Wednesday, December 5, 2007

More About How to Use Nonverbal Communication in Hiring

Attentiveness, eye contact, body language and facial expressions are nonverbal communications that can tell you much about the candidates you consider hiring.

Attentiveness and Eye Contact
Watch the listening and interactive behavior of your candidate. He should act as if he is engaged by leaning slightly forward in his chair to close some of the distance between himself and the interviewer. You want to hire a candidate who can comfortably put his portfolio on your desk to take notes, yet not take up too much of your space. You want an employee who can maintain comfortable eye contact without staring or forced attentiveness.

If the candidate spends the interview with his eyes moving all over the room, rarely looking at you, this can signal a lack of confidence – or worse – he doesn’t care.

Long, forced eye contact can indicate an overly aggressive person who does not care about your comfort. And, if he doesn’t care about your comfort during the interview, that behavior won’t get better when you hire him.

Listen also to the candidate’s responses to your questions. Did he hear your question? Did he answer succinctly and share stories, or ramble incessantly off topic? The former tells you he prepared for the interview and has success stories to share. The latter signals unprepared, ill-at-ease, or that he didn’t care enough to pay attention.

Facial Expressions and Body Language
”What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson in one of my favorite quotations. And, nothing is as communicative as the facial expressions and body language of your candidates. Whole books have been written interpreting facial expressions and body language. The key to listening to their nonverbal communication is whether their facial expressions and body language match the words spoken.

Facial expressions that fail to match the words spoken can indicate serious discomfort or lying – neither desirable behaviors in a candidate. A candidate that never makes eye contact and talks to a spot over your shoulder is uncomfortable and demonstrating a lack of confidence. You want to hire an employee whose facial expressions are consistent with and punctuate her words.

Body language speaks loudly, too. Is the candidate leaning back in his seat with his legs crossed at the knee? He’s too relaxed for an interview setting. Has he taken over your whole desk with his arms and accessories? He’s overly aggressive. Does he lean back with his hands crossed behind his head? This is aggressive interview behavior in the extreme. Don’t expect less aggressive behavior if you hire him.

If the candidate makes a statement and looks away from you or appears nervous, she’s probably not telling the truth. If she stares into your eyes as she tells her story, she may be fabricating. If she taps her pen constantly, twists her jewelry at the end of every sentence, strokes her hair every few minutes, she is sending all sorts of messages about her discomfort – with the interview setting or with her skills and abilities in general? It’s hard to tell. Listen to what they are not saying.

Interviewing and hiring people who will be great employees who fit well in your organization is a challenge. Listening to the nonverbal communication of your candidates can tell you as much about the candidates as their spoken words, their references, and their experience. Nonverbal communication matters.

Interested in the advice we give candidates for your jobs? Take a look at The Interview Advantage: How to Use Nonverbal Communication to Impress. “When interviewing for employment you might think that if you're the candidate with the best answers to the interview questions, you'll get the job. In fact that isn't typically the case.”

Tips for Understanding Nonverbal Communication

Is there ever any doubt in your mind as to the mood of a coworker upon their arrival at work? Nonverbal communication is the single most powerful form of communication. More than voice or even words, nonverbal communication cues you in to what is on another person’s mind. The best communicators are sensitive to the power of the emotions and thoughts communicated nonverbally.

Nonverbal communication ranges from facial expression to body language. Gestures, signs, and use of space are also important in nonverbal communication. Multicultural differences in body language, facial expression, use of space, and especially, gestures, are enormous and enormously open to misinterpretation.

To gauge your expertise in interpreting nonverbal communication, take these nonverbal communication interpretation quiz questions from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

One of the funniest – yet saddest – nonverbal exchanges I have ever witnessed occurred in the registrar’s office at a major university. A multinational student tried to communicate his problem to an older, white female. He gesticulated constantly waving his hands to punctuate his communication.

He tried to narrow the distance between himself and the university employee who kept backing away to maintain her level of spacial comfort. By the end of the conversation, the student was chasing her the length of the countertop still gesturing with his hands heatedly. The employee told me later that she had been terrified of the student who was merely trying to tell her that he had already paid the bill he had just received from the university.

One study at UCLA indicated that up to 93 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. Another study indicated that the impact of a performance was determined 7 percent by the words used, 38 percent by voice quality, and 55 percent by the nonverbal communication.

If you want to mask your feelings or your immediate reaction to information, pay close attention to your nonverbal behavior. You may have your voice and words under control, but your body language including the tiniest facial expressions and movement can give your true thoughts and feelings away. Especially to a skilled reader of nonverbal cues, most of us are really open books.

Here are several tips for improving your reading of nonverbal information. No matter your position at work, improving your skill in interpreting nonverbal communication will add to your ability to share meaning with another person.

Shared meaning is my definition of communication. Correct interpretation of nonverbal communication will add depth to your ability to communicate.

Tips for Understanding Nonverbal Communication
Recognize that people communicate on many levels. Watch their facial expressions, eye contact, posture, hand and feet movements, body movement and placement, and appearance and passage as they walk toward you. Every gesture is communicating something if you listen with your eyes. Become accustomed to watching nonverbal communication and your ability to read nonverbal communication will grow with practice.

This is a useful Dictionary of Nonverbal Gestures, Signs and Body Language Cues. Check out the pictures that illustrate hundreds of nonverbal communication manners.

If a person’s words say one thing and their nonverbal communication says another, you are wont to listen to the nonverbal communication – and that is usually the correct decision.

Assess job candidates based on their nonverbal communication. You can read volumes from how the applicant sits in the lobby. The nonverbal communication during an interview should also elucidate the candidate’s skills, strengths, weaknesses, and concerns for you.

Probe nonverbal communication during an investigation or other situation in which you need facts and believable statements. Again, the nonverbal may reveal more than the person’s spoken words.

When leading a meeting or speaking to a group, recognize that nonverbal cues can tell you:
--when you’ve talked long enough,
--when someone else wants to speak, and
--the mood of the crowd and their reaction to your remarks.
Listen to them and you’ll be a better leader and speaker.
Understanding nonverbal communication improves with practice. The first step in practice is to recognize the power of nonverbal communication. I’m sure you’ve had gut feelings that what a person said to you was untrue. Listen to your gut. Along with your life experiences, training, beliefs and all that make up your past, it’s your inner expert on nonverbal communication.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

LearninG straTegies

Chapter 2: Defining and Organizing Language Learning Strategies

In this chapter we will introduce you to 20 learning strategies that you can teach to your students to improve their learning of the foreign language.
As we emphasized in the preceding chapter, extensive research into learning strategies reveals the importance and relevance of this instruction for language students. However, as experienced teachers we know that incorporating a new approach into our instruction is not an easy task. This chapter focuses on preparing both teachers and students for learning strategies instruction. We begin by answering some of the most commonly asked questions about learning strategies. We also share the techniques and explain the importance of establishing a learner-centered environment in the classroom before beginning strategies instruction.

I. Answers to Some of the Most Common Questions about Learning Strategies Instruction
At this point, you may be thinking, "Twenty learning strategies? How do I find the time to teach 20 learning strategies in my already full schedule of teaching language skills?" And even more importantly, you may be thinking about your students: "How receptive will they be to learning strategies? How do I prepare them for learning strategies instruction?" Explicit strategies instruction may entail not only a new experience for you and your students, but also new roles in the learning process. The purpose of this section is to respond to these important questions and provide suggestions for getting started with learning strategies instruction.

What are Learning Strategies?
Learning strategies are the thoughts and/or actions that students use to complete learning tasks. We all know that good teachers use numerous teaching strategies to help students learn. We use visuals to introduce new ideas, we direct students' attention to important elements, and we activate students' background knowledge before introducing a new concept.

Learning strategies, however, are the tools that students themselves can employ independently to complete a language task. For instance, a student who needs to learn a list of vocabulary words might draw a picture to remember each word.

It is important to distinguish between teaching strategies and learning strategies. Think about yourself in two different roles - as a language teacher and as a language student. Look at Table 1 below for examples of strategies you might use as a teacher and those you might use as a student.


Background Knowledge
Teacher: Activate your students’ prior knowledge in order to build new material on what they already know.

Learner: Think about what you already know about a topic to help you learn more about it.

Teacher: Through discussion, link new material to your students’ experiences and feelings using guiding questions or other activities.
Learner: Link new material to your personal experiences and feelings.

