Teachers’ Checklist for StudyDo

The StudyDo design supports teachers in creating the conditions that help learners acquire the English language.
During every StudyDo activity, remember…
1. Your goal is to help students produce language, not to teach content.

StudyDo design in girls' school Chikodra, Gujarat

2. Since you are not teaching or testing content, there is no reason to translate it.
3. Allow adequate time for the students to read the text, encouraging them to mark unfamiliar words.
4. Increase communication and language use by encouraging students to ask classmates for help with words they don’t know.
5. You only need to “teach” words no one in the class knows, so you can raise the entire level of the class naturally.
6. Focus on helping students understand the questions and instructions in the book, not on helping them derive an answer.
7. Most questions have no one “right” answer so encourage lots of independent thinking. Thinking encourages speaking.
8. Help students feel comfortable using language by encouraging every level of production. It will only improve with use.
9. Wait for production to increase before assessing or correcting student language.
10. When in doubt, return to the materials. They are designed to support you! Download the free videos and audio files that you can download for free. Sign up to be notified via email when new StudyDo materials become available.
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StudyDo and Focus on Language

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The StudyDo design supports teachers in helping students develop English proficiency. The free book, Bridges, works to bridge the gap between understanding English and producing it.
Focus on Language
Even when school exams are focused on proficiency, not content, some textbooks continue to question students on facts contained in the text.
Too much focus on content distracts students and teachers from noticing and using language.
Content in Bridges is designed to hold the learners’ interest so that language can be noticed and produced, but the teacher is never responsible for testing content, so she never needs to translate it for students.
This also means students never need to memorize facts or stories. They only need to develop their proficiency in using English, and Bridges helps them do that.
What does the teacher do?
Bridges is designed to require no extra preparation and to be easy for teachers to use.
The teacher’s role is to encourage thinking and language production in students.
To do this, the teacher provides opportunities for students to discuss content in order to process language meaningfully. Since there is no need to translate content, the teacher can allow students time to study the language of the text to find out what happens next. This keeps them curious and interested throughout a lesson and eager to move on to the next one!

Watch StudyDo in action in a Gujarati-medium school.

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StudyDo and Collaborative Learning

While the StudyDo design was being developed in India, it became clear that the classroom conditions were such that teachers and students would both greatly benefit from taking advantage of collaborative learning techniques.
Classes with many students, who may be at different levels, and who have short lesson times are significantly enhanced when students can take advantage of their collective knowledge. Communication is, of course, enhanced, when students must work together to accomplish a task. Therefore, simple to use collaborative learning techniques are built into the StudyDo design and into Bridges.
Encourages Collaborative Learning
For each story, article, or poem, teachers should allow students adequate time to first read the text on their own. Encourage students to mark words that are unfamiliar to them while reading.

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When students don’t know a word, the teacher can stimulate more language production and encourage collaborative learning by encouraging students to ask other classmates if they know the unfamiliar word. When the text is the right level for the class, someone in the class will be able to share knowledge of the word with others.
In this way, the vocabulary of the entire class will be raised with little effort and teacher time, while the students are naturally encouraged to speak in the target language.
Finally, the teacher need only spend a moment teaching the one or two words that no student in the class knows.
Teachers can also encourage collaboration throughout lessons by having students “ask your friends” in order to practice language. Where a teacher in a traditional approach might ask the class a question and get an answer from a few students who raise their hands, students can, instead, ask each other. This is one good way to make better use of those where/what/who/when comprehension questions.
Allowing students to ask each other, “Who’s in the story?” produces a lot more language that the teacher asking and having one child raise a hand to answer. The technique only takes a moment as all students get to speak to each other simultaneously.

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Another similar technique is “show your friend.” As activities continually focus on the text, a teacher can ask a question, then when students begin to answer, ask “where is that in the story,” “show me,” “show your friend.” Giving students even a moment to point out something in the text to a friend helps to keep students focused on language, helps reinforce the idea that information is found by reading, and helps to avoid students developing the habit of simply waiting for one child to answer a question so they can repeat the answer without understanding.
The StudyDo design builds all these techniques and more into the text to support teachers in developing these skills. Students may initially be surprised by the new freedom to work together, but our trials show children and young adults alike catching on easily in one lesson and quickly enjoying the practice as their language production increases naturally.
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StudyDo and Critical Thinking

In India, employers, CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education), NCF (National Curriculum Framework), the Department of Education in Gujarat, and many tertiary institutions have all begun to call for greater focus in the classroom and in examinations on both English language proficiency and higher order (critical) thinking skills. The country no longer wants its teachers encouraging a great deal of rote learning as has been the case in the past.

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The World Bank’s survey of employers in India showed, “Communication in English is ranked the most important skill under Communication Skills” and that “skill gaps are largest within higher-order thinking skills….”
Gujarat, the home state of Bridges, has already implemented changes at the university level as universities are now asked to incorporate higher order thinking skills in exams. In addition, the State Board exams for schools have moved almost entirely away from content/literature type questions and will, undoubtedly, move toward more HOT questions as CBSE has.
The StudyDo design was created as part of this forward movement.
Stimulates Higher Order Thinking
When teachers have been schooled in environments that focus mainly on memorization of content, they need strong examples and support in helping their students to develop critical thinking skills. The StudyDo design includes many examples of open-ended questions for teachers to use with their students.

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In addition to using open-ended questions, teachers can easily stimulate higher order thinking skills when they implement the language tasks in the StudyDo design by focusing on helping students understand the questions and instructions, rather than focusing on getting a “right” answer.
Since language tasks in the StudyDo design generally have no “right” answers, teachers can focus on helping students feel comfortable using language and on stimulating students’ thinking which in turn stimulates greater language production.
The teacher does this best when she encourages noticing and producing language by focusing on the question and the story, not on the answer.
When students ask the teacher for an answer, the teacher stimulates thinking when she helps students understand the question by asking the student “What does the question say? The teacher may direct the students to look more carefully at the text: “Let’s look carefully at the story. What happens in the first line? What about the second line?” The teacher may facilitate collaboration and production by encouraging students to interact. “Ask your partner about the first line in the story. Ask the classmate behind you about the second.” Throughout each lesson, instructions support the teacher in making tasks more open-ended, stimulating more critical thinking, and encouraging more language production.
Learn more about how to ask questions that stimulate critical thinking and language use from the author of Bridges: Activities for Thinking, Speaking, & Writing English and Bridges to Academic Writing.
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