The training program THE MIND READERS can be used in different educational settings. It is easy and flexible to use and comprises high quality learning activities for children and for young people.
Structure of the training program
The training program THE MIND READERS is modular and includes 65 exercises with a wide variety of learning material in spoken and sign languages to promote Theory of Mind in children and young people.
The modular structure is based on the theories for the development of Theory of Mind and Emotion Understanding. The program THE MIND READERS comprises 10 modules, 9 focusing on Theory of Mind skills and one on the related language competencies.
For easy orientation, each module has its own symbol and colour, which appear on all materials and exercises. The modular structure makes it possible to support children and young people flexibly in their current developmental phases.
Each module contains different exercises with different levels of difficulty and for different age groups. You can choose which exercises you want to use to achieve the respective learning goals.
Orientation in the training program
You are guided through the training program with the help of the learning objectives. These make it easier for you to select exercises adapted to the developmental stage of the children and young people.
Clicking on an exercise (for example “8.4” = 4th exercise in module 8), you will get the exercise description and the materials for this exercise to download. These can be, for example, PowerPoint presentations, pictures, sign language videos or worksheets. You will receive these in different file formats, which allow you to change the materials yourself and thus adapt them to the needs of your students.
- Please follow the order of the learning objectives within the modules. You do not have to do all the exercises to achieve a learning objective. You can choose the exercises that best meet the needs of your students.
- All learning objectives can also be found in the learning objective checklist, which gives you an overview of the learning objectives per module and the individual exercises.
- You can also use this checklist for your own overview during the training: tick the exercises that you have already done and the learning objectives that your students have achieved.
Structure of the exercises
In the description of the exercise, you will find the individual teaching steps, the required material and further instructions for carrying out the exercise.
What you should know at the beginning
When you do THE MIND READERS for the first time, take the time to read through the learning objectives and exercises in order to decide which exercises are most suitable for the children and young people you are working with. After you have worked with the training program for the first time, you will notice that using it becomes easier and the preparation much faster.
Which module should I start with?
Start with the module that corresponds to the developmental stage of the children or young people you work with. Use the learning objective checklist and the diagnostic recommendations to assess which module to start with. If you are unsure, simply start with module 1.
In which order and at which pace should I do the modules and exercises?
You can choose the exercises that best suit the needs of your students. Please note the following:
- Modules 1 ‑ 9 build on each other. Therefore, please use them one after the other.
- Exercises of the module “Language” can be done parallel to the other modules. They explicitly train vocabulary and some syntactic elements. We recommend that you do some exercises on the syntax of the module “Language” in parallel to module 5.
- Please keep to the order of the learning objectives within the modules. You do not have to do all the exercises to achieve a learning objective. You can choose the exercises that best meet the needs of your students.
- Remain with the child in a module until he/she has achieved all the learning objectives. Some children learn faster, so it may suffice to do only a few exercises. Other children need more time and exercises. Only when the child has reached the learning goals of a module, go ahead and start with the next module.
- The exercises are divided according to difficulty for “beginners ” and for “advanced”. However, some exercises build on each other. Here, the order should be followed. Other exercises can be used alternatively or for consolidation. These sequences are described accordingly in the learning objective checklist and in the exercises.
How much time should I plan for THE MIND READERS and the exercises?
You may decide for yourself…
- in which period you want to carry out THE MIND READERS.
For example, we recommend doing them in a fixed rhythm over a longer period of a few weeks. For example, you can do 2-3 exercises per week over a period of 6-8 weeks. Take into account that children, usually, can only reach the next developmental stage of Theory of Mind at a certain age. Therefore, if necessary, you can also distribute modules over different school years, e.g. carry out modules 1-3 in the first grade and modules 4-5 in the second grade.
- how much time you take for the individual exercises.
The descriptions of the exercises do not include time, as children learn at different paces. We recommend doing the exercises in units of 45-90 min. If necessary, you can also divide the individual steps of an exercise into several units or do two exercises in one time unit.
Which language(s) should I use?
All exercises can be done in English or / and British Sign Language. Which language(s) you use depends on the individual prerequisites of the children and young people as well as on your goals for language education. Many materials are available in different linguistic variants.
Notes on methods and material
In the exercises you will find a variety of methods and materials. There are 7 things to keep in mind:
- You can download all exercises and materials in different file formats (e.g. word, pdf, PowerPoint, mp4). The Word and PowerPoint formats allow you to adapt the materials to the interests and linguistic needs of the children and young people (see provisions on copyright).
