Our Educational Message

Hi, and welcome to our blog. This space is designed to share ideas and methodologies that we use to teach Turkish teenagers. In particular, there is a strong focus on ICT-ELT, which means if you like visual and technological support for your style of teaching, this blog is for you. My colleague, Brentson Ramsey, has been working alongside me for three years. He is also a big proponent of the ICT-ELT Paradigm, which means he will also be posting from his own teaching perspective on the blog.

2010 was the beginning of this new journey, and although there is no definitive ICT-ELT road map available for everyone to follow, it is exciting to explore the technological means to make teaching more fun and affective for students. Our main message is for teachers to ADOPT & ADAPT the paradigm shift for their own needs, and remember that

Sunday, 12 August 2012


The idea for this approach to our students came from a teacher on TWITTER, where else? In the tweet the teacher wrote how he uses the video embedded here to show how the relationship between the five stages of grief can be used to show how teachers go through each stage when faced with professional development. It struck me how accurate the guy was in his perception of the (unfairly)dreaded training paradigm we are all faced with.
After giving some presentations around Turkey of the model, and receiving very positive feedback from audiences of teachers, I realized that the five stages could also be used to describe how students react to learning English. Several of my teenage students were displaying traits of Denial and Anger, Bargaining and Depression. So, I wanted to share this with them and went about making several lessons based around the model. The reaction to it really surprised me as students reflected on their own feelings. Now renamed, The FIVE STAGES of LEARNING, it was clear that patterns were emerging.
The responses here are so typical of many, if not most, teenage Turkish L2 learners. I don't know if it is because they have had teachers in the past that have turned them off learning the language, or its more of a natural feeling towards an education system that demands they learn a second mother-tongue if they are to go most universities. In any case, the problem is there, and we, teachers and parents, have to try and convince the students of the benefits to them if they get past this stage.
Inevitably, stage one and stage two work hand-in-hand. I propose that it is because of these two stages that cause the vast majority of discipline issues for high school teachers. If teachers reflect on the kids most likely to disrupt, contest and reject the lessons, I believe it is because of how the emotions these two stages manifest in the disruptive and problematic students.
This stage is common amongst all of the students at some point. It is natural for teenagers to try and avoid doing the extra work. However, I think in the context of the 5-Stages it is slightly different. I see the students who display these traits are actually trying to succeed. They just can't admit to themselves yet. They won't until they start to fail regularly, and the penultimate stage kicks in.
It is this stage that most concern for the student is felt by teachers, parents and friends. Unfortunately, it is not a quick stage to pass, as it often relies on results or success. If the student has been through the previous three stages, then his/her chances of passing or making progress are slim. Only after this has passed, the emotional heartache felt and that light bulb has turned on, will the 'victim' feel different. Teachers, parents and friends need to be very supportive and positive at this stage.
This is a fabulous stage to observe in your students. When they finally realize the error of their ways and start to make a difference in their learning curve. The smiles and positive energy that can be achieved here is unmatchable. A wonderful example from my own class last year saw a girl from out of town who moved to the big city under a sports scholarship. She was in denial and the other three stages back and forth for four months. We couldn't get through to her properly. She would promise that she had seen the light; but it would last but a few days, and then she be introverted and shy. It was only when she returned home and spoke to her old English teacher, who told her she had made brilliant progress in English from when she had left, that the girl felt worthy again. She instantly regained her self confidence. She came back to Istanbul and the change was extraordinary. She went from an average of 1.1 in the CEFR to a 3.1 in a month! It was extraordinary to see, and be a part of.
The case for self-belief was so evident that it not only made me believe totally in this model, but also in the hope for all students. If we can identify the stage that a student is at, we can go some way to helping them help themselves. If they can get over themselves and make the proper choices, they can really stand more of a chance for success.

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