Mickey Rogers Mind series pick - Level 3, Unit 7 'Think again!'
I would like to highlight one of my favorite units in the Mind series and, at the same time, point out some of the most important characteristics of the series. I love Unit 7 in openMind 3 (Think again!) because the topic of the brain and how we think is so interesting and because the topic lends itself so well to using the grammar and skills presented in the unit.
One of the characteristics of the Mind series that I am most proud of is that even when the English level is very basic, as in the lower levels, the topics promote adult-level analysis and critical thinking. Many young adults and adults become discouraged when learning a language because they feel that they cannot do things that even small children can do! However, if they can learn the language via topics such as the one in this example, students feel that they are given credit for their intelligence and ability to think even though their language ability is not yet very high.
The second characteristic of the Mind series that I would like to point out is the unique approach to the development of the four skills – listening, speaking, reading, and writing. I say unique because the Mind series is the only general English series that has a full sub-skills syllabus. In each unit, two sub-skills are developed, and the other two skills are practiced through communicative activities that require students to integrate and use the skills to do real-world tasks. For example, in openMind level 3, Unit 7, the two sub-skills that are developed are distinguishing fact and opinion (reading) and speculating (speaking). The other two skills are practiced through the tasks of listening to a short lecture and writing a for-and-against text. In the following unit, listening and writing sub-skills are developed, and reading and speaking skills are practiced in real-world types of tasks.
Finally, we felt strongly that students need skills that go beyond learning a language, so we included a Life Skills syllabus in the Mind series to help them develop skills that they need in their personal, academic, and professional lives. Although each life skill is developed in the context of a specific topic and a specific domain, the skills are all transferable, which means that they are general skills that are useful in many different contexts and areas of life. For example, in Unit 7, the life skill is thinking logically. The skill is developed through a series of difficult and entertaining puzzles, but thinking logically is a skill that is not just used to solve puzzles or academic questions; it is important in every aspect of life.
The topic of each Life Skills lesson has a general relation to the overall unit topic, but it is not a repetition of any topic area in the unit, and the lesson is not designed as a review of specific grammar or vocabulary in the unit. There are other review activities in the material to fulfil that purpose. That said, because the Life Skills lesson is related to the unit topic, there are always opportunities for students to use the grammar and vocabulary from the unit within the context of the Life Skills tasks.
We believe that with the Mind series, students truly do learn language for life!
Mickey Rogers, Mind series co-author
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You can also download the Teacher’s Book sample pages and find out more about Mind series here or download this article as a pdf.