PEDAGOGICAL PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING YOUNG LEARNERS
Topic 2 introduces you to the factors that influence learning of Literature among
young learners. It provides insights into the factors that motivate and demotivate
2.1 LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this session, you will be able to:
● clarify the concepts of Pedagogical Principals
● design different teaching activities based on the pedagogical principles of
● identify factors that influence learning of young learners
● identify factors that motivate/demotivate young learners
2.2 FRAMEWORK OF TOPICS
Clarifying the conceptS of Pedagogical Principles of the Young Learners
Pedagogical principles are the fundamental points of orientation for professionals in educational contexts. They are maxims for action, which, in a defined scope, claim permanent validity for every concrete situation, be it in pedagogical practice or in educational science as one type of societal practice (Handbook on Educational Science, (2004, p.122). They are more general than didactical principles which are oriented towards an action and exclusively refer to teaching / learning. Didactic principles seem to provide a feasible number of orientation points for the very complex field in which practising teachers work.
According to Castillow (2004) an important characteristic of pedagogical principles is that they are pure, pristine, and packed with pedagogical power. With their generic nature, they can be applied to a wide variety of circumstances. For example, learning is facilitated when the instruction demonstrates what is to be learned rather than merely telling what is to be learned. Pedagogical principles are also very pragmatic, in that they synthesize a rich set of practical, instructional experiences and can be used to deal with new practical problems.
Grimmitt (2000) takes the concept of pedagogical principles to a very abstract level, defining them as substantive hypotheses or statements about teaching and learning. Pedagogical principles facilitate the process of devising pedagogical strategies which, in turn, determine how pupils will experience, engage with and respond to content. Ideally, pedagogical principles should first be expressed in generic terms and then in terms specific to the actual learning environment. Thus, pedagogical ‘strategies’ are the more concrete actions designed to implement pedagogical principles and thereby fulfil or contribute to stated aims. Pedagogical principles are more important than the pedagogical strategies, because the principles are transferable and invite teachers to invent their own pedagogical strategies for implementing them.
Pedagogical Principles and Objectives
The meaning, scope and applicability of pedagogical principles have always been a serious topic in curriculum theory and in the philosophy of education. Therefore it comes as no surprise that the differentiation between ‘educational principle’ and educational goal or aim or objective is not always clear. Landwehr, as early as 1980, identifies pedagogical principles as the highest general educational aims, because general aims take the form of practical principles. Sosniak (1994, repr.2005, p. 1803) states that there is a ‘commingling’ of principles and objectives. He notes that statements of principles, as an alternative to lists of objectives, appear to be growing in popularity in educational programmes. Because the terms principle and objective are sometimes used interchangeably, it seems correct to refer to some educational objectives in order to further clarify the concept of a pedagogical principle. For
Sosniak, objectives can be understood in two ways. The first is as pre-defined sets, with much time devoted to the pre-defining. In a ‘naturalistic’ approach to educational planning, on the other hand, they can be regarded as a platform from which one moves forward. The most common use for carefully stated objectives is to satisfy administrative or bureaucratic concerns, while their form can change from long lists to a few consistent principles focusing on the most important goals. Statements of principles can serve educators as a reminder of the values embedded in decisions about objectives (aims) and activities. A pedagogical principle has a pragmatic dimension (praxis), and a normative dimension (to do it right, to do it in such a way that ensures quality).
In philosophy of education, pedagogical principles are discussed as value principles which describe norms and ideals (values) for the learners. They are ‘indispensable’ to educational inquiry. Since the suggestions made by educational philosophers can carry influence for generations, it is vital to rationally justify or critique of educational aims. There are five types of justification: logical, legal, empirical, discursive, and ethical.
Pedagogical Principles within the Process of Ongoing Change
A pedagogical principle is influenced greatly by national, cultural and contextual circumstances (Sosniak 2005). Kubanek-German (2003) observes that pedagogical principles are changing within a complex process of enduring educational innovation, itself due to societal change. Change occurs through a democratic dialogue or is enforced. The rationales for pedagogical principles change over time. During periods of innovation, pedagogical principles are refined and adapted based on experience. This occurs through the perception of day-to-day viability and the influence of the market, competition between authorities, research, parents and new societal developments such as ICT.