- Please note that you will have to assemble some of the materials yourself before the lesson. We recommend that you print out the materials in good quality or laminate them if necessary and collect them in a box so that you and your colleagues can refer to them at any time when carrying out the training program.
- Please note that sometimes additional materials such as coloured pencils or a camera are needed for preparation.
- In the exercises, it is indicated whether the material is a worksheet that needs to be printed out for all the pupils.
- We suggest that students create an individual portfolio so that they can save the results of their work. You can use the portfolio cover sheet for THE MIND READERS. You are free to design your own portfolio.
- In many exercises, materials are available in English as well as in British Sign Language, so that you can adapt the language resources to level of the children and young people. You can decide for yourself whether, for example, you show a story as a sign language video, tell it yourself in spoken language or in sign language and show pictures to go with it, or have the children read the story themselves as a text with pictures.
- We recommend using additional games and books parallel to the training and partly within individual exercises. You should therefore purchase some books and games at the beginning. However, you can also carry out the training program completely without further purchases.
- Supplement the exercises with examples from the everyday life of the children and young people. Link to their personal experiences as often as possible. You can also include current videos and pictures from the internet, photos, magazines and newspapers.
- In many exercises, you work with thought bubbles. They are an important didactic tool that helps to represent people’s inner worlds. The concept of thought bubbles is introduced for the first time in Module 4. Take enough time for this.
- Role plays are particularly good for getting to know other people’s perspectives, feelings and beliefs. That is why they are used in many of THE MIND READERS’ exercises. You can also independently encourage smaller role plays again and again, for example to consolidate the content of a story.
- Some children have little experience with watching sign language videos. In this case, plan enough time to pause the video in between and to consolidate the content in conversation.
All information, exercises and materials of the training program THE MIND READERS and this website are available to you free of charge. However, they are intended exclusively for personal use or for use in lessons or individual support.
They are protected by the following copyright within the legal framework of the “Creative Commons design“:
- You are allowed to share the materials with others.
For example, you may reproduce materials for your students and distribute them to them.
- They are allowed to edit, change and build on the materials.
For example, you are allowed to adapt a worksheet by replacing words or signs that the students do not understand. You may also develop your own exercises.
This applies exclusively under the following conditions:
- Attributions: You must provide appropriate details of the authors and rights. You must indicate whether you have made any changes and if so, which ones.
- Non-commercial: The work, including all information, materials, exercises, are not allowed to be used for commercial purposes.
- Redistribution under the same conditions: If you edit, change or build upon the material, you may only distribute this under the same licence as the original.
We are happy to allow you to translate and publish the materials in other languages while retaining the copyright. The condition is that you inform us beforehand and wait for our permission. We can also consider putting your translations on this website or linking them.
Tips for the sustainable implementation of THE MIND READERS in schools
THE MIND READERS can be used for prevention as well as for intervention.
The development of Theory of Mind takes time. Especially for children with developmental delays in this area, it is not enough to work with the training program selectively for a short time.
In order to sustainably promote the social-cognitive and social-emotional development of children and adolescents, it is useful to work with the training program in a fixed rhythm over a longer period of time. It can make sense to start with the first modules in the lower grades and to use later modules in the higher grades.
We recommend that you implement THE MIND READERS sustainably at your school or institution. The following can be helpful:
- Agree among your colleagues and with the (school) management on a fixed rhythm in which you want to conduct THE MIND READERS.
- Agree among yourselves how you will integrate the training program into the timetable. For example, the modules can be embedded in language lessons or in subjects on personal, emotional and social development. Project lessons, lessons in the afternoon as part of all-day lessons or individual support lessons are also suitable.
- Create material folders or boxes from the downloaded and handmade materials that can be used by several teachers.
- Appoint responsible coordinators (teams) among your colleagues. They can, for example, take part in training courses and act as multipliers in their school.
Ideas for assessment
We provide you with some options for assessing the Theory of Mind skills of your children and young people:
- You can use the detailed learning objectives checklist for THE MIND READERS as a diagnostic tool. Use the learning objectives to assess the stage of development of the children and young people. Observe your pupils and tick off the competences they already have. Based on this, you can decide which module to start with.
- Observe the behaviour of your pupils in everyday life. Which Theory of Mind competences are already visible and which are not yes so? Our case studies (coming soon) will help you to look for behavioural patterns that allow you to draw conclusions about Theory of Mind competences.
- You can also use published tests to diagnose social-emotional development.