Fresh off a successful and exhilarating week with our class of January 11-15, 2021 we could not help but be amazed at the progress and focus of this group of talented teachers! We are so excited to hear of their adventures and achievements as they use the skills that they have become so proficient in. We were so honored to have previous alumni from Canada, the USA and Great Britain attend our class and briefly relate how they have benefited from the course and particularly how they have used the training to support themselves. Well done class and do keep in touch!
Well done class! We really look forward to keeping in touch with you as the months go by. And do keep the momentum going by getting involved in teaching as soon as possible, even volunteering to teach - if you have not started yet. We recently posted some great ideas for how to get experience in teaching on our Instagram account - @lexicatraininginstitute.
In our newsletter this month we will be highlighting one of our 30 robust methods- “The Neural Gym.” This is one of the methods that can be used, both by language instructors and those that are trying to teach themselves a language. We are also thrilled to let you know what is in the pipeline here at Lexica in the coming months and we have a quick reminder for anyone who would like to earn the 150-hour certificate.
The Neural Gym
Let’s face it, it is sometimes SO hard to keep focused these days! Trying to learn a language in these distracting times poses a significant challenge for all students - both children and adults. Today, many - if not most - language learners are attending their classes online.
This medium of instruction, while perhaps reducing the number of distractions that would usually occur in the classroom environment, may increase opportunities to create their own distractions. The camera only shows their face, and not the other browser tabs that they may have open at the same time, or the mobile phone they are playing with off screen.
With this challenge in mind, we are thrilled to present our method of the month, a method that is designed to increase focus and keep fast hold of your student’s attention. The method is called The Neural Gym.
In our course, we divide the concept into three separate exercises. In this article, we will talk about why bouncing balloons or juggling scarves, or tossing anything the student has handy, is used to great effect in teaching vocabulary, improving pronunciation, and fluency.
Why does “The Neural Gym” work? Losing focus pauses or sets back learning. Our brain is very powerful, but - if poorly trained - the moment our thinking faculties face a distraction or lose interest, instead of shutting down, they tend to simply “look” elsewhere. By thinking faculties, I mean anything that stimulates the brain via sight, sound, smell, taste and dozens more sensory sources. From our powerful eyes, to the tiny hairs on our arms, to the nerves in our olfactory epithelium - we are the very definition of being "overly sensitive"!
To properly learn a language, it requires intense focus. When we combine specific activities that power the motor cortex with specific vocabulary goals in the target language, we force the mind to direct all of its focus to the task at hand. Bouncing a balloon between two students or between the opposite hands of a single student while they repeat the target vocabulary or recite it from memory is one way of enabling the mind of that student to be completely focused on the task.
Replacing balloons with juggling scarves sharpens this focus to an even greater degree. The entire time that they are using this method, you will have no problems with their becoming distracted from the class, because it is simply not possible. Why do we say that? Well let’s examine some of the myriads of things that are happening at the same time: Throughout this Neural Gym workout, their brains are making constant complex mental calculations to keep the balloons or scarves in the air; their auditory cortex is fully engaged in order to hear and speak the new
vocabulary; AND all of this effort makes a vigorous case to the hippocampus to justify granting entry of this new information into the hallowed halls of long-term memory. With all of this going on, there are simply no cerebral resources left for Instagram, TokTok, Vine, daydreaming, or closet organizing! Additionally, many teachers and students have noticed that pronunciation “magically” improves when balloons and scarves are employed. This is because the brain is laser- focused on repeating the vocabulary exactly as it hears it. For more reading on the benefits of juggling and education take look at these articles:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3417045.stm https://abcnews.go.com/Health/Technology/juggling-improve-brain/story? id=116656
What can I use “The Neural Gym” for? Since the brain is so focused on the logistics associated with keeping the balloon in the air, or juggling the scarves - the best way to use these exercises is when teaching or reviewing sequential vocabulary such as numbers, days of the week, months of the year, etc. It also is very effective as a drill for verb tenses, much like practising scales in music.
How do I do it? Neural Gym exercises are just three of the over 30 methods we teach in our weeklong seminar. We would be delighted to teach you how to successfully employ these methods. If you don’t know how to juggle, don’t fret! We will teach you how to juggle scarves in just 10 minutes! Even preschoolers can do it!
Do I need a 150-Hour Certificate?
Our 5-day TESOL on-site certification program has equipped many of our students to find work soon after completing the course. However, some companies are now requiring job candidates to have TESOL/TEFL certification with a minimum of 100 hours of training in addition to on-site teacher training and assessment.
For this reason, we have prepared an addendum to our 5-day intensive seminar to satisfy the requirements of these companies. The program consists of 7 modules that can be completed in up to one year from completing the course. Modules 1 involves taking our dynamic 5-day TESOL/Language Instructor Course. Modules 2 through 6 are entirely based on the training received during our 5-day seminar. The extra research and academic exercises powerfully contribute to your recall of the core teaching principles behind the methods taught in the TESOL program.
Students will be assigned an experienced tutor who will grade their submissions and provide feedback designed to ensure their successful completion of the course. Students who opt to take this additional training will receive a certificate that attests to their successful completion of 150 hours of TESOL training along with a transcript detailing the advanced content of this program. For more information see our website at https://lexica.world/150-hour-tesol/
Our Blog and Social Media
Check out our blog where we regularly post our past newsletters, new videos and tips for teaching English and other great things! You can also follow us on our Instagram account @lexicatraininginstitute for teaching tips, class ideas, announcements and mini English lesson videos. We are constantly adding to our content and making it as useful as possible. We love to get your feedback and hear all about what is working well for you. Let us know what kind of content you would like to see more of in the future!
Free TESOL/Seminar for Language Instructors Sampler Classes. With so many options out there for English training, it can be overwhelming to choose one school or program to get certified. Our graduates can testify to the value of our program. We took the expensive courses so that you don’t have to! To read our students’ testimonials and reviews, go to https://lexica.world/testimonials/. Still, we want to give anyone who is interested in this field an opportunity to sample how beneficial, motivating and practical our program is. Therefore, we will soon be conducting free 60-90 minute online sessions as a sampler of our 5-day certification program. Anyone interested in learning our methods, either to teach themselves a language or to teach others - can get a free sample of what they would learn in our one-week course. Stay tuned for more details!
Online English Grammar Classes with Ruth We are thrilled to announce that our residentGrammar Queen will soon be hosting monthly online English grammar classes. She will use the same dynamic teaching methods that are taught in our TESOL Course/Seminar for Language Instructors to help you get familiar with some of the more challenging or sometimes overwhelming aspects of English grammar. Our first class is planned for Sunday, March 21, 2021 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time. Keep an eye on our site www.lexica.world for more information and to register
Bigs Hugs until next time from Jordan and Ruth!!!