Sunday, 23 September 2012

Take five

It's been too long since I've written a thing, so here I am. There's an activity I really like and would like to share - I used it to discuss learning styles with my students and they gave it a thumbs up which means it's GOOD. It's called a "sensory dictation" - I've heard about it from Marie in class this summer, but it can be found in Unlocking self-expression though NLP by Judith Baker and Mario Rinvolucri (Delta Publishing, 2008), as well as Dictation by Paul Davis and Mario Rinvolucri (CUP, 2002).

It goes like this:

  • Write on board and draw a symbol for each of the senses like on the picture. I won't be drawing here, seeing my squiggles is a privilege that belongs to my students, but if I were drawing here I'd draw and eye, an ear, a nose, a hand and a smiley sticking it's tongue out - one of my students thought of it and it took on...
  • Next, the teacher should dictate a list of 20-30 words. It can be anything really - I used just random everyday words I knew they were familiar with, because the point wasn't to revise, but to speak about learning styles. Next time, it might be words from a text or a unit. 
  • As the teacher dictates, students write the words in columns according to what comes to them first when they hear the words. Let's say the word is ice cream: Do they see an ice cream? Do they hear that annoying ice cream truck or someone talking about an ice cream? Do they taste ice cream? The first ones will write the word in the first column, the second ones in the second and the third ones in the fifth I taste column. 
  • After the dictation is done they discussed the following three questions in groups of three or four: In which column have you written the most words? Are there any empty columns? Why did you put a word in a column - is there anything interesting you noticed about yourself? 
  • In the end I talked to them about learning styles and about how they scored in the dictation and what might that mean for them as learners. I felt listened to, because they asked questions, gave examples - some light bulbs were definitely lit.
So try it out. ;)

And another thing. Some exams like IELTS, TOEFL and CPE contain something called a long turn task. The candidate receives a question or a topic and needs to speak about it for a minute or two or 45 seconds, which is a long time. Some people simply shut down in the face of it repeating "What do I say? I have nothing to say." Pointing them towards thinking in terms of the five senses helps. If the task is to describe an experience, a person or a place, chunking the task down to the senses: What do I remember seeing/hearing/smelling/touching/tasting there? helps. Simple, but it was a revelation to me. 

Have a nice week.
All my love,


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