On other hand, I became a confident conversationalist in Spanish within 9 months including, but not limited to, learning by the Michel Thomas method (btw, if anyone is trying to learn the basics of a new language, I can't recommend him enough). Don't get me wrong, there are many reasons for the big discrepancy in the time it took to learn (e.g. Immersion, 5 hours a day study, urgent need, age, etc), but I want to look specifically at the differences in the methodology of my learning.
- Focused on learning common phrases and vocabulary, split up in to common situations (e.g. Ordering food, Sports).
- Lots of new words to learn each week.
- Little practice on sentence construction emphasised.
- Common situations are left fairly separate.
|This is me with French.|
The Michel Thomas method
- Focused on learning sentence construction including verb conjugation and tenses.
- Very little vocab introduced - what vocab is introduced is extremely common and generalisable to most situations.
- Every rule and word introduced is practiced often and is quickly connected and used in different ways with previously introduced concepts.
|Michel Thomas teaching Sofia Loren|
How can this be related to Maths education?The reason I've been thinking about this is because pupils I have seem to have a similar tendency that I had in French class to over-compartmentalise different Maths skills rather than seeing them as part of something bigger. Also, one of my worries about SBG is that (if used incorrectly) it could exacerbate this.
I also worry about pupil retention when so much syllabus is gone through every year.
So what would Michel Thomas' Maths classroom look like?
The Michel Thomas Maths class:
- Much reduced syllabus, focusing almost entirely on Maths skills that are generalisable/transferable to many situations.
- Most of the emphasis is on becoming fluent with these (fewer) skills and on the ability to combine them in different ways.
- All skills are constantly repeated as they are brought in to combine with any new skills learned.
- Struggle (particularly to remember certain skills) is discouraged and comfort and ready fluency with skills is encouraged.