Friday, 13 March 2015

Jack Scholes "Teaching the whole person",#EMF5, Day 2

The minute I saw Jack Scholes I knew I had already seen him somewhere. Little by little came understanding that he was once a speaker in Yaroslavl some years ago and his talk was a hit back then. 

This time there were so many people willing to take part that the Hall just couldn’t fit them all in. Jack started speaking from the back of the hall. Why? At the beginning of the talk we didn’t know. But later on we found out that one of the tips Jack gave to teachers was to "do things in a different way, break away from routine" which was nicely illustrated at the beginning of the talk. I expected to be having fun but I couldn’t even imagine how much fun this talk was.

 Contrary to the ideas of Vygotsky about ZPD where “learning can’t take place when you are relaxed” Jack Scholes argues that “you learn more when you are relaxed and have calm mind”. I think different approaches work for different people but the practical activities that Jack showed in the session persuaded me that his ideas were probably right. 

One minute meditation was just what was needed. We were asked to close our eyes, to focus on our breath, notice our sensations, calm our mind and meditate. A nice exercise here can also be “breathe in what you want and breathe out what you don’t want”. It was very nice.

 I learned about a method of ”think-pair-share” when a student is given a question and asked to think for a moment, then to talk about it to a person nearby and then share the findings with the group. Such method makes sharing ideas less stressful. 

There were a number of activities shown in practice by Jack which were interesting and it was not possible to stay outside of it and not to participate. The activities demonstrated involved a kinesthetic element. Usually I find it difficult to come up with kinesthetic activites and so this was a nice example. For instance, asking the students to stand up or raising a hand when the answer to the question is"Yes" and stay seated if the answer to the question is "No". Physical activity should be included in the class because we all lack it in real lives and because it adds fun to learning.

What can I say in conclusion? This session was like a breath of fresh air and I enjoyed every minute of it. I would like to thank Jack Scholes for being such a charismatic speaker! The slides to the presentation can be found here. (as promised by Jack Scholes)


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