What is the Affective Humanistic Approach?

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Confidence, Culture & Creativity

Around the 1970s, language teachers started thinking about using language to help students become better, happier, more confident and creative people. Teachers focused not the feelings of students. Language learning was about building confidence and enjoying the culture. Teachers were very artistic and they made the room comfortable and relaxing. Students might sit on the floor on mats or bean bags and read together or alone.

You have to practice, practice, practice… So make it FUN!

Here are some of the main exercises created from this time.

Music and Reading: Listen to some soft music and read a story. Then read it again and take a few notes. Read one more time, and maybe say the words out loud. You need to practice the same things again and again and again… If it’s difficult- or it feels like hard work… It will be boring and you will quit. You should try to relax and change the way you practice.

If you don’t have a journal to take notes, you should buy one. You can just use computer paper or a cheap notebook. However, sometimes it makes us work harder to buy nice, high quality tools. If you want a great notebook, this notebook is really good. It gives you space to take notes and to draw little pictures on the same page. 

Learning & Art: When you have strong emotions about something, it helps you remember. You can try to perform the contents you are reading, like an actor. When you use your body to do things, this helps you remember better. Read the story with emotion. If you are reading news, try to sound like a news-person. If you are reading a story about a guy from Texas, pretend to be a Cowboy. Some people don’t feel comfortable “acting” or “Singing”... That’s okay. You can draw a funny or beautiful picture of people using language you learned for the day.

Play with the Language: Try to find a way to make little jokes, or poems or songs with your new vocabulary. Play with the language you are learning. This improves your memory and makes your language skills more creative (and fluent!).

You need to make sure you use the language to speak your mind. English speaking countries like America, Australia, and Britain are made up of people from all over the world. Different cultures come together. This can create social problems in the short-run, but it is one of the greatest things about these countries. 

When you learn English, you will have things to learn from the culture… and hopefully, you will have things to teach native English speakers about your home country or culture. Acting, singing, and art are good ways to “try talking and acting like a native speaker” even when you really can’t do it yet. You might find this useful… or you might decide it is not important to think, talk and act like a native speaker, because you don’t agree with everything in the culture. You should find a way to be very open to new ideas, but your life is your life! You can do whatever you want!

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