A pedagogical principle is expressed at different levels, from the very abstract down to the micro context of individual teacher beliefs that form the basis for his/her planned and spontaneous classroom action. Classic writers such as Humboldt, Dewey and Montessori formulated epoch-transcending Western pedagogical principles, some of which mirror a political consensus. For example, a political consensus looks to preserve Europe’s cultural richness, as expressed in The European Charter of Regional and Minority Languages. Language education at the primary level, is developed from the top down in a dialogue with experts and educationalists.
Aligning Pedagogical Principles with Learners
Pedagogical principles should be aligned with the personality of a learner and cognition. From there, one derives and expands didactical concepts, giving teachers a manageable number of points of orientation. The next step involves making methodological changes and consulting psycholinguistic insights to bring the principles closer to the process of instruction and language learning on a day-to-day basis.
Pedagogical Principles and Teachers
During initial teacher training, students become acquainted with principles both in their general courses in education and in seminars on the methodology of foreign language teaching. They discuss implications and learn to plan lessons that apply the principles that underlie language teaching in their country. They also observe model teachers and can come to understand what putting a principle into practice means. Depending on how they are trained, ‘principles’ may be discussed explicitly or in the context of their transformation into aims, methods and psycholinguistic insight. For example a seminar session could deal with motivation and the principle ‘Language learning should motivate children as well as maintain their motivation’. Motivation would be explained from a psychological perspective, recent research might be presented and students would be asked to develop concrete lesson plans for safeguarding young learners’ motivation. It should be noted that teachers are not necessarily fully aware that they apply principles, as the principle has already become a teacher belief, perhaps of a
deeply internalised, implicit nature.
Pedagogical Principals and Cognitive Development
Cognitive development has a great influence on Pedagogical Principals and it is the construction of thought proceses, including remembering problem-solving and decision making from childhood through adolescence to adulthood. Cognitive development refers to how a person perceives, thinks and gains understanding of his or her world through the interaction of genetic and learned factors. Among the areas of cognitive development are information processing, intelligence, reasoning, language development and memory These are factors related to helping childre anticipate, intergrate perceptions, and develop concepts. These factors have been the subject of both research and conjure. Jean Piaget and B. Inhelder (1969) maintained that the order in which children’s thinking matures is the same for all children, although the pace varies from child to child.
Factors of Cognitive Development
The following are factors of cognitive development which are essential for learning
a) Stimulation – is necessary for cognitive development. Children who grew up without
variety of experiences may be three to five years behind othr children in
developing the mental strategies that aid recall.
b) Perception – the detection, organization and interpretation of information both the
outside world and the internal environment.
c) Memory - the storage and retrieval of the perceived information.
d) Reasoning - the use of knowledge to make inferences and draw conclusions
e) Reflection – the evaluation of the quality of ideas and solutions.
f) Insight – the recognition of new relationships between two or more segments of
g) Physical knowledge –an important factor which influences learning of young learners. It is gained through observing properties of objects within the child’s experience. Th child learns about the physical environment through observation and experimentation.
h) Logicomathematical ability – includes the ability to group or classify or group objects on some common criterion; to arrange objects according to size or quatity and then compare likenesses and differences among objects in the same category and order them according to relative differences; to understand spatial relations interms of direction, distance, and perspective; to understand temporal reltions that allow perception of time sequences and to conceptualize properties of objects.
