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Friday, April 26, 2013

Numbered Heads Together; a Learning and Teaching Model

A, What Is It?

Numbered Heads Together is a cooperative learning strategy that holds each student accountable for learning the material. Students are placed in groups and each person is given a number (from one to the maximum number in each group). The teacher poses a question and students "put their heads together" to figure out the answer. The teacher calls a specific number to respond as spokesperson for the group. By having students work together in a group, this strategy ensures that each member knows the answer to problems or questions asked by the teacher. Because no one knows which number will be called, all team members must be prepared.

B. Why Is It Important?

This cooperative learning strategy promotes discussion and both individual and group accountability. This strategy is beneficial for reviewing and integrating subject matter. Students with special needs often benefit when this strategy is used. After direct instruction of the material, the group supports each member and provides opportunities for practice, rehearsal, and discussion of content material.

Group learning methods encourage students to take greater responsibility for their own learning and to learn from one another, as well as from the instructor (Terenzini & Pascarella, 1994).

Cooperative learning has been shown to increase student achievement, race relations, acceptance of special needs students, and self-esteem (Slavin, 1995).

C. How Can You Make It Happen?

  1. Divide the students into groups of four and give each one a number from one to four.
  2. Pose a question or a problem to the class.
  3. Have students gather to think about the question and to make sure everyone in their group understands and can give an answer.
  4. Ask the question and call out a number randomly.
  5. The students with that number raise their hands, and when called on, the student answers for his or her team.

D. How Can You Stretch Students' Thinking?

This is a flexible strategy that can be used at a variety of levels. The teacher may start with factual information questions, and as students become more familiar with the strategy, ask questions that require analysis or synthesis of information. Student groups can be given statements such as, "School uniforms help to keep students focused on academics." Students' task is to come to consensus on whether they agree or disagree, giving an explanation of their reasoning.

After the students respond, have the other groups agree or disagree with the answer by showing a thumbs up or thumbs down, and then explain their reasoning. Or, if the answer needs clarifying, ask another student to expand on the answer.

E. When Can You Use It?


Comprehension questions can be posed to groups, and students can work together to find the answers. For example, when reading a story, students can be given the task of analyzing one of the characters. They can be asked questions such as, "Which character traits are stated directly, and which are implied by the author?" and "What information do you get from the character's speech and actions?"


            Students can evaluate the quality of a piece of writing using a rubric. Have students review the writing as a group and assign scores as a group. Ask them to respond with their scores and rationale using the numbered heads together strategy.


            Numbered heads together can be used when solving math problems. Ask questions such as "What are the facts in this problem?" "Which strategy would be most appropriate?" and "What solution did your group agree on?"

Social Studies

            This strategy can be used after reading a chapter in a text, or after material has been presented. Ask clarifying questions about the text and have students find and discuss the answers. When groups are ready, review the answers using this strategy.


This strategy can be used in preparation for a test or quiz. Allow time for students to study together in their groups and perhaps create questions that might be on the test or quiz. Using the numbered heads together strategy, ask questions about the material that will be on the test or quiz.

Taken from TeacherVision

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

New Music ‘Rewarding for the Brain’

Written by Yuniar Rahmadini -

After used MRI scan, the researcher from a Canadian team of scientists found that areas in the reward centre became active when people heard a song for the first time.
The more the listener enjoyed what they heard, the stronger connection was in the area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens.
The study is published in the journal science.
Dr. Valorie Salimpoor, from the Rotman Research Institute, in Toronto, told the BBC’s Science in Action programme: “We know that the nucleus accumbens is involved with reward.
“But music is abstract: It’s not like you are really hungry and you are about to get a piece of food and you are really excited about it because you are going to eat it – or the same thing applies to sex or memory – that’s when you would normally see activity in the nucleus accumbens.
“But what’s cool is that you’re anticipating and getting excited over something entirely abstract – and that’s the next sound that is coming up.

New Tunes

To bring off the study, which took place at the Montreal Neurological Institure at McGill University, new music was played to 19 volunteers 60 excerpts by the scientist, based on their musical preferences.
As they were listening to the 30-seconds-long tracks, they had to the opportunity to buy the ones they liked in the mocked up online music store.
All of this was brought off while the participants were lying in an MRI machine.
By analyzing the scans, the scientists found that the nucleus accumbens was “lighting up” and depending on the level of activity, the researchers could predict whether the participant was likely to buy a song.
Dr. Salimpoor said, “As they are listening to ths music, we can look at their brain activity and figure out how they are appreciating or enjoying this music before they even tell us anything.
“And that’s part of this new direction that neuroscience is going in – trying to understand what people are thinking, and inferring their thoughts and motivations and eventually their behavior through their brain activity.
The researcher found that the nucleus accumbens was also interacted with another area of the brain called the auditory cortical stores.
This is an area that stores sound information based on music that people have been exposed before.
“This part of the brain will be unique for each individual, because we’ve all heard different music in the past,” explained Dr. Salimpoor.
The researchers now want to find out how this drives our music tastes, and whether our brain activity can explain why people are have different styles of music.

