What is significant learning in ESL classes?



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Significant learning

Significant learning

What is significant learning in ESL?

Gone are the days where we are tested just on what we see in our textbooks. Education based on memorizing simple facts is useless with all of the technology at our fingertips.  Our textbooks are now the starting point of our education. We use them to offer us ideas and make sure we have a guide to follow. We see grammar and vocabulary that is important to dominate so that we can make it our own. It’s all about learning how to do something, not what we know anymore. The beginning starts with Democracy and Education:

Democracy and Education (Dewey, 1916)

  • Education and learning are social and interactive processes.
  • Students thrive in an environment where they are allowed to experience and interact with the curriculum.
  • All students should have the opportunity to take part in their own learning.
Let me explain, we used to be graded on all the grammatical structures but today a topic is associated to a social situation, that requires you to integrate vocabulary and grammar to understand and be understood.  This means that the interaction between you and your peers is the desired outcome of any class.  Since this is true you will learn from your teacher as well as teach him about yourself and discuss all the previous knowledge that you might have about a certain topic. The process includes the use of:
  • Open-endedness (Questions and tasks)
  • Dialogue
  • Co-construction of Knowledge
  • Sharing work
  • Reflection
Are you familiar with the idea of TALKING SHOP in class? It is related to the keyword Authenticity. We gain confidence in talking about ourselves as well as learning to ask questions that really matter to us. You can literally relate any topic to your own personal life and by doing this we achieve our new educational goals. The real world context that takes the know-how and integrates it into our community and workplace, these are the kind of things that stay with us. When we emanate from a problem that has a meaning to your students you will be surprised by the amount of commitment possible.
We also begin to see new ways of going through content that address:
·       Learning how to learn
·       Leadership
·       Interpersonal skills
·       Ethics
·       Communication skills
·       Character
·       Tolerance
·       The ability to adapt to change
I hope you enjoyed the Idea of SIGNIFICANT LEARNING.