder and longer games, something that can’t be said for school curriculum.

He identifies 37 principles which are part of effective learning environments, whether they are video games or classrooms (there’s a summary in the first link above). You can also read a few pages of the first chapters, where he discusses his first experiences with games and game learning, on Amazon.