We promote innovative learning approaches and environments to help dynamic English teachers develop motivated and capable students everywhere.
Our efforts are focused on promoting three distinct but complementary aspects of education:
What’s more, these ideas can easily be applied to any field of study, at any age, from beginner to advanced (and teachers – especially teachers!), in practically any situation. Jump to the section you’re interested in below to find out more…
…while the standard model of schooling was designed to prepare students for the industrial age, the global shift to the knowledge economy will require the rethinking of schooling in order to accommodate evolving needs.
~ R.Keith Sawyer, ‘Optimising Learning: Implications of Learning Sciences Research
And indeed, a lot of rethinking of schooling has been done in many countries. Unfortunately, for many students in many of those countries, nothing much has changed, or at best teaching methods are being modernised at a woefully slow pace.
At Rainbow English School we base our teaching and learning ideas and methods on the most up-to-date research on how we learn best. To keep us on track we are having fun developing a set of fundamental learning (and teaching) principles which guide us as we build our educational tools and resources. You can read a few of the most important ones just below.
🎲 Every learner is a valuable human being with their own strong and weak points
🎲 Making mistakes is an inevitable, valuable, indeed essential element of learning
🎲 Individual progress should be emphasized over comparisons with others
🎲 People learn in different ways and at different speeds and this is normal and fine
🎲 Interactive, ‘doing’ activities are far more effective for learning than passive techniques
🎲 ‘Learning to learn’ is possibly the most important thing to teach students
🎲 The personal touch, strong motivation and positive feedback is gold-dust
🎲 Structure, discipline and respect are still vital to a productive learning environment
🎲 True teaching is more about asking questions than giving ready made answers
🎲 Cooperative teamwork and creative problem solving aid learning
🎲 Original ideas channeled towards useful outcomes are precious life skills
🎲 New ideas are more powerfully grasped when linked to existing knowledge
🎲 Students’ beliefs about themselves and their ability affects their results
🎲 Personally ‘caring’ about the topic leads to more engagement and better outcomes
🎲 Feeling happy, relaxed, appreciated, respected, capable and encouraged nurtures success
🎲 The best learning involves sharing ideas, experiences, mistakes and laughs with others
This list is a living thing, so if you have some good ideas, let us have them – we’ll all benefit! We also discuss these points and others regularly in our English, French and Spanish language Facebook groups, in those languages, so join us there too if you like!
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Although the learning sciences suggest a variety of ways of making learning far more effective, there are many fundamental problems which seriously hinder progress towards this goal. For example:
One-size-fits-all learning: Many education systems are still heavily based on industrial age teaching practices. Like teaching exactly the same stuff to kids of the same age, in the same place, at the same time, in the same way, in the hope they’ll all regurgitate the same thing at the end of the day. However, this doesn’t reflect today’s reality (we’re not in the industrial age any more) or the way students’ brains work.
Teacher knows best: The teacher is still primarily considered an ‘expert’ in their given subject area, possessing valuable ‘knowledge’ which he or she will magnanimously hold out for the students to grasp if they’re able. If not, so be it. Unfortunately, many of these teachers are woefully ‘inexpert’ at how people actually learn, which on reflection would seem to be the most important skill of all for a teacher to possess…
Exam bodies test best: In a similar way to the uniform teaching methods mentioned above, exams are by definition standardised assessments with little scope for students to demonstrate initiative or innovative thought. They test the students’ memorisation of certain facts because the students are supposed to know those same facts. If they get over a certain percentage they ‘pass’ and are therefore officially ‘intelligent’. And if they don’t…
March of the machine: We’ve been under the spell of the dubious promises of the digital age for better learning for many years now. With school results making grim reading though, some leading researchers are bluntly suggesting that, in fact, computers are far from the holy learning grail they were supposed to be. But with most people hooked up to information technology practically 24/7 new ways to work with this fact are desperately needed.
Life ain’t like that: The Middle English word university comes from the Latin universus, meaning whole or entire. Universities aimed to turn out whole, articulate individuals, able to deal intelligently with the entire range of potential real-life challenges. Then facts became king and we strived to become experts in highly specialised knowledge niches.
Now things have changed again and our brains are drowning in spam and toxic social media updates. We desperately need new skills to help us quickly generate original ideas for creating innovative solutions to real-life problems. Not many schools even cover how to effectively remember a bunch of pointless facts, let alone how to cope with information overload and the everyday stresses of modern society.
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As well as the methodological problems mentioned above, we are very aware of the everyday difficulties facing even forward-looking institutions and governments and teachers who would love to just get on with teaching better…
⚠️ Budgets are tight;
⛔️ Entrenched systems are terribly hard to budge;
⚠️ Teachers feel overworked, underpaid and unappreciated;
⛔️ Classes are too big and often unruly and disrespectful;
⚠️ Disciplinary matters and anti-terrorism drills shove out innovative teaching initiatives;
⁉️ And sadly the list goes on!!
However, our creaking education systems are still full of great teachers wanting to teach and, above all, willing students wanting to learn. That’s why we are determined to support and encourage teachers and their students to try out some exciting and powerful new learning approaches.
As concerned educators we consider it our duty to constantly strive to improve teaching and learning methods, by focusing on things like:
Our aim is to help people who need or use English in their everyday lives, whether for professional, educational or personal reasons. We offer powerful techniques to help people learn better and which teachers can incorporate into their own learning environment, starting today.
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If you like what we’re doing and would like to help us to help teachers and students worldwide… great!
You can become a member of the Rainbow English School Non-Profit Educational Association by clicking the rainbow button below and signing up now.
We are actively and enthusiastically looking for people who can help our association create an amazing future in any of the following areas:
🔮 Help us translate our pages and articles into French
🔮 Help us translate our pages and articles into Spanish
🔮 Organise speaking events (e.g. seminars) and workshops in your area
🔮 Contribute interesting articles for the blog
🔮 Introduce us to other interested people and organisations
🔮 Set up Rainbow English School classes in your town or organisation
We are particularly keen to give talks on modern teaching approaches and meet enthusiastic teachers to discuss how you can use these ideas in your schools and classes.
Also, if you see any page on this site which has no French or Spanish translation – or only a poor old Google effort, then we’d love for you to help us translate it and get credited on the page for your efforts!
Finally, you can also get involved in lots of other ways too, including ones we haven’t even imagined. If you have some ideas then just get in touch here and let’s talk – we can’t wait to work (and play) with you soon 🎉
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We work willingly with teachers and educational organisations to help them adapt, personalise and optimise their teaching methods. If you are interested in our project please get in touch here.
Our approach is based on the latest scientific research into how we best memorise, recall and usefully apply knowledge. We suggest innovative tools and techniques which people can immediately use in their current learning or teaching situation. And we have fun doing it!
© 2016 Rainbow English School 🌈