The Gorilla in the Classroom

Before reading the following blog please take a look at the video bellow and follow the instructions it gives.   The selective attention test shows how by focusing to intently on a thing we in effect block out other information. We select what we wish to pay attention to and ignore other information. It works […]

The Sawyer Effect and Motivation

The Sawyer Effect and Motivation

For those of you who don’t know the story of Tom Sawyer white washing the fence you can read it here. In the story Mark Twain  demonstrates some features of motivation that are not normally thought about when teachers engage in classroom design. The first principle of the sawyer effect is that any activity can be made […]

Hard Fun

Hard Fun

Have you ever done something where you looked up afterwards and thought “where has the time gone?”; an activity that you found incredibly challenging but fascinating at the same time, so much so that time and self stopped being important. If you have, then that activity could best be described as hard fun. Of the […]

Are incentives enough to gamify your life?

Are incentives enough to gamify your life?

I recently read a post on Lifehacker about how a guy had “gamified” his life by setting up a points system to incentivize behavior. In summary, things he enjoyed doing were given a cost value, and things that he didn’t were given a points value. He could then track the points he had accumulated and […]

The Fluent Fool in EFL

The Fluent Fool in EFL

Many EFL classrooms around the world are filled with what Bennett calls fluent fools. While these students are often very gifted in the English language, they struggle with even basic tasks outside of the context of the classroom. The language that the students use often appears overly formal and strange to the ears of native speakers. […]

Is Your Class A Game?

Is Your Class A Game?

“People learn through play” is a statement that almost every teacher, psychologist, educational theorist and even politician can agree on. Play teaches a wide range of skills mostly in the area of procedural knowledge (how to do things) rather than declarative (how to explain things). It is an area that is under-served by the tell-then-test […]

Bright Spots in the Class

Bright Spots in the Class

It is sometimes too easy for teachers to see the bad behavior of their students. We can notice a student who is distracted, or not doing what they are supposed to, from the other side of the classroom. The students who misbehave often only get noticed when they disrupt the class. Most advice for teachers in dealing […]

Why Study Games?

Why Study Games?

In the academic world this question pops up fairly regularly. It stems from the view of games as pastimes and inconsequential in comparison to the more serious subjects out there. This view is so common that the field of Game Theory is linked to mathematics and philosophy, and has only the most basic reference to games […]

First Order Rules and Instruction

First Order Rules and Instruction

Teachers often struggle against becoming the “Sage on the Stage”. This post will look at one of the areas where the sage takes center stage frequently in teaching, the giving of instructions for activities. One of the hardest things for a teacher to learn to do is not to over instruct. Over instruction is when […]