2.2.1 FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE LEARNING OF YOUNG LEARNERS
The role of the teacher
The teacher is called upon to perform several functions in foreign language learning. These are the following:
- Teacher as director and manager
- Teacher as counselor and a language resource
- Teacher as a model
Teacher as director and manager
One of the main concerns of the teacher as a director and manager is to create a warm, stimulating atmosphere in which the students will feel secure and confident. It is very important for learners to feel very much at home with both their teachers and fellow-learners, if they are to be expected to venture out into the deep waters of foreign language learning, to experiment with new and strange sounds, and to role-play in a language which they have barely begun to learn. Apart from assisting in creating the right atmosphere, the teacher should also make decisions on the materials to be used, as well as the activities and games which will best accord with the learners' needs and abilities. In as much as learners do not necessarily share the same cognitive and linguistic abilities, or interests and motivation, it is incumbent on the teacher to choose a wide variety of materials and teaching techniques and strategies in order to respond to the students' interests and capacities. To this end, the teacher is supposed to organize the class, deciding whether a specific role-play or game will be simulated in pairs or in groups. Bearing all this in mind, the teacher may help develop a learner-centred approach to foreign language learning, as he / she takes into account the learners' preferences, tailoring the materials and strategies to their needs.
Teacher as counselor and a language resource
The second function that the foreign language teacher is expected to fulfill is that of counselor and a language resource. In other words, the onus is on her to provide the learners with the necessary input in order to foster understanding of the relation between language and communication. In short, she must modify and simplify her language according to the needs arising in each communicative situation, and to the grammatical competence and language proficiency of the students. In addition to simplifying teacher talk, she should resort to miming and facial expressions, as shown in a previous chapter. Learning and teaching is multi-sensory and everything in the classroom and method must imply that learning is relaxing, fun and possible to be attained. Moreover, the teacher as a language resource should help learners to acquaint themselves with, and acquire a taste for, the target language and culture. He should make explicit that language is not to be held in a vacuum but should always be learnt in connection to its users and the uses to which it is put. In light of this, grammar should not be the sole reference point in foreign language learning; the teacher has to draw his students' attention to the sociocultural and pragmatic aspects of the foreign language, in order to help them assess the accuracy and appropriacy of the language they produce, both at the sentence level and the discourse level. As J. C. Richards (1994: 157) notes, "a focus on grammar in itself is not a valid approach to the development of language proficiency."
The teacher as a counselor and a language resource should see it as her goal to provide enough remedial work, in order to eradicate students' errors, and encourage learners to develop their own learning strategies and techniques, so as to discover the answers to their own questions.
Teacher as a model
In order to become a successful communicator and model for learners, the teacher should promote a wide range of behaviours and psychological and social relationships such as solidarity and politeness. Often learners have difficulties in adopting these behaviours because of the psychological and social distance that there exists between learners and materials. As a result, learners have a tendency to adopt the teacher's language behaviours to indicate attitude and role relationships, rather than those presented in materials. This is understandable, of course, since the teacher is a live model, a real human being to whom they can more easily relate. In short, the teacher should help learners to negotiate meaning in the target language through his own active participation in it, and act as a mediator between the linguistic and extra-linguistic context of foreign language learning, as these are reflected in the textbooks and re-alia (e.g., audio-visual aids, etc.) or literature, respectively.
Beyond the shadow of a doubt, teachers play an essential role in the foreign language classroom. Not only are they directors and managers of the classroom environment but they also function as counselors and language resources facilitating the teaching-learning process. In addition, teachers can become models and independent language users in order to overcome "the inherent shortcomings of the foreign language classroom environment" (ibid., p. 104).
Preparing To Teach
Before you start designing worksheets and wordlists, make sure that you know where you're going. Think about your teaching objective, consider how much time you have to spend with the book, and then create a plan so that you have a systematic approach in mind as you design materials.
Allow Enough Time
Spending enough time with the book is very important. In order for young students to fully absorb an English language book, they must interact with it extensively. Dr. Seuss's The Foot Book contains 131 words, 47 of which are the word feet or foot, yet spending five or six hours on a simple book like this is appropriate with young, beginning learners. Even more advanced young learners need plenty of time. We're Going on a Bear Hunt, a book based on a popular children's summer camp song, is very short and simple by adult standards, but my second grade EFL students spent over ten hours and sixteen class periods studying it. They were never bored, and, in fact, their enthusiasm for the book seemed to increase in proportion to the time they spent studying it. This observation is supported by Sabrina Peck (2003, p. 141), who advises teachers of young learners that, "Many children do not tire of practicing a repetitive and rhythmic text several times a day, many days a week."
