Saturday, April 11, 2015

IATEFL Conference 2015 : Interview with Herbert Puchta

Last year I have had the luck of attending one of his plenary talks on "emotional engagement of adults". This year I have the luck of working with one of his books' series with my classes.
It would be a shame if I could not watch his interview.

Herbert Puchta is giving two talks on this year's conference.
The first one is about teaching values to young learners, especially to teenagers.
Some teachers (like myself) do believe that they are not only foreign language teachers, but they also have to help their teenage students grow up responsibly in this difficult world.
Of course there might be cultural differences from country to country, but there are also some universal values that everybody agrees on, for example environmental issues, peace, empathy, things that could make people live better.
Teachers have to be careful though and not use the model of the "rules" (you shouldn't, you mustn't, you have to) because this would not work with teenagers.
The teacher has to be a model of values himself / herself and show patience, respect, tolerance, etc.
Also the content of the lessons is important, as in all cultures, values are passed through stories from one generation to the other.

The second talk of Herbert Puchta is about "emotional engagement of adult learners" and has to do with brain emotions and language learning.
Some people think that language learning has to do only with logical, rational thinking. But emotional engagement does not only have to do with motivation. It also has to do with the brain learning better.
So what should a teacher do?
  • Challenge students, because the brain rewards you for understanding
  • Work on learning oriented assessment, so that students can understand their learning progress
  • Use narratives which have an anticipated movement and make students eager to find out what is next
Herbert Puchta went on to say that he goes around the world as an IATEFL Ambassador and has given talks in many countries.
It was a delight to watch this interview indeed.

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