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Ground-breaking new texts reveal how to teach children to think
Teachers are trained to teach specific subjects to children but is there a first step that has been missed? Should teachers first be teaching children how to think?
Two new books from Cambridge University Press suggest that thinking, and teaching how to do it, have been the missing tools in the teacher’s kitbag for too long. Teaching Young Learners to Think and Super Minds advocate learning a language by conquering skillful thinking techniques. The authors firmly believe that, along with the traditionally agreed-on skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing, thinking is the, hitherto neglected, fifth skill.
Based on the latest insights into how the brain works fresh from the field of neuroscience, the two texts offer teachers and students activities specifically designed to develop children’s foreign language competence while promoting basic thinking skills and, along the way, improving memory and concentration.
Super Minds is from the respected author-team Herbert Puchta, Gunter Gerngross and Peter Lewis-Jones, while Teaching Young Learners to Think comes from the pen of Herbert Puchta and Marion Williams. The common theme is obviously Puchta who pioneered the introduction of elements from neuroscience (Neurolinguistic Programming, multiple intelligences and cognitive psychology) into ELT teaching. Puchta said:
“If you work on children’s thinking skills on a regular basis, the development of their thinking skills will also enhance their cognitive resources. When children get used to systematically applying their thinking skills, they will go through positive learning experiences, and they will gradually learn to enjoy more challenging tasks. As a result, their self-confidence will grow.”
In Teaching Young Learners to Think, he and Williams have created 13 categories of activity that help with both the development of the learners’ thinking skills and their language. Running from basic to higher-order thinking skills, they include making comparisons, focusing attention, exploring space, time and numbers, creating associations, making decisions and analysing cause and effect.
Around these they have developed specifically designed tasks that develop children’s foreign language competence while promoting the thinking skills they will need as they grow older.
In Super Minds, Puchta, Gerngross and Lewis-Jones introduce children to engaging characters, each with super powers, who accompany the learners on their journey. As the students grow, so do the characters, and new faces are introduced every two levels. Exploring social values, the course is designed to enhance thinking skills, sharpen memory and improve concentration.
Notes to Editors:
About English Language Teaching publishing at Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press is one of the world's leading English language teaching publishers, and its products are used by people in nearly every country in the world to learn and teach the English language.
Cambridge works in partnership with Cambridge ESOL, the experts in language assessment, to provide courses that are tailored to students’ exams, which are relied on by thousands of universities, employers and government ministries around the world as proof of English language ability.
English language courses and textbooks include ‘Interchange’, ‘Grammar in Use’ and ‘English Grammar in Use’, and Cambridge authors include Professor Michael McCarthy, Dr Herbert Puchta and Raymond Murphy.
Many Cambridge English texts and courses are developed using the Cambridge English Corpus – a multi-billion word collection of written and spoken English, plus a unique bank of exam candidate papers. This helps students avoid mistakes, and means that the language taught from Cambridge English materials is useful, natural and fully up-to-date.
Cambridge English texts and courses are published without boundaries, and they are fully accessible to the modern learner in a range of different formats – from printed books, to apps and online dictionaries.
A team of experienced consultants and advisers, many of them with teaching experience themselves, provide ongoing support, training and guidance to teachers and schools all over the world.
For further information, go to www.cambridge.org/elt
About Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Dedicated to excellence, its purpose is to further the University's objective of advancing knowledge, education, learning, and research.
Its extensive peer-reviewed publishing lists comprise 45,000 titles covering academic research, professional development, over 300 research journals, school-level education, English language teaching and bible publishing.
Playing a leading role in today’s international market place, Cambridge University Press has over 50 offices around the globe, and it distributes its products to nearly every country in the world.