Use What You Find
Look for features of the book that you can highlight in the classroom. For example, The Foot Book uses opposites and counting. You can work these two concepts into your supplemental activities. We're Going on a Bear Hunt is a great springboard for teaching vocabulary about nature (forest, river, cave, mud, snowstorm) and prepositions (over, under, through). Inside a Barn in the Country provides an obvious focus on animal names and sounds.
Developing materials yourself, while challenging and time-consuming, can be very rewarding. Not only is it a good learning experience which may help give you insight into your teaching, it also allows you to target the types of activities that will be most valuable to your students, and to tailor them exactly to fit their needs. To go a step further, Brian Tomlinson (1999, Introduction section, para. 2), asserts that the most meaningful learning takes place when students are "involved intellectually, aesthetically, and emotionally" in their own education. When teachers choose to use student-created materials, instead of pre-fabricated, one-size fits all published ones, they can begin to accomplish goals like these.
Young students need hands-on activities. A teacher-created workbook can act as a basis for one of those types of activities.Keep things simple. The workbook need be nothing more than a collection of papers stapled together. On the first day of teaching a new book, allow students to illustrate the covers of their own workbooks. This can provide a personal connection to the story at the outset of their study. You can use the pages as a place for students to draw artistic responses to the story. For example, if they've learned "house/mouse/train/rain" in class, then the lesson wrap-up may include time for them to draw a picture featuring the vocabulary words and labeled in English.
Again, materials do not need to be professionally produced to be effective. Assign different key vocabulary words to different students and have them help make flashcards. You can collect and laminate the drawings and use them for various activities in follow up lessons. It is amazing to see the rapt attention students are willing to give materials they created themselves.
Many books are available with a companion cassette tape, which often includes versions of the story set to music or with sound effects. These tapes are well worth the investment and, if possible, students will benefit from purchasing their own copy as well so they can listen at home. The story set to music is more entertaining for your students.
Young learners in particular need a very active classroom and variety throughout the lesson. Ten minutes is probably the maximum length of time you can expect students of this age to focus their attention before you need to change gears. One guideline that works well with young learners is to assure that, in any given lesson, there is always a little enthusiastic singing, a little quiet listening, a little enthusiastic dancing, and a little quiet artwork.
The following approach is one that works very well:
- Sing. Students sing, recite, or read a passage from the story in teams.
- Listen. Students listen to the story from beginning to end.
- Dance. Students get out of their chairs for some physical activity. Often, this can be acting out the actions from the story, but there are unlimited possibilities.
- Draw. Students sit back down and illustrate new vocabulary.
While considering how you will allocate class time, don't underestimate the students' enthusiasm for listening to a story again and again. In fact, according to Anne Burns (2003, p. 22), a surprising result from her study of second-language learner attitudes toward literacy learning included the insight that "students were almost unanimous in their desire for teachers to read aloud to them." She credited the value of hearing fluent reading in English, listening to the written words, hearing correct stress and intonation patterns, as well as providing a model for imitation as possible reasons.
Types of Activities
- Listen to the story on tape/as read by the teacher without looking at the text.
- Listen to the story and read along.
- Listen to the story and put illustrations depicting parts of the story in order.
- Read the book silently.
- Read the book to a partner, then switch.
- Write your favorite words/new words/words starting with A from the story in your notebook.
- Write a portion of the story in the workbook.
- Answer (or practice asking) simple who, what, when, where, and why questions about the story.
- Divide students into teams. One member of the team draws a picture on the board while team members try to guess what it is within a limited time period.
- Speed reading game. Call out a word from the text, then let students race to find it. The first one to find it reads the sentence aloud. A word of caution: this game is rather hard on books.
- Have students display the flashcards they made, let them be the teacher and ask the class, "What is this?"
- Make up a dance or do actions to the words of the story. A good example of this kind of story is The Foot Book. The text repeats, "Left Foot/Left Foot/Right Foot/Right." Students can get out of their chairs and jump from left to right as suggested by the text.
