Helping Ss Feel Safe (Part 1)

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Helping Ss Feel Safe (Part 1)

Post  Kaylene on Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:47 pm

Recently I was teaching a lesson to some primary school children and during the end of the lesson, I allowed them to practice a dialog using puppets. It was very exciting to see them communicating--especially some of the shy Ss who do not like to speak out very freely.

Sometimes we want our Ss to speak out and use English freely, but to do so, we need to help them feel safe. One way we can do this--really great for shy and quiet Ss!--is to give each student a chance to speak as another person or object and not just as himself or herself.
For example, you can ask your Ss to bring an extra sock to school and use this sock over their hand as a puppet, giving the puppet a name and a personality of its own. Ss can use their puppets to talk to the other puppets in their group and communicate things they learned in the class.
Another example is using drama in the class, asking Ss to become characters in a story or passage and act out a part of the passage together.
It can even be something as simple as asking your Ss to draw a funny face on a piece of paper and then hold up the funny face in front of his/her chest when he/she is talking with his/her partner. Then the attention of the group members is more on the face and not so much on the speaker so the speaker feels less nervous.

This goes back to the idea that the number one challenge in learning a foreign language is overcoming fear. And one way of overcoming fear is to adopt a second personality in my mind. I can become another person in my imagination when I try to speak the foreign language. Then my real heart doesn't feel so afraid of failure and it becomes more of an exciting adventure.

Try finding ways for your students to become a new and different person as they speak in English--you may be surprised at the positive results. Smile

--Miss Kaylene--

Kaylene

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