Teacher: Have your students read a text, then summarize it to aid comprehension.
Learner: After you read a text, stop a moment and summarize the meaning to help your comprehension

Use Imagery
Teacher: Create a meaningful context for your students by accompanying new information with figures, illustrations, and photographs.
Learner: Associate new information with a mental or printed image to help you learn it.

Learning strategies take different forms. Strategies like Make Inferences, in which students derive meaning from context, are mental processes that are difficult to observe. Other strategies like Use Graphic Organizers/Take Notes can be easily observed and measured. What is important for the purpose of this guide is that strategies can be learned.

What is Learning Strategies Instruction?
Students who analyze and reflect on their learning are more effective learners; that is, they are more able to acquire, retain, and apply new information and skills. Yet students often use learning strategies in a sporadic manner, applying them inappropriately or overusing the limited number they know.

Learning strategies instruction is one means of improving students' acquisition of a foreign language. It gives them an explicit vocabulary to use in talking about their learning experiences so that they can build a repertoire of strategies. Students do not just acquire new strategies; they discover how and when to apply them. Their ability to use strategies effectively and to match them appropriately with tasks has broad implications for learning both content and language.

The goal of learning strategies instruction is for students to become independent learners with the ability to use strategies aptly in a variety of contexts. In the beginning, however, learning when and in what contexts to use particular strategies or groups of strategies requires direction and guidance from the teacher.

How Do We Name and Organize Language Learning Strategies for Instruction?
There are a number of different names and classification systems for learning strategies (for a very good review see Hsiao & Oxford, 2002). There are few "rights" and "wrongs" in learning strategies taxonomies, but specific ways of organizing the strategies can be useful for different teaching situations. Here, we have provided you a with list of 20 commonly used and effective language learning strategies grouped in a way that we think will help you seamlessly integrate strategies instruction into your FL classroom teaching. Students can use these strategies to master the 5 Cs: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities. They will improve their skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, mastering grammatical features, vocabulary, and learning content. In other words, the strategies are relevant to the foreign language teacher's emphasis on the 5 Cs and facilitate the integration of content and language objectives.

We have divided the 20 strategies into two categories: "Metacognitive" and "Task-Based." The Metacognitive Strategies can be used for almost any task and are based on reflecting on one's own thinking while the Task-Based Learning Strategies are more determined by the specific nature of the task and the resources of the student.

II. Metacognitive Learning Strategies
Metacognitive learning strategies are general learning strategies. Reflecting upon your own thinking and learning is metacognitive thinking. Once students begin to think about their own learning, they can then begin to notice how they learn, how others learn, and how they might adjust how they learn to learn more efficiently. We list four general metacognitive strategies:

Organize/Plan Your Own Learning
Manage Your Own Learning
Monitor Your Own Learning
Evaluate Your Own Learning

These metacognitive strategies follow the sequential order of the process a learner generally goes through in accomplishing any task. What do I do before I start? (Organize/Plan) What do I do while I am working on the task? (Manage) How do I make sure I am doing the task correctly? (Monitor) What do I do after I have finished the task ? (Evaluate) It is important to remember, however, that learners are not as linear as our models suggest. In reality, we go back and forth: planning, then monitoring, then planning again, managing, organizing, etc.

III. Task-Based Learning Strategies
The "Task-Based Learning Strategies" focus on how students can use their own resources to learn most effectively. There are 16 task-based strategies in the list. We have divided them into four categories that are grouped by the kinds of resources students already have, or can get, to help them complete specific tasks. By focusing students' attention on their resources, we emphasize their ability to take responsibility for their own learning.

Strategies That Use What You Know
Strategies That Use Your Imagination
Strategies That Use Your Organizational Skills
Strategies That Use a Variety of Resources

Within each of these four groups, you will find specific strategies that are examples of what the students can do with these resources to help them learn. For example, in the group "Use What You Know" we include Use Background Knowledge, Make Inferences, Make Predictions, and Transfer/Use Cognates.

The model in Figure 1, Applying Language Learning Strategies, illustrates the relationship between the Metacognitive and the Task-Based Learning Strategies. This image embodies the learner-centered nature of strategy instruction. Oliver, our student, is at the core, and has a language learning task to complete. He decides to use a strategic, problem-solving approach. He recognizes that problem-solving involves various stages, planning, monitoring, managing and evaluating. However, these stages are exhibited as a circle because Oliver may visit and revisit each of these phases throughout the task. During each phase, he is equipped with a variety of specific learning strategies that he can use (either alone or in tandem) to help him complete the task. The strategies have been categorized according to learner-friendly sections, (What You Know, Your Imagination, Organizational Skills, Variety of Resources), to help clarify how to use the learning techniques effectively.

Looking through the list of strategies, you might think that people use learning strategies one at a time and that learning strategies are clearly delimited in function and in use. Reality, of course, is never that simple. Many learning tasks are accomplished using a number of different learning strategies, sometimes simultaneously and sometimes in sequence. However, teaching learning strategies one-by-one, giving each one a name and a definition, and using examples, gives you a way to talk to your students about thinking and learning. It gives the students a way to talk to themselves about their own thinking. You develop a common vocabulary that will then allow you and your students to talk about how to choose and integrate strategies for different kinds of language learning tasks.

Below you will find the "Learning Strategies List for Students" that you can share with your students. This list outlines the language learning strategies discussed above; it provides names for the strategies, descriptions of strategies, a picture of a key concept related to the meaning of each learning strategy, and a keyword that might be used with students to help them remember the strategy. You will probably want to teach the names of the strategies in the target language. Learning Strategies Lists in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish follow the English language version.

Strategy Description

Organize / Plan
Calendar Plan the task or content sequence.
Set goals.
Plan how to accomplish the task.

Manage Your Own Learning
Pace Yourself Determine how you learn best.
Arrange conditions that help you learn.
Seek opportunities for practice.
Focus your attention on the task.

Check While working on a task:
Check your progress on the task.
Check your comprehension as you use the language. Are you understanding?
Check your production as you use the language. Are you making sense?

I did it! After completing a task:
Assess how well you have accomplished the learning task.
Assess how well you have applied the strategies.
Decide how effective the strategies were in helping you accomplish the task.


Strategy Description
Use Background Knowledge
I know. Think about and use what you already know to help you do the task.
Make associations.

Make Inferences
Use Clues Use context and what you know to figure out meaning.
Read and listen between the lines.

Make Predictions
Crystal Ball Anticipate information to come.
Make logical guesses about what will happen.

Me Relate new concepts to your own life, that is, to your experiences, knowledge, beliefs and feelings.

Transfer / Use Cognates
telefon Apply your linguistic knowledge of other languages (including your native language) to the target language.
Recognize cognates.

Substitute / Paraphrase
Spare Tire Think of a similar word or descriptive phrase for words you do not know in the target language.


Strategy Description
Use Imagery
Mirror, Mirror Use or create an image to understand and/or represent information.

Use Real Objects / Role Play Lights, Camera, Action! Act out and/or imagine yourself in different roles in the target language.
Manipulate real objects as you use the target language.


Strategy Description
Find/Apply Patterns
Pattern Apply a rule.
Make a rule.
Sound out and apply letter/sound rules.

Sort Suits Relate or categorize words or ideas according to attributes.

Use Graphic Organizers/Take Notes
Notepad Use or create visual representations (such as Venn diagrams, time lines, and charts) of important relationships between concepts.
Write down important words and ideas.

Main Idea Create a mental, oral, or written summary of information

Use Selective Attention
Look for It Focus on specific information, structures, key words, phrases, or ideas.

Access Information Sources
Read all about it! Use the dictionary, the internet, and other reference materials.
Seek out and use sources of information.
Follow a model
Ask questions

Together Work with others to complete tasks, build confidence, and give and receive feedback.

Talk Yourself Through It (SelfTalk)
I can do it! Use your inner resources. Reduce your anxiety by reminding yourself of your progress, the resources you have available, and your goals.

The chart of "Learning Strategies for Elementary Immersion Students" gave you an outline of language learning strategies for children. Now you have a general idea of what learning strategies are in general and how they are organized. It is still difficult, however, to imagine how learning strategies fit into the context of teaching content in a language immersion program.

On the next few pages, you will find more detailed descriptions of each strategy. They include a definition of the purpose of each strategy, a more in-depth description of the contexts in which they can be used, and an example of how an elementary immersion student might use the learning strategy to complete an academic task.

These descriptions will be particularly useful as you prepare to teach your students how to use a specific learning strategy, or when you seek strategies to help them with a particular task.