- Do the opposite of dancing. Have students "freeze" a moment of the text by acting out exactly what is described in the text at some specific moment, and holding perfectly still. You could photograph these moments if you have a digital camera.
- Do a verbal fill-in-the-blank exercise. As you read, stop at random and have students shout out what word comes next.
- Allow them to recite what they've memorized in teams.
Location: ‘urban’, ‘rural’
Generally, urban pupils have greater exposure to English. They have more opportunities to hear it being used and to use it themselves, for example, in shopping centres, offices, etc. They are likely to have a more positive attitude towards English. Some may come from home where English is spoken at all times or most of the time. Rural pupils, on the other hand, usually have limited exposure to English. The television and radio may be the only source of English.
Learning ability: ‘slow’, ‘average’ and ’fast’/ ‘high-flyers’
There are adjectives used to describe the intelligence and levels of emotional, development and academic competence. Slow learners are those with lower intelligence scores; they need more time to grasp a concept or to complete a task but they are not retarded. They need individual attention and assistance in order to perform satisfactory. Average pupils form the majority in schools. They have no extraordinary talents or skills. There are great individual differences in their needs, interests and experiences. They are the regular mainstream pupils. Fast learners or high-flyers are intelligent and capable. They obtain high scores in aptitude and intelligence. They are usually very motivated and creative. Generally, classroom activities are designed for the average, as they make up the majority of the class.
Awareness of pupils’ background enables teachers to prepare lessons that contain content that will broaden pupils’ intellectual, creative and experiential horizons and are within their intellectual ability. At the same time, teachers need to cater to the needs of the slow and fast learners.
Affective factors also play an important role as they may facilitate or preclude learning. It is a commonplace that an atmosphere that fosters and promotes confidence and emotional stability will produce better students. Harmony in the classroom helps relieve tension and keeps the door to language processing open. A teacher's task is like "that of an orchestra conductor, who tends to fly into higher spheres, and has a tendency to fly and pull himself and the others above everyday's problems towards a more creative reality" (Papaconstantinou, 1991: 65). In this "reality" the learner may easily identify with the teacher and venture out into new aspects of the target language, dealing with it in her own, individual way. Unless she feels at ease with her teacher and her fellow-students, she will not learn. If she feels rejected and is afraid of being told off or scoffed at whenever she makes a mistake, she will withdraw from the educational process and lag behind, both cognitively and emotionally. "Consequently, the content of materials for classroom use as well as classroom practices should be compatible with the affective variables influencing learners" (Papaefthymiou-Lytra, 1993: 90).
Learners' needs and interests
Indubitably, a successful course should consider learner needs. For this reason, the concept of needs analysis has assumed an important role in language learning. Needs analysis has to do with the aims of a course, as these are determined by the uses to which the target language will be put on completion of the program. For example, is our aim to achieve a high level of language proficiency or are we called upon to respond to the needs of, say, adult learners who need to master specific skills, such as academic writing or note-taking? All these parameters will have to inform the methods and techniques we use in class, as well as the materials design we are supposed to implement in order to achieve the best results. With regard to learner's interests, it is worth noting that we, as teachers, should be cognizant of the differences between children and adolescents. For instance, the former are interested in body movement and play, whereas the latter want to learn about human relationships in general and achieve a deeper understanding of their abilities, with the aim of developing a sound personality and character.
Such issues as infrastructure and limited school budgets have not received much attention in ELT articles and books, yet contribute significantly to the outcome of the educational process. One could say that they constitute the extra-linguistic context of the teaching-learning situation. A situation where the school has no lighting or heating, and classrooms are packed with a great number of students, with whom the teacher seems unable to familiarize himself, is not a promising one. Furthermore, limited or no access to school libraries and educational seminars or programs makes inroads into students' and teachers' progress. All these potential shortcomings, coupled with the teacher's "authority," may severely inhibit the learning process. Equally detrimental - albeit in more subtle ways - may prove seating arrangements in class. For example, in a classroom where desks are arranged in such a way that students look towards the teacher rather than their classmates, learners and teachers alike are unable to interact through role-play and other activities or through paralinguistic features such as eye-contact and non-verbal communication, in general. Conversely, in a situation where desks are arranged in a circle or in groups or pairs, learners are provided with the opportunity to develop warm and constructive interpersonal relationships.
