Guerrilla Literacy Learners

This project has been funded with sup-port from the European Commission. The content reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.





Your fave grammar rule is probably fake

A daring article about the onset and sense and use of (English) grammar and probably grammars in general. Quotes: "Correctness rests upon usage; all usage is relative.”... "Chaucer, Shakespeare, Austen, James Joyce, Mark Twain to name just a few, all had their fair share of grammatical ‘errors’." What are grammars based on?..


Why we should let our children fail

"Modern parenting is dictated by fear. Risks seem to lie around every corner – antibiotic-resistant germs, bullying kids, unfair teachers, lurking paedophiles – so when we tuck our kids in to bed at night, free of cuts, bruises or emotional hurt, we have, for one more day, found tangible evidence of our parenting success." When she realised her risk-averse parenting was holding back her children’s progress, Jessica Lahey took a step back and gave her boys the freedom to make their own mistakes


10 English pronounciation errors by Italian speakers

A sound file. What are the main errors for Italian speakers in English pronunciation? Here we have highlighted the top ten experienced by Italian speaking students at Pronunciation Studio


OMG! Texting Isn’t Ruining English!

In the past decade the world has experienced a communications boom brought on by an insane amount of increased connectivity; widespread use of the Internet, and of course; cellphones. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’re also probably aware that these devices and methods often fall under considerable scrutiny for somehow helping to undermine the “sacred” laws of the English language, destroying human interaction, and otherwise causing raucous young people to turn into something straight out of The Walking Dead... A challenging article with which you may agree or disagree.


What can I say to myself?

A nice model to take into consideration...


How to learn any language in six months (A TED talk)

Chris Lonsdale is Managing Director of Chris Lonsdale & Associates, a company established to catalyse breakthrough performance for individuals and senior teams. In addition, he has also developed a unique and integrated approach to learning that gives people the means to acquire language or complex technical knowledge in short periods of time.


5 techniques to speak any language (Sid Efromovich)

“The most important thing is to get things wrong, to make mistakes...”

Teaching has always been one of Sid’s passions and he has led groups of young leaders since 2006. He has given workshops, talks and classes in 3 different continents and is currently a Master Teacher in Skillshare where he teaches classes on nurturing happiness and learning foreign languages.


The power of believing that you can improve (“Engage with your mistakes”)

Carol Dweck researches “growth mindset” — the idea that we can grow our brain's capacity to learn and to solve problems. In this talk, she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it … or have you just not solved it yet? A great introduction to this influential field.


Bigger Gains for Students Who Don’t Get Help Solving Problems

In a recent study published in the Journal of the Learning Sciences, Kapur and a co-author, Katerine Bielaczyc, applied the principle of productive failure to mathematical problem solving in three schools in Singapore. With one group of students, the teacher provided intensive “scaffolding”—instructional support—and feedback. With the teacher’s help, these pupils were able to find the answers to their set of problems.

Meanwhile, a second group was directed to solve the same problems by collaborating with one another, absent any prompts from their instructor. These students weren’t able to complete the problems correctly. But in the course of trying to do so, they generated a lot of ideas about the nature of the problems and about what potential solutions would look like. And when the two groups were tested on what they’d learned, the second group “significantly outperformed” the first...


Why Understanding Obstacles is Essential to Achieving Goals

For 20 years, psychology professor Gabriele Oettingen of New York University and the University of Hamburg has been examining positive thinking and her conclusion is clear. All that positive thinking can trick the dreamer into believing she’s already done the work to get to the desired goal, squelching the motivation to actually go after it. “Positive thinking alone is not enough,” Oettingen says. Indeed, fantasizing about success without an anchor in reality can actually diminish the likelihood of a better outcome. “[Positive thinking] has to be done in the right way and in the right form.”

What does contribute to success, she says, is the conscious adoption of a nuanced kind of optimism, one that takes into account the real-life barriers to success.


Unlock Your Creative Genius

Somewhat dodgy English and grammar aside, this infographic by Templatemonster is an excellent poke in the ribs for procrastinators and dreamers. A nice step-by-step approach to learning from mistakes by sharing, listenting and trying again.


Are Elvish, Klingon, Dothraki and Na’vi real languages?

