145. What teaching techniques and classroom exercises can be used to develop student skills in self-directed learning and communication?

For the development of communication skills, role playing is the best technique within the ESL classroom. Specific interactions relating to EAST goals and objectives could be scripted and role played by ESL students.

Self-directed learning may require extensive teaching in the use of resources, library resources, community resources, technological resources such as the Internet, CD's, etc.

Hispanic students, in particular, prefer group interactions. Extensive research on the Cognitive Styles of different cultural groups reveals that Hispanic students, in general, tend to be Field-Sensitive or Field Dependent, that is:

Field-Sensitive children are sensitive to the social atmosphere;
Field-Sensitive children like social rewards;
Field-Sensitive children work best with praise and encouragement;
Field-Sensitive children are cooperative;
Field-Sensitive children like their teacher to model for them;
Field-Sensitive children enjoy stories about familiar situations; and
Field-Sensitive children learn and retain concepts better when they are presented in a global or deductive manner.

On the other hand, American students, in general, prefer individual work. The same research on Cognitive Styles reveals that American students, in general, tend to be Field-Independent, that is:

Field-Independent children do not pay so much attention to social atmosphere;
Field-Independent children like to work for impersonal rewards;
Field-Independent children respond well to challenges and criticism;
Field-Independent children are competitive;
Field-Independent children like to do things their own way;
Field-Independent children enjoy learning abstract points; and
Field-Independent children respond better to lessons presented in an inductive manner.

Now, in recognizing prevalent Cognitive Styles of different cultural groups I am not implying that students and teachers and ALL persons have only ONE way of learning or approaching tasks, or that they canNOT master other ways of approaching tasks or learning. On the contrary. Knowledge of Cognitive Styles helps teachers understand where to begin teaching and how their students differ in the ways they learn. However, the goal should be to help ALL students learn other ways of learning, other ways to approach a learning task.

For example, more and more professions, here in the USA where the prevalent Cognitive Style seems to be Field-Independent, are making tremendous efforts to train individuals NEW to the professions to work in groups, to cooperate, to be teamplayers. Research shows that some of the attributes of Field-Independent persons are counter-productive in the decision-making process of highly technical corporations. My son, as an aerospace engineer, trained ALWAYS in groups at San Diego State University. And during his 5 years of work for NASA in the Space Shuttle Program, was always a member of a team of three engineers because, once there were astronauts in space, there was very little room for errors, thus ALL errors had to be discovered HERE on EARTH by each team of engineers.

Most professionals today train and work in teams. My daughter, as a Specialist in Internal Medicine for Small Animals --a veterinarian-- works ONLY with other veterinarians in the field who need help dealing with difficult cases. Similarly for doctors, dentists, business executives, etc., etc. Teachers were learning to work in teams --team-teaching-- but, unfortunately, this practice has now been abandoned due to the "accountability" craze!!!!



For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for
Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for
New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)

Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.


For information and credentials please click on the link below or contact directly:


Educational Consultant, Program Evaluator

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Certification (12/2006)

3113 Malcolm Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90034-3406

Phone and Fax: (310) 474-5605

E-mail:  csssadek@gte.net