Purpose: Students make a plan of what they need to do and organize their thoughts and activities in order to tackle a complex task step-by-step. This preparation helps them complete more intricate tasks than would otherwise be possible.
Context: Organize/Plan is helpful before starting any large task that can be broken down into smaller parts to make it more manageable. It is an especially important strategy for target language writing tasks.
Example: A student wants to write a thank you letter to his teacher for tutoring him after school. He has lots of ideas about what to write, but he is not sure how to put them in order. He jots the ideas down on some index cards and organizes them (trying out different orders, eliminating less important ideas, etc.) before copying them onto clean paper.


Purpose: This strategy is central to problem solving. Students reflect on their own learning styles and strategies. They regulate their own learning conditions to maximize achieving their goals. Students determine how they learn best, they arrange conditions to help themselves learn, they focus attention on the task, and they seek opportunities for practice in the target language. Manage also refers to the self-regulation of feelings and motivation. Independent learners must have a sense of how to manage their own learning.
Context: Manage Your Own Learning is an important part of problem solving on any task.

Example: A Grade Six immersion French student is writing a science report for homework on the effects of pollution in the U.S. She decides that she will do her paper in her room where it is quiet because otherwise she could be distracted. She is not very interested in the topic, but her goal is to do well in science this year, so she motivates herself to do the task by reminding herself that she has done well so far, and that this topic is really very important. She does her research on the Web, and makes sure to do a search in French as well as English so that she will have exposure to the vocabulary and concepts she needs to write her paper in the target language. After working hard on the paper and doing a good job, she rewards herself with a break to call friends.


Purpose: Students question whether an idea makes sense in order to check the clarity of their understanding or expression in the target language. Students are aware of how well a task is progressing and notice when comprehension breaks down.
Context: Monitor is important for any task.
Example: If a student asks how to divide three in half and the teacher tells her, "Yes, you may get a drink from the water fountain," the student who is monitoring would realize that her question did not communicate her intended meaning!


Purpose: Judging for themselves how well they learned material or performed on a task helps students identify their strengths and weaknesses so they can do even better the next time. Assessing how well a strategy works for them helps students decide which strategies they prefer to use on particular tasks.
Context: Evaluate can help students after completing a task.
Example: A student who finds writing in the target language difficult thinks about what makes it hard for her. She knows she is good at communication but makes a lot of mistakes in grammar. She decides to pay more attention to grammar in the future. In art class, a student uses Use Selective Attention to listen closely to directions while the teacher explains how to make a paper boat. She tries to do it herself but does not succeed. She decides to look at the teacher's book which has illustrations of the process. She tells her teacher that Access Information Sources worked better for her on this task than Use Selective Attention.



Purpose: Students reflect on what they already know about a task or topic so that it is easier to learn and understand new information. The strategy helps them see the connection between what they know and what they are learning.
Context: Students can Use Background Knowledge whenever they know anything related to a task or topic.
Example: When beginning a Health lesson about public safety, students can tell each other what they already know about protecting themselves from strangers. They can describe how they recognize police officers and what they have been taught to do if they get lost.


Purpose: Using context clues, students manage to decipher new vocabulary or figure out the meaning of a text or speech. They make guesses based on pictures, headlines, surrounding text, gestures and body language, or other information related to the task.
Context: Guess! Thats right: its a problem solving technique that works at any stage of the learning process and is useful in numerous contexts.
Example: To find the word for clean in German, a student reads the back of his classroom soap bottle instead of looking it up in the dictionary. He figures it will probably be on the "How to use this product" part of the label. Knowing it can be a verb, he finds clean easily. The time-honored traditions of "figuring it out from context" and "making educated guesses" are both examples of Make Inferences.


Purpose: Students figure out what they can expect in a task based on their background knowledge and information about the task at hand. They prepare for the rest of the task and direct their efforts to completing it based on their predictions.
Context: Make Predictions can be used whenever students have enough relevant background knowledge to be able to make reasonable predictions about the task. As they learn new information, they may refine or modify previous predictions.
Example: A student chooses a book to read during silent reading time. The cover of the book shows a picture of a barn and some animals. Based on this picture, the student predicts that the story will take place on a farm.


Purpose: Students relate information to their feelings, opinions or personal experiences in order to remember and understand it better. They may associate it with someone or something in their personal lives.
Context: This strategy is useful whenever a word or idea represents something personally important to students.
Example: A student's parents to take her to an Italian restaurant for dinner. Later, when she is learning vocabulary items in Italian, she remembers many of the words from the menu at the restaurant.


Purpose: By recognizing similarities between words or grammar in the target language and their native language, students can easily and quickly increase their vocabulary and construct sentences.
Context: Transfer / Cognates can be used when words look or sound similar in the two languages or when knowledge of a language system, such as grammar, can aid in the understanding of the new language.
Example: A student reading a worksheet encounters the Spanish word telfono for the first time. She recognizes that it looks like the English word telephone and thinks it probably means that same thing. In context, it makes sense. The two words sound alike, too. She decides telfono and telephone are probably cognates.


Purpose: Rather than stopping at a dead end, students find different ways to say the same thoughts. Beginners may use simple words or structures instead of more complex ones the do not know yet. More advanced learners may replace a term with its description or by explaining it in the target language.
Context: Substitute/Paraphrase helps at those otherwise awkward moments when students realize they do not know how to say exactly what they would like to say. It can also prove useful when writing as an alternative to constant reference to the dictionary.
Example: A student cannot think of the word la dinde (turkey) while he is speaking, so he says in French, "the big bird that Americans eat."



Purpose: Students use or create an image that helps them remember information. It can be as simple as a pencil drawing, or as complex as a "mental movie." An image also helps students recall vocabulary without translating from their native language. Complex images can help students check their comprehension; if there are inconsistencies, then they may need to review the information.
Context: Use Imagery is well suited to any task that involves vivid images or where it is useful to put abstract ideas in concrete form.
Example: To remember idiomatic expressions, students create funny pictures that illustrate them.


Purpose: By acting out a concept with props or role-playing with a partner, students can get a better feel for the situational uses of language. Associating words and expressions with an object, a context and an experience helps students recall them - what is more, they have fun!
Context: This strategy can be used with concrete concepts or with abstract concepts to make them more concrete. It can evoke daily situations and show the practical side of language learning.
Example 1: A student has been studying environmental conservation at school and notices that his parents recycle many items, including plastic containers. He explains to his teacher how to decide what to recycle by showing her some sample containers that can be recycled.
Example 2: After learning food and restaurant vocabulary, students take turns playing the parts of customer and waiter at a restaurant in the target culture. TASK-BASED STRATEGIES: Use Your Organizational Skills


Purpose: Students either use a rule they already know or create a new rule that helps them learn new information.
Context: Find/Apply Patterns is useful in situations where students can generalize about a language structure, procedure or concept.
Example: A student who knows how to conjugate the verb mettre in French wants to conjugate permettre. Since these verbs have the same ending, she decides that they conjugate the same way.


Purpose: Grouping or classifying items according to their attributes helps students organize their thoughts and/or remember the items.
Context: Group / Classify applies any time that a number of items share the same attributes and can be put into meaningful groups. It can serve to organize students' thoughts as they begin a writing or speaking task.
Example: A student has a hard time remembering the names of furniture in Spanish, so she groups them according to where each item belongs in a house.


Purpose: By writing down important words, students can remember key concepts and note their own ideas about information in a lesson alongside its new information.
Context: Use Graphic Organizers/Take Notes is especially useful on tasks that involve listening since, without notes, students would not be able to keep a record of what they hear. It can also help students while they read and before they write.
Example 1: After watching a video on the history of Germany, students take time to draw a timeline listing all the events they can remember, including pictures, people, places, and dates they associate with the events.
Example 2: An astronomer from Argentina comes to talk to a class about constellations in the Southern Hemisphere. She describes what types of stars make up the constellations and tells Argentine folktales about them. Students take notes while she speaks so that they can remember the important points after her presentation.


Purpose: Making a mental, oral or written summary guarantees that students understand the gist of a task. It not only helps them judge how well they have understood and completed the task, but also helps them learn more from it.
Context: Summarize is helpful periodically throughout a task or upon its completion.
Example: When a student listens to a song in the target language, she pauses her CD before each chorus so she can think about and summarize in her head the main point of the stanza she just heard.


Purpose: Concentrating on specific aspects of language or content makes it easier for students to find the information that is important to complete their task. They may concentrate on information they already know in order to understand or communicate better, or they may concentrate on key information such as times or dates.
Context: Use Selective Attention proves particularly useful when the task requires students to sift through large quantities of information. It can also help when students need to give or acquire precise details to complete a task.
Example: It is a classic technique for students to underline words they do not know in a text so they can look them up or ask the teacher about them later. For a new twist on this technique, students can underline sentences in challenging documents that they are sure they understand.