2.2.2 Factors that motivate young learners
Among children's books, there are many advantages in using picture books for language learning. Firstly, the advantage of using picture books is that the pictures offer the students a way to understand what the teacher is reading, even if they do not know the word in the story context (Nantz, 2002). Furthermore, picture books contain rich language because they are usually well designed so as to be read aloud to children long before they are read individually by children (Cullinan & Galda, 1994). Thus, linguistically, picture books can help students master the vocabulary and grammar as well as the four language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking (Stern, 1991). In addition, picture books can not only provide authentic materials but also support curriculum and understand the other cultures (Allen, 1989; 1994). Lastly, pictures can elicit students' interest, excitement and discussion. Therefore, picture books should be effective for teaching EFL young learners.
Folktales: Repetitive Sentence Patterns, Rhythmic Refrains, and Predictable
Folktales always play very important roles in the processes of language learning because folktales usually contain repetitive language patterns, phrases, or questions, refrains, strong rhythm and rhyme, sequences of numbers or days of the week (Cooper & Collins, 1992; Cullinan & Galda, 1994; Hill, 1999; Kowalski, 2002; Mallan, 1992; Nodelman, 1996). For example, repetitive patterns can be the schema for students' comprehension of the children's stories and predicting the action in the plot and the ending (Allen, 1989; Nodelman, 1996). In addition, folktales make it easy for students to remember the vocabulary and grammatical structures contained in them (Kowalski, 2002). Additionally, with repeated refrains, it's natural for learners to join in enchanting rhyming and that can help them be familiar with sound patterns and thus increase their listening ability. Among folktales, The Gingerbread Man is a good, cumulative story, because the important feature of cumulative stories is that elements (things, people or experiences) are added as the story progresses, through stories, with a degree of familiarity students naturally have certain expectations of story structure, language and patterns (Mallan, 1992). For example, the cumulative story with a repetitive pattern is like The Gingerbread Man:
I've run away from a little old woman, a little old man, and a cow...
I've run away from a little old woman, a little old man, a cow, and a horse.
I've run away from a little old woman, a little old man, a cow, and a horse.
The recurring phrases or events can aid their understanding and memory (Mallan, 1992). Because of their particular story patterns, cumulative stories can also offer children the chances to engage in language play by chanting or singing the repeated story events as follows:
Run, run, as fast as you can
You can’t catch me
I'm the Gingerbread Man.
Through hearing stories, students can learn to appreciate the beauty and rhythm of language (Cooper & Collins, 1992). Teachers are usually amazed at how quickly children "chime in" when a story has a refrain (Cooper & Collins, 1992) such as Three Little Pigs:
Little Pig, Little Pig, let me come in! Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!
Another story, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, has rhythmic refrain as follows:
Trip, trap," went Little Billy Goat Gruff's hooves on the bridge.
Trip, trap," went Little Billy Goat Gruff's hooves on the bridge.
These rhythmic refrains above, obviously, are easily memorized when students chant or sing together. Based on review, when children listen to stories, verse, prose of all kinds, they could unconsciously be familiar with the repeated rhythms and structure, the cadences and conventions of the various forms of written language (Chalmers, 1973). This phonemic awareness is a formalized extension of the language awareness that has been developed at the first level through listening to repetitive language patterns or rhythmic refrains from stories, poetry, rhyme, and songs (Nantz, 2002) Folktales are a good tool for young learners' language learning. Folktales such s Three Little Pigs. is a picture book from the Reading House series, published by Caves Books Ltd in Taiwan. The series of classical tales introduce basic structures, sentence patterns, and common vocabulary regularly recycled for easy acquisition.
Multiple Teaching Techniques
Multiple teaching techniques include presenting the picture book, using flash cards, showing sentence stripes, playing puppets for story drama, playing the chosen story CD, reading aloud, role play, choral speaking/chanting, and singing songs with action.
