Thursday, August 30, 2012

Circadian rhythm and haptic-integrated teaching

Class getting you down? Generally no energy, motivation and enthusiasm at that time of day, even with your chai latte? Rather than moving to another time . . . you might try just moving!
Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
 If you could choose any time of day to teach your speaking-listening class, when would that be? When would you generally prefer not to? I learned decades ago that between about 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. is not a good time for me to sit through a lecture or meeting--unless I have a very active role in what is happening. My "circadian rhythm" pattern is very predictable. If you haven't plotted yours before, go to this BBC quick test to see a graphic representation of yours. It even comes with some suggestions on how to cope with it, like coffee, the right food, exercise, a quick nap, etc. To that list we could add: haptic engagement, both for instructor and student. "Simply" anchoring key "academic word list" vocabulary carefully in a reading/writing class serves to energize well, keeping those at the nadir of their circadian rhythm cycle in the game. (We have proposed a workshop on precisely that topic at the 2013 TESOL conference in Dallas. If it is accepted, I'm going to ask that that it occur right after lunch in a hot, noisy, jam-packed room full of uncomfortable desks and chairs--and/or maybe right after one of the more mind-numbing plenaries! You can always get the body to join the party, beginning with a gentle warm up and interspersing various kinds of haptic anchoring as appropriate. Start there and normally the brain comes on line not long after. If not, consider going into administration or writing teachers' manuals . . . 

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