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The Teaching Brain! (Vanessa Rodriguez, as a telepresenter)

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The Teaching Brain! (Vanessa Rodriguez, as a telepresenter)

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Thank you so much for presenting! Your concepts have changed me in so many ways. Either you have given a name to something that I'm already doing in the classroom or it addressed something that I can be doing in the classroom right now. I really want to share these concepts with my co-teachers and I hope that they can at least come away with a different point of view for teaching. I cannot wait for you book to come out(hopefully available in Ebook form) to read more in depth about your study and concepts. I honestly feel like I'm going to burst. That's how excited I feel about learning all of this. Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!

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3 Thank you Karlene! on Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:37 am

Karlene,
It was wonderful to read your post!  I am so glad that you wrote that I have given a name to something that you are doing in the classroom. That is exactly what I was hoping for. I suspect that the concepts I have shared on the teaching brain are examples of what teachers have known for quite some time but perhaps never thought to put into words. Often as teachers we don't even recognize how extraordinary the work they are doing really is; we're not taught to articulate the work of teaching in such a way.  I consider the work you do within ELT to be a great example of the highest level of cognitive complexity.  Research has a long way to go in truly understanding that level.  

Please do share this concept of the teaching brain with all of the teachers you know!  Perhaps together we can begin to change the view others have of teaching so that it gets the appropriate recognition.  The book will be out November 18th.  I believe it will be available in Ebook as well but do stay in touch and I will keep you posted.  You are of course very welcome but I feel I should be thanking you instead.  All the best!  

Please don't ever hesitate to email me directly.
Vanessa
vanessa_rodriguez@mail.harvard.edu

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4 I am a tool... on Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:23 am

Annie Semmelroth


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Hi Vanessa,

Firstly, thank you for sharing your research and ideas at the conference. I am starting to read some of your papers as well.  I found the topic absolutely fascinating, and it has kind of reshaped how I am approaching my curriculum creation, teaching and research.  

Unlike Karlene, I discovered that my concept of my own 'teacher brain' during lessons is something that is poorly defined, maybe even an idea that I have neglected.  During your workshop (that Robert kindly ran on the second day), we were asked to draw/write out the 5 domains of teaching, and how they relate to ourselves.  I found that I very quickly filled out 4 of the 5, but my mind went blank when it came time to find words to describe the cognitive processes happening in my own brain during teaching.  In the end, I quickly jotted down a few (shallow) ideas that I thought would define the cognitive processes taking place in my brain during teaching. They were, 'volume of my voice, timing, pace, body language, appearing approachable'.  Clearly, I see myself as a tool.  I have a volume dial, a speed monitor and produce happy faces when necessary.  It's incredible that after 10+ years of language teaching in places that have used me as a tool... that I have actually come to believe this!  

Additionally, I noticed that for the other 4 domains of teaching the level of abstract though required to understand my brainstormed remarks would probably rank around the A4 level (the level that can be achieved by people in their mid-20s with the appropriate context. is A4 right?).  However, a 10 year old child could have probably understood my description of my own teacher brain!  Goodness.  I have a long way to go!

This leads me to my question (sorry it took so long).  For a teacher who wants to become more cognizant of her teacher brain (to add to the learning experience and for professional development) what ideas would you recommend to keep in mind during the teaching process?

Thank you so much, Vanessa, for opening my eyes to a new topic.  It really is a topic of enormous relevance.  I really respect this path that you are 'trail blazing'. Smile

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