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Book Review

Knowing Me, Knowing You cover
'Knowing me, knowing you - Classroom activities to develop learning strategies and stimulate conversation'
by Jim Wingate

(Delta Publishing/English Teaching Professional)

Review written by David Holden,
Teacher Trainer at the BLC in Madrid

amazon.com    amazon.co.uk

Knowing Me, Knowing you is a resource book for teachers to use in the classroom with a collection of activities laid out in six main sections: Teaching and Learning, which encourages students to think about their attitudes to teaching and learning, The Brain, which enables students to think about their thinking methods and learning styles, Sensory Learning, which introduces ideas from Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Intelligence, which deals with Multiple Intelligences and two final sections, Future Planning and Me and Others which provide fluency-based speaking activities with a strong humanistic focus.

The book is very clearly laid out and organised with an atttractive print style. After a clear,concise introduction,each section is broken down into a series of activities ( 29 in all) each with a clear photocopiable Worksheet on the left-hand page and Teaching Notes on the right.

I found the Teaching Notes extremely helpful with the Aim of each activity , useful hints for the teacher, methodology and clear indications for level clearly laid out and easily accessible.

The first section Teaching and Learning encourages students to think about their individual learning styles and preferences and to consider their attitudes towards teaching and learning. I found the worksheets on attitudes and preferences particularly useful, particularly the Toxic Teaching activity ( no.6) which required students to think about opposites to "rules" like "It is the students' fault if they do not learn", or "The teacher's job is to tell students what to feel and think." The only caveat I would make would be to suggest that more reference to the context in which students are learning English, for example their education system, would be useful. Although designed for whole class and group discussion, many of the worksheets would be equally suitable for a one-to-one discussion of a student's needs, either as part of a pre-course needs analysis or during a tutorial.

The second, third and fourth sections are where I personally found the material to be newer and more intellectually stimulating:

In the second section, The Brain activities cover left vs. right brain specialisation. I felt that in this section along with the others which dealt with newer ideas there was maybe space for providing the students themselves with a mini text or least the actual keys/ Notes provided in the Teaching Notes because many students would actually benefit from more access to and discussion of the ideas. Of course, a teacher using the activities can provide extra listening or reading texts when necessary.

Sensory Learning, the third section, uses questionnaires to do with study techniques and learning styles to cover ideas to do with Neuro-Linguistic Programming. For example, students find out if they are Visual, Auditory or Kinaesthetic learners. This relates to how people take in information through their five senses. VAKOG ( Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic, Olfactory and Gustatory ).

The fourth section, Intelligence, does the same with different types of intelligence - Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Spatial-Visual, Bodily-Kinaesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal and Naturalist with useful questionnaires and activities. I found this section to both very useful and productive.

The last two sections have a nice selection of self-awareness building, group dynamic type activities. For example activity number 29 encourages students to find out what kind of team member they are.

Overall, I was impressed by Knowing Me, Knowing You. You can find useful and stimulating activities which develop your students' spoken fluency and raise their awareness of learning English. As a teacher you can learn about YOUR own styles and preferences and develop accordingly. A book which is very recommendable for use in the classroom and for your own development.

amazon.com    amazon.co.uk

Knowing Me Knowing You cover

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