TASK-BASED STRATEGIES: Use a Variety of Resources


Purpose: Using reference materials such as dictionaries, textbooks, periodicals and the Internet, students can solve complex problems and complete difficult tasks independently. Students can look up words or expressions they do not know, as well as find target language cultural information.
Context: Access Information Sources is especially handy when crucial information does not make sense to the student. However, it can be helpful any time students encounter questions, large or small, whose answers are found in reference materials.
Example: A fifth grade student in a Spanish immersion school loves popular music and wants to learn more about popular music in Latin America. He listens to music broadcasts on Latino radio stations in the U.S., looks up information on the Web, and, in a letter to his Mexican pen pal, asks about what music is popular with young students in Mexico.


Purpose: Working together, students gain confidence, share their strengths and complete tasks more easily. Most students enjoy the chance to work with a partner or in a group and friendly competition between groups often brings out top-notch work.
Context: Cooperate can be used while students work on a specific task or during part of a larger task where students work separately. It can allow students to give each other feedback on their individual work and complete new tasks together.
Example: Two students decide to work together to create a poster with zoo animals. They make a joint list and decide which ones to include. They then agree on the materials to use and collaborate on the artwork. They take turns drawing the animals and writing the names.


Purpose: Students tell themselves they are doing a good job and that they are capable of completing a task. This self-encouragement helps keep them motivated even when facing obstacles. While they work, students may explain to themselves, silently or out loud, exactly what steps they are taking to achieve their goals.
Context: This strategy can help throughout any tricky or daunting task. It is especially useful on tasks that can be divided into parts tackled one at a time.
Example: When reading an entire book in the target language for the first time, students can reassure themselves that they are good readers. Though a bit intimidated, they may tell themselves, "It's just like reading three short stories

What is Task-Based Learning?

Using tasks

Teachers have been using tasks for hundreds of years. Frequently, in the past, the task was a piece of translation often from a literary source. More recently, tasks have included projects for producing posters, brochures, pamphlets, oral presentations, radio plays, videos, websites and dramatic performances.

The characteristic of all these tasks is that rather than concentrating on one particular structure, function or vocabulary group, these tasks exploit a wider range of language. In many cases, students may also be using a range of different communicative language skills.

What makes 'task-based learning' different?

The traditional way that teachers have used tasks is as a follow-up to a series of structure/function or vocabulary based lessons. Tasks have been 'extension' activities as part of a graded and structured course.

In task-based learning, the tasks are central to the learning activity. Originally developed by N Prabhu in Bangladore, southern India, it is based on the belief that students may learn more effectively when their minds are focused on the task, rather than on the language they are using.

In the model of task-based learning described by Jane Willis, the traditional PPP (presentation, practice, production) lesson is reversed. The students start with the task. When they have completed it, the teacher draws attention to the language used, making corrections and adjustments to the students' performance. In A Framework for Task-Based Learning, Jane Willis presents a three stage process:

Pre-task - Introduction to the topic and task.

Task cycle - Task planning and report

Language focus - Analysis and practice.

Does it work?
Task-based learning can be very effective at Intermediate levels and beyond, but many teachers question its usefulness at lower levels. The methodology requires a change in the traditional teacher's role. The teacher does not introduce and 'present' language or interfere ('help') during the task cycle. The teacher is an observer during the task phase and becomes a language informant only during the 'language focus' stage.

You can read more about task-based learning in:

How to Teach English p31 by Jeremy Harmer [Longman]

The Practice of English Language Teaching 3rd edition pp86-88 by Jeremy Harmer [Longman]

A Framework for Task-Based Learning by Jane Willis [Longman]

From Wikipedia

Task-based learning is a language learning method popularised by N. Prabhu while working in Bangalore, India. Prabhu figured out that his students could learn language just as easily with a non-linguistic problems as when they are concentrating on linguistic questions. Task-based learning is used widely for language learning.

Jane Willis broke it into three sections. The pre-task, the task cycle, and the language focus.

1 Pre-task
2 Task Cycle
3 Language Focus
4 External links
5 Further reading

The pre-task consists of an introduction to the topic and to the task. For example; the topic is ordering food. As the teacher writes down some possible answers, she underlines the key words like cheeseburger and fries. They now may see a video of some people at a restaurant ordering food.

Task Cycle
This consists of the task itself, planning, and a report. For example; the students now get into groups and pretend order or role-play with each other as the teacher monitors. (Task) The students now have to plan on what they will tell the rest of the class about what they just did. (Plan) Finally, they have to tell the report to the class about what they did. (Report)

Language Focus
This consists of an analysis and practice. For example; the students may examine and discuss any accompanying text, audio, or visuals. The teacher may also conduct some sort of practice, like a game.

This type of method steers teachers away from traditional roles, such as a controller. The Task Language Learning method proposes that teachers take a different attitude toward accuracy, unlike attitudes from Audio-lingualism or PPP methodologies.

External links
British Council Teaching English - Methodology: A Task-based approach
Jane and Dave Willis website

Further reading
The Practice of Language Teaching by Jeremy Harmer

//Doing Task-based Teaching by Dave and Jane Willis

Retrieved from ""

500 Word Summary of John Dewey

For John Dewey, education and democracy are intimately connected.

According to Dewey good education should have both a societal purpose and purpose for the individual student. For Dewey, the long-term matters, but so does the short-term quality of an educational experience. Educators are responsible, therefore, for providing students with experiences that are immediately valuable and which better enable the students to contribute to society.

Dewey polarizes two extremes in education -- traditional and progressive education.

The paradigm war still goes on -- on the one hand, relatively structured, disciplined, ordered, didactic tradition education vs. relatively unstructured, free, student-directed progressive education.

Dewey criticizes traditional education for lacking in holistic understanding of students and designing curricula overly focused on content rather than content and process which is judged by its contribution to the well-being of individuals and society.

On the other hand, progressive education, he argues, is too reactionary and takes a free approach without really knowing how or why freedom can be most useful in education. Freedom for the sake of freedom is a weak philosophy of education. Dewey argues that we must move beyond this paradigm war, and to do that we need a theory of experience.

Thus, Dewey argues that educators must first understand the nature of human experience.

Dewey's theory is that experience arises from the interaction of two principles -- continuity and interaction. Continuity is that each experience a person has will influence his/her future, for better or for worse. Interaction refers to the situational influence on one's experience. In other words, one's present experience is a function of the interaction between one's past experiences and the present situation. For example, my experience of a lesson, will depend on how the teacher arranges and facilitates the lesson, as well my past experience of similar lessons and teachers.

It is important to understand that, for Dewey, no experience has pre-ordained value. Thus, what may be a rewarding experience for one person, could be a detrimental experience for another.

The value of the experience is to be judged by the effect that experience has on the individual's present, their future, and the extent to which the individual is able to contribute to society.

Dewey says that once we have a theory of experience, then as educators can set about progressively organizing our subject matter in a way that it takes accounts of students' past experiences, and then provides them with experiences which will help to open up, rather than shut down, a person's access to future growth experiences, thereby expanding the person's likely contribution to society.

Dewey examines his theory of experience in light of practical educational problems, such as the debate between how much freedom vs. discipline to use. Dewey shows that his theory of experience (continuity and interaction) can be useful guides to help solving such issues.

Throughout, there is a strong emphasis on the subjective quality of a student's experience and the necessity for the teacher of understanding the students' past experiences in order to effectively design a sequence of liberating educational experiences to allow the person to fulfil their potential as a member of society.


Dewey, J. (1938/1997). Experience and education. Macmillan.

What are Experiential Learning Cycles?

there is an intimate and necessary relation between the processes of actual experience and education.
- John Dewey, 1938

Tell me, and I will forget.
Show me, and I may remember.
Involve me, and I will understand -confuchu

Experiential Learning Cycles are models for understanding how the process of learning works. They are distinct from other models of learning, such as behavioral models or social learning models, in two notable ways:

Experiential Learning Cycles treat the learner's subjective experience as of critical importance in the learning process. ELCs draw on experiential education principles, which are largely based on the educational philosophy of John Dewey (1920's-1950's).

Experiential Learning Cycles propose an iterative series of processes which underlies learning. Depending on the model, there is anywhere between one stage (experience alone) through to six stages of learning to be considered.

