Susan Weinschenk, who writes this blog, draws on her 30+ years of experience applying her PhD in Psychology to the workplace. She identifies interesting research articles and then summarizes them in a way that makes them very easy to apply to the workplace, including the classroom. Some examples are below.
Evidently, there are four types of creativity, each a combination of cognitive / emotional and deliberate / spontaneous. Thomas Edison, who is said to have gone through thousands of failed experiments before inventing something, is classified as cognitive and deliberate. In contrast, artists and musicians tend to be spontaneous and emotional in their creativity. Each type has different requirements in order to be successful. For example, the Thomas Edisons need lots of knowledge and time whereas require skill to create based on a spontaneous impulse. So, there may not be a one-size-fits-all way to facilitate creativity in the classroom.
Your brain craves surprises. This is, ironically, not a surprise to any good language teacher who fills lesson plans with a variety of activities to hold students’ interest. This summary is based on a study which demonstrated that people find surprises more pleasurable than things they like. How do they know? The squirted fruit juice in people’s mouths. Seriously.
This study looked at what strategies older and younger adults used when encountering an error when trying to use a new electronic device. Some interesting differences: the older group didn’t receive meaningful hints from their actions or use their past knowledge as much as the younger group did. These results may be particularly useful for teachers who integrate technology into their classrooms. Common sense would have us believe that older adults would have different difficulties navigating a content management system for the first time. Perhaps this study can help teachers to better anticipate these problems.
There are lots of other interesting studies summarized on this site. Take a look around and if you find others that are particularly applicable to ESL teachers, leave a link in the comments.