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

5 Problems in Speaking English as Foreign Language

There are many experts that suggest about problem. One of them says that problem will appear if there is inappropriate between exception and reality. Another defines that a problem will happen if someone’s necessity does not fulfill. A problem is something that if it appears many people will get dissatisfaction. It can make trouble and difficulty for him/herself or other people, and if people procure a problem, they always want to lose it. Problem is perceived gap between the existing state and a desire state, or a deviation from a norm, standard or status quo, although most problems turn out to have several solution. Problem is a question proposed for solution, anything which is required to be solved or done, or a source of difficulty.

The learners have their own difficulties in learning the language. Particularly in improving speaking skill is not easy for the students. The Following are the problems of speaking skill (Munjayanah, 2004: 17):

  1. Inhibition

Unlike reading, writing or listening activities, speaking requires some degree of real-time exposure to an audience. Learners are often inhibited about trying to say thing in foreign language in the classroom: worried about mistakes or simply shy of the attention that their speech attract.

  1. Nothing to say

Even they are not inhibited, you often hear learners complain that they cannot think of anything to say: they have no motive to express themselves beyond the guilty feeling that they should be speaking.

  1. Low or uneven participation

Only one participant can talk at a time if he or she is to be heard; and in large group this means the each one will have only very little talking time. This problem is compounded of some learners to dominate, while other speaks very little or not a tall.

  1. Mother tongue use

It is easier for the student to use their mother tongue in their class because it looks naturally. Therefore, most of the students are not disciplined in using the target language in the learning process. 

What to do when we have these kind of problems? 

Try to use English everyday in our class, and or outside the classroom. This can stimulate our behavior to always use English as habitual even daily conversation. Keep in touch with someone who likes English too, because they have much more attention than to those who don't. 

Create a small group to train our English, whether in class or outside the class. Learning by doing is really important in learning to speak English. We can share information through the group, make small conversation, and check others error.  This also can give extra additional vocabulary to the persons.

While we have problems in our dialect, the solution is train our pronunciation to be better. Find some videos, musics, or authentic conversations in English. See or hear, then practice the sounds that we've heard in the source.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Applying Multiple Intelligences Theory in Undergraduate EFL Classroom

In Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligence, we can conclude that each person is unique and has a blend of intelligences. The article is aimed to find out the probability of adjusting Gardner’s theory to undergraduate EFL classroom in China with main focus on lesson designing, choosing materials, class activities and assessment, aiming at promoting MI instruction and facilitating foreign language and whole person development.

People have their own intelligences which can be extended through training and exercise. People can obtain more than one intelligences if she/he wants, because intelligences are educable. Back to Gardner’s theory, the intelligences are categorized into eight; Linguistic, logical-mathematic, spatial, musical, kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist. The applications in undergraduate EFL classroom include; lesson designing, class activities (eight activity corners and student project work), choosing material, and assessment.

Based on the applications, integrating the MI theory into undergraduate EFL student will facilitate English acquisition and behavior.

How do Multiple Intelligences affect students’ motivation in learning English?

            As a teacher, we should show our student what is the most interesting activity. There are some students who are absorbed learning by looking at picture/caption. Some likes to do outside. In that case, we must see the interest of our students. Because when the interest is supported by appropriate teaching material and teaching activity, it can motivate the students to learn. The example is when someone likes to read, write, or tell stories, and then the suitable material is story book. Then the teacher can teach using linguistic intelligence by storytelling them. As a result, the students will fell happy and may be highly motivated to learn English.

According to Gardner, the intelligences are various and unique among human. In linguistic intelligence, it includes such skills as the abilities to remember information, to convince others, and to talk about language itself. Logical-mathematic involves the ability to analyze problems logically carried out by the mathematic operations. Spatial refers the ability to sense form, space, color, line, and shape. Musical entails skill in performance, composition, and appreciation of musical patterns. Kinesthetic shows the potential of using one’s whole body or part of body to express idea and to solve problem. Interpersonal indicate a person’s capacity to understand the intentions. Intrapersonal refers to the ability to understand oneself and to have an effective working model for oneself. Naturalist refers to the ability to recognize and classify flora and fauna.

