Positive Psychology Learning Outcomes
- talk about the importance of mindfulness in learning.
- set a goal to be more mindful in language learning.
- describe how to use mindfulness to improve language learning outcomes.
Language Learning Outcomes
- listen for specific information
- connect content to background knowledge.
- focus on pronunciation.
Learning involves all senses and awareness of what surrounds us. We need to be in the present, and not in many places at the same time. Phones can interrupt a mindful learning moment. Before starting the lesson, invite students to put their phones completely away (ideally inside their backpacks), explain that doing so is part of today’s lesson, and challenge them to keep from checking their phones during the whole class time.
Activate Background Knowledge
Ask students what makes learning a language difficult. Have the students work with partners to discuss problems that they may have. After, discuss as a class. Possible answers may include:
- Trouble memorizing
- Difficulty understanding teachers
As we clear our minds, we make room to expand our knowledge. Additionally, mindfulness will allow us to focus on what we are learning right now.
Activity 1: Speaking/Listening
- Ask the students what things they can remember that they have learned in class this week and write down the concepts they say in 1 minute.
- After that, ask the students to close their eyes and guide them through a focus exercise in which they will have to close their eyes and breathe deeply. Ask the students to focus on what they can listen to and feel, how their body is feeling, and what things are in their minds. Ask and remind them of some of the concepts learned during the week and ask them to think about them.
- After that exercise, ask them to open their eyes and repeat the brainstorming exercise in 1 minute.
- Ask the students to discuss with a partner how and why it was different to remember what they have learned the second time.
Activity 2: Vocabulary
Review the following vocabulary words, their pronunciation, and their definition:
- Attention → pay attention
Activity 3: Listening/Writing
Have students watch the following video. Explain that this video will help them practice their focus.
- After watching the video, ask students to talk about how they felt trying to count the objects.
Selectively focusing on something makes it easier to accomplish a task. Focusing on just one thing at the time (learning English, eating, working out,...) helps us understand things better.
- Ask the students what are some things that they might need to focus on to improve in their language learning experience.
- Ask the students to create a mind map with the word ‘focus’ as the main concept, and relate and link to it some specific ideas, activities, and habits they can develop to better concentrate when learning the language.
Activity 4: Listening
Let's focus on a grammar principle.
Have students watch the following video and write down the words in the simple past.
Kung Fu Panda 2 Simple Past
After watching the video, ask students what words they were able to hear, and whether they can understand what the scene of the movie was about. Would they be able to summarize what happened?
*Probably not, as their main purpose and focus was listening for words in past tense.
Ask the students to tell a partner how well they were able to focus on finding those words, and what was distracting to them.
Activity 5: Pronunciation
Help students understand that in order to improve with pronunciation, they need to focus on one aspect.
Explain that today, students will focus on the pronunciation of -ed. Review the pronunciation with students. This website has a helpful explanation.
After reviewing the pronunciation of ed, have students read the following paragraph out loud:
“When I got home, the kitchen was a mess. At our house, we have agreed to clean up after ourselves, so I asked around to find out who had cooked last. That person turned out to be my son. While he washed the dishes, I sat at the kitchen table and talked to him about his school work. Last year, he tested into an advanced program, and I wanted to see how he was doing. He seemed happy with it. He started telling me about his classes and what he learned that day.”
Ask students whether they were able to stay focused on the past tense -ed or if they were distracted by other things.
You may also change the pronunciation principle to focus on depending on what your class is working on at the moment of the lesson.
Ask students to set a goal for their own mindful learning. Invite students to choose one aspect that they would like to improve. It might be one pronunciation skill, one listening skill, or memorizing vocabulary (help students make a specific goal). As part of this goal, invite students to set a time and a place to remove distractions and stay focused for 15 minutes practicing the skill they chose to work on.
Have students share their homework experience with mindfully focused language learning with a partner. Praise students when they talk about coping with distractions, staying focused, etc.
Ask students to discuss what the following quote means to them. Highlight any comments related to focusing one’s attention.
“The mind is just like a muscle - the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets and the more it can expand.” - Idowu Koyenikan
Have students answer the following question in small groups.
How has being more focused on your learning helped you this week?
How have you removed distractions and how has this helped you be more present in your learning experience?