Selection of materials which encourage personal response
Selection of materials which are in line with the major interests of the young learners will motivate young learners. A reasonable amount of time spent on a regular basis with a class usually allows a teacher to assess the students’ interests. Alternatively students could be given a list of certain literary texts with a brief summary of their content and asked to select the ones that they would like to study. Students should be allowed to choose topics that they find interesting and select literary texts connected with these themes or topics. Provide opportunities within the classroom for personalisation, by letting students work individually on those texts which interest them the most.
2.2.3 Factors that demotivate young learners
There has always been a tendency, on the part of the teacher, to claim superiority over his or her students and, consequently, to lose sight of his or her role in class. The teacher who evinces these characteristics keeps on blaming the students for their aberrant behaviour and "unsatisfactory" performance; he hardly ever bothers to make a probe of the students' cognitive, emotional and psychological background. He is an arrogant automaton who asserts his authority over his socially unauthorized, impotent and inferior students in a most undemocratic, uncivilized way; an "educated" person who supposedly strives to inculcate values and ideals but who is "conspicuous by her absence" when it comes to fostering feeling and creative thinking.
This arrogant, unapproachable figure, with his high-falutin ideas and pompous language, is as often as not a formidable barrier to language learning. Not only his personality and his intellectual and linguistic abilities but also such paralinguistic features as facial expressions and bodily position in the classroom may exert an immensely negative influence on the student's cognition and affect. Experiments have proved that four bodily positions of the teacher, i.e. left /right, front / back, elevated / non-elevated, and standing / seated, have each been associated with a certain degree of social dominance. For example, a teacher who, most of the time in class, is standing, elevated and occupies the foreground on the right side, is perceived to be dominant.
The data indicated that 75% of the time the elevated person was perceived as dominant and only 29% of the time the non-elevated person was considered so. Similarly 61% of the time the standing person was perceived as dominant (Schwartz, Tesser and Powel, 1981).
We can imagine what a real strain on the pupils this must be. Consciously or unconsciously, the teacher's posture and facial expressions exude a certain air or mood which often builds up tension and aggravates interaction between teachers and students, and among students themselves. This discrepancy between "bad mood" and the educational objectives relating to cognitive development and emotional equilibrium is in itself pernicious and unprepossessing to cope with, mainly on the part of the student. How can the student feel secure and confident in a hostile, unpredictable environment, in which he / she is to be "seen but not heard"?
The traditional mode of education has stressed rote learning and a rather authoritarian role for the teacher. It may therefore not be part of the student’s culture to discuss their own opinions and feelings in an educationatal context.
Students in class may face social problems inhibiting them from expressing themselves.
For example, students maybe of different status or rank(e.g. a manager and one of the people working under her). Students may also be individually sensitive to particular issues raised in a text.
Feeling remote from the material
Students may have problems understanding the language of the text. There may not be anything in the text which has the core of a human situation which occurs cross-culturally. Our student’s comprehension is frequently impededby cultural features in a text
Political and historical factors
Literature does not seem to provide a way of contextualising how a member of a particular society might behave or react in a specific situation.
The first theme, teaching methods, actually refers to all kinds of classroom activities and to the teacher’s way of organizing things. What seemed to be causing
demotivation in pupils was the temporal aspects of teaching, meaning that the
progress teaching had been either too slow or too fast. The first alternative, too slow progress, was considered more frustrating than the other one. Sometimes the teacher spends too much time with one single topic this would make the lessons extremely boring. Similarly teaching too fast woud also be a demotivating factor as pupils would find it difficult to grasp the content clearly.
Groupwork: Annalyse and explore the significance of Pedagogical
principals and cognitive development in young learners,
Prepare a mind map of the factors that influence learning of literature
among young learners.
In groups discuss the factors which motivate literature learning in your
Explain how historical and political factors have contributed to the
demotivation of learning literature among students in your school.
Norton, D.E. (2006). Through the eyes of a child. An introduction to Children’s
Literature. (6th Ed.). New Jersey: Merrill Prentice Hall.
Russell, D.L. (2005). Literature For Children. A Short Introduction. (5th Ed.)
Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
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