Experiential Learning Cycles are commonly used to help structure experience-based training and education programs. For example, Experiential Learning Cycle models are amongst the most important pieces of theory used in many outdoor education programs.

Why break down learning into distinct stages?
By breaking fuzzy processes (such as learning) down into distinct stages (such as a 4-stage model), the idea is that we can better understand, test out, and make use of the main components.

However, trainers and educators who use convenient models, need to be critical consumers. Whilst a good model can greatly aid research and practice, a poor model (one which is wrong or misinterpreted) can create more problems than it solves.

Here is an example of how it can helpful to break learning down into discrete steps:

Tom is a typical three-year old boy in almost all respects, except that recently he has been throwing more temper tantrums than usual, they seem to be lasting longer, and occasionally they become particularly destructive to furniture, etc. Tom's parents are struggling to find ways to help Tom learn other ways of dealing with his frustrations and anger. They are concerned that if Tom doesn't learn to deal more appropriately with his emotions, that the problem could continue through his early schooling years and perhaps longer.
Tom's parents seek help from a psychologist who recommends implementing either a Time-Out procedure or a "Stop-Say-Listen" approach. Both of these procedures have been shown to be effective in helping children learn to deal with emotions and learn more effective behaviors because they intentionally add a "reflection" stage to the "action" stage. Such approaches to parenting can be seen as similar to the 2-stage Experiential Learning Cycle (action - reflection).

In many fields related to experiential learning, education, and training, the underlying "theoretical engine" is the idea that people can learn very effectively through direct, hands-on experience, as long as these experiences are well designed and facilitated.

But there are many examples where experience alone is not sufficient for meeting particular learning goals. In such situations, it seems to work better if the raw experience is packaged together with facilitated exercises which involve thinking, discussing, or creatively processing cognitions and emotions related to the raw experience.

Note that the term "Experiential Learning Cycle" is often used to refer to the 4-stage process model discussed extensively by Kolb (1984), but 8 other models are discussed on this page, plus Juch (1983) has collated 17 models.

Underlying Philosophy
How, exactly, do people "learn from experience"? The most famous response to this question comes from John Dewey's philosophy of education (see 500 Word Summary of John Dewey's "Experience & Education").

The underlying philosophy of experiential learning cycle (ELC) models is Deweyian. By Deweyian is meant that Experiential Learning Cycle models emphasize that the nature of experience as of fundamental importance and concern in education and training.

A further, Deweyian assumption underlying ELCs is that people learn experientially and that some experiences are educative whilst other experiences are miseducative. All experiences are understood to be continuous, that is, each experience influences each future experience.

It is the teacher's responsibility to structure and organize a series of experiences which positively influence each individual's potential future experiences (Dewey, 1938/1997). In other words, "good experiences" motivate, encourage, and enable students to go on to have more valuable learning experiences, whereas, "poor experiences" tend to lead towards a student closing off from potential positive experiences in the future.

This can be easier to understand with an extremely negative example, such as child abuse. Abusive experiences, particularly at an early age, tend to lead an individual towards shutting down or turning away from potentially positive experiences, particularly those involving trust of others. On the other hand, nurturant, warm experiences, particularly during the foundational years in child development, can help to foster an openness to experience, which augurs well for the child's future.

Dewey emphasizes the subjective nature of experience - the maxim "one's man's meat can be another man's poison" applies in education and training. Thus, the educator must be constantly alert to individual uniquenesses in the background of the participants, and personality, learning style, etc.

This does not necessarily mean descending into a completely free, unstructured style of education and training. Many educators claim the headiness of completely student-driven education has been tried and failed (e.g., A. S. Neill's "Summerhill").

However, there is also much disgruntlement with over structured training approaches (such as competency-based training) and overly prescriptive, restrictive schooling, particularly for non-academically inclined students. What's more, there is an ever-increasing need to provide people with less direct "content" or "information" and more of the underlying skills that foster learning capabilities and life skills.

Thus, we might construct a philosophical spectrum with regard to the structuredness of approaches to learning:

Progressive, "Free"


Traditional, "Structured"

Free, permissive, learner-driven, practically-oriented, progressive education
Semi-structured education, e.g., the subjectivity of learning experience is recognized, however the experiences are guided somewhat via structured planning and reviewing processes
Structured, knowledge-oriented, competency-driven, normative, traditional education

At various times or in different circumstances, a more free or a more structured approach may be more appropriate. Most often, however, a learner needs some amount of freedom to develop experience-based understanding; likewise in most educational settings, learners need some degree of guidance as well.

Thus, Experiential Learning Cycles can be seen as providing a semi-structured approach. There is relative freedom to go ahead in activity and "experience", but the educator also commits to structuring other stages, usually involving some form of planning or reflection, so that "raw experience" is package with facilitated cognitive (usually) thinking about the experience.

The length of time spent of each stage can vary between seconds, minutes, hours, or even days, but a cycle is most typically applied to short activities, e.g., to 10 to 60 minute activities.

Descriptions of the 9 Experiential Learning Cycle Models
Nine Experiential Learning Cycle models commonly in experiential learning literature have been identified and can be organized in terms of the number of stages they propose, from 1 to 6.

1-stage model
The first model, a 1-stage model (experience), is simply that experience alone is sufficient for learning. In many cases this is true. Pickles (n.d.) traces this underlying philosophy further back to the oft-used by experiential educator's Confucius quote (from around 450 BC):

The goal of education from this point of view then would be to structure and organize learning activities in which experiences themselves facilitate learning. For more information about the 1-stage model, see the "Outward Bound" model in James (1980/2000), Bacon (1987) and "Are the Mountains Still Speaking for Themselves?" (Neill, 2002).

2-stage model
The second model, a 2-stage model (experience-reflection), is that experiences followed by periods of reflection is an effective way to structure and facilitate experiential education.

For more information about the 2-stage model, see the "Outward Bound plus" model in James (1980/2000), Bacon (1987) and Neill (2002).

3-stage models
At least two major, 3-stage models exist.

The simplest is experience-reflection-plan, which suggests that following an experience and reflection, it is helpful to develop a plan for future experience. For more information, see Greenaway (2002b) and "Is a 3-stage model more practical?".

The second 3-stage model is based more directly on Dewey's (1938/1997) theory of experience, involving: "observation of surrounding conditions-knowledge obtained by recollection-judgment, which puts together what is observed and what is recalled to see what they signify" (Dewey, 1938/1997, cited in Priest & Gass, 1997, p. 145)

4-stage model
The fourth model, a 4-stage model (experience-reflection-abstraction-experimentation - see Figure 1), is Kolb's (1984) classic "Experiential Learning Cycle". David Kolb drew on Dewey's philosophy in proposing a 4-stage experiential learning cycle (see figure below).

Figure 1. The Experiential Learning Cycle (from Exeter, 2001, adapted from Kolb, 1984).

This model suggests that a participant has a Concrete Experience, followed by Reflective Observation, then the formation of Abstract Conceptualizations before finally conducting Active Experimentation to test out out the newly developed principles.

Whilst attributed to Kolb, the stages of experience were derived from the work of Kurt Lewin (see Atherton, 2002; Priest & Gass, 1997). Essentially, Kolb sought to capture Dewey's notion of continuity of experience and Lewin's field theory.

Although its the most commonly cited, whether Kolb's 4-stage Experiential learning Cycle best represents learning in all situations is debatable.

There are other stage models to be considered, and many critiques have been made. Nevertheless, the Kolbian 4-stage model is widely known and used in education and training circles, and continues to grow in popularity.

1. Concrete
2. Reflective

4. Active
3. Abstract

For more extensive summaries of Kolb's four stage model, see American Education Network Corporation, Smith (2001) and Greenaway (2002b). For an expansion of Kolb's 4-stage model, see Willis & Ricketts (2004).

5-stage modelsA variety of 5-stage Experiential Learning Cycle models have been proposed, including:

Joplin (1981) = focus-action-support-feedback-debriefing (see Priest & Gass, 1997, p. 142)
Kelly (1995) = encounter-(dis)confirmation-revision-anticipation-investment (see Greenaway, 2002b)
Pfeiffer & Jones (1975) = experiencing-publishing-processing-generalizing-applying (see Greenaway, 2002b; Priest & Gass, 1997, pp. 144-145)

6-stage modelPriest (1990) and Priest and Gass (1997) [pp. 145-146] describe a 6-stage model, called the "The Experiential Learning and Judgment Paradigm", consisting of: experience-induce-generalize-deduce-apply-evaluate.

Is a 3-stage Model More Practical?