Thus, some teachers feel that they need to create activities that draw on all eight, not only to facilitate language acquisition amongst diverse students, but also to help them realize their full potential with all eight. One way of doing that is to think about the activities that are frequently used in the classroom and to categorize them according to the intelligence type.

Do you find the article useful or not?

This article is very useful, because by knowing the concept and framework of multiple intelligences, I might create an interesting activity and atmosphere when I teach later. Students have different style in learning English, so as a teacher we need to create innovation to improve the student’s motivation in learning English, such as using word games for students who like writing or we can play song if the students like to sing or listen to the music. This article should be known for modern teacher in order to revise the traditional method, so the teaching-learning process will be more interesting.

Download the full article of Multiple Intelligence here
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

English Training In Australia - Study English In Australia

There are myriad benefits of learning English in Australia, one of the reason, there is always a great advantage of learning a language from the native speakers. English training in Australia is full of world class technologies.

Furthermore, if there are English speakers around you which help you to learn English constantly in day to day activities.

The English programmes are conducted almost throughout the year thus catering the needs of the students in all reasons. No matter if you are an employee, busy with your work schedule and not able to attend classes to improve your English language courses at weekends. Learn English in Australia by conducting classes at flexible timings is also an important feature in learning English.

There are many tailor that made English courses by English school in Australia to suit your purpose of learning English like business English which cater the needs of the employee's working in the corporate. English training programmes are designed keeping in view to develop listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Best of English language teaching strategies are implemented for the learner to get the best out of the teaching English language. 

Furthermore, there are many cheap English schools in Australia which will enable you to get the quality English learning experience.

If you think learning English language only for the purpose of speaking, then please think again. Most of the learners of English language should understand the need of acquiring effective English writing skills. As English is used in tests and examinations in the process of applying for the universities, applying for any job purposes etc. Language schools in Australia caters the needs of the English learners by providing effective and quality English teaching. There are also English teaching programmes like English for tourists and English for visitors where in one have the opportunity to learn English in one of the best English speaking countries in the world.

No matter if English is your second language, the English courses are developed that any non-native speaker of the English should feel comfortable and experience the joy of learning English language at their own style, study English in Australia to get best learning experience and in mastering the language. Professional courses in Australia like certificate course, diploma course, short term course or long term course. All courses are aimed at providing value oriented teaching which will ultimately serve the purpose of effective English learning among the learners. The syllabus and world class teaching methods which involve imparting the quality training for the individuals, depending upon their ability over the English language. It really doesn't matter if you are a totally newbie to English language, the English courses in Australia are designed to keep in view the students current knowledge and command over the English language. The specialized English courses in Australia are equipped to provide necessary English skills to the learners.

Adapted from Denisha Joley

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What Are The Criteria of Good Teaching?

Adapted from Prof. Bhushan Manchanda, MCMI

“A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.” ~ Horace Mann.

“They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Carol Buchner.

“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” ~ Kahlil Gibran.

We know the books are important, the pencil, the computer, the white and blackboard and so are the chairs to sit on, but if there is no motivated and inspiring teacher in front of the chairs, if there is no such teacher to write with chalk on the blackboard and to teach ... then there is no learning, no reading, no math, no passing on of knowledge, ethics and values, no instilling of a "love to learn ethos" in the student.

All students must have had hundreds of teachers in their lifetimes and a very few of these teachers they would remember as being exceptionally good. What are the qualities that combine to create an excellent, memorable teacher? Why do some teachers inspire students to work three times harder than they normally would, while others inspire students to avoid their classes ? Why do students learn more from some teachers than others?

Here I have focused on the four essential qualities that distinguish exceptional teachers:

  • Knowledge,
  • Communication skills,
  • Interest, and
  • Respect for students.
Other major qualities that a Good teacher must have are resilience, excellence, determination, conviction, and resolve.

An Experiment

Here's an experiment I had done in one of my  earlier assignments. The results may surprise you. Go into one of the classes you are teaching and have your students take out a sheet of paper. Ask them to list for you the qualities they feel are important in a good teacher. Ask them to identify the qualities they admire in the best teachers they have had. Then give the students enough time to think about it and write something down. Five minutes is good, but ten might be better. Let them answer the questions anonymously if they desire.

