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Teaching Methodology for Practical Course

Unlike the adult learners at our AEON schools who usually have prior experience learning English in junior and senior high school, children often have very little experience. At Amity, we consider it our duty to provide children with the building blocks of the English language. The techniques for motivating and educating children are also vastly different than what is required for adult education. Below is the description of the methodology we use for our Practical Courses taught by native speakers of English. Amity's EFL Ideology In an effort to utilize the most comprehensive methodology for second language acquisition for children, Amity adopted the Model Action Talk method, better known by the acronym MAT. MAT is a dynamic method developed by Ritsuko Nakata, a noted author and EFL children's teacher. She has been the chairperson of the Association of English Teachers of Children for 20 years.

Fundamentals of the MAT method The MAT method begins with the teacher acting as a model for the target language so that our students' first experience with new material is clear and accurate. The critical second step of the method begins with the teacher associating the target language with a physical movement. By associating a kinesthetic memory with the rote memorization typical to standard second language acquisition, there is a profound increase in retention. The final key that sets the MAT apart from other ideologies is that students speak the language by talking as they process the information. This enables students to use the language as they acquire it, consequently building their confidence in tandem with their ability. The MAT method is a comprehensive approach that allows the student to retain language more readily. MAT in the Classroom In its practical classroom application, MAT begins with the drilling of simple vocabulary combined with the use of gestures. Following this vocabulary introduction and the noted accomplishment of students' comprehension, the teacher then builds on the language by adding a sentence structure. After the students master the new sentence pattern and the instructor is satisfied with their progress, a question is introduced that builds yet again on the acquired language. The students finish this process by breaking into teams and then pairs, in order to practice the question and answer patterns in a dialogue situation. A Proven Success The MAT method is a proven success due to the high retention rate of our students and their ability to practice sentence and question patterns with each other. Students enjoy learning with us because of the essential balance MAT provides between effective language instruction and reinforcement activities (physical, verbal, team and pair-work). The MAT method allows Amity to promote a productive, exciting, and most of all confidence-building learning environment.


The MAT method

The situation for someone working in a country like Japan is unique because children have little or no English outside the class. Class is once a week, which means in one year a Japanese child has only had 42 hours of English class (less than 2 days!) In any type of teaching setting, the goal is to have the students use what they learn in a practical way that is interesting to them. The ultimate test for the English teacher is to have the students to role play. If your students can do

unscripted role play and have a dialogue with each other, you have done very well. (More on role play to come!) The MAT Method, which stands for Model, Action, Talk, was created by Ritsuko Nakata; she also co-wrote the Let's Go! Series. The teacher models the language by using action as well as speech. If the language being taught is accompanied by gestures, the students will remember dramatically better than if not; this is because children are right-brain dominant. The key to getting students to use the language that has been taught is to have them converse with one another. In fact, the goal of your lesson should be for the students to be speaking 80% of the class time. English teachers really like to talk and hear the sound of our own voice. It takes a lot of discipline to shut up. The EFL class needs to be studentcentered, not teacher-centered. In an EFL setting, using the mother tongue is vital to checking that the students understand and can properly use the language you're giving them. For example, when teaching the concept of "can," you can ask your students in Japanese what they can do and then explain that the word can in English. The word can is also accompanied by a hand-gesture (fist over fist) to help them remember. It's also important to practice English with natural speed, rhythm, intonation and pronunciation. Give the phrase you are teaching a natural rhythm for them to remember and use. Practically, how does this all work? There is a systematic order to each lesson, so that the students will not be confused. The order of teaching is: Vocabulary--->Sentence ---> Question The first thing to teach is a group of vocabulary. Using flashcards, have the students repeat it after you until you go through all the cards. Then just say it once, having them repeat it 3 times. After that, have them say it on their own, shuffling the cards faster so that they have to think faster. Once the students can say it on their own, you can DRILL them for a really short time many times during the lesson. From vocabulary you teach a sentence. For example, once they've learned a few animals, you teach them how to say "it's a giraffe," using a different gesture for "it's a" and "it's an." Make sure they understand why there's a difference. Give them a couple of sentences and then tell them to make the sentence for themselves. They can do it. The next part is to ask them "What's this?" and have them give you the answer. You then teach the question form, and they can now ask each other the question and give an answer. You can then do group practice or pair practice.