Figure 2. Do-Review-Plan: A 3-stage experiential learning cycle.
Of course in briefly summarizing these 1- through 6-stage Experiential Learning Cycle models, details and variations and elaborations have been necessarily left aside.

One issue worth pursuing however, is whether the 4-stage stage model is the most useful, particular in practical settings.

Personally, I've found the 4 obtusely named stages of Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle somewhat abstract and foreign. I also like to explain the learning model or process being used to students, and the 4-stage model isnd not particularly student-friendly.

Instead, I've found that a simple, 3-stage model, do-review-plan (see Figure 2) appeals, particularly when explaining the model directly to participants and for basic staff training:

go forth and have an experience

review what happened and what can be learned

plan a way to tackle the next round of experience

The 3-stage do-review-plan is closely related to the 3-stage plan-do-review, which is a quality improvement cycle used in management and business. The difference is that in experiential learning, experience (do) is often used as the initial stage, rather than planning (plan) which is often the initial stage for management and business. However, the cycle is continuous in both cases, so the designation of a fixed starting point is rather arbitrary.

For more background on the 3-stage model, go to Greenaway (2002b).

Applications, Critiques & Elaborations of Experiential Learning Cycle Models
The most direct application of the model is to use it to ensure that teaching...activities give full value to each stage of the process. This may mean that...a major task is to "chase" the learner round the cycle, asking questions which encourage Reflection, Conceptualisation, and ways of testing the ideas. (Atherton, 2002)

Critiques of Experiential Learning Cycles are basically, as follows:

How on earth can the fuzzy, varied process of learning be condensed into 4 ordered stages?
How many stages of learning are there really? Could be anywhere from 0 to 100, there's no real way of telling.
The teaching of experiential learning cycles to trainee teachers can narrow them down into fixed ideas about how to teach (e.g., briefing, activity, debriefing, briefing, activity, and ever onward)
The research evidence for the experiential learning cycles models is generally lacking.
Greenaway (2002) has several interesting comments, criticisms, and further links. For example, he makes the interesting point that:

It is often assumed that the stages of a 'learning cycle' are managed by a facilitator, but they can also be self-managed or even 'unmanaged' in the sense that learning from experience is a normal everyday process for most people.
My recommendations for further online critiques and elaborations of Kolb's (1984) theory of experiential learning and his Experiential Learning Cycle are to read:

Atherton (2002)
Gass (2002)
Greenaway (2000a)
Greenaway (2002b)
Kelly (1997)
Kolb and Kolb (2001)
Smith (2001).

Reflection Questions for Understanding and Using Experiential Learning Cycles
A worksheet has been developed for an introductory undergraduate class for students studying philosophy and methods of outdoor education. It includes the following reflection questions:

1. What is an Experiential Learning Cycle?

2. How are the Experiential Learning Cycles related to John Dewey’s educational philosophy?

3. Which Experiential Learning Cycle do you prefer and why? (Draw the cycle and explain)

4. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this Experiential Learning Cycle?

5. How does this Experiential Learning Cycle conceptually relate to your philosophy of learning?

6. Give an example of an activity or program which is based on an Experiential Learning Cycle and which is consistent with your philosophy of education.

Learning experiences: Health education

A range of learning experiences for health education is suggested in the learning experiences in this chapter. Teachers should select those experiences that best meet the learning needs of their students.

Determinants of health – Level 7
Possible learning activities
Activity 1: A picture of health
Activity 2: Factors affecting well-being
Activity 3: The deal of life
Intended outcomes
Students will:

demonstrate their understanding of the wider social factors (determinants) that affect people's well-being (7A4, 7C2, 7D1);
establish priorities for policies to raise standards of health across the population (7D2, 7D3);
identify and examine ways in which determinants of health are interrelated (7A4, 7C2, 7D1).
Links to NCEA Achievement Standards
This foundation unit will help prepare students for assessment against all NCEA level 2 and 3 achievement standards in health education.

Key areas of learning
1.Mental health
2.Sexuality education
3.Food and nutrition

Key concept
Socio-ecological perspective: Analysing how determinants of health and their interrelationships affect people's well-being.
Background information
The activities in this section are essential for health education at this level. (They may also be used in physical education and home economics.) They are designed to help students identify and understand the factors that affect the well-being of people in society generally, and they provide students with opportunities to think critically as they learn to look at health issues from a socio-ecological perspective.

The three activities on pages 38–41 are intended to be combined as a unit of work that provides students with background information about determinants of health and related concepts. Students can then draw on this knowledge in a range of situations and learning contexts. It is recommended that this unit of work be implemented early in year 12 programmes.

For each activity, allow sufficient time for in-depth discussion that includes analysis and synthesis of new concepts introduced and students' ideas.

A complete version of the activity on pages 46–47, with teaching materials, can be found in Social Issues: Alcohol (Tasker and Hipkins, 2002).

Below are three possible learning activities provided for this learning experience. You can jump directly to one by selecting the link from the following list.

Activity 1: A picture of health
Activity 2: Factors affecting well-being
Activity 3: The deal of life

Activity 1: A picture of health
Share the learning goals (intended outcomes) with your students and establish success criteria.

Students work in small groups. Give each group a photo and ask them to discuss the following questions in relation to their photo.

What do you think is happening, or what could have happened, in the photo?
What can you tell about the person?
Does the person look healthy?
Explain all the factors (determinants) that could be affecting their well-being.
Print out and enlarge the following handout (if necessary) and cut it into separate terms with their sentences. Place them in random order on a surface where the students can view them all. Students examine these and, as a group, select a term and sentence(s) that they think could match their photo.

Key terms and sentences handout: click on the link 'Health determinants: Key terms and sentences', and select the printer icon in the pop-up window to print the Key terms and sentences. These terms and sentences are derived from Social Determinants of Health: The Solid Facts (WHO, 1998).

Display the photographs with their matching statements around the room for students to share and discuss. This process will help them to identify social determinants of health.

Then provide each student with a list of determinants. Either in discussion or in writing, students go on to demonstrate their understanding of determinants that affect people's well-being.

Teachers' notesThis first activity helps students to identify some social determinants of health. Because students may initially have difficulty with some concepts, you may need to explain these fully.

Gather a set of photographs of people, such as those in the web-based document Social Determinants of Health: The Solid Facts (WHO, 1998). This is available online at (PDF, 3.2mb)

Alternatively, teachers could gather photographs that feature an aspect of health from newspapers or news/current affairs magazines, such as National Geographic magazine.

Print out and enlarge the following handout (if necessary) and cut it into separate terms with their sentences. Place them in random order on a surface where the students can view them all. Students examine these and, as a group, select a term and sentence(s) that they think could match their photo.

Activity 2: Factors affecting well-being
Make up a set of cards, each of which contains information about a particular determinant of health. You could make up a set based on the example below, including additional details from Social Determinants of Health: The Solid Facts (WHO, 1998) or from Social Issues: Alcohol (Tasker and Hipkins, 2002), pages 103–124.

The cultural determinant
Cultural factors that affect people's health include people's beliefs, their sense of having an identity, and their culturally based philosophies, practices, and values, including values that relate to rights and responsibilities within the family or whānau...

Give each group of students a card. Each group discusses their responses to the following questions and instructions (in relation to the determinant on their card) and then presents their conclusions to the whole class.

What determinant of health is on your card?
What impact does it have on people's well-being?
What might need to be changed to bring about more positive health outcomes in relation to this determinant?
All determinants of health are interrelated. Explain how the effects of other determinants may compound the effects of your determinant on people's well-being.
Referring to the information provided on your card, suggest one or more laws, policies, or practices that could raise standards of health across the population in relation to this determinant. You may need to consider other laws, policies, or practices that could compound its effects.
As a class, discuss and agree on priorities for these policies.
Teachers' notes
This second activity is designed to deepen students' understanding of social determinants of health and to enable them to examine implications of these determinants for policies intended to enhance community health.
Important determinants of health are identified in the 'Socio-ecological perspective and health education' page and are summarised in Appendix 1. More detailed information is available from:
The Social Origins of Health and Well-being (Eckersley, Dixon, and Douglas, 2001)
'Social, Economic and Cultural Determinants of Health' (Howden-Chapman and Cram, 1998)
Social Determinants of Health: The Solid Facts (WHO, 1998), which is available online at (PDF, 3.2mb)

Activity 3: The deal of lifeStudents work in groups of about five. Give each group of students a set of cards. (See Teachers' notes on this page.) One student deals out the cards, face down, to the other group members. One at a time, each student turns over one of their cards and reads out the statement on it. As each card is turned, the group responds to question 1 below so that each group gradually builds up a profile of a person's health.

