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Strategies for Student-Centered, Rule-Based Activities and Spontaneous, Incidental Learning


This participatory workshop will help you develop your creativity and spontaneity as you identify a personal methodology, generate learner-centered activities, and plan effective lessons. The session will focus on interacting with learners, especially in large groups, through incidental learning as well as prepared lessons that take advantage of each teachers’ individual strengths. Strategies and activities appropriate for each of the four language skills will be developed.

You will learn how to motivate weak learners while keeping stronger learners interested and advancing. We will also focus on the special case of oral communication in the second language using a full dynamic range of vocalizations, gestures, language rhythms, and body movements, because this is the way children learn their mother tongue – by participating in the life around them and acquiring vocabulary and correct grammar through interesting, game-like activities. 

Workshop Outcomes

  You will be able to teach
  • writing first as a communication skill, second as a creative opportunity for composition, and third as a field of possible revisions
  • reading first as an adventure in imagination, second as a source of information, and third as a model for expressions
  • speaking first as a practical communication skill, second as imaginative self-expression, and third as a thinking skill
For each of the four language skills, you will be able to
  • prepare lessons that are engaging, effective, and accessible to both strong and weak students because they are based on restricted areas of language use and are bound by clear rules
  • generate active, student-centered activities for specific learning outcomes
  • make strategic use of incidental language learning

About the Workshop Leader

Stephen DeGiulio has been professor of English/TESOL/linguistics in the New Mexico State University (NMSU) system since 1994; previously he was professor of TESOL teacher education at the Autonomous University of Puebla, Mexico (1987-­1990). Currently he is serving as Senior English Language Fellow for the Regional English Language Office of the U.S. Embassy, New Delhi, India, while on leave from Doña Ana Community College/NMSU, where he also serves as the director of nonprofit Literacy Volunteers of Doña Ana County. Mr. DeGiulio earned his bachelor of arts degree in English literature and education at Rutgers University, his master of arts in TESOL at the University of the Americas in Puebla, México, and is currently a doctoral candidate in critical pedagogy at New Mexico State University. He has been a teacher educator and faculty member in colleges and language institutes in the United States, Mexico, and India, and he has taught elementary and secondary learners from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic communities. His teaching is informed by research into the decolonizing pedagogies of Rabindranath Tagore, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Paolo Freire, Caleb Gattegno, and others who value creative agency over subaltern learning objectives.