What you will get if you combine all of the responses is a fascinating collage of ideas. I have found that most of the responses fall into two specific categories:

1) A set of "core qualities" that students recognize in good teachers, and
2) A set of "specific skills" that are developed by good teachers.

"Core qualities" are the essential characteristics needed to be a good teacher. I would like to concentrate on these core qualities in this article as under.

1. Knowledge

Students have consistently and clearly targeted as the number one quality of a good teacher exactly what you would expect: knowledge of the subject. You must be an expert in your field-both theoretical and practical –preferably with an industry interface and experience if you are going to be a good teacher in a Management college or Business School. This is a prerequisite.

2. Communication

The second core quality that good teachers possess is the ability to communicate their knowledge and expertise to their students. You may be the greatest expert ever in your field, but what would happen if you lectured in  a style and language the students are not able to comprehend clearly? How much would your students learn?

It is a common misconception at the College level that knowledge of a subject is all that's required to be a good teacher; that the students should be willing and able to extract the meat from what you say- regardless of how it is delivered (even if it is delivered in a uncomprehending language or different style). This might be true at the post graduate level, but elsewhere it is definitely untrue. It is especially untrue at the undergraduate level. The teacher's job is to take advanced knowledge and make it accessible to the students. A good teacher allows students to understand the material, and to understand what it means (because it is one thing to understand how nuclear bombs work, but quite another to understand what nuclear bombs mean).

A good teacher can take a subject and help make it crystal clear to the students. A bad teacher can take that same material and make it impenetrable. Or a bad teacher can devote so little time and effort to preparation that the material presented is intrinsically confusing and disorganized. A good teacher is willing to expend the effort needed to find innovative and creative ways to make complicated ideas understandable to their students, and to fit new ideas into the context available to the student. A good teacher can explain complicated material in a way that students can understand and use.

There is a saying, "Give me a fish and I eat for a day, teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime." This is the philosophy of a good teacher. Give your students an answer and they can solve one problem, but show students the techniques needed to find the answer for themselves and they can become self-sufficient in the field. Students need to be shown how to apply the new techniques you teach to problem solving.

3. Interest

A good teacher starts with a firm knowledge of the subject, and builds on that with a clarity and understanding designed to help students master the material. The best teachers then go one step further. Because good teachers are interested in the material being taught, they make the class interesting and relevant to the students. Knowledge is worthless unless it is delivered to the students in a form they can understand. But the effort expended making the material understandable is wasted if the students are disinterested when it is delivered, or if the students can see no point in learning the material.

Good teachers recognize this, and work hard to make their material relevant. They show students how the material will apply to their lives and their careers. Bad teachers make material "relevant" by threatening students with failure on a test. Good teachers go far beyond this: they make students want to learn the material by making it interesting.
This is one of the things that makes industry and business examples so important and vital to learning in a business school or college. Industry interface and practical real life examples make the ideas discussed in class exciting and important to the teacher, as well as to the students. If the teacher isn't interested in what's being taught, then why should the students be?
4. Respect
Good teachers always possess these three core qualities: knowledge, the ability to convey to students an understanding of that knowledge, and the ability to make the material interesting and relevant to students. Complementing these three is a fourth: quality: good teachers have a deep-seated concern and respect for the students in the classroom. Why else would a teacher put in the time and effort needed to create a high quality class?

The creation of a good class requires an immense amount of work. You don't simply come up with clear explanations, industry cases and examples and experiments for the class off the top of your head. You don't create fair, consistent, high quality tests, questionnaires and homework assignments (read "learning experiences") five minutes before you hand them out. You don't figure out ways to integrate new materials and research into a class in an understandable way on your way to your college or institute  in the morning. You work at this sort of quality all the time. You spend time with your students so you can learn about holes in their understanding. You read and write and create to build an exciting and interesting class every day. The only thing that would drive you to do that is a concern and respect for the students in your classroom.


"The mediocre teacher tells.  The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires".  ~ William Arthur Ward

When you strive and work to become a good teacher and to create a good class, the four core qualities are essential: knowledge, the skills to convey that knowledge, the ability to make the material you are teaching interesting and relevant, and a deep-seated respect for the students. Without these four core qualities, good teaching will just not take place.

Good teachers make learning so much fun that it makes the students feel like they could do anything they wanted to do. The positive seeds teachers plant in their students keep on growing throughout their lives.

"The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book".  ~ Author Unknown
"What a teacher writes on the blackboard of life can never be erased".  ~ Author Unknown
"A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others".  ~ Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, translated from Turkish

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