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Exercises

1 This exercise could be done very briefly in the context of discussion (while

discussing topic 1 or 2, for example): you could ask the students to do the

exercise individually, on their own, in about five minutes, and then return to

the discussion to share their experiences with the rest of the class. (The need

for specific hands-on experiences for learning to be effective is a good example

of one of the points made in this chapter, and a strong justification for the

book's heavy emphasis on exercises.) Or you could divide them up into groups

before the discussion begins, letting them do the exercise with three or four

other students; then when it comes time to share their experiences in the

large-group discussion they will have the solidarity of their small group to

support them in joining in the conversation.

2 Here students are asked to enter into a fairly typical collaborative translation

situation and pay attention to what is going on in their own heads and in their

interactions with fellow students in terms of memory and learning. Learningstyle

theorists would say that the most important experience for students to

pay attention to will be mismatches: the places where other students'

translations differ from theirs, and why. Mismatches generate "problems," and

problems force students to focus on the nature of an interaction. Encourage

them to pay special attention to even the smallest mismatches or differences

that arise.

This exercise also anticipates a process that is central to Chapters 5—10:

the inductive process of generating working theories out of practical

experience.

3 This can be run as a long-term project — lasting two or three weeks, say. You

can encourage students either to work on their own or to form their own

groups, as they please, and to work both in and out of class to develop

interesting teaching methods to try out on the other students. You may or

may not want to provide them with behind-the-scenes help — private

meetings, visual aids (videos, slides, posters, etc.), secondary sources on

effective teaching strategies — but if you provide some students with such help,

you'd better provide it to all who want it.

It may also be necessary to prepare the class for the evaluation process.

Some school cultures will encourage the other students to be very harsh; other

school cultures will require that nothing but positive feedback be given.

Neither extreme is particularly helpful; and students may need some help in

learning to mix praise with constructive criticism. (Depending on your

students, how responsible and thoughtful you think they are, it may help the

process to ask them to decide on a grade or mark for the presenter(s); then

again, this sort of "official" grading procedure can also destroy all spontaneity

and enjoyment in the evaluation process.)

Be sure and give students a chance to discuss the meaning or significance

of this exercise — to step back from their immediate or "gut" reaction to a

teaching presentation ("Great!" "It was horrible!") to a more careful weighing

of the various responses. An enjoyable lesson may be superficial; an apparently

boring lesson may require a quieter receptivity for its true value to emerge.

Make sure students try out several different perspectives on the various

presentations.

And above all: if the students overwhelmingly prefer a certain approach

that is significantly unlike yours, but also amenable to your personality,

consider giving it a try — with this class.

4—5 These tests are typically very popular with students. It is exciting to find more

out about yourself, and the exercises use a series of testing formats familiar

from many popular magazines ("rank your sex life!"). To save class time you

can assign one or more tests as homework; but they are considerably more

enjoyable in class, with you reading the questions aloud and each student

answering individually on paper, or with the students taking the tests in small

groups. Most people seem to find it more interesting to explore individual

differences with others present. It is also important, of course, to discuss the

findings afterward: were the students surprised at what they found? How well

do the test results fit with other things they know about themselves? How

might they want to develop certain "secondary" learning styles that showed

up in the tests but were not as heavily emphasized or "preferred" as certain

others?

This chapter in general and these two exercises in particular also offer many

potential research avenues for students to pursue at any level: they can take

one or more of the tests to translators they know (or even some that they do

not know) and study the results. With considerable additional research into

learning styles, the tests could also be adapted to research at the M.A. or

Ph.D. levels.

6 This exercise will require a great deal of creativity from your students; if you

have time, it might be best to give them several weeks to work on it, as smallgroup

projects. If that is impractical, you might want to divide the students

into groups of four or five in class, giving each group a learning-style test (a—f)

and letting them have twenty to thirty minutes to plan their strategy: choose

a test format, divide up the work among the various group members,

exchange phone numbers or e-mail addresses, etc. Then have them give the

test to the whole class the next day.

As they work on their tests, encourage them to draw on many different

use situations from everyday life, including as many pertaining to translation

as possible.

7—8 These two modification exercises probably require more time than a single

class period: students should probably be given a night or two (possibly even

a week) to work on one, alone or in a group. Both exercises are likely to appeal

to internally referenced and intuitive-experimental students, who may have

been chafing at having to do exercises invented and directed by someone else.

But the creative process of modifying exercises will benefit the others in the

group as well: even if the idea and act of taking charge of this sort of classroom

activity may make some feel uneasy, it is the best way for them to explore the

practical consequences of their own learning styles.