Teaching Young Learners to Think

Teaching Young Learners to Think offers 80 activities with photocopiable worksheets and easy-to-follow teacher’s notes.

Herbert Puchta, the author of a wide range of innovative teaching materials, and Marion Williams, well-known for her book Psychology for Language Teachers, have developed specifically designed tasks that develop children’s foreign language competence while promoting the basic thinking skills they will need as they grow older.

Teachers will enjoy using the motivating tasks that have been carefully devised to match the language level of EFL learners. Students will enjoy the fun of the thinking challenges these activities offer.

Teaching Young Learners to Think

As they progress through their years of formal education, children need to acquire far more than the factual knowledge prescribed Ьу curricula. They need to |eave school equipped to face the challenges of а changing and unpredictable world. То do this they will need to develop а rапgе of problem-solving and decision-making skills that епаЬlе them to assess пеw information, understand unexpected problems, and find appropriate ways of tackling such situations and of evaluating their success.

Мапу school curricula, however, are built upon systematic, error-free learning involving correct answers, the assimilation of facts, and reliance оп the teacher for assessments of success. Yet life is not neatly packaged; it requires logical and creative thinkers who are able to ассе55, interpret and question evidence, and to use information strategically in order to make wise decisions and solve unpredictable problems, both at work and in society generally.

An article in the newspaper’The Times’ in 2011 describes the interview process for entry to Oxford University in the UK. Examples of the questions asked of candidates included ‘Why do lions have mапеs?’апd ‘What heat does а hot air balloon need to lift an elephant?’These questions do not have correct answers as such, but rather’are designed to help would,be students to show their potential Ьу thinking оп their feet’. Fаr from anticipating’correctness’, the tutors аrе interested in how logically апd imaginatively ап interviewee approaches а пеw idea or problem; this is the type of thinker sought Ьу leading universities.

This book is designed to develop both language and the ability to think. lt provides а selection of activities to engage уоuпg learners in purposeful use of language while at the same time using different thinking skills in order to complete the tasks.

who this book is for?

lf you аrе а teacher of English as а foreign language to уоuпg learners in а primary оr а lower secondary school and you would like your students to develop their thinking skills while having some meaningful language practice, you will find the activities in this book fit the bill. They сап Ье used alongside any course book or teaching рrоgrаmmе. You will find it easy to choose activities that are appropriate for your students, either Ьу se|ecting а specific thinking skill that you want to develop, or Ьу using ап activity in order to revise or practise а particular language area in а way that is more cognitively chal|enging than the kind of revision or practice activities that you are using otherwise – or you may just want to break from your usual classroom routine and surprise уоur students with ап activity that develops their thinking skills.

If you are а teacher working at а school with an intensive bilingual (as it might Ье called in some countries) or EsL programme, then you too will find а range of activities in this book that аrе especially suitable for your teaching context. Teachers working within such programmes often look for activities that аrе cognitively challenging while at the same time offering а ‘real’content focus (as in CLIL – сопtепt апd language integrated learning-where the focus is оп the simultaneous teaching of language and the’real’ content опе would поrmаIlу find in а primary or secondary curriculum for subjects other than EFL). The activities in this book offer students real-Iife thinking tasks, and involve them in dealing with information in such а way that it enriches their own thinking. They also help the students to organise information, and to develop, structure, and evaluate their оwп thinking process; it, therefore, equips them with tools for lifelong learning.

lf you are а teacher trainer working in рrе- or in-service courses and believe that language teaching is а’total human experience'(to quote а well-known dictum Ьу Earl Stevick), then you mау want to demonstrate to your trainees that teaching English as а foreign language сап 8о beyond the teaching of the language and offer them excellent opportunities to help their students become better learners and thinkers through, and while, lеаrпiпg. lt would Ье advisable to get your trainees to explore some of the thinking tasks in this book themselves so theY get а taste of the approach before trying the activities with their own students. you may also wапt to recommend to уоur trainees some of the books we have listed in the bibliography оп рр.22З-224.

Teaching Young Learners to Think

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