S1:"What's this?" S2: "It's a bear." S1: "What can you do?" S2: "I can play the piano." I have not come up with any of this information, but I have been using what I learned and I've seen results. I changed any games or activities so that it required the students to speak more than me. In the past I've just spoon-fed my students the answer, which makes them think that they don't need to think about it. Now I show the flashcards and wait for them to remember, and I'm amazed at how much they've retained because they are thinking for themselves. http://hezlearningisfun.blogspot.com/2011/05/mat-method.html

The MAT method

MAT METHOD stands for model, action and talk,a method that enables children to use both sides of the brain at the same time. The method was developed as a teaching strategy by Ritsuko Nakata, an expert on teaching English to younger learners, who has focused on how children can get the most out of English lessons with their limited sessions. According to Nakata, the teacher needs to model the lesson in such a way that the children can understand it. The teacher introduces an action to stimulate the right side of the brain. When you stimulate the right side of the brain, it increases their learning ability. And then we have them talk at the same time. Youre stimulating the left side [of the brain]. Nakata founded the Institute for the International Education of Children in 1987 in Tokyo, is also the author of the Lets Go series , Oxford University Press best selling childrens course, first published in 1989 catered to Japanese kids. Among the 3 key elements, the MAT method especially focuses on the talk part. Students are given at least 80 per cent of the speaking time in class, and to facilitate this, many exercises are given in a rapid fashion during classes. For eg., the teacher may introduce some sentences from the Level 1 bookStand up. Sit down, Make a circle and Make a line. The audience may be allowed to say Stand up once while performing the action, but soon will be encouraged to say the phrase three times quickly each time they stand up. Then the audience may form pairs, with each party giving a command from the four phrases, and the other partner repeating it three tiems while performing the action.

This approachencouraging instant responses from students is also applied to new vocabulary and going on to sentence and question forms. The method focuses on the step-by-step approach and emphasizes the need for speed in the repetition practice exercises. The teacher may shuffle the word/phrase cards very quickly while holding them over her head. Audience members will find themselves saying the same words and phrases man times in a short period. Source: MAT method gets kids talking Tuesday, February 21, 2006 Daily Yomiuri http://educationinjapan.wordpress.com/of-methods-philosophies/the-mat-method/

The MAT Method

ESL Methodologies, Introducing the MAT Method The MAT Method stands for: Model, Action, Talk. It is said tobe easy to learn and easy to teach. I think MAT is suitable for large classes and some of the activities will be suitable for small classes provided the activities are well chosen and geared well towards your particular students. MAT is supposed to aid in keeping students focused on the lesson and involved. It keeps the class active and fun. Ritsuko Nakata a MAT trainer and English teacher feels "...if you are having fun the students will too." Some of the goals of MAT include: -The students talk 80% of the time -Leads students to talking by themselves -MAT can be used in any class size (however personally I feel it is best suited to large classes.) *Some students at English schools of a certain age may rebel against the MAT method, feeling it is "not cool," to act out the gestures MAT asks of you. 6 Second Drill Games One of the highlights of MAT are the 6 second drill games, which can be a lot of fun! MAT`s 3 Steps 1. Vocabulary Teach it by having students repeat many times.

2. Sentence Use this vocabulary in a sentence. 3. Question Have half the class ask a question and the other half answer. Then change. Ritsuko Nakata had pre-made cards for her MAT sentences about the weather: How `s the weather today? Say it three times! It was sunny on Saturday. She used gestures for each question pointing outside while asking, "how`s the weather today?" And for each answer there is a different gesture. ie) for: "It`s cloudy." You make a gesture indicating the outline of a cloud etc. It is an interesting method. I think it is ideal for pre-school and young elementary school children aged 68 as long as they are interested in it. I could see some children rebelling against this method. But I do want to give it a try! Watch Ritsuko Nakata explain and demonstrate the MAT method.