Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Curtain and Dahlberg, Introduction

Curtain and Dahlberg, Introduction xix-xxiii

      The author has a particularly helpful page of key concepts for success on page xxi. I like that this book opens with a list of the way that children learn languages best because it is a good reference and guide. Constructivist theory is important to Curtain and Dahlberg; human beings are actively constructing an understanding of language. There is also an emphasis on "communicative contexts that carry significance for the student" (xxi). That means that students need to have a motivation to use the language and be using it in an authentic context in order to learn it. Some of the contexts that he includes are: "storytelling, music, games, rituals, drama, and celebrations." 
      After reading over this list is has made me really excited about the possibility of teaching a foreign language. I remember reading on the Kagan website about how dopamine, the chemical that regulates memory and learning, also is connected to pleasure. To oversimplify it, the more dopamine in the brain the more likely the student is to learn the material. Therefore, fun games and activities are not only beneficial but they are essential for student learning to take place. It requires a lot and work and preparation on the teacher's part but it is so much more rewarding to see students actively engaged in using the language and generating output than simply lecturing at them about grammar. 

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