If the statements on different cards appear to contradict each other, students can discard one card, but in general they should try to build up a profile that accommodates apparent discrepancies.

Building a profile
Question 1: What would you expect this person's health to be like? Explain your answer.

Once they have built up the profile of their person, each group considers the following questions and then shares their conclusions with the whole class.

Question 2: Do you think that this person is healthy?
Question 3: Considering the profile of this person and the ways their health is affected by social determinants of health, how long do you think they might live?
Question 4: How might these social determinants be changed to enhance the health of this person?
Question 5: How likely is it that these determinants will be changed? Explain your answer.
Question 6: What other determinants of health might affect the well-being of this person?
The profile could include personal determinants, such as genetic factors, age, and gender, lifestyle determinants, and cultural, political, and environmental determinants.

Engage students in an in-depth discussion of the interrelationships among the various determinants of health. Go on to examine how the effects of any determinant may be compounded or mitigated by the effects of other determinants.

ExtensionStudents each select one determinant of health. They research existing national or local legislation, policies, and practices that are designed to mitigate the negative effects of this determinant (or to enhance its positive effects) in order to achieve equitable outcomes for all groups in the community or to help disadvantaged groups. Local websites may have sections that provide relevant regional information.

Students then present a brief report on their findings. They could consider the policies already in place and decide on the next priority for policy in this area.

Teachers' notes
This third activity enables students to analyse some of the complex interrelationships between determinants of health.

Make up different sets of ten cards – one for each social determinant of health. Each card contains a statement that relates to one social determinant of health.
One card has a statement about work, such as: "High level of job control – high satisfaction rate – can make choices about tasks".
Another has one about food, such as: "Balanced diet with very little processed food".

Another is about social support, such as: "High level of social support from family and community", and so on).
For a source of six such statements for each social determinant of health, refer to Social Issues: Alcohol (Tasker and Hipkins, 2002).
The statements in each set contribute to the profile of an individual.
Further activities focusing on determinants of health within the context of health education at years 11-13 can be found in 'Determinants of health and changing states of health' and 'Applying knowledge of determinants of health'.

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Sample questions for critical thinking

What do you know about this issue or situation?
How did you come to know this?
How do you feel about this issue or situation?
What is the evidence for this knowledge?
What are your beliefs about this knowledge? And why do you believe this?
What information is missing from this picture?
Why is this information missing?
Have the social, cultural, economic, political, and/or ethical aspects of this situation been considered?
Whose voice is heard in this writing, article, or classroom activity?
Whose interests are being served? Who has the power in this situation?
Who is being advantaged?
Who is not being heard or served?
Who is being disadvantaged?
What are the inequalities that exist in this situation?
What needs to change?
How can you contribute to this change?
Source: Based on Brookfield, 1995, and Smyth, 1992

Teaching and learning approaches

Experiential learning cycle

This learning cycle can be applied to all activities where students learn through doing. Students need to process content material in order to derive meaning from it and to construct knowledge associated with it. A common approach used to facilitate this is the experiential learning cycle, which "begins with activity, moves through reflection, then to generalizing and abstracting and finally to transfer" (Henton, 1996, page 39).

When designing activities, it is important to remember that the purpose is to create situations where students get to work with the relevant content. Teachers do not require students to provide correct answers to preconceived questions; rather, students are invited to delve into the topic, asking their own questions and gaining an insight into the process of constructing knowledge and understanding. Teachers observe their students closely during each session and identify the gaps in their knowledge base or skills in order to adjust the activity and their own teaching accordingly. (This description is adapted from Henton, 1996.)

Experiential learning is described as a four-phase cycle (Henton, 1996).(See diagram below.)

Teachers select one or more activities (experiences) in order to demonstrate a concept or raise questions. The experience should enable students to engage with the topic in as many ways as possible.
In the reflection phase, students query and review what they have done. The focus is on facts, so students should ask questions that begin with "what". As they examine different answers, they develop skills for critical thinking.
In the generalising and abstracting phase, students are able to examine the experience at a deeper level. They think about the meaning of the factual information they gathered from the questions they used in the reflecting phase. Students are encouraged to examine abstract concepts and make connections between ideas and their actual experience. They also look at what they have learned and hypothesise about where to go to next. Learners ask 'how', 'what if', and 'so what' questions.
The transfer phase is when students begin to apply the knowledge they have gained to the next activity or to their daily lives. They should use questions that begin with 'now what'. At this stage, students may go on to take critical action.
Teachers' note: Experiential learning cycle example
For an example of using the experiential learning cycle in a physical education context, refer to pages 17 and 18 of Attitudes and Values: Olympic Ideals in Physical Education in The Curriculum in Action series.

The experiential learning cycle process encourages learners to think more deeply, develop critical-thinking skills, and transfer their learning into action through successive phases of the cycle. The learning cycle may develop into a spiral. The phases are revisited, and students' conceptual understandings and strategies for change are developed further each time. They discover more about both the practical limits and the wider applications of their new knowledge as they begin to take what they learned in one situation and use it in another, demonstrating what they have learned.

Back to top
This approach has the following advantages:

Students develop their critical-thinking skills as they move through and repeat the phases (rather than being expected to have and use these skills at an advanced level in the first few activities).
It allows teachers time to develop the generalising and abstracting phase, and the transfer phase, as well as encouraging students to reflect on what they have done.
Building on experience in this way can lead students to a greater understanding of the socio-ecological and health promotion concepts. Both teachers and students ask increasingly sophisticated questions, and their understanding becomes deeper as they gain expertise.
Through this cycle, then, teachers can encourage their students to develop their critical-thinking skills (for example, analysing, synthesising, and evaluating). When they repeat the cycle of experiential learning, students can increasingly engage in higher level thinking and take action based on such thinking.

Diagram: The experiential learning cycle
The experiential learning cycle encourages new ways of knowing constructed from multiple experiences.

Diagram: How experiential learning relates to other experiences

Explanation of diagram
The conscious attention to processing learning develops in an upward or outwardly expanding spiral, so that with each new experience, the student not only develops greater ability to generalize, abstract and transfer learning, but also recognizes how each level is linked and interconnected to the other.
Henton, 1996, page 46

experiential learning

“Experiential learning takes
place when a person is
involved in an activity, looks
back and evaluates it,
determines what was useful
or important to remember and
uses this information to
perform another activity.”
—John Dewey

Integrity in Experiential Learning
David Kolb (1984) writes:

"In the theory of experiential learning, integrity is a sophisticated, integrated process o flearning, of knowing. It is not primarily a set of character traits such as honesty, consistency, or morality. These traits are only proabbly behavioral derivations of the integrated judgements that flow from integrated learning. Honesty, consistency, and morality are usually, but not always, the result of integrated learning....The prime function of integrity and integrative knowledge [by this Kolb means "codified social knowledge"] is to stand at the interface between social knowledge and the ever-novel predicaments and dilemmas we find ourselves in; its goal is to guide us through these straits in such a way that we not only survive, but perhaps we can make some new contribution to the data bank of social knowledge for generations to come" (Experiential Learning, p. 225).

Some resources on experiential learning:
Seelye, H. Ned. Experiential Activities for Intercultural Learning

Beard, Colin & Wilson, John. The Power of Experiential Learning: A Handbook for Trainers and Educators

Brown-Harris, Jeff & Stock-Ward, Susan. Workshops: Designing and Facilitiating Experiential Learning

Kolb, David. Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development

Baker, Ann. Conversational Learning: An Experiential Appraoch to Knowledge Creation

Boyatzis, Richard. Innovation in Professional Education: Steps on a Journey from Teaching to Learning

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

all about MEETINGS

Business Meetings in English
From Kenneth Beare,
Your Guide to English as 2nd Language.
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The following dialogue is an example of a typical business meeting. As you can see from the dialogue, a typical business meeting can be divided into five parts:

This example business meeting is followed by the two sections which provide key language and phrases appropriate for typical business meetings.


Meeting Chairman: If we are all here, let's get started. First of all, I'd like you to please join me in welcoming Jack Peterson, our Southwest Area Sales Vice President.

Jack Peterson: Thank you for having me, I'm looking forward to today's meeting.

Meeting Chairman: I'd also like to introduce Margaret Simmons who recently joined our team.

Margaret Simmons: May I also introduce my assistant, Bob Hamp.

