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Learn from the Best: Robert S. Murphy

Amy and I believe that when you seek guidance, you should learn from the best.   

 

Learn from them.   Develop their ideas and make them your own.   

 

Robert S. Murphy is our 2nd blog on learning from the best.   The first (about David Paul) can be viewed here.

 

Many moons ago, we saw Robert S. Murphy at an ETJ Expo.    Don’t know what the S stands for.   My guess is smartalec.    Robert knows his stuff.   I recommend you check out his work. 

 

If you are reading Robert, I’m sorry because I don’t remember the title of your talk.  Inevitably it was brain related.   If you are not familiar with Robert, his major field of research is how the brain works.   I hope I’m correct there Robert? 

 

I don’t remember the details of his talk ( me old brain doesn’t work like Bobs’ Rolls Royce’s one) but one point I took away and employ to this day is the simple concept of warming up the brain. 

 

He said do not begin classes with difficult activities. The brain, like the body before soccer, needs warming up.    

 

Have you ever sprinted for a ball as soon as you arrived at the field, jacket still on?   Madness right?   As you know, arrive, take out your cigarettes, slowly inhale and think of the pain in store, for yourself and your opponents.  

 

Warm your big brain, start easily,  build complexity. 

 

Occasionally, I will have students ask each other simple math addition questions using flashcards. Nothing too tricky, they enjoy math in English.  Then move to subtraction, multiplication and division. Then randomly mix cards. 

 

It works, start easily, build complexity. 

 

This can be employed with kinder students.  They complete easy 4 piece puzzles, then 8 piece, then 32 in small groups.   They rise to the challenge.   If you had started with a 32 piece puzzle, most likely they would have given up or taken ages.

 

Keep it simple, then slowly increase difficulty.

 

We employ the same logic with our materials.    Our elementary materials begin easily with ABC phonics.    When children master 1 level, we bump them up to the next one.  The next level is slightly more difficult than the first.  It’s a tiny challenge that they CAN do.   We’ll often begin with the easier materials and progress up to the harder ones in the same class.   

 

It’s amazing how 1 simple idea can make such an impact on our lessons.

 

At English seminars / the expos, even if you only take away 1 or 2 good ideas, that’s enough.    You’ve learned something and your lessons will improve from implementing simple concepts.

 

Have any simple concepts transformed your lessons?

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