English for Beginners/ WordStar for Beginners

Author :

The programme was developed by the Logos Group of independent educators and researchers

Duration :

1 week 40 pedagogical periods

Target group of learners:

Low educated administrative clerks, maintenance staff

Institutions involved :

Ljubljana’s Bank

Goals / Objectives :

Developing initial competencies in English and initial digital skills for complete beginners, motivating members of the target group for education and writing, increasing learner’s self-confidence and self-esteem.

Structure / Contents :

The instructions for the programme WordStar contained mostly imperatives, the learning of which was consolidated by using different communication channels and learning methods. For instance, imperatives like Go, Delete, Repeat, etc. were learned with students and mentor forming a circle and mentor giving instructions like: “Peter go to Anja. Anja delete John. John repeat this action.” The participants had to learn how to use the keyboard. For that purpose, the mentor introduced a dictation exercise using Ilya Ilif and Evgeny Petrov: The Golden Calf. The novel was chosen on purpose for its joyful character and also as a smooth introduction to classic literature. Imperatives were consolidated by screening the film produced for the course. The mentor used the same imperatives also as classroom instructions. There was a lot of repetition which is essential. Low educated learners need to enter several times the same text. Each time they improve their understanding.

Methods / Animation :

Research based teaching techniques and relations are important.   Preferred methods: Kinaesthetic learning, Silent method, Mario Rinvoluccri’s correspondence method, writing to dictation, learning by doing. Using a film, for which a script was developed with two mimes illustrating functions of the keyboard: backspace, delete, arrow up, arrow down and imperatives appearing in the text giving instructions to the users of was developed in 1987 but the principles discovered can be applied for developing new programmes. It is essential to use different channels for ongoing repetition of the elements and concepts to be learned. Kinaesthetic learning is well accepted. The programme has to contain a restrained number of elements. There should be games and there should be access to best classic literature valorising the learners. Writing is an essential element which has to be done on computer since low educated learners are uncertain writing and feel more comfortable when they can correct the text at any moment.

Evaluation / Feedback :

There was no formal or written evaluation. Learners were asked to talk to each other about what they liked or did not like and then reported back to the whole group what their neighbour had said. Evaluation was meant to be another learning opportunity. One of the students understood this foreign language programme to be “the best computer learning programme”.

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