Meeting Chairman: Welcome Bob. I'm afraid our national sales director, Anne Trusting, can't be with us today. She is in Kobe at the moment, developing our Far East sales force.

Reviewing Past Business

Meeting Chairman: Let's get started. We're here today to discuss ways of improving sales in rural market areas. First, let's go over the report from the last meeting which was held on June 24th. Right, Tom, over to you.

Tom Robbins: Thank you Mark. Let me just summarize the main points of the last meeting. We began the meeting by approving the changes in our sales reporting system discussed on May 30th. After briefly revising the changes that will take place, we moved on to a brainstorming session concerning after sales customer support improvements. You'll find a copy of the main ideas developed and discussed in these sessions in the photocopies in front of you. The meeting was declared closed at 11.30.

Beginning the Meeting

Meeting Chairman: Thank you Tom. So, if there is nothing else we need to discuss, let's move on to today's agenda. Have you all received a copy of today's agenda? If you don't mind, I'd like to skip item 1 and move on to item 2: Sales improvement in rural market areas. Jack has kindly agreed to give us a report on this matter. Jack?

Discussing Items

Jack Peterson: Before I begin the report, I'd like to get some ideas from you all. How do you feel about rural sales in your sales districts? I suggest we go round the table first to get all of your input.

John Ruting: In my opinion, we have been focusing too much on urban customers and their needs. The way I see things, we need to return to our rural base by developing an advertising campaign to focus on their particular needs.

Alice Linnes: I'm afraid I can't agree with you. I think rural customers want to feel as important as our customers living in cities. I suggest we give our rural sales teams more help with advanced customer information reporting.

Donald Peters: Excuse me, I didn't catch that. Could you repeat that, please?

Alice Linnes: I just stated that we need to give our rural sales teams better customer information reporting.

John Ruting: I don't quite follow you. What exactly do you mean?

Alice Linnes: Well, we provide our city sales staff with database information on all of our larger clients. We should be providing the same sort of knowledge on our rural customers to our sales staff there.

Jack Peterson: Would you like to add anything, Jennifer?

Jennifer Miles: I must admit I never thought about rural sales that way before. I have to agree with Alice.

Jack Peterson: Well, let me begin with this Power Point presentation (Jack presents his report).

Jack Peterson: As you can see, we are developing new methods to reach out to our rural customers.

John Ruting: I suggest we break up into groups and discuss the ideas we've seen presented.

Finishing the Meeting

Meeting Chairman: Unfortunately, we're running short of time. We'll have to leave that to another time.

Jack Peterson: Before we close, let me just summarize the main points:

Rural customers need special help to feel more valued.
Our sales teams need more accurate information on our customers.
A survey will be completed to collect data on spending habits in these areas.
The results of this survey will be delivered to our sales teaMs
We are considering specific data mining procedures to help deepen our understanding.
Meeting Chairman: Thank you very much Jack. Right, it looks as though we've covered the main items Is there any other business?

Donald Peters: Can we fix the next meeting, please?

Meeting Chairman: Good idea Donald. How does Friday in two weeks time sound to everyone? Let's meet at the same time, 9 o'clock. Is that OK for everyone? Excellent. I'd like to thank Jack for coming to our meeting today. The meeting is closed.

Useful Meeting Phrases

May I have a word?
If I may, I think...
Excuse me for interrupting.
May I come in here?

Giving Opinions

I (really) feel that...
In my opinion...
The way I see things...
If you ask me,... I tend to think that...

Asking for Opinions

Do you (really) think that...
(name of participant) can we get your input?
How do you feel about...?

Commenting on Other Opinions

I never thought about it that way before.
Good point!
I get your point.
I see what you mean.

Agreeing with Other Opinions

That's (exactly) the way I feel.
I have to agree with (name of participant).

Disagreeing with Other Opinions

Up to a point I agree with you, but...
(I'm afraid) I can't agree

Advising and Suggesting

We should...
Why don't you....
How/What about...
I suggest/recommend that...


Have I made that clear?
Do you see what I'm getting at?
Let me put this another way...
I'd just like to repeat that...

Requesting Information

I'd like you to...
Would you mind... I wonder if you could...

Asking for Repetition

I didn't catch that. Could you repeat that, please?
I missed that. Could you say it again, please?
Could you run that by me one more time?

Asking for Clarification

I'm afraid I don't quite understand what your are getting at.
Could you explain to me how that is going to work?
I don't see what you mean. Could we have some more details, please?

Asking for Verification

Do you mean that...?
Is it true that...?

Asking for Spelling

Would you mind spelling that for me, please?

Asking for Contributions for Other Participants

What do you think about this proposal?
Would you like to add anything, (name of participant)?
Has anyone else got anything to contribute?
Are there any more comments?

Correcting Information

Sorry, that's not quite right.
I'm afraid you don't understand what I'm saying.
That's not quite what I had in mind.
That's not what I meant.

Keeping the Meeting on Time

Well, that seems to be all the time we have today.
Please be brief.
I'm afraid we've run out of time.
I'm afraid that's outside the scope of this meeting.
Let's get back on track, why don't we?
That's not really why we're here today.
Why don't we return to the main focus of today's meeting.
We'll have to leave that to another time.
We're beginning to lose sight of the main point.
Keep to the point, please.
I think we'd better leave that for another meeting.
Are we ready to make a decision?

Opening the Meeting

Good morning/afternoon, everyone.
If we are all here, let's
. . . get started (OR)
start the meeting. (OR)
. . . start.

Welcoming and Introducing Participants

Please join me in welcoming (name of participant)
We're pleased to welcome (name of participant)
It's a pleasure to welcome (name of participant)
I'd like to introduce (name of participant)
I don't think you've met (name of participant)

Stating the Principal Objectives of a Meeting

We're here today to
Our aim is to ...
I've called this meeting in order to ...
By the end of this meeting, I'd like to have ...

Giving Apologies for Someone Who is Absent

I'm afraid.., (name of participant) can't be with us today.
She is in...
I have received apologies for the absence of (name of participant), who is in (place).
Reading the Minutes (Notes) of the Last Meeting

First let's go over the report from the last meeting, which was held on (date)
Here are the minutes from our last meeting, which was on (date)

Dealing with Recent Developments

Jack, can you tell us how the XYZ project is progressing?
Jack, how is the XYZ project coming along?
John, have you completed the report on the new accounting package?
Has everyone received a copy of the Tate Foundation report on current marketing trends?

Moving Forward

So, if there is nothing else we need to discuss, let's move on to today's agenda.
Shall we get down to business?
Is there any other business?
If there are no further developments, I'd like to move on to today's topic.

Introducing the Agenda

Have you all received a copy of the agenda?
There are three items on the agenda. First,
Shall we take the points in this order?
If you don't mind, I'd like to ... go in order (OR)
skip item 1 and move on to item 3
I suggest we take item 2 last.

Allocating Roles (secretary, participants)

(name of participant) has agreed to take the minutes.
(name of participant) has kindly agreed to give us a report on this matter.
(name of participant) will lead point 1, (name of participant) point 2, and (name of participant) point 3.
(name of participant), would you mind taking notes today?

Agreeing on the Ground Rules for the Meeting (contributions, timing, decision-making, etc.)

We will hear a short report on each point first, followed by a discussion round the table.
I suggest we go round the table first.
The meeting is due to finish at...
We'll have to keep each item to ten minutes. Otherwise we'll never get through.
We may need to vote on item 5, if we can't get a unanimous decision.

Introducing the First Item on the Agenda

So, let's start with
Shall we start with. .
So, the first item on the agenda is
Pete, would you like to kick off?
Martin, would you like to introduce this item?

Closing an Item

I think that covers the first item.
Shall we leave that item?
If nobody has anything else to add,

Next Item

Let's move onto the next item
The next item on the agenda is
Now we come to the question of.

Giving Control to the Next Participant

I'd like to hand over to Mark, who is going to lead the next point.
Right, Dorothy, over to you.


Before we close, let me just summarize the main points.
To sum up, ...
In brief,
Shall I go over the main points?

Finishing Up

Right, it looks as though we've covered the main items
Is there Any Other Business?

Suggesting and Agreeing on Time, Date and Place for the Next Meeting

Can we fix the next meeting, please?
So, the next meeting will be on... (day), the . . . (date) of.. . (month) at...
What about the following Wednesday? How is that?
So, see you all then.

Thanking Participants for Attending

I'd like to thank Marianne and Jeremy for coming over from London.
Thank you all for attending.
Thanks for your participation.

Closing the Meeting

The meeting is closed.
I declare the meeting closed.