The MAT method

MAT METHOD stands for “model, action and talk,”a method that enables children to use both sides of the brain at the same time.

The method was developed as a teaching strategy by Ritsuko Nakata, an expert on teaching English to younger learners, who has focused on how children can get the most out of English lessons with their limited sessions.

According to Nakata, the teacher needs to model the lesson in such a way that the children can understand it. The teacher introduces an action to stimulate the right side of the brain. When you stimulate the right side of the brain, it increases their learning ability. And then we have them talk at the same time. You’re stimulating the left side [of the brain].

Nakata founded the Institute for the International Education of Children in 1987 in Tokyo, is also the author of the Let’s Go series , Oxford University Press’ best selling children’s course, first published in 1989 catered to Japanese kids.

Among the 3 key elements, the MAT method especially focuses on the “talk” part. Students are given at least 80 per cent of the speaking time in class, and to facilitate this, many exercises are given in a rapid fashion during classes. For eg., the teacher may introduce some sentences from the Level 1 book–“Stand up.” Sit down,” “Make a circle” and “Make a line.” The audience may be allowed to say “Stand up” once while performing the action, but soon will be encouraged to say the phrase three times quickly each time they stand up. Then the audience may form pairs, with each party giving a command from the four phrases, and the other partner repeating it three tiems while performing the action.

This approach–encouraging instant responses from students is also applied to new vocabulary and going on to sentence and question forms.

The method focuses on the step-by-step approach and emphasizes the need for speed in the repetition practice exercises. The teacher may shuffle the word/phrase cards very quickly while holding them over her head.

Audience members will find themselves saying the same words and phrases man times in a short period.

Source: MAT method gets kids talking Tuesday, February 21, 2006 Daily Yomiuri

See also the website

Notes: The MAT method is said to be a unique technique developed in Japan by Ritsuko Nakata, so it may be assumed that the MAT method has no relation to the similar sounding method called 4MAT…see the website for more info.

4MAT is another theory on what constitutes effective learning is the 4MAT System.

This theory attempts to describe the processes and whole range of the learning experience. The 4MAT theory offers a cyclical model of teaching that reflects the differences in the ways people learn. It explores the process of learning itself – how we encounter, perceive and absorb information; how radically different our methods can be; and how those differences affect the ways we deal with one another.It postulates that all learners engage in one or more of 4 types of learning, most: Imaginative Learning (Feeling and watching, seeking connections, meaning)/Analytic Learning (seeking facts, thinking through ideas, formulating ideas)/ Common Sense Learning (Thinking and doing, experimenting, building, tinkering, applying ideas)/ Dynamic Learning (doing and feeling, seeking hidden possibilities, exploring, learning by trial and error, self-discovery, creating original adaptations.) The 4MAT model entails the use of right and left-brain strategies within four distinct phases of the learning cycle. The theory has had an impact on education, management, problem solving and communication.

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