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Accelerated learning

June 30, 2007

Hello again,

Do you think it is a trendy fad or a serious approach?...

...Accelerated Learning is not a term I particularly like. I would prefer ‘effective learning’ because I think the rate at which we learn is not something that be can be set in general terms. Some people learn more quickly than others and some subjects can be more readily learnt than others. To learn another language to a level at which you can really use it for ‘survival’ cannot be achieved without a substantial investment of time and effort. Okay, in a week it is possible for most people who apply themselves to acquire a sort of ‘phrase-book’ efficiency, but that is not the same as really having the target language at your fingertips.

But these reservations aside, I think the theory of accelerated learning is sound, in that it combines the study of how the brain functions, theories of human attention and motivation, and the psychology of optimal performance and intelligence. In other words, we can apply what is known about how the brain uses cognitive, imaginative and emotional processes to learning for a better outcome.

When properly motivated and appropriately taught, all learners have the power to reach a level of achievement that probably exceeds their current expectations. And to help learners reach their goals teachers should:
• Create a positive learning environment
• Use visuals, music and physical activity
• Give feedback on improvements that can be acted on at once
• Share a plan of the content, process and benefits of the learning
• Challenge learners by posing problems, providing case studies, and stimulating debate
• Create time and space for reflection and discussion
• Review what has been learned, how it was learned and how it can be used.

Essentially learning should be enjoyable and a means of helping learners develop. The carrot and stick approach is inappropriate. The teacher is less useful as a source of information than as someone who can stimulate the desire for learning. Find out more from: http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/mod/resource/view.php?id=167361/.

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  1. Maria Says:

    Life starts at 46 years old, am I right?
    I have been searching the websites for teaching in foreign countries. Can anyone recommend which course I should take? I have seen courses that cost $1000, I have seen courses that cost $200......What would you suggest?
    I thank you so much for this wonderful website and all the information in it, and for your time.

  1. Brenda Townsend Hall Says:

    Hi Maria,

    Yes, of course life starts anew every day and it's never too late to start a fresh approach! You are trapped into an "either/or" mentality. I would suggest that you go for a cheapish, short course to see if TESOL is what you really want. That way you will not lose very much but will gain insights into your own skills and knowledge. If you find the field attracts, then you can go for a longer, more expensive course of the sort that will give you credibility with an employer. In the longer term aim for a Cambridge or Trinity College course; these are available widely around the world and have good standing among employers. For your tatser course go for whatever is convenient for you.

  1. Marianela Lozano Says:

    In a teaching class, how should a teacher give their students feedback ? I mean, for a group of students who are learning how to teach English.

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