They are all fantasy constructed languages, or conlangs. Conlangs have all the delicious complexities of real languages: a high volume of words, grammar rules, and room for messiness and evolution. In a short movie John McWhorter explains why these invented languages captivate fans long past the rolling credits. Conlangs are more than new words, they also use grammar and can change over time, like real languages,


Learning synonyms or new words

Funny clip from Limmy’s Show (Scotland). How a learner (albeit a native speaker) can learn a new word, whether it's a real one or not.


Can Visualizing Your Body Doing Something Help You Learn to Do It Better?

Visualization and action are intimately connected, involving the motor cortex. Thinking about our body doing something—raising an arm or walking forward—activates the motor cortex directly. Imagining allows us to remember and mentally rehearse our intended movements. In fact, visualizing movement changes how our brain networks are organized, creating more connections among different regions.

Interesting article when you think of alternative ways of ‘coaching’ the learner…


What are the best ways to learn foreign languages?

There is a trick to learning languages that can shorten the journey to fluency from decades to mere months. There's also something most teachers won't even tell students for fear they would never start, but in fact, is vital that you know. In fact, there's not one trick but a whole suite of tricks to help you learn a language.

An honest article for language learners...


Step by Step: Designing Personalized Learning Experiences For Students

The phrase “personalized learning” gets tossed around a lot in education circles. Sometimes it’s used in the context of educational technology tools that offer lessons keyed to the academic level of individual students. Other times it’s referring to the personal touch of a teacher getting to know a student, learning about their interests and tailoring lessons to meet both their needs and their passion areas.


The child-driven education

Education scientist Sugata Mitra tackles one of the greatest problems of education — the best teachers and schools don't exist where they're needed most. In a series of real-life experiments from New Delhi to South Africa to Italy, he gave kids self-supervised access to the web and saw results that could revolutionize how we think about teaching.

Very inspiring research and lecture by Mr Sugata Mitra.


Visuals for Foreign Language Instruction

Repository of images that might facilitate language learning


4 Ways to Motivate Kids to Tackle Complex Text

Picture a class full of eighth graders groaning in protest when you hand out the article you want them to read today. “Yeah, right,” mutters one, pushing the article onto his neighbors’ desk and guarding his space with a fortress of elbows, jacket, and lunch. Surveying the scene, you know it’s going to be a long battle. How do you convince your students to take on the challenge demanded by more rigorous reading standards?


Student Centered vs. Teacher Centered Learning

“All of us go through years of teacher training even without noticing it. I began teaching as most young teachers do, unconsciously modeling my teaching style on that of the teachers I’d had. I stood in front of the classroom and told people things.” Reflection about the shift from teacher-centered towards student-centered approach.


Alternatives To Homework: A Chart For Teachers

Part of rethinking learning means rethinking the bits and pieces of the learning process–teaching strategies, writing pieces, etc. The article offers ideas for alternatives to traditional homework assignments.


Developing a Growth Mindset in Teachers and Staff

We have to really send the right messages, that taking on a challenging task is what I admire. Sticking to something and trying many strategies, that’s what I admire. That struggling means you’re committed to something and are willing to work hard. Parents around the dinner table and teachers in the classroom should ask, ‘Who had a fabulous struggle today? (Morehead 2012) This praise can have significant effects upon students… An interesting article on empowering dialogues


Multisensory Teaching Techniques for Sight Words

Introducing new sight words to students through a series of classroom-tested and research-validated techniques based on the Orton-Gillingham method of multisensory teaching. Our five teaching techniques provide numerous repetitions of the sight word in a variety of forms—seeing the word, hearing the word, saying the word, reading the word, spelling the word, and writing the word. Just print out some sight words flash cards and get started:

1. See & Say: The child sees the word on the flash card and says the word.

2. Spell Reading: The child says the word and spells out the letters, then reads the word again.

3. Arm Tapping: The child says the word and then spells out the letters while tapping them on his/her arm, the reads the word again.

4. Air Writing: The child says the word, writes the letters in the air in front of the flash card, then says the word again.

5. Table Writing: The child writes the letters on the table, first looking at the flash card and then not looking at the flash card.

By engaging multiple of the child’s senses, you greatly increase the odds of getting the word into the student’s long-term memory… This article is